Deep Sea Fish — Black Dragonfish, Long-Nosed Chimaera, Blobfish, Hatchet Fish, Giant Oarfish, Barreleye Fish, Sloane’s Viperfish, Etc

May 18, 2014 in Animals & Insects

Deep-sea fish are probably some of the most interesting species of animals on the planet, and yet there isn’t really all that much known about many of them. And for that matter they haven’t really worked their way into the public imagination the way that many land animals, and large sea-surface-living species have. This article seeks to remedy that — detailing some of the most interesting species, as well as providing beautiful(!?) images of said species. :)
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3-D Structure Of The Genome Determines How Genes Are Expressed, Research Finds

August 4, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Humans, Plants

The three-dimensional structure of the genome determines how genes are expressed, new research from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Washington has found.

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For the new research, the genome’s 3D structure was analyzed in detail and at high resolution, which yielded new insight into how/why some genes are expressed and others aren’t. Some background — there’s somewhere around three meters worth of DNA tightly folded within the nucleus of every one of the human body’s cells. Depending on the ‘folding’, some genes are ‘expressed’, while others aren’t.
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Overfishing Causing Jellyfish Population Boom, Research Finds

May 16, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Humans

Jellyfish populations around the world have been increasing in recent years, and several very large jellyfish blooms have been reported since the early 2000s. The cause of these, and the general population increase, has remained somewhat unclear until now though. Is it simply observation bias? Cyclic population change? Warming waters? Changing currents?

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But now, thanks to new research from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), the causes have become clear. The primary cause is overfishing, and with it the decline of many ecologically important species. Many significant predators of jellyfish, such as tuna and sea turtles, have seen their numbers plummet in recent years as a result of overfishing. And with their decline, jellyfish have begun to see their populations grow. But perhaps far more important than that decline, though, is the overfishing of small pelagic fish, such as sardines and herring, which are the main competitors of jellyfish.

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Did Life Originate In Brinicles? Icy Sea Stalactites Provide Environment Conducive To Emergence Of Life

May 3, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Geology & Climate

Did life on Earth originate in the almost otherworldly environments of brinicles — the icy sea stalactites that grow near the Earth’s poles? These rather strange looking tubes of ice could very possibly have been where life on the Earth originated, according to new research published in the journal Langmuir.

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Marine Reptiles, Origins In Europe? Fossil Placodont Discovered In Netherlands

March 28, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Fossils

The origin of one of the first groups of marine reptiles, the Placodonts, is now becoming clear, thanks to the new discovery of a fossil skull in the Netherlands. The 246-million-year-old skull, discovered in the region that was once the Tethys Ocean, shows that these highly specialized marine reptiles, one of the earliest saurians, very likely originated in Europe.

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The placodonts lived for about 40 million years or so in the flat coastal regions of the Tethys Ocean, from around 250 million years ago to 210 million years ago. Possessing their “trademark” crushing teeth, they fed primarily on shellfish and crustaceans, but were likely opportunistic predators as well. The distinctive features of these teeth really make them stand out in the fossil record; “the upper jaw had two rows of flattened teeth – one on the palate and one on the jawbone – while the lower jaw only had one set of teeth ideal for crushing shellfish and crustaceans.”

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