Tag Archives: oceans

How Sponges Run Coral Reefs

There’s a weird paradox about coral reefs. They’re full of colorful life. But tropical ocean water is empty. The water in tropical oceans is clear and lovely because it has no gunk. But gunk is what critters low on the … Continue reading

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Eating Whale Meat in Norway

Today at Last Word on Nothing I have a little essay about eating whale meat. This spring while I was living in Sweden I had a lovely visit with my friend Veronica and her family in northern Norway. I took … Continue reading

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How to Find Out What Dolphins Eat

How do you find out what animals eat? Well, one way is to collect their poop. What goes in must come out, in one form or another. Before the rise of DNA techniques, the only way to analyze feces was … Continue reading

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How Baby Rays Breathe

Manta rays, like the majority of sharks and rays, give birth to live young but don’t have a placenta. How do they do it? In a study I wrote about for ScienceNOW, the researchers worked out part of the puzzle: … Continue reading

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whales get stressed

Feces are a surprisingly useful subject for research. Scientists can use them to get a window into an animal’s inner life. You might think poop is just mushed-up food, but no, there’s a lot of information in there. A sample … Continue reading

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more on right whales

Like I said in yesterday’s story, North Atlantic right whales are already getting a lot of help to reduce their chances of getting killed by ships. At certain times of year, ships have to slow down when they’re going through … Continue reading

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right whales are ship magnets

Right whales aren’t one of the better-known whales. They aren’t as charismatic as humpbacks or orcas, or as ginormous as blue whales. One story about where they got their name is that they were the “right whale” for whalers – … Continue reading

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hyperbolic crochet coral reef update

Remember the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef? It’s an ongoing project – they’ll keep mounting exhibits of parts of it in different places. Right now there’s a show in Pasadena. But I heard good news recently about the Smithsonian Community Reef, … Continue reading

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crochet coral reef: last chance!

If you’ve been meaning to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at the Smithsonian, you only have a few more days; it closes this Sunday, April 24th. It’s surprising how much a bunch of knotted yarn can look like a … Continue reading

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rolling down to old maui

Here’s that sea chanty, “Rolling Down to Old Maui,” sung by the great Canadian folk singer Stan Rogers: “We’re homeward bound from the Arctic ground, rolling down to old Maui.” The sailors have been catching whales in the Arctic, which … Continue reading

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