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Marine Biology Fanatics' Journal
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Date:2009-03-12 13:41
Subject:Little Squid-Thingy?
Mood: thoughtful

Hello! Me and my sister found this thing at the beach, can you guys help me figure out what it is? :D



I don't think it's a sea slug, but it could be since i'm no expert. Thanks guys!

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Date:2008-10-10 11:29
Subject:DNA test proves it -- baby shark has no father


  • Story Highlights
  • Pup carried by a female blacktip shark contains no male genetic material
  • Scientist: "This is something female sharks of many species can do on occasion."
  • Virgin birth has been proven in some bony fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds
  • Virginia aquarium case is nation's second; first was in Nebraska

RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) -- Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark.

A blacktip shark in the wild patrols the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.

A blacktip shark in the wild patrols the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.

In a study reported Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, scientists said DNA testing proved that a pup carried by a female blacktip shark in a Virginia aquarium contained no genetic material from a male.

The first documented case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis, among sharks involved a pup born to a hammerhead at an Omaha, Nebraska, zoo.

"This first case was no fluke," Demian Chapman, a shark scientist and lead author of the second study, said in a statement. "It is quite possible that this is something female sharks of many species can do on occasion."

The scientists cautioned that the rare asexual births should not be viewed as a possible solution to declining global shark populations. The aquarium sharks that reproduced without mates each carried only one pup, while some species can produce litters of a dozen or more.

"It is very unlikely that a small number of female survivors could build their numbers up very quickly by undergoing virgin birth," Chapman said.

The medical mystery began 16 months ago after the death of Tidbit, a blacktip shark that had lived for eight years at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach. No male blacktip sharks were present during her eight years.

In May 2007, the 5-foot, 94-pound shark died after it was given a sedative before undergoing a yearly checkup. The 10-inch shark pup was found during a necropsy, surprising aquarium officials. They initially thought the embryonic pup was either the product of a virgin birth or a cross between the blacktip and a male of another shark species -- which has never been documented, Chapman said.

Tidbit's pup was nearly full term, and likely would have been quickly eaten by "really big sand tiger sharks" that were in the tank, Chapman said in a telephone interview from Florida.

That is what happened to the tiny hammerhead pup in the Omaha case.

"By the time they could realize what they were looking at, something munched the baby," he said of aquarium workers. The remains of the pup were used for the DNA testing.

Virgin birth has been proven in some bony fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds, and has been suspected among sharks in the wild.

The scientists who studied the Virginia and Nebraska sharks said the newly formed pups acquired one set of chromosomes when the mother's chromosomes split during egg development, then united anew.

Absent the chromosomes present in the male sperm, the offspring of an asexual conception have reduced genetic diversity and, the scientists said, may be at a disadvantage for surviving in the wild. A pup, for instance, can be more susceptible to congenital disorders and diseases.

The scientists said their findings offer "intriguing questions" about how frequently automictic parthenogenesis occurs in the wild.

"It is possible that parthenogenesis could become more common in these sharks if population densities become so low that females have trouble finding mates," said Mahmood Shivji, one of the scientists and director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

The DNA fingerprinting techniques used by the scientists are identical to those used in human paternity testing.

Chapman, who is with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook, was assisted in the study by Beth Firchau of the Virginia Aquarium.

Chapman and Shivji were on the team that made the first discovery of virgin birth involving the Nebraska shark.

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Date:2008-07-22 14:09
Subject:degree programs

any suggestions in degree programs... anywhere in the world is definitely a consideration... because i'm really not sure where i'm going, yet!

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Date:2008-05-12 21:44

http://www.mbari.org/news/homepage/2007/pworm.html - figured I would link this here.

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Date:2008-02-11 07:51
Subject:Hand Fish

I was wondering if anyone here had any good quality photographs of the Hand-fish (there isn’t a lot of information on these critters online).

I was watching ‘Blue planet’ the other night on DVD (I felt like watching it as I hadn’t in a long while) and the episode with the hand-fish came on and I felt like I wanted to know more about it, as info seems scarce.

Thank you in advance.

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Date:2007-12-21 14:13
Subject:Frilled Shark



Rare "Prehistoric" Shark Photographed Alive

Click here to find out more!
Photos: Rare Frilled Shark Photographed Alive
    1 of 4   Next >>
Flaring the gills that give the species its name, a frilled shark swims at Japan's Awashima Marine Park on Sunday, January 21, 2007. Sightings of living frilled sharks are rare, because the fish generally remain thousands of feet beneath the water's surface.

Spotted by a fisher on January 21, this 5.3-foot (160-centimeter) shark was transferred to the marine park, where it was placed in a seawater pool.

"We think it may have come to the surface because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in shallow waters," a park official told the Reuters news service. But the truth may never be known, since the "living fossil" died hours after it was caught.

More Photos in the News
Today's 15 Most Read Stories
Free Email Newsletter: Focus on Photography
Photograph from Getty Images

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Date:2007-12-21 14:10
Subject:National Geographic top 10 photos


Not all of these are Marine Life related, but quite a few are!

They even have a picture of a Goblin Shark. That is my favorite one :)


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Date:2007-09-21 10:59
Subject:Gray whale comeback questioned


Gray whale comeback questioned

PALO ALTO, California (AP) -- One of the great success stories of the ocean, the return of the Pacific gray whale, may have been based on a miscalculation, scientists reported Monday in a study based on whale genetics.


A gray whale surfaces in the Washington Narrows between Bremerton and Manette, Washington.

What was assumed to be a thriving whale population actually is at times starving from a dwindling food supply, said study co-author Stephen Palumbi, a Stanford University marine sciences professor. And global warming is a chief suspect.

Scientists may have underestimated the historical number of gray whales from Mexico to Alaska, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And that may have led to a misdiagnosis of what is behind surprising die-offs over the past few years and the appearance of many so-called "skinny" whales.

Earlier this month the National Marine Fisheries Service reported that at least 10 percent of gray whales returning to one of their four main calving and breeding lagoons off Baja California showed signs of being underfed. Some of the whales even had bony shoulderblades.

"This is a hint of a problem," Palumbi said. "Our antennas should be up. Our antennas should be asking if the ocean is capable of supporting life the way it used to."

The study concludes that the original Pacific gray whale population hundreds of years ago may have been far higher than currently thought -- closer to 100,000 whales than conventional estimates of 20,000 to 30,000.

The scientists base that on how diverse the population of whales once was -- information they gleaned by examining differences in the DNA of 40 whales. They studied 10 spots on the whale's genetic blueprint.

The diversity of genes in this group of whales indicates there had to be about 100,000 whales centuries ago, the scientists reported.

If the whale population was five times higher than originally thought, that makes recent problems with the whale look far worse.

Gray whales were the first marine mammal to bounce back and get off the endangered species list in 1994. Scientists had figured that a population of about 20,000 whales was normal, so in 1999-2000 when some whales started dying off, the experts figured it was just the result of the ocean reaching its normal "carrying capacity." There was just not enough room for more whales, so nature thinned out the herd, they figured.

But Palumbi said his genetic analysis shows the oceans were once more crowded with gray whales. He said anecdotal historical evidence supports that. One historical document claimed a count of 1,000 whales a day seen on the California coast.

French explorer Jean-Francois La Perouse sailed into Monterey Bay in the 1700s and complained "there were so many whales, that they stunk up the air with their breath," Palumbi said.

While some scientists said Palumbi's work makes sense, it left a nagging question for fisheries biologist Jeff Breiwick, who works on the gray whale census for the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle: What happened to the 80,000 gray whales for which there is no evidence?

Breiwick and others have used computer models and historical documents to estimate the level of whale hunting since the 1600s. To explain the extra whales living and then dying would have meant about three whales a day being killed for four centuries.

"Where's the evidence of that mortality?" asked Breiwick.

Palumbi said the answer is in Asia. The gray whales in his study are eastern Pacific gray whales. Western Pacific gray whales look identical and can only be identified by genetic tests, he said.

Planet in Peril
Anderson Cooper, Jeff Corwin & Dr. Sanjay Gupta explore the Earth's environmental issues in a CNN worldwide investigation.
Coming in October, on CNN

Palumbi figures that the 100,000 whales of centuries ago would includes both types of whales, and the massive decline can be explained by Asian whaling. The western gray whales number only in the hundreds and are on the precipice of extinction, he said.

Getting the eastern Pacific whales back to nearly 20,000 is "a great success story, don't get me wrong," Palumbi said. "It's not a success story that's finished yet."

If the whales aren't at their natural limit, then some other problem is harming them, Palumbi said. And that has to do with a food shortage and global warming, researchers theorize.

The gray whale relies on massive numbers of small crustaceans that live in the Arctic regions, Palumbi said. That food supply may have been cut because of warmer waters, he said.

National Marine Fisheries Services whale expert Stephen Swartz who is investigating the problem of the starving gray whales said earlier this month that the issue may be connected with global warming.

Frances Gulland, director of veterinary science at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, examined some of the whales that died in the 2000 and agreed with Palumbi that the new estimates on past population indicate that something bad is happening now. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Date:2007-06-28 00:01

So popular science magazine published an article a couple of days ago with the top ten worst jobs in biology (http://www.popsci.com/popsci/printerfriendly/science/0203101256a23110vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html ) its kinda sad how oceanography is the second worst (losing to hazmat diver, but being much worse than whale feces researcher) all because we never have any good news about the oceans.  Im kinda upset about this...so Ive complied a list of reasons why being a marine biologist/oceanographer is awesome:

10-Everyone wanted to do it. Yes how many times have you told someone you want to be a marine biologist and they say "o yea i wanted to do that too, but I couldnt because of (fill in the blank)". 
9-No matter what, there is plenty of opportunity to learn something new.  Ok so lets face it...Finding Nemo was wrong, sea turtles don't live to be over 150 years old....at least we dont know, so why not go into a field with so many open holes in it that our generation could actually fill.  I mean how many times have you been reading something/in a lecture hall/researching stuff when you discover that not much is known about that particular thing.
8-You make your own schedule.  If your a researcher, even if your researching at a university and need to teach classes, you still get to plan when you can go out and conduct experiments.  Or even better, 95% of graduate/master students get free tuition and a stipend to conduct research.
7-You get to travel.  I mean come on, how many times have you heard of a fellow professor/mentor telling you they are going to be heading to ocio rios/florida/alaska to be conducting research on something.  Granted you have to work, but if your getting a research grant usually the trip is free or very cheap.
6-Field Work. Yep, during the summers your outside on a boat/beach/where ever you are researching while those other poor saps are sitting at a desk.
5-Air conditioning.  OK so this ins't a guarentee, however 85% of the places I worked around have ac because the experiments or whatnot are temp sensative.  If its not air conditioned, than it is located where you dont need it.
4-Great Networking.  I live in Ny, and have met the same people over and over again.  If i haven't met that particular person, I usually know someone who they work with.  Its a pretty small community, but everyone knows what everyone else is doing and so if your ever stuck, people are there to help.
3-Great people.  I am in love with every oceanographer/marine biologist I ever met.  They are the nicest/coolest/laid back people I ever met.  I mean when ever someone needs help with field sampleing or help with lab experiments, there is almost a list of available people willing to help out.  Walking around in labs I've never been in, I always get a friendly smile and a hello.  We are also the most down to earth people out there, we dont stress the small stuff and usually have open minds when it comes to sticky situations.
2-Almost guarenteed to be living by the coast.  Ok so I know there are alot of oceanographers who live hours away from the water, however most people in marine sciences love the water and want to be around it as much as possible.  I know when I finally settle down, it will be living coastal (or ,1 hr away from costal) because thats "my job".  So even if my spouse wanted to move to kansas, I will always win.
1-People paying you for what you love to do.  Ha, those stupid employers cant make us down, we are able to fine tune our profession to study a specific species/area that no matter what no one will come to us tomorrow and say "we are upgrading you to dolphins".  People go to college to study art history to work in moma and end up becoming an art teacher for the 3rd grade.  not that there is a problem with that, however we get to play with (fill in blank) because thats what we wanted to do.

this list is suppose to be in light humor, but if i offended anyone I am sorry.  :) Enjoy.

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Date:2007-06-11 15:29

Now that I'm sitting here, having finished my first year of college, I can't help but wonder if I'm on the right track or doing enough to get to where I want to be. As I've said before, I want to get a PhD so I can do research (more specifically, I've been really intrigued by USC's program in marine environmental biology) But I can't help but feel like an underachiever as far as getting ahead in the game. I have done some things; I've been researching my major since I was little, I'm in the honor society and am gearing up for my SCUBA certification in the fall, and I have volunteered at an aquarium before (and will likely return next month) However, there are so many people in my program who have done so much more. My friend got her SCUBA certification and did research in the Carribean before starting college, worked for a couple of months at the marine science campus, is currently working at an aquarium, and next year she'll be the president of our honor society and a peer counselor in our program....that's ONE PERSON! So yea, compared to people like that, I feel like I haven't done a thing and will have more trouble getting to my goals than others. My other friends try to tell me that that amount of work isn't absolutely necessary, but I'm so used to being an overachiever myself that seeing people like my friend makes me feel like I shouldn't be in this program, which feels sucky to be honest ebcause this is the only thing I've wanted to do for years.

So I guess the point of this rant is, has anyone made it past the grueling undergrad world and has any advice for me?

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Date:2007-05-14 17:36
Mood: contemplative

I was watching this really amazing documentary the other night on Australia’s deadliest creatures, and there was a bit on the cone snail.
I have to admit, this is the first time in my life I have found a snail frightening...
I really love this creature though; it's so fascinating how it hunts.

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Date:2007-03-28 15:55

Hey everyone, new here! Glad to find marine journals (as I am a little bit of a nerd for things under the sea).

Quick question: Does anyone know of a university/college (anywhere in the world, I'm not picky) with an excellent marine biology masters/PhD program? I'm finishing up my honours degree in the fall, but I don't know where to go! As as much as I like cod (I live in newfoundland, btw) I really don't want to study them for my thesis. At all.


X-posted a bit, sorry if I spammed

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Date:2007-03-09 00:51
Mood: curious

I was on the Florida Gulf coast last weekend, and found these things all over the beach. I have no idea what they are. They seemed like they would be gelatinous, but a little poking and prodding proved that they were actually rather solid. I thought it might be some sort of echinoderm after looking at its skin, but I couldn't locate tube feet or a mouth, even after turning them over (the other side looks exactly the same). Anybody know what they are?

Mystery thing

More, larger under hereCollapse )

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Date:2007-02-20 14:25
Subject:Bush creates world’s biggest ocean preserve


Bush creates world’s biggest ocean preserve
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands ‘as important as Yellowstone,’ activist says

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 7:58 a.m. CT June 16, 2006
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Thursday created the world's largest marine protected area — a group of remote Hawaiian islands that cover 84 million acres and are home to 7,000 species of birds, fish and marine mammals, at least a quarter of which are unique to Hawaii.

At a White House ceremony, the president designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands the United States’ 75th national monument. The islands have been described as “America’s Galapagos” and as the most intact tropical marine region under U.S. jurisdiction.

“To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park,” Bush said. “It’s larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. This is a big deal.”

Bush said he drew inspiration from a documentary on the island chain’s biological resources shown at the White House in April by Jean-Michel Cousteau, the marine explorer and filmmaker whose father was the late Jacques Cousteau. Over dinner that night, Bush said he also got “a pretty good lecture about life” from marine biologist Sylvia Earle, an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.

The decision immediately sets aside 139,000 square miles of largely uninhabited islands, atolls, coral reef colonies and underwater peaks known as seamounts to be managed by federal and state agencies.

Conrad Lautenbacher, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will manage nearly all of it, said the new protected area would dwarf all others.

“It’s the single-largest act of ocean conservation in history. It’s a large milestone,” Lautenbacher said. “It is a place to maintain biodiversity and to maintain basically the nurseries of the Pacific. It spawns a lot of the life that permeates the middle of the Pacific Ocean.”

‘Unprecedented win’
Conservationists, who have clashed with the Bush administration on most other environmental issues, were just as pleased.

“This an unprecedented win for endangered Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, black-footed albatrosses, tiger sharks, the incredible reef corals in these waters, the people of Hawaii and all Americans, now and in generations to come,” Elliott Norse, president of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, said in a statement ahead of the announcement. “It’s the start of a new era of protecting places in the sea before they’re degraded beyond recognition. In my opinion, this is the best thing President Bush has done for the environment.”

Added Fred Krupp, head of Environmental Defense: “The president is creating the world’s largest marine protected area. It’s as important as the establishment of Yellowstone” — arguably the crown jewel of the National Park System.

The national monument, about the size of California, is larger even than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Roger Rufe, president of The Ocean Conservancy, agreed the area was on par with Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. “Teddy Roosevelt is largely considered the father of our national park system,” he added. With this national monument, “President Bush may be securing a similar legacy in our oceans.”

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Date:2007-01-31 15:41
Subject:Summer Employment

So I'm starting to think about where to work over the summer. My first idea was to get a job at the EPA, but there won't be any info on the website until the end of February, and I'd like some other options. Some other ideas I've had:

Intern at the National Aquarium in Washington. I volunteered there two summers ago, and the place isn't very big, but it would be a familiar place.

Intern at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. As far as I can see there's no salary though, and I really need the money to help with school. Plus, while I love that place to death, the commute would be a tad painful. And I need to turn in an application by March, giving me one month to get recommendations, talk to my advisor about getting credit out of it, etc.

Job at the National Zoo. Having trouble finding jobs for my age group though. I know they're there because I've tried getting a job there before, I just can't find them at this exact second.

If anyone has any other ideas, has any experience, or has any input on the above I'd really appreciate it!

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Date:2007-01-21 11:23

wow, for the mass dolphin stranding that happened in LI over the past week to make Yahoo.com's front page news...that must be pretty damn big...I live in the bronx but was in Jamaica when it first happened

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. - The number of dolphins who have died since being trapped in a shallow creek off eastern Long Island has risen to 10, a rescue leader said Saturday.

About 20 of the "common dolphins" were first sighted about 11 days ago in the Northwest Harbor cove, which is north of East Hampton. Marine biologists feared for their safety. Eight dolphins swam to safety earlier in the week after being coaxed out of the cove, and three were spotted Friday. Officials don't know how many are still alive.

More than 80 people have been involved in the rescue effort. The 10th dolphin's body was found midmorning Saturday, officials said.

Chuck Bowman, president of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, said that rescuers could not go out on boats Saturday because of strong winds.

"Common dolphins" and another type, "white-sided" dolphins, are found throughout the year in waters off Long Island and into New England. Typically, they stay 30 to 80 miles off shore.

This group may have been chasing bait food, such as mackerel, that came closer to the coast. A preliminary study of two of the dead dolphins found their stomachs were empty.

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Date:2007-01-12 05:59
Subject:A sad day in the marine life world...

R. I. P. Ralph. You were my favorite one of the whale sharks at the Georgia Aquarium. You were more people-friendly than the others. You died just two and a half weeks after Gasper the Beluga Whale. THese are both DEVASTATING blows to the Aquarium, but they couldnt be helped.

He just stopped swimming last night, and they hoisted him to the top to check on him, and he died. Mom came in and WOKE ME UP at 530am to tell me this..

How many people do you know who care enough about a fish to be woken up at 530am and start crying when you hear the news that he has died?

This is a bad sign.. I told her that they are incredibly temperamental animals, and now AT LEAST Norton or alice OR trixie is going to follow him into the realm of the unknown.. I just know it.

Rest in peace, you beautiful gentle giant. You were amazing to watch for the months that I got to see you swim over my head. Whale sharks are my FAVORITE things on the face of the planet.

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Date:2006-12-30 22:54
Subject:New Member

Hello all!

I'm glad to find a community on marine life that's really active!

So I guess basics are in order. My name's Robin, I'm originally from DC but right now I'm a marine science and biology major at the University of Miami (well not at this second I'm home for winter break) I'm also in the school's marine science honor society and marine mammal stranding team.

I've wanted to be a marine biologist since I went to Sea World in San Diego when I was nine. The animals looked so cool, so I looked for a field of science that dealt with them and I came up with marine biology. As I got older I got more interested in conservation, so I'm looking to get a PhD so that I can do research for conservation purposes.

Looking forward to meeting you all and exchanging ideas!

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Date:2006-12-29 00:21
Mood: contemplative


a sure the pafici right whales need to be helped, but dont you think the north atlantic ones need more help?

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Date:2006-12-28 09:51
Subject:Global Warming


Warmed-up oceans reduce key food link
Scientists say decreased phytoplankton will impact global food chain

By Seth Borenstein

Updated: 6:42 p.m. CT Dec 6, 2006
WASHINGTON - In a "sneak peak" revealing a grim side effect of future warmer seas, new NASA satellite data find that the vital base of the ocean food web shrinks when the world's seas get hotter.

And that discovery has scientists worried about how much food marine life will have as global warming progresses.

The data show a significant link between warmer water — either from the El Nino weather phenomenon or global warming — and reduced production of phytoplankton of the world's oceans, according to a study in Thursday's journal Nature.

Phytoplankton are the microscopic plant life that zooplankton and other marine animals eat, essentially the grain crop of the world's oceans.

Study lead author Michael Behrenfeld, a biological oceanographer at Oregon State University, said Wednesday that the recent dramatic drop in phytoplankton production in much of the world's oceans is a "sneak peak of how ocean biology" will respond later in the century with global warming.

"Everything else up the food web is going to be impacted," said oceanographer Scott Doney of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. He was not involved in the study.

"What's worrisome is that small changes that happen in the bottom of the food web can have dramatic changes to certain species at higher spots on the food chain," Doney said.

This is yet another recent scientific study with real-time data showing the much predicted harmful effects of global warming are not just coming, but in some cases are already here and can be tallied scientifically, researchers said.

A satellite commissioned by NASA tracked water temperature and the production of phytoplankton from 1997 to 2006, finding that for most of the world's oceans when one went up the other went down and vice versa, Behrenfeld said.

As water temperatures increased from 1999 to 2004, the crop of phytoplankton dropped significantly, about 200 million tons a year. On average about 50 billion tons of phytoplankton are produced yearly, Behrenfeld said.

During that time, some ocean regions, especially around the equator in the Pacific, saw as much as a 50 percent drop in phytoplankton production, he said.

However, the satellite first started taking measurements in 1997 when water temperatures were at their warmest due to El Nino. That's the regular cyclical warming of part of the Pacific Ocean that affects climate worldwide.

After that year, the ocean significantly cooled until 1999 and the phytoplankton crop soared by 2 billion tons during those two years.

"The results are showing this very tight coupling between production and climate," Behrenfeld said.

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my journal