The Marine Science Institute's monthly column, Science and the SeaTM, is an informative and entertaining article that explains many interesting features of the marine environment and the creatures that live there. Science and the SeaTM articles appear monthly in one of Texas' most widely read fishing magazines, Texas Saltwater Fishing, the Port Aransas South Jetty newspaper, the Flour Bluff News, and the Island Moon newspaper. Our article archive is available also on our website.
The thought of “synchronized swimming” may call to mind the Olympic event or perhaps white-capped women in old Hollywood musicals. But there’s another mammal that uses synchronized swimming — and it’s not just to show off.
Long-finned pilot whales synchronize their swimming when they sense danger. Researchers made this discovery when comparing two populations of pilot whales, one in the Strait of Gibraltar off the Spanish coast and one near Cape Breton on Canada’s east coast.
It’s no secret that most animals release waste through their backsides, but some use that exit for more than releasing leftover food. Sea cucumbers use their rear end for at least five different functions — including breathing.
It can move almost as fast as a speeding bullet and packs a punch powerful enough to break aquarium glass. Mantis shrimp aren’t your average cocktail shrimp — technically they’re not even shrimp.
Sharks may be top predators in the sea, but they can be prey as well, especially as babies. Researchers have learned that young sharks can sense nearby predators and then act to avoid detection — even when still in their egg case.
Biologists already knew sharks can sense possible prey by detecting electrical fields produced by nearby fish. However, scientists did not know whether shark embryos would adjust their own biological processes to reduce their risk of being discovered as prey themselves.
If the home that gives you shelter and houses your food were threatened, you’d likely do what you could to protect it. Gobies are no different. These tiny fish — just an inch long —live in coral, which protects them from predators and lets them eat algae on the coral and plankton from the surrounding water. But the coral sometimes needs protection too, and gobies are up to the job.