On the Air: June 16, 2024

Pufferfish in Japan are known for one thing. They’re a delicacy that can be deadly. Their organs contain a highly toxic compound that can kill in minutes. But one species of pufferfish has a different distinction: Its males might be the most creative artists in the oceans.

In 1995, divers off the coast of Japan saw an unusual pattern in the sand on the ocean floor—a circle with small peaks and valleys radiating out from a flat center. It wasn’t until 2011 that marine scientists could explain them: the creations of a species known today as white-spotted pufferfish.

In Print: June 1, 2024

If you knew that where you settled down would be home for the rest of your life, you’d make sure it was the best neighborhood you could find. That’s the situation larval corals face as they drift with ocean currents looking for the reef that will become their forever home. Light and chemicals in the seawater play a role in where larvae settle, but scientists recently discovered another factor: how the neighborhood sounds.