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.

April 1, 2010

Pass by a sea cucumber in a tide pool, and you may hardly notice this lowly, pickle-shaped creature. But try to make a meal out of one, and you’ll probably never forget it.

March 1, 2010
When a whale dies and sinks to the ocean floor, it sets in motion a new beginning for deep-sea life. Scientists call this a “whale fall,” and it moves through three fascinating stages.

A whale carcass brings a whopping amount of organic matter to a place where food is scarce. Within days, hagfishes, sleeper sharks and scavenging crustaceans arrive to feast on the remaining flesh. This first stage is called the mobile scavenger phase. Depending on the size of the carcass, the bones can be picked clean in a matter of months.

February 1, 2010
The Arctic-dwelling narwhal is undoubtedly best known for its long, lance-like tooth. But this curious looking whale also stands out when it comes to diving.
January 1, 2010
Thanks to a clever farming technique, mussel lovers can relish the fact that their favorite shellfish is not only tasty, but also kind to the environment.
December 1, 2009

Bull sharks are unique among sharks in their ability to live in freshwater habitats for long periods of time. However, dealing with changes in salinity is very taxing on their bodies, prompting scientists to wonder why these sharks venture into fresh water in the first place.

October 30, 2009
Among sharks, great whites are famous for their size, hammerheads for their shape, and makos for their speed. But the bull shark has a remarkable ability its fellow marine sharks do not: It can thrive in fresh water.
October 1, 2009

Most people probably think their encounters with seaweed are limited - being brushed by its slimy blades while swimming in the ocean, or trying a seaweed salad with sushi. But people come in contact with one component of seaweed in their everyday lives. It’s a compound known as algin.

August 31, 2009

Imagine that you were hungry for a meal, and there were plenty of tasty morsels around you… but you had to dive into chilly waters to get them. That’s a feat cormorants perform every time they dine.

August 1, 2009

Conservationists, governments and energy companies all seem to take a keen interest in the oceans’ continental shelves. These extensions of continents are shallow, mostly flat regions of Earth’s crust under the sea along the coastlines. On their outer edge, a continental slope falls away to the much deeper sea floor.

July 1, 2009
In the prehistoric seas lived a squid-like creature whose fossilized shells are prized by collectors - and they offer clues about the Earth’s history.