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104 posts in In the News

Eating oysters and sardines is better for the environment than most land-based food

A new study examines the overall environmental effects of eating different kinds of foods, comparing the energy required, greenhouse-gas emissions produced, release of nutrients harming water quality, and compounds causing acidification; and also looking at freshwater demands, and the use of pesticides and antibiotics. The review examined 148 life cycle analysis documents that cover the complete impacts of each food production source from start to finish. 

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Chelsea Wood receives UW Distinguished Teaching Award

SAFS professor Chelsea Wood has been awarded the University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award, given annually to seven recipients for mastery of the subject matter; enthusiasm and innovation in the teaching and learning process; ability to engage students both within and outside the classroom; ability to inspire independent and original thinking in students and to stimulate students to do creative work; and innovations in course and curriculum design. 

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A whole new ocean zone is needed for these fish species

Scientists currently classify groups of reef species by the depths at which they occur, with the so-called “mesophotic” species living at depths of 40-150 meters. Now, though, new data suggests that an additional depth zone is needed for reef species living in the coral reef twilight zone, to be called the “rariphotic” zone, covering the depths of 130-310 meters (400-1000 ft). 

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Stunning footage of bizarre mating anglerfish with glowing cat’s-whiskers fin rays

In a world’s first, a mating pair of anglerfish is observed in the wild, evoking awe in SAFS professor Ted Pietsch, who comments in UW Today on the video footage by researchers Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen aboard a submersible run by the Rebikoff-Nigeler Foundation. Only 14 females (and no males) of this species have ever been recorded, all collected in jars and none observed alive in the ocean. 

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Undergraduate blog highlights scientific stories at the heart of the Bevan Series on sustainable fisheries

The Bevan Series is the premier seminar series at SAFS, bringing 10 speakers each year from around the globe to discuss, debate, and challenge our community to listen to different perspectives. This year, the associated undergraduate class has been writing a series of blogs, one for each speaker. In the most recent post, undergraduates Carter Johnson, Ethan Seay, and Max Urbanek highlight for Valentine’s Day the relationship tips needed for science and policy. 

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SAFS professor Chelsea Wood receives prestigious Sloan Fellowship

SAFS Professor Chelsea Wood was awarded a Sloan Fellowship, awarded to early-career researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Prof. Wood is a prolific researcher who uses parasites and pathogens (both human and fish-based) to uncover fundamental ecological truths about the natural world. She will receive $65,000 to further her research initiatives, which includes using museum fish specimens as “parasite time capsules”, as reported in UW News. 

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With sea ice loss, beluga whales make longer and deeper feeding dives in the same places

Satellite tracking devices on beluga whales in the Arctic show how they reacted to far lower sea ice concentrations in recent years. Instead of shifting where they feed, as might have been expected, beluga whales continued to feed in similar (but now largely ice-free) places. However, where dive data were available, their dives were significantly longer and deeper than in years with higher ice concentrations. 

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Narwhals prefer serene glaciers over rambunctious glaciers

Combining data from glaciers with tracking devices on narwhals, reveals that these elusive marine mammals prefer glaciers that calve infrequently over active calving glaciers. The research, to be presented by SAFS professor Kristin Laidre at the Ocean Sciences Meeting next week, shows narwhals congregating at the outlets of serene glaciers in Greenland’s Melville Bay. Prof. Laidre speculates that the cold fresh water melting off the glacier may stun fish, making them easy prey for the hunting narwhals, while active glaciers produce more silt-filled waters that are harder to hunt in. 

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The curious tale of the piranhas that merely eat a few scales off their fish prey

Not all piranhas eat in the feeding frenzies that Hollywood is so fond of depicting. Instead, some species remove and eat just a few scales from their prey. As described in UW News, some of these scale-eaters ram into their unsuspecting prey, while others open their mouths to extraordinary dimensions and use specialized teeth to pry off scales. The wide variety of approaches is captured in a new paper that placed these fish in CT scanners, as part of the Scan All Fish program led by SAFS professor Adam Summers. 

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Forgotten fish naturalist and illustrator remembered in new book

Naturalist Charles Plumier’s work has been resurrected by SAFS Professor Ted Pietsch in a new book Charles Plumier and His Drawings of French Caribbean Fishes. Plumier lived in the era just before Linneaus created his Latin naming system for species names, and as a result, none of Plumier’s detailed painting and descriptions of species were given priority. Prof Pietsch talks in detail about the inspiration for his book with Michelle Ma in an interview posted on UW Today. 

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