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134 posts in In the News

For some corals, meals can come with a side of microplastics

A new experiment by the University of Washington has found that some corals are more likely to eat microplastics when they are consuming other food, yet microplastics alone are undesirable. Two coral species tested responded differently to the synthetic material, suggesting variations in how corals are adapting to life with microplastics. The study was published Dec. 3 in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Precision mapping with satellite, drone photos could help predict infections of a widespread tropical disease

A team led by the University of Washington and Stanford University has discovered clues in the environment that help identify transmission hotspots for schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease that is second only to malaria in its global health impact. The research, publishing the week of Oct. 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses rigorous field sampling and aerial images to precisely map communities that are at greatest risk for schistosomiasis.

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Piranha fish swap old teeth for new simultaneously

With the help of new technologies, a team led by the University of Washington has confirmed that piranhas — and their plant-eating cousins, pacus — do in fact lose and regrow all the teeth on one side of their face multiple times throughout their lives. How they do it may help explain why the fish go to such efforts to replace their teeth.

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A Tunnel to the Twilight Zone: Blue sharks ride deep-swirling currents to the ocean’s midwater at mealtime

Last year, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington (UW) discovered that when white sharks are ready to feast, they ride large, swirling ocean currents known as eddies to fast-track their way to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep (656 to 3280 feet) containing the largest fish biomass on Earth. Now, according to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists are seeing a similar activity with blue sharks, which dive through these natural, spinning tunnels at mealtime. The eddies draw warm water deep into the twilight zone where temperatures are normally considerably colder, allowing blue sharks to forage across areas of the open ocean that are often characterized by low prey abundance in surface waters.

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Researchers deploy new tech to explore depths of Gulf of Mexico

A multi-institution team consisting of the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (UW SAFS) Professor John Horne will deploy experimental technology next week to explore the deep scattering layers of the ocean. In addition to Horne, the UW team includes Ross Hytnen Jr. and summer intern Raymond Surya (a JISAO intern from the University of Michigan). Horne’s lab at SAFS uses active acoustic technologies to count and characterize aquatic organism distributions and dynamics throughout the world. 

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