Coral disease ‘firebreak’ works in short term. Next goal: Making it last

The progression of Caribbean yellow-band disease — a widespread killer of reef-building corals — can be significantly impeded by chiseling a “firebreak” around the diseased coral tissue, but more research is needed to maintain the firebreak long-term, reports a peer-reviewed research paper published this week in the journal PeerJ.

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Stormwater system can support snook, bass and more, says Sarasota study

Dozens of fish species — including common snook and largemouth bass — use certain parts of the upper Phillippi Creek system, according to the first fish survey of this urbanized network of canals, retention ponds and wetlands in Sarasota County, Florida. The survey — led by Mote Marine Laboratory and funded by Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) — found the highest numbers and diversity of fishes around upper creek areas mimicking natural habitat: curving canals or ponds with wetland vegetation and sections of slower-moving water. Less naturalistic canals, with shorelines straightened for optimum drainage, generally hosted fewer fish of fewer species.

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Seven years after BP spill,  Gulf-focused consortium continues research, releases new website

Thursday, April 20, marks the 7th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Since the spill, the C-IMAGE consortium centered at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), and including scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory and institutions around the world, has expanded the understanding of oil spills. Read on for Mote's updates and a new C-IMAGE webpage.

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Super sense keeps manatees in touch with environment

Manatees — slow, plant-eating aquatic mammals — may not resemble superheroes, but their powerful sense of touch might even impress Daredevil, the blind comic book hero whose other senses are highly attuned.   A new peer-reviewed study, published recently in the Journal of Comparative Physiology A, reports that special body hairs help manatees sense water movements smaller than the period at the end of this sentence — likely helping them feel their way through a three-dimensional, underwater world where their vision is limited.

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Podcast: Sounds fishy: Acoustic studies of Florida fish

Dip a hydrophone into the Gulf of Mexico and you’ll be eavesdropping on plenty of “chit chat.”  Many fish species make sounds, especially during important life history events such as mating. Dr. Jim Locascio, Manager of Mote’s Fisheries Habitat Ecology Program, plays some fish sounds and shares knowledge from his acoustic research.