Marine Science
The Arctic Scientist
Written by Ava

Bodil Bluhm, a Research Associate Professor in Biological Oceanography, Marine Biology, and Marine Invertebrates at the University of Alaska Fairbanks calls the school a hub of Arctic research. While Alaska is not for everyone, she warns, she loves taking part in these kinds of studies, so for her, it's home.

Professor Bluhm's research focuses on energy flow patterns with polar benthic systems, meaning she looks for similarities and trends among the energy flow on the sea floor of Arctic regions like Alaska.  

Other projects include research on sea ice algae in the Bering Sea Ecosystem, marine biodiversity research in the Arctic Ocean, and other sea-ice projects.  

Bluhm was kind enough to give us a bit of insight into her daily studies and what it means to research in an Arctic region.  

How did you get involved in your marine and Arctic research?

I studied marine biology in Kiel, Germany, and had the opportunity to participate in many marine field classes that really captured my interest.

Brave Blue World
Written by Ava

She's an oceanographer and a blogger wrapped in one.  But more than that the incredible Danielle Luttenberg Meitiv is also an ocean advocate, a marine educator, a conservationist, and an optimist when it comes to the future of the world's oceans.  

Danielle Meitiv received her BS in Biology at the University of Buffalo and her MS in Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.  She's well-versed in issues of global warming and climate change (where the ocean is concerned) and has done her research, working for organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Defense Fund.

We caught up with Danielle just before she headed over to India to learn all about Indian climate science and policy and we were thrilled to be able to pick her brain about our favorite topics!

Deep-Sea Biodiversity
Written by Ava

Before even taking one look at Dr. Paul Yancey's Deep-Sea Biology page, one really gets the feeling that he's a marine biology and oceanography expert.  After all, he did get his PhD studying biochemistry of fish and sharks at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He's currently a Professor of Biology at Whitman College in Washington. He also knows all about current issues facing our ocean and he is a devout marine conservationist.  He's pretty much experienced every aspect of the ocean, from researching sharks to completing deep sea shipboard research along the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, to name a few.) 

He knows tons of great facts and has analyzed marine specimens with the best of them!

Not certain he's a true marine expert yet? I have proof! Just check out his fine answers below! 

How did you develop your interest in marine biology?

As a youth, my parents frequently took me to the beaches and rocky tidepools of California and Baja California (Mexico). One of my main hobbies was making a shell collection. We also watched Jacques Cousteau's show on TV. Plus my mother was a cell biologist. All this inspired a life-long interest in biology, especially in the oceans.
Deep Sea Adventures
Written by Ava

Kevin Zelnio is one busy marine guy.  Besides being a researcher at the Marine Conservation Molecular Facility at Duke University's Marine Lab, where develops microsatellites for deep sea inverts, he also writes for marine blogs like The Other 95% and Deep Sea News.  Somehow, he also makes to raise awareness for The Beagle Project AND spend time with his wife and two kids, AND play the guitar as a hobby, AND write music.  

I get breathless just typing all that! 

We had the opportunity to interview this well-rounded individual and also found out he's an avid marine conservationist and educates on the topic regularly.! Just another star to add to the row of amazing things Kevin is doing with his life.

And to think, it may have all started with weekends spent watching 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea as a kid...

Mer-Women and Fish-Men: Humans Engineered for Ocean Living
Written by Peggy

Humans are fairly fragile organisms. Sure we live just fine on the surface of the Earth, as long as there is enough air and the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. That means that we cannot explore the more extreme areas of our planet - or any planet - without technical assistance of some kind. Currently it's good old-fashioned engineering that allows us to delve the ocean depths or journey into space.

The science fictional approach is a bit different: instead of building machines to protect fragile human bodies, bioengineer human bodies to live in more extreme environments. While many of them might appear to be the mermaids of sailor lore, most are much stranger. Here are a few of my favorite examples:

James Blish's Microscopic Water Humans

"Webbed extremities, of course, with thumbs and big toes heavy and thornlike for defense until the creature has had a chance ot learn. Book-lungs, like the arachnids, working out of intercostal spiracles - they are gradually adaptable to atmosphere-breathing, if it ever decides to come out of the water. Also I'd suggest sporulation. As an aquatic animal, our colonist is gong to have an indefinite lifespan, but we'll have to give it a breeding cycle of about six weeks to keep its numbers up during the learning period; so there'll have to be a definite break of some duration in its active year. Otherwise it'll hit the population problem before it's learned enough to cope with it."
~ "Surface Tension"
Plants and Professional Aquariums
Written by Ava

Jennifer Frazer feels at peace when she visits aquariums and watches the fish and plants float by.  She relates it to a spiritual awakening. 

And yet, aquariums aren't even her field or specialty.

Jennifer is a plant lover and a science writer.  She's a biologist and a blogger.  And despite not knowing a whole lot about plants that live in water or owning her own aquarium, she's been kind enough to answer our questions about climate change, marine algae, marine conservation, professional aquariums, and more.

After you're done reading this very thorough (and wonderful!) Q&A, head on over to her blog, The Artful Amoeba, and read about more of Jennifer's adventures with plants.  You'll get as turned on by the plant world as we were after we read it, thanks to the enthusiasm in her voice.

Read on!

Arthur C. Clarke and The Grand Banks
Written by Peggy

"A ray, looking like some fantastic black butterfly, flapped its way across the sand, balancing itself with its long, whiplike tail. The sensitive feelers of a crayfish waved cautiously from a crack in the coral; the exploring gestures reminded Harry of a soldier testing for snipers with his hat on a stick. There was so much life, of so many kinds, crammed in this single spot that it would take years of study to recognise it all."

~ "The Man Who Ploughed The Sea", Arthur C. Clarke, 1957

Arthur C. Clarke is best known for his hard science fiction stories featuring alien monoliths, space elevators, interstellar travel and stories set in the distant future. Less well known is the fact that Clarke was an avid scuba diver, and he moved to Sri Lanka in the mid-1950s in order to dive the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean.

As Clarke explains: "Underwater was the closest I could come to the weightlessness of space."

Ocean Denizens Strike Back
Written by Peggy

Science fiction and the marine world come together, thanks to Peggy Kolm, who covers this and other biology-related topics in science fiction for her blog, Biology in Science Fiction, a site that discusses everything from engineering to cloning to mutants throughout science fiction books, movies, and tv shows. 

The Reef Tank has offered Peggy a place to explore the marine world within a science fiction realm and Peggy accepted.  Here's this month's result!

"I can't put it into words. It has something to do with the idea that the sea is still, well, strong. Perhaps it can take revenge? No, that's too simple. I don't know. I have only a feeling that our ordinary ideas of what may be coming on us may be-or-not deep, or broad enough. I put this poorly. But perhaps the sea, or nature, will not die passively at our hands . . . perhaps death itself may turn or return in horrible life upon us, besides the more mechanical dooms . . . "
                             ~"Beyond the Dead Reef" by James Tiptree, Jr.



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