Marine ecosystems

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Tuna and other top predators could run out of food in warming seas. Tuna image from

The oceans are changing too fast for marine life to keep up

Over the past five years we've seen a significant increase in research on ocean acidification and warming seas, and their effect on marine life. Overall, unfortunately, the news is not good.
The Great Southern Reef is unique, beautiful and contributes significantly to Australia’s culture and economy. However, few of us realise the magnitude and value of this gem right at our doorstep. T. Wernberg 2002

Australia’s ‘other’ reef is worth more than $10 billion a year - but have you heard of it?

The Great Southern Reef covers 71,000 square km and contributes more than A$10 billion to Australia's economy each year.
Kelp covered landscape in Western Australia. Dan Smale

Marine heatwaves threaten the future of underwater forests

Western Australia’s marine environment is unique. Two world heritage areas, the largest fringing coral reef in Australia, and more than a thousand kilometres of underwater forests, supporting incredible…
After mass bleaching in 1998, more than half of coral reefs in the Seychelles have slowly recovered. Nick Graham

Obituaries for coral reefs may be premature, study finds

Coral reefs are the poster child for the damage people are doing to the world’s oceans. Overfishing, pollution and declining water quality have all taken their toll on reefs around the world. Perhaps the…
Coral reefs are like an underwater metropolis – and function in similar ways. Simon Gingins

It’s survival of the most useful when protecting species

Consensus is growing that we are steering towards a sixth mass extinction event. There are calls for increased efforts to stop the accelerating loss of plants and animals. But do we really need to protect…
Open wide: don’t be fooled by the appearance of a Leatherback’s mouth, they eat only jellyfish. Tom Doyle

This summer at the beach, watch out for the world’s biggest turtle

Going to the beach this summer? If you’re in southern Australia, keep your eyes peeled for the world’s largest turtle, the leatherback. If you do, you can report sightings to researchers at Deakin University…
Phytoplankton are responsible for half the world’s productivity. Here, a phytoplankton bloom in the northern Pacific. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

Tiny marine plants face a mixed bag thanks to climate change

You may not have heard of them or given them much thought, but phytoplankton — the microscopic plants that grow throughout the world’s oceans — are the foundation of oceanic food webs. Although tiny, they…
But I didn’t do it on porpoise, your honour. jidanchaomian

Grey seals in the dock over porpoise murder mystery

It’s one of the big mysteries in my career as a marine biologist. Something lurking in the seas off Britain has been chomping away at local porpoises and none of the usual suspects fit the bill. Now scientists…
Young Steller sea lions in Prince William Sound, Alaska. NMFS Permit 14336. Markus Horning

Autopsies from space: who killed the sea lions?

A decade ago, we set out to unravel deep ocean crime scenes we weren’t even sure existed. The crime? Endangered Steller sea lions were rapidly disappearing in parts of Alaska. Their numbers dropped by…

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