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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…
Trawling for fish? You might be setting yourself up for a paltry haul next time. Glenn Perrigo

Frequent trawling leads to skinnier fish

Trawling – dragging heavy gear over ocean bottoms in search of fish near the sea floor – is arguably one of the most destructive human practices. Removing fish from the sea for an ever-hungry, growing…
About 18% of the world’s seagrass stocks have disappeared over 20 years. Richard Unsworth

For the love of cod, let’s save our disappearing seagrass

Seagrass is one of the most important coastal habitats where young ocean-going fish such as Atlantic cod can grow and develop before setting out on the journey of life. But these critically important habitats…
Coral reef ecosystem off Palmyra Atoll part of newly expanded Marine National Monument. Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Pacific Remote Islands protection not just a drop in the ocean

This fall, President Obama signed a proclamation that created the biggest marine reserve in the world. By extending the protective boundaries around Wake Island, Jarvis Island and Johnston Atoll from 50…
So … how ‘bout it? Wendi Kelly/Flickr

Copulate to populate: ancient Scottish fish did it sideways

The intimate act of copulation is old – very old. In fact, it first evolved in ancient armoured placoderm fishes called antiarchs 385 million years ago. Fossils of the antiarch Microbrachius dicki show…
An artist’s reconstruction of Metaspriggina walcotti, the world’s oldest definite fish. Artwork by Marianne Collins

The oldest fish in the world lived 500 million years ago

It looked more like the worm on an angler’s hook than any living fish we might recognise today but it still takes the record for the oldest known fish to date. The first fossil fishes are known from scant…
Changing waves and currents can keep fish on the move. Jordan Casey

Oceans in motion: why some fish can’t go with the flow

Have you ever been snorkelling or scuba diving on a windy day when there are lots of waves? Did you notice how much that flow of water against your body affected your ability to swim and control your movements…
Baby salmon: TomTom not required. Tom Quinn and Richard Bell

Magnetic maps guide young salmon from river to sea

How does a young animal find its way to an unfamiliar location hundreds or thousands of kilometres from where it was born? A reasonable idea might be to find an older, experienced migrant and follow. This…
Air-breathing fishes such as Polypterus ornatipinnis laid foundations for modern ears. Flickr/lapradei

Now listen: air-breathing fish gave humans the ability to hear

A century-old mystery about how ancient freshwater fishes breathe has finally been put to rest, thanks to a study published today in Nature Communications by me and a team of ichthyologists. The fishes…

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