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Tracking the Chesapeake Bay’s ‘Beautiful Swimmers’

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

As summer wanes in the Chesapeake Bay, many female blue crabs are preparing for an epic journey. Come September they will walk and swim their way toward the mouth of the Chesapeake to release their eggs. Some will travel more than 150 miles. SERC scientists have studied the blue crab’s migratory patterns for more than a decade. Their findings have revealed new insight into the life history of this important species and have helped inform management policies. Tracking these invertebrates is not easy: it involves thousands of pink plastic tags, a unique collaboration with watermen and a blue crab hotline…

Meanwhile, inside the Photobiology Lab…

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Go behind the scenes and into SERC’s photobiology lab. This is where photobiologist Pat Neale spends a great deal of time examining the impact of UV radiation on photosynthesis. In this video you’ll get a look at one experiment that seeks to determine what would happen to the ocean’s phytoplankton if the ozone layer was suddenly destroyed by cosmic radiation.

Video credits: Anne Goetz, Editor; Lia Kvatum, Producer/Writer/Camera; Tony Franken, Music.

Learn more about this experiment in an earlier Shorelines post.

Ballast water gets a bath: SERC scientists test ways to remove invasive species from ships

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Summer is officially here. That means SERC’s marine invasions research lab is back aboard the Cape Washington, a ship moored in Baltimore Harbor. The bowels of ships contain enormous ballast tanks that are filled with water to help balance cargo. This water can contain many living organisms and is one of the primary ways aquatic species are moved to new habitats around the globe. Once they become established in an area, non-native species have the potential to cause ecological and economic damage.

It’s important to figure out how to properly treat—and clean—ballast water, before it gets discharged. That is why Smithsonian researchers are on the Cape Washington. They are part of a team of scientists testing different ballast water treatment systems. Smithsonianscience.org stepped aboard the Cape Washington with SERC biologist George Smith to find out more the work.