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News about Ocean Research in the College of Science

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A collection of press releases about under-sea research conducted by scientists in the Eberly College of Science.

Research expedition continues monitoring impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep sea corals
Research expedition continues monitoring impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep sea corals 07 June 2017The 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the deaths of 11 oil rig workers and ultimately the largest marine oil spill in history. As this environmental disaster recedes into history, researchers from institutions across the U.S. continue to study its enduring ecological impacts.
Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae
Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae 26 October 2015New research reveals that some corals are more protective than others of their partner algae in harsh environmental conditions. This individual variation among corals could reflect a greater capacity than currently recognized to adapt to changing ocean conditions brought about by climate change. The study, led by marine biologists at Penn State University, will be published online October 26, 2015 in the open access journal Scientific Reports.
Invasive microbe protects corals from global warming, but at a cost
Invasive microbe protects corals from global warming, but at a cost 02 June 2015An invasive species of symbiotic micro-alga has spread across the Caribbean Sea, according to an international team of researchers. These single-cell algae, which live within the cells of coral animals, are improving the resilience of coral communities to heat stress caused by global warming, but also are diminishing the abilities of corals to build reefs.
First Successful Lab Breeding of Rare Caribbean Coral Species
First Successful Lab Breeding of Rare Caribbean Coral Species 13 March 2015A rare and threatened Caribbean coral species has been successfully bred and raised in the lab for the first time by a research team whose achievement will be published in the scientific journal BMC Ecology. Penn State University Associate Professor of Biology Mónica Medina is among the three scientists on this research team. Its work provides the first photos and documentation of juveniles of this species, and could provide information to aid the conservation of coral reefs in the study area. The team plans to 'out-plant' these lab-grown juveniles in the wild, which could help populations become more resilient to climate change.
Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coral Communities Is Deeper and Broader than Predicted
Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coral Communities Is Deeper and Broader than Predicted 28 July 2014A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery was made by a team led by Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University. A paper describing this work and additional impacts of human activity on corals in the Gulf of Mexico will be published during the last week of July 2014 in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Live Webcams: Scientists Studying Corals Damaged by Oil in the Gulf of Mexico
Live Webcams: Scientists Studying Corals Damaged by Oil in the Gulf of Mexico 25 June 2014How are the corals doing now, four years after they were damaged by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? You can find out by watching live webcams and by sending messages to the scientists on a research ship that will be in the Gulf until July 4. The research expedition is led by Chief Scientist Chuck Fisher, a Penn State University professor of biology. Interact with the research crew, listen in, and watch as they explore the ocean floor. The 24/7 live webcams are on the expedition's website, Nautiluslive.org. You also can participate on Facebook (facebook.com/nautiluslive) and Twitter (@EVNautilus).
Until Death Do Us Part: Genetics Reveal that Threatened Reef Corals and Their Symbiotic Algae Live Together but Evolve Independently
Until Death Do Us Part: Genetics Reveal that Threatened  Reef Corals and Their Symbiotic Algae Live Together  but Evolve Independently 10 June 2014New research reveals that Caribbean corals and the algae that inhabit them form a remarkably stable relationship -- new knowledge that can serve as an important tool in preserving and restoring vital reef-building corals. A scientific paper describing these new findings by a team of marine biologists at Penn State University will be published as a cover article in Molecular Ecology on 10 June 2014.
Biologist investigates lasting ecological impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Biologist investigates lasting ecological impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill 10 July 2013At the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, in the vicinity of the Macondo well, Charles Fisher discovered previously unseen impacts on coral communities.
Wild plants are infected with many viruses and still thrive
Wild plants are infected with many viruses and still thrive 13 February 2013Researchers have studied viruses as agents of disease in humans, domestic animals and plants, but a study of plant viruses in the wild may point to a more cooperative, benevolent role of the microbe, according to a Penn State virologist.
DNA Analysis Aids in Classifying Single-Celled Algae
DNA Analysis Aids in Classifying Single-Celled Algae 19 September 2012For nearly 260 years -- since Carl Linnaeus developed his system of naming plants and animals -- researchers classified species based on visual attributes like color, shape and size. In the past few decades, researchers found that sequencing DNA can more accurately identify species. A group of single-celled algae -- Symbiodinum -- that live inside corals and are critical to their survival -- are only now being separated into species using DNA analysis, according to biologists.

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