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March

Marine scientist devotes career to reversing trend of bycatch. Each time a commercial fisher casts a net, they run the risk of catching more than their intended targets. This is particularly true in small-scale and artisanal fisheries in Africa. It’s not unheard of to find manta ray and sea turtles among the netted fish headed for market. Dolphins too. In fact, the bycatch issue is the most serious problem facing marine mammals today, according to FIU marine scientist Jeremy Kiszka.

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April

Laura Timm, FIU Ph.D. student and Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative scholar, is exploring marine genetic diversity in Assistant Professor Heather Bracken-Grissom’s Crustacean Genomics and Systematics Lab.

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June

It has been six years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill dumped 3 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Plants and wildlife were harmed, ecosystems were destroyed and the revenue brought in by fisheries and tourism was cut. As part of the DEEPEND Consortium, FIU marine scientists Heather Bracken-Grissom and Kevin Boswell are working alongside more than 60 researchers from 16 institutions to understand the Gulf of Mexico and the impacts of the oil spill on the Gulf.

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Growing to nearly 15 feet in length, the American alligator can take up residence in Florida’s canals, lakes, rivers and swamps. It is one of the state’s most ecologically important and often misunderstood predators. And when they attack, they make news. FIU biologists Mike Heithaus and Maureen Donnelly offer insight on this native predator.

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Discovery Channel’s annual television event kicked off this Sunday, and FIU marine scientist Mike Heithaus will be featured at 10 p.m., June 29, in Sharks vs. Dolphins: Face Off. The dean of FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education is one of a growing team of FIU biologists dedicated to the study of sharks and other large marine predators.

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Deploying baited remote underwater video (BRUV) equipment, researchers are catching the ocean’s top predators, including sharks and rays, on camera in their natural habitats. Nearly a quarter of these predators are threatened with extinction, yet the lack of comprehensive and up-to-date data on species abundance and distribution is hindering efforts to protect these important marine animals. The survey project, dubbed Global FinPrint, is focusing on coral reef habitats worldwide.

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FIU has some of the top marine researchers in the country, including several focused on the science of sharks.

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With the release of Nemo, anemonefish became the pet of choice and the demand for the bright orange, black and white saltwater fish rose drastically, causing the wild population of clownfish to shrink. Scientists fear the blue tang will suffer a similar fate once Finding Dory hits theaters.

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Marine Science Building gets new sign for main entrance.

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Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)funded research has significantly enhanced our knowledge of Gulf ecosystems and the impacts of oil spills on the Gulf.

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July

A massive bloom of blue-green algae has hit four counties in Florida covering beaches along the Atlantic coast with foul-smelling, thick muck. FIU marine scientist Jose M. Eirin-Lopez, biologist Miroslav Gantar and chemist Kathleen Rein offer insight.

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August

Florida’s lobster season kicks off Aug. 6 and, once again, commercial fisheries are trying to get their hands on these savory critters. FIU marine scientist Heather Bracken-Grissom offers insight on one of the state’s most iconic and economically lucrative marine animals.

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September

In an effort to understand the diets of plant-loving fish, FIU Ph.D. student Jessica Sanchez and marine sciences professor Joel Trexler delved into the world of herbivory in freshwater ecosystems. They wanted to develop a research framework for other scientists to follow in studies on the evolution of these diets. Their efforts resulted in a scientific paper that was published in a recent issue of Ecosphere. It was the 800th scientific paper published by research faculty in FIU’s Southeast Envir

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Long before cameras started rolling on the disaster thriller, researchers at FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society have been focused on uncovering the far-reaching environmental damage done to the Gulf of Mexico from the oil spill. Their goal is to inform future ecological assessment efforts to better monitor and understand changing conditions.

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October

Four FIU students will have the chance to participate in a groundbreaking research and education expedition into the Arctic’s Northwest Passage in the summer of 2017.

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November

Alligators are one of the Florida Everglades’ most famous predators. They sit at the top of the food chain and influence the world around them by how they hunt and what they eat. But FIU biologist Bradley Strickland believes they also impact the ecosystem from the bottom of the food chain up.

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FIU scientists examined dolphins from the lower Florida Keys, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, looking for mercury and organic pollutants in their skin and blubber. Not only did they find high mercury levels in the coastal Everglades dolphins, but they found the highest levels of concentration ever recorded. Potential sources of mercury are both natural and from man-made sources. The finding raises concerns about potential impacts on the health of local populations.

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