Mon, 09/25/2017 - 6:14pm

UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences

Mind the Sharks

The University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences has been surveying sharks off the coast of North Carolina every summer since 1972. Currently, the survey finds that the numbers of great sharks — such as Great White, Tiger, and Hammerhead sharks — have been steadily declining, but the number of shark bite incidents is increasing.

Reef Life

Researchers discover natural oyster reefs grow fast enough to keep up with the projected rise in sea levels, suggesting oyster reefs could be used for storm protection and erosion control, all the while doing what oyster reefs naturally do, which is filter the water and provide a habitat for fish.

Life on the Rocks

North Carolina's rocky offshore reefs provide nurseries for juvenile fish, foraging grounds, hiding places, and spawning grounds. Research into offshore wind energy has prompted a new look at the health and diversity of life on the rocky reefs off the NC coast, where wind turbines could be located.

Rapid Water Test

The greatest danger for beachgoers may be millions of microbes also swimming in the water. While many are there naturally, stormwater runoff and sewage system failures can overwhelm coastal waters. One percent of NC's beaches were closed for short times in 2012 because of microbial contaminants. A marine biologist has now developed a rapid water test to keep the public safe.

Fish Tagging

Ecosystems have limits to the numbers of organisms and population sizes they can support. These limits are set by predation, competition, diseases and the physical habitat (reefs, artificial reefs, mud flats, sea grass, and marsh). Fish biologists are using two types of tagging to understand how the physical environment constrains the population dynamics of the red drum, North Carolina's state fish.