Science and the Sea podcast

The goal of Science and the Sea is to convey this understanding of the sea and its myriad life forms to everyone, so that they, too, can fully appreciate this amazing resource.

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The goal of Science and the Sea is to convey an understanding of the sea and its myriad life forms to everyone, so that they, too, can fully appreciate this amazing resource.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-06-23 06:53
last episode published
2019-06-23 00:00
publication frequency
6.78 days
The University of Texas Marine Science Institute author  
Lee Fuiman owner  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Science & Medicine Natural Sciences



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Loud Toadfish

It’s probably not surprising that a critter known as a toadfish can be a bit rude. A couple of studies in recent years have found that male toadfish “grunt” when their neighbors are trying to court females. That makes a neighbor’s call a bit less attra...

Cold Invaders

A few strands of kelp washing up on a beach usually isn’t much cause for alarm. But when two clumps of southern bull kelp were found in Antarctica in early 2017, scientists were concerned. While the kelp didn’t constitute a full-scale invasion, it did ...

Steelhead Trout

What do you get if you give a young rainbow trout a good travel agent? A steelhead trout. While most rainbow trout spend their entire lives in rivers and streams, some head out to sea. Such travelers are known as steelheads. It’s unclear, though, exact...

Changing Colors

If you like the deep blues and rich blue-greens of the oceans, then you might really enjoy the view at the end of the century. A recent study says the blues could be bluer and the greens greener. While that might be aesthetically pleasing, it's not a g...

Grunt Sculpin

The grunt sculpin doesn’t do much of anything the conventional way. The little fish usually walks instead of swims. It frequently lives in “homes” that were abandoned by other creatures. And when it comes to courting and raising a family, the female pu...

Sigsbee Basin

In the history of the United States, Dwight Sigsbee is recorded as the captain of the U.S.S. Maine when the ship was sunk in Havana Harbor in 1898. The sinking triggered the Spanish-American War.In the history of oceanography, though, Sigsbee is record...


The rhinoceros auklet has a strong work ethic. The bird heads out to sea before dawn, spends the day hunting, and returns to its nest well after dark. Since predators can’t see the birds coming and going as well when it’s dark, that behavior may help t...

El Nino Modoki

Climate scientists in Asia noticed something odd about the summer of 2004. Droughts and heat waves overwhelmed a good bit of southeast Asia, most of Australia, and parts of the Americas. But it was especially wet in the Philippines, New Zealand, and Br...

Watery Snacks

Jellyfish are among the least-appetizing creatures in the oceans. And biologists have long assumed that even other sea creatures didn’t eat them. After all, 95 percent of the average jellyfish is nothing but water, so it doesn’t offer much actual food....

Ocean Explorer

A research vessel will be making some nice stops this year -- from South Carolina to Bermuda to the Azores. Between those ports of call, it’ll explore regions of the Atlantic Ocean that are largely uncharted. It’ll map the ocean floor, take a look at c...

Southern Cousins

Marine biologists said “hello” to a new species of a tiny fish that lives on the California coast just a few years ago. Now, they’re trying not to say, “good bye.”The tidewater goby is only a couple of inches long. And its mating rituals are the opposi...

Making a Gulf

A few million years ago, a handoff took place along the coast of northwestern Mexico. The strip of land that forms Baja Mexico was passed from one of the plates that make up Earth’s crust to another. The handoff created a gap between Baja and the prese...

Cold Corals

Corals aren’t limited to bright, warm tropical waters. As marine biologists are discovering, some corals can survive just as well with no sunlight at all, and in temperatures that can be near freezing. Yet these inhabitants of the cold depths are just ...

New Opah

You never know what treats you’ll find at your local fish market. At a commercial fish auction market in Honolulu, for example, researchers recently found three new species of opah. The discovery shows that we still have a lot to learn about the creatu...

Changing Bay

Jamaica Bay, on the southern edge of Long Island, is getting a little rough around the edges. Changes in the salt marshes around the bay have left them more vulnerable to erosion. That could expose the land behind them to more flooding as sea level get...

Risso's Dolphins

For more than two decades around the start of the 20th century, Pelorus Jack was a constant companion to ships traveling through a dangerous passage on the coast of New Zealand. Some said the Risso’s dolphin actually guided the vessels to safety. And w...

Storing Heat

The oceans are like giant storage batteries -- they store heat that’s transferred from the atmosphere. One of the biggest batteries may form a ring outside Antarctica. And a recent study says it’s charging up with more heat than ever -- thanks in part ...

Aging Sharks

The Greenland shark can measure 16 feet or longer. But it takes a long time to reach that size. In the cold North Atlantic, the creatures grow slowly -- a fraction of an inch per year. That means the oldest Greenland sharks could be centuries old -- th...

New Reefs

Several groups in Louisiana are building pre-fab apartment complexes for oysters. There are lots of vacancies, and the rent is free. Well, almost free. In exchange for living space, the oysters protect the coastal wetlands from erosion, rising sea leve...


Its name alone tells you that the blobfish isn’t going to win any beauty contests. In fact, a few years ago it won an ugly contest -- it was declared the ugliest animal on the planet. That’s a bit misleading, though: No one is going to look their best ...

Narwhal Sounds

The narwhal looks like something out of mythology. Males have a long, spiral tusk that’s earned them the nickname “the unicorn of the sea.” The narwhal sounds a bit fictional, too -- a bit like a droid from Star Wars.Researchers recorded the sounds of ...


1969 was a big year for going places. Hundreds of thousands of music fans went to the Woodstock festival in New York. Three sets of astronauts went to the Moon. And on February 15th, four “aquanauts” went deep. They began a visit to a habitat 50 feet b...

Giant Shells

The giant clam has had a bit of an image problem: It’s been considered a killer. The largest species can weigh more than 400 pounds, and it can span four feet. According to legends in the South Pacific and Indian oceans, the clam sometimes drowns diver...

Changing Eggs

The egg of a red drum, a popular sport fish, is only about the size of a pinhead. Yet those tiny eggs can play a big role in the ecology of bays and estuaries.Some eggs will hatch into new red drum. But most of the eggs -- about 90 percent -- will be e...

Early Departure

Chesapeake Bay appears to be coming back from the dead a little earlier these days. In particular, “dead zones” in the southern part of the bay are ending earlier than they have in the last few decades. That could mean that efforts to protect the bay a...

Saving Abalone

At its height, California’s abalone industry brought in millions of pounds of the tasty sea snails. But the heyday didn’t last long. The fleets brought in so many abalone that there weren’t many left. By the late 1970s, the industry had crashed -- and ...

Deep Walrus

On the ice, the Atlantic walrus is slow and lumbering. In the water, though, it’s graceful, maneuvering with ease. Until recently, though, it wasn’t thought to be an especially deep swimmer. But a recent study found that the walrus can reach depths of ...

More Mussels

Blue mussels are riding the winds across the North Sea. They’re not taking up wind surfing, though. Instead, they’re colonizing the bases of offshore wind turbines. Over the next couple of decades, that could boost the mussel population, with ripple ef...

Puget Sound

When the glaciers retreated from around present-day Seattle at the end of the last ice age, they left some big holes in the ground. Today, those holes form Puget Sound -- a network of basins and channels in northwestern Washington. The sound is home to...

Falling Rain

Even if you’ve never seen an ocean, you’ve probably felt one -- in the form of rain. A good bit of the rain that falls over land comes from the oceans. Eventually, some of that water makes its way back to the oceans, beginning the cycle all over again....

Whale Talk

The blue whale may be changing its tune. Recordings made over the last couple of decades show that the whales are “talking” at a lower pitch. And it’s possible that the changes are intentional.The world’s largest animal produces a variety of sounds. So...

Better Coral

This is a bad time to be a coral reef. In the last couple of decades, rising water temperatures have caused massive “bleaching” events around the globe. That’s killed a large fraction of the world’s reefs. Today, though, marine biologists are looking a...

Wave Power

For many people, the rolling and pitching of an ocean-going boat means a quick trip to the medicine cabinet. But for a new type of automated boat, that same motion means free power. The wave action is used to push the boat forward. That could provide a...

Sailing Kites

When parents take their young children to crowded places, they hold hands to help keep the kiddos safe. That’s not a new strategy, though. A tiny marine organism was doing the same thing 430 million years ago.Scientists found the fossilized organism at...

Ghost Pipefish

The ghost pipefish is a master of camouflage. One species looks like blades of seagrass, while another looks like fronds of kelp. And one species piles on several disguises. In fact, the ability to blend in -- to appear and disappear -- earned the ghos...

First Americans

You’ll find lots of hiking trails along the western coast of the United States. But archaeologists are looking for one more. It might have been hidden for thousands of years -- on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.There’s evidence that the first people r...

Fish Herders

Some of the bottlenose dolphins near the town of Laguna, Brazil, seem to have a pretty good thing going. The dolphins herd schools of fish toward spots along the shore. At a signal from the dolphins, fishermen drop their nets into the water. The people...

Jellyfish Blackouts

There are lots of ways to cause a blackout -- storms, mechanical failures, even explosions on the Sun. You can also do it with a few truckloads of jellyfish.There are more than 1500 species of jellyfish. Many of them are both delicate and beautiful. Ev...

Quick Recovery

Life on Earth is a bit like a boxer who can take a few punches but still win the fight: It can be knocked around, but it’s hard to knock out.Consider a punch delivered about 65 million years ago. A space rock the size of a city slammed into the Gulf of...

Little Giant

People often make fun of the phrase “jumbo shrimp,” as if anything called a shrimp could also be jumbo. What’s really funny, though, is the name of a relative of the shrimp: the giant ostracod. This odd critter is no bigger than a meatball. It’s “giant...

Solar Strandings?

Bad weather can make it hard to navigate. It’s hard to see where you’re going if there’s fog or heavy rain, so you can find yourself off course and in trouble.For a while, biologists have suspected that bad weather can make it hard for whales and dolph...

Jellyfish Chips

Pass the salsa and the bean dip, please! It’s time to try the latest chips. They’re crunchy and healthy. There’s just one little catch: They’re made from jellyfish.Few people in the west clamor for jellyfish. The slimy texture just isn’t very popular. ...

Tracking Plastic

Plastic junk floats atop all the world’s oceans -- cups, bottles, wrappers, bags, and a thousand other products. These bits of trash can be found just about anywhere, drifting with the currents. And sometimes, they travel in clumps -- perhaps pulled in...

Hourglass Dolphins

One of the sleekest-looking dolphins is also one of the most elusive. It inhabits far-southern waters, where there are few people around to enjoy its beauty. Because of that, it faces fewer threats from fishing fleets and other hazards.The hourglass do...

Point Nemo

For some, “getting away from it all” might mean a trip to the South Pacific -- some delightful tropical island far from the cares of everyday life. But really getting away from it all means going to a point in the South Pacific where there are no islan...


A type of fish found off the southeastern coast of Australia isn’t much of a swimmer. Instead, it prefers to crawl along the ocean floor on fins that look a lot like hands. But its walking may be limited. It’s critically endangered, with populations dw...

Predicting Tides

People try to predict all kinds of things, from the weather to football scores -- all with mixed results. Predictions of one phenomenon are usually pretty accurate: the tides. But getting it right requires good information about many factors.The tides ...

Expensive Fish

In January of 2013, at an auction in Tokyo, a sushi-restaurant owner paid one-and-three-quarter million dollars for a Pacific bluefin tuna. Not a boatload of them, mind you, but a single fish.The high price was mainly a publicity stunt. Yet even an ave...

Charleston Bump

In July of 1969, a small submarine and its six-man crew got stuck. They didn’t run aground, though. Instead, they were caught in a swirling eddy in the Gulf Stream, the current of warm water that flows along the East Coast. The sub needed to surface so...

Don’t Cut the Grass

Seagrass beds provide a home for many species of fish. The fish can hide from predators in the blades of grass, and find food in the sand and mud on the bottom. But when the beds get thinner and patchier, the fish thin out, too -- there are fewer fish,...