Tag Archives: caribbean

From Columbus to celebrity chefs: How food helped shape history

Food: It feeds the soul, fuels the body, affects the environment, inspires artists, influences politics, and impacts just about every part of our lives. It has been a subject of fascination and entertainment for centuries, reflected in the beauty of a Dutch still life, the pageantry of a royal banquet, or even the latest episode of “Top Chef.” (more…)

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NASA’s Aquarius Sees Salty Shifts

The colorful images chronicle the seasonal stirrings of our salty world: Pulses of freshwater gush from the Amazon River’s mouth; an invisible seam divides the salty Arabian Sea from the fresher waters of the Bay of Bengal; a large patch of freshwater appears in the eastern tropical Pacific in the winter. These and other changes in ocean salinity patterns are revealed by the first full year of surface salinity data captured by NASA’s Aquarius instrument.

“With a bit more than a year of data, we are seeing some surprising patterns, especially in the tropics,” said Aquarius Principal Investigator Gary Lagerloef, of Earth & Space Research in Seattle. “We see features evolve rapidly over time.” (more…)

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Lionfish Invasion

Invasive species among marine science subjects in Cayman Islands study abroad program

With a spiky fringe of venomous barbs and bold brown-and-white stripes, the exotic lionfish invaded Florida waters several decades ago and expanded its range widely from the Caribbean to New York. Native to the Indo-Pacific, the invasive species has no natural predators in this part of the world and readily feasts on small fish and shrimp.

UD students have the opportunity to observe these intruders — up-close and underwater — in a new study abroad program offered in the Cayman Islands through the School of Marine Science and Policy (SMSP). (more…)

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Children’s Book Author

CEHD alumna writes children’s book about animal friends on St. Kitts

Can a dog and a monkey be best friends? In Heidi Fagerberg’s first children’s book, Lion Paw and Oliver – An Unlikely Friendship, readers learn that the answer is yes.

Fagerberg, a University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development alumna, is writing a series of realistic fiction children’s books centered around the theme “Living the Beach Life.” It is based on orphaned animals found near her home on St. Kitts, an island in the Caribbean. (more…)

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Researchers Find Unprecedented, Man-Made Trends in Oceans Acidity

Nearly one-third of CO2 emissions due to human activities enters the world’s oceans. By reacting with seawater, CO2 increases the water’s acidity, which may significantly reduce the calcification rate of such marine organisms as corals and mollusks, resulting in the potential loss of ecosystems. The extent to which human activities have raised the surface level of acidity, however, has been difficult to detect on regional scales because it varies naturally from one season and one year to the next, and between regions, and direct observations go back only 30 years.

By combining computer modeling with observations, an international team of scientists concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions, resulting from the influence of human beings, over the last 100 to 200 years have already raised ocean acidity far beyond the range of natural variations. The study is published in the January 22, 2012 online issue of Nature Climate Change. (more…)

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Archaeologists Find New Evidence of Animals Being Introduced to Prehistoric Caribbean

An archaeological research team from North Carolina State University, the University of Washington and University of Florida has found one of the most diverse collections of prehistoric non-native animal remains in the Caribbean, on the tiny island of Carriacou. The find contributes to our understanding of culture in the region before the arrival of Columbus, and suggests Carriacou may have been more important than previously thought.

The researchers found evidence of five species that were introduced to Carriacou from South America between 1,000 and 1,400 years ago. Only one of these species, the opossum, can still be found on the island. The other species were pig-like peccaries, armadillos, guinea pigs and small rodents called agoutis. (more…)

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UF Study Names New Ancient Crocodile Relative from The Land of Titanoboa

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Did an ancient crocodile relative give the world’s largest snake a run for its money?

In a new study appearing Sept. 15 in the journal Palaeontology, University of Florida researchers describe a new 20-foot extinct species discovered in the same Colombian coal mine with Titanoboa, the world’s largest snake. The findings help scientists better understand the diversity of animals that occupied the oldest known rainforest ecosystem, which had higher temperatures than today, and could be useful for understanding the impacts of a warmer climate in the future. (more…)

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Extent and Speed of Lionfish Spread Unprecedented

*Invasive Marine Fish May Stress Reefs*

Gainesville, Fla. — The rapid spread of lionfishes along the U.S. eastern seaboard, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean is the first documented case of a non-native marine fish establishing a self-sustaining population in the region, according to recent U.S. Geological Survey studies.

“Nothing like this has been seen before in these waters,” said Dr. Pam Schofield, a biologist with the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center here.  “We’ve observed sightings of numerous non-native species, but the extent and speed with which lionfish have spread has been unprecedented; lionfishes pretty much blanketed the Caribbean in three short years.” (more…)

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