Radio Program

Our regular Science and the SeaTM radio program presents marine science topics in an engaging two-minute story format. Our script writers gather ideas for the radio program from the University of Texas Marine Science Institute's researchers and from our very popular college class, Introduction to Oceanography, which we teach to hundreds of non-science majors at The University of Texas at Austin every year. Our radio programs are distributed at to commercial and public radio stations across the country.

June 12, 2022

In the 1958 B-movie “The Blob,” Steve McQueen and the gang stop the blobby monster from absorbing people by freezing it. The Air Force then drops it on Arctic sea ice to keep it frozen. With the sea ice melting in a hurry, though, perhaps we should keep an eye out to make sure it doesn’t head back for land.

On the other hand, the warming climate has already given us an ocean “blob”: a giant pool of warm water off the Pacific coast. It killed huge numbers of marine organisms.

June 5, 2022

Big heat waves are hotter, more common, and cause more suffering than everand not just on land. Marine heat waves are a problem as well. Eight of the 10 largest ever seen have occurred since 2010a result of Earth’s warming climate.

May 29, 2022

The White’s seahorse could be forgiven for feeling unwelcome. The seahorse is found mainly along the eastern coast of Australia. In the last couple of decades, though, its population has dropped by 90 percent. The main cause is a loss of habitat, but the seahorse has also been hurt by storms.

Researchers are trying to roll out a sort of welcome mat, though. They’re setting up “hotels” on the ocean floor that could become new seahorse habitats.

May 22, 2022

The Steller sea lion used to be a common sight along the Pacific coast, from Alaska to California. But for some reason, the sea lion’s population plunged. So in 1990, the sea lion was placed on the endangered species list, which gave it legal protections. Thanks to conservation efforts, the species in the eastern half of its range recovered. And in 2013, the eastern Steller sea lion was removed from the endangered list.

May 15, 2022

Nature doesn’t always work in ways that seem to make senseat least at first glance.

May 8, 2022

The tusk of a narwhal has a lot of uses. It may help the whale attract a mate, sense prey, and stun its prey. It inspired folktales of unicorns. And today, it’s helping scientists examine changes in the environment.

A narwhal tusk can reach up to 9 or 10 feet in length. It’s actually a tooth that grows from the upper jaw of a male. It forms a new layer every year. And like the rings of a tree, each layer records a little about the year, including the narwhal’s diet and its exposure to pollution.

May 1, 2022

The groups that rescue and treat sick or injured sea turtles take advantage of a lot of modern science: the latest medications, CAT scans, laser surgery, and much more. But some of those groups also use one of the most ancient treatments of all: honey. Some even keep their own beehives to maintain a fresh supply.

Honey has been used as a treatment for people for thousands of years. It’s been applied to cuts and scrapes, burns, and other wounds. And both ancient accounts and modern research tell us that it can help heal a variety of injuries.

April 24, 2022

Fish make a lot of noise. They grunt, click, pop, squeak, groan, buzz, and make many other sounds. And they’ve probably been talking for a long time.

Scientists have long known that some fish make sounds. In fact, some fish are named for their sounds: drums ... grunts ... and croakers ... among others. Like land animals, they use sound to attract mates, avoid predators, find prey, and defend their territory.

April 17, 2022

Covid-19 has impacted just about every aspect of life. One of those impacts is ocean pollution. Millions of masks, gloves, and other pieces of debris have washed up on beaches or into the open ocean. That’s a problem not just for human life, but for all life in or around the oceans.

April 10, 2022

Long-finned pilot whales like to talk. They produce a wide variety of clicks, buzzes, whistles, and calls. That allows them to identify friends and family, even over long distances. And it may also help keep them safe from killer whales.

Long-finned pilot whales are fairly small as whales go. They can reach lengths of 20 to 25 feet, and weigh two or three tons. They have a stout body, with long, curving flippers. They live in pods of a dozen or so, headed by the mother of the clan. And the pods can cluster in groups of hundreds of animals.