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.

October 30, 2022

Bigger isn’t always better. A recent study, for example, suggests that big fish may have a tougher time adapting to the warming oceans. They might move to more comfortable waters more slowly than smaller fish, leaving them with less to eat and reducing their numbers.

Researchers used computer models of 450 different combinations of big predator fish and their smaller prey. Each model simulated the interactions of up to 200 different species to see how different combinations might react to climate change over the next 200 years.

October 23, 2022

Timing, as they say, is everything. Consider an experiment conducted 75 years ago to show whether we might be able to control hurricanes. Scientists picked what they thought was the right storm at the right time. But their timing couldn’t have been worse. The hurricane changed direction and slammed into the coast. The public outcry quickly shut down the work.

October 16, 2022

Every summer, millions of moon jellyfish invade small bays in Puget Sound, near Seattle. Called “smacks,” the groups can grow large enough to be visible from the air. And they appear to “smack” their lips—at least figuratively—at the tasty treats they find there. In fact, the jellyfish may be gobbling so many of them that they don’t leave many for young salmon or other fish.

October 9, 2022

The White Mountains of New Hampshire have some relatives on the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean: extinct volcanoes that were built by a “hotspot” below Earth’s crust.

The underwater volcanoes form the New England Seamount. It’s a chain of about 30 peaks. It begins a couple of hundred miles from Cape Cod and extends hundreds of miles eastward. Its tallest peaks rise a mile and a half from the sea floor.

October 2, 2022

Life in the royal classes has its perks. In some ancient cultures, that even included their own color: purple. The upper crust of the Mediterranean often wore garments dyed purple or a closely related shade of blue with pigments that were worth more than gold. Anyone not of the right class who was caught wearing the colors could be severely punished—even executed.

September 25, 2022

Earth’s warming climate is likely to have big impacts on tropical cyclones—the generic term for hurricanes and other big tropical storm systems. Studies have shown that the proportion of powerful storms may be increasing, and that storms appear to be dumping a lot more rain on land. On the other hand, a recent study suggests that the number of storms is going down.

September 18, 2022

A healthy coral reef is a noisy coral reef. Shrimp, fish, and other organisms create a cacophony of sound that attracts other critters. And for damaged reefs that’ve been restored, the noise can reappear in just a year or two.

Researchers from England studied reefs around several islands in Indonesia. Many of the reefs have been damaged or destroyed by “blast fishing,” climate change, and other causes.

September 11, 2022

In 2016, scientists discovered large fields of sponges atop some volcanic mountains that rise from the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. And that was a big surpriseno one had seen anything like it before.

September 4, 2022

Corals are in trouble. Higher ocean temperatures and acidity are damaging or killing many reefs. And the problem gets worse by the year. But not all the news is in the “doom-and-gloom” category. Several recent studies have provided a slightly more hopeful outlook.

August 28, 2022

Studies say our planet’s changing climate is likely to make hurricanes more intense, trigger more outbreaks of the polar vortex, and bring more big thunderstorms and flooding rains to the American heartland. But no one is sure just what will happen to the biggest weather maker of all, El Niño. In fact, a recent study says that natural changes in El Niño make it hard to forecast how it might be altered by human-caused climate change.