Old Fish Few And Far Between Under Fishing Pressure

2017-09-20T09:00:58+00:00 September 20, 2017|

Like old-growth trees in a forest, old fish in the ocean play important roles in the diversity and stability of marine ecosystems. Critically, the longer a fish is allowed to live, the more likely it is to successfully reproduce over the course of its lifetime, which is particularly important in variable environmental conditions.

Study Finds FEMA Flood Maps Missed 75% Of Houston Flood Damage Claims Between 1999 And 2009

2017-09-19T12:34:57+00:00 September 19, 2017|

A recent study found that FEMA failed to capture 75 percent of flood damages within their flood maps between 1999 and 2009. The FEMA flood maps are the primary source for how the government and insurance companies evaluate flood risk and insurance premiums. There are collectively trillions of dollars worth of property that rely on these maps being accurate.

Scientists Have Discovered That Some Fish ‘Farm’ Their Food

2017-09-19T12:21:36+00:00 September 19, 2017|

Researchers have observed intriguing behaviour in type of fish in the central Pacific. A team from the University of California Santa Barbara showed for the first time that Steephead parrotfish (Chlorurus microrhinos) ­rotationally harvest their favourite food – a fleshy kind of turf algae – and defend their feeding territory as they wait for stocks to replenish themselves. The findings were published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Fish Food For Marine Farms Harbor Antibiotic Resistance Genes

2017-09-19T09:59:23+00:00 September 19, 2017|

From isolated caves to ancient permafrost, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genes for resistance have been showing up in unexpected places. As scientists puzzle over how genes for antibiotic resistance arise in various environments and what risks to human health they might pose, one team has identified a surprising way some of these genes are getting into ocean sediments: through food for marine fisheries. Their report appears in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology.

Jon White – From the President’s Office: 9-18-2017

2017-09-18T15:00:28+00:00 September 18, 2017|

As we consider means to ensure the ocean’s health, sustainability, and productivity, I am repeatedly reminded that innovation (on the scale we need for the ocean) must be a team sport. This was exemplified last week by a panel of ocean innovators who I had the honor of moderating during a Senate Ocean Caucus briefing on [...]

Study Finds East Coast Of America Is Sinking Into The Atlantic Ocean

2017-09-15T10:27:18+00:00 September 15, 2017|

The east coast of the United States is slowly but steadily sinking into the sea. This is the result of a recent study which took a variety of factors into account when determining the continuous sinking of the eastern seaboard. This will result in more frequent and severe flooding events in the future as the sea encroaches upon coastal communities and homes. This is all the more relevant as Hurricane Irma inundates the southeast coastline with rising storm surge.

Member Highlight: How Openings In Antarctic Sea Ice Affect Worldwide Climate

2017-09-14T11:38:37+00:00 September 14, 2017|

In 1974, images acquired from NOAA satellites revealed a puzzling phenomenon: a 250,000 square kilometer opening in the winter sea ice in the Weddell Sea, south of South America. The opening, known as a polynya, persisted over three winters. Such expansive ice-free areas in the ocean surrounding Antarctica have not been seen since, though a small polynya was seen last year.

240-Year-Old Nautical Maps Show Coral Loss Is Much Worse Than We Knew

2017-09-13T10:49:57+00:00 September 13, 2017|

Between 1773 and 1775, George Gauld, a surveyor with the British Admiralty, immortalized the coast of the Florida Keys in ink. Though his most pressing goal was to record the depth of the sea — to prevent future shipwrecks — Gauld embraced his naturalist side, too. He sprinkled his maps with miscellany that later charts would omit: where sea turtles made their nests, or the colors and consistency of sand.

A New Wave Of Gadgets Hits The Water To Clean Up Plastic Trash

2017-09-12T09:32:55+00:00 September 12, 2017|

Trash skimmers are being deployed in harbors to collect growing amounts of garbage, but some scientists say resources would be better spent stopping the source of pollution. Kewalo Harbor is one of the Hawaiian capital’s busiest waterways. Each day, dozens of charter, diving and fishing boats filled with people – mostly tourists – motor in and out. Next to the harbor is Ala Moana Beach Park, a popular swimming, surfing and picnic spot. With all those people in and around the harbor comes a lot of trash. Kewalo Harbor, along with other aquatic tourism hotspots, is experiencing serious problems with pollution.

Jon White – From the President’s Office: 9-11-2017

2017-09-11T17:40:50+00:00 September 11, 2017|

It’s been hard to stay away from the news and all of my favorite weather geek websites as the second major hurricane in three weeks made landfall in the U.S. My thoughts are with everyone in my home state as Florida continues to weather this catastrophic storm. Several of our member institutions were severely impacted by [...]

Member Highlight: Liquid Robotics Debuts Next Generation Wave Glider

2017-09-11T10:59:26+00:00 September 11, 2017|

Long-duration unmanned surface vehicles manufacturer Liquid Robotics has rolled out its next generation Wave Glider, featuring advancements to the platform’s operational range, and performance for missions in high sea states and high latitudes. Other updates include advancements for expanded sensor payloads and increased energy and storage capacity required for long duration maritime surveillance, environmental monitoring and observation missions.

How A Tiny Portion Of The World’s Oceans Could Help Meet Global Seafood Demand

2017-09-08T10:25:54+00:00 September 8, 2017|

Aquaculture will have to be the primary source of our seafood now and into the future. Seafood is an essential staple in the diets of people around the world. Global consumption of fish and shellfish has more than doubled over the last 50 years, and is expected to keep rising with global population growth. Many people assume that most seafood is something that we catch in the wild with lines, trawls and traps. In fact, aquaculture (aquatic farming) accounts for just over half of all the seafood consumed worldwide.

Unraveling A Major Cause Of Sea Ice Retreat In The Arctic Ocean

2017-09-08T10:13:19+00:00 September 8, 2017|

Quantitative analysis has evidenced the acceleration system of melting ice: dark water surfaces absorb more heat than white ice surfaces, thus melting ice and making more water surfaces in the Arctic Ocean. Ice-covered sea areas in the Arctic Ocean during summer have nearly halved since the 1970s and 1980s, raising alarm that the ocean is shifting from a multiyear to a seasonal ice zone. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has forecasted summer ice cover in the polar ocean might disappear almost completely as early as 2050. Various factors have been cited as causes, including rising temperatures and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns.

A Whale’s Baleen Bristles Reveal The Story Of Its Life

2017-09-07T17:29:27+00:00 September 7, 2017|

Like tree rings, these layered plates hold chemical clues to how the animals adapt to a changing world.Had he glanced over his shoulder just before the “great fish” swallowed him, biblical Jonah would have had an enviable view. Enviable, that is, if you’re Alex Werth, a landlocked biologist who studies the feeding anatomy of whales. “Ah, to be Jonah and watch baleen in action from a seat on a whale’s tongue,” he says. Baleen is the apparatus toothless whales rely on to filter food from the sea.

VIMS Uses Drones To Find, Study Algal Blooms

2017-09-07T17:09:22+00:00 September 7, 2017|

One day in late July, Donglai Gong was piloting his little quadcopter above his house when he noticed his drone camera picking up something odd in the York River below. “There were features, like, streaks of darkness,” Gong recalled Wednesday at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point. Gong is an assistant professor studying the physics of coastal and polar oceanography. “And, being a physicist, I had no idea what biological processes could be causing that. So I took some pictures. They looked pretty.”He emailed those pictures to VIMS colleagues, many of whom were biologists who knew exactly what was going on: a harmful algal bloom, or HAB.

Trump Picks Scientist Who Accepts Warming For NOAA Role

2017-09-07T11:58:27+00:00 September 7, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) Global warming in the USA (Credit: Andrea Della Adriano/Flickr) There is something unusual about the Trump administration's appointment of NOAA's new deputy administrator: He believes climate change is real. Tim Gallaudet was nominated to be deputy administrator at NOAA last week. He will take the No. 2 slot at the agency [...]

Zooplankton Resilient To Long-Term Warming

2017-09-07T10:36:56+00:00 September 7, 2017|

Temperature plays an important role in the distribution of ocean plankton communities and has the potential to cause major distribution shifts, as recently observed in the Arctic. A new study from scientists at British Antarctic Survey shows that zooplankton, tiny animals that drift in the sea making up the base of the food web, which live in the Southern Ocean have been resilient to warming ocean temperatures.

President And CEO RADM Jon White (Ret.): Our Nation’s Economy, Health, And Security Benefit From Federal Investments In Basic And Early-Stage Research

2018-08-28T14:05:51+00:00 September 6, 2017|

(Washington, D.C.) – In response to Congress’ consideration of H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018, on the House floor this week, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Jonathan White, president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, submitted the following letter to House Appropriations Committee leadership. “As the House considers H.R. [...]

Ocean Warming In Antarctic Triggers Surprising Changes, Study Shows

2017-09-06T12:02:18+00:00 September 6, 2017|

A single degree of warming in the shallow waters off the Antarctic Peninsula could significantly benefit some species at the expense of others, a new study has found. In what is claimed to be the "most realistic ocean warming experiment to date" researchers placed heated panels on the sea floor and monitored the growth of sediment-dwelling species on the panels over nine months. While the panels only warmed the water a few millimetres above the panel surface, it was enough to trigger major changes in the seabed communities, the scientists reported in the journal Current Biology.

Study Shows Whales Dive Deeper And Longer When Exposed To Human Produced Sonar

2017-09-06T11:48:35+00:00 September 6, 2017|

A combined team of researchers from Marine Ecology and Telemetry Research and the U.S. Navy's Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division has found evidence of whales diving deeper and longer than normal when exposed to sonar from submarines and helicopters. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes their study, which included tagging whales and monitoring their behavior when exposed to artificial sonar signals.

Race To Decode Coral DNA To Save World’s Reefs From Extinction

2017-09-06T11:29:50+00:00 September 6, 2017|

New genetic technologies are enabling scientists to identify traits that may help corals survive warming ocean temperatures that threaten the survival of coral reefs critical to marine ecosystems. Marine biologist Ruth Gates sat down in an oversized wooden rocking chair at an oceanside resort here last week to talk about the next frontier in coral science and a new hope for saving coral reefs reeling from climate change: genetic technology.

Shaking Up The Fish Family Tree: ‘Living Fossil’ Not As Old As We Thought

2017-09-05T17:33:33+00:00 September 5, 2017|

Polypterids are weird and puzzling African fish that have perplexed biologists since they were discovered during Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in the late 1700s.Often called living fossils, these eel-like misfits have lungs and fleshy pectoral fins, bony plates and thick scales reminiscent of ancient fossil fish, and flag-like fins along their back that are unique. For several decades, scientists have placed polypterids down near the base of the family tree of ray-finned fish, a large group believed to have originated around 385 million years ago.

Trump Taps Former Navy Scientist To Be NOAA’s Second In Command

2017-09-02T11:52:04+00:00 September 2, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) NOAA Logo (Credit: NOAA) President Donald Trump nominated former Navy oceanographer and Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet for the number two spot at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Friday, according to a White House statement. (The Daily Caller, Tim Pearce) -- The 32-year Navy veteran will serve as the assistant secretary [...]

How Machine Learning Could Help To Improve Climate Forecasts

2017-09-01T11:05:31+00:00 September 1, 2017|

Mixing artificial intelligence with climate science helps researchers to identify previously unknown atmospheric processes and rank climate models. As Earth-observing satellites become more plentiful and climate models more powerful, researchers who study global warming are facing a deluge of data. Some are now turning to the latest trend in artificial intelligence (AI) to help trawl through all the information, in the hope of discovering new climate patterns and improving forecasts.

The Terrifying Way Fire Ants Take Advantage Of Hurricane Floods

2017-08-31T16:12:50+00:00 August 31, 2017|

The islands of stinging insects are just the beginning. In addition to debris (and alligators), Texans escaping Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters must watch out for floating balls of fire ants. And the problem won’t go away after the waters subside. The red imported fire ant evolved in South American floodplains, but has since taken the southern U.S. by storm—both literally and figuratively. The species adapted to float, and takes advantage of the habitat created by floods. So they often arrive and thrive in the wake of human disasters.

Warming Waters Could Mean Smaller Fish

2017-08-31T09:39:00+00:00 August 31, 2017|

An increase of two degrees Celsius could cause fish to grow as much as 45 percent smaller. Fish will struggle to breathe as the ocean waters warm, researchers say, and bigger fish will have bigger problems. That means important species could soon top out well short of their current sizes—shrinking fisheries and potentially causing problems up the food chain. Fish have proved sensitive to subtle changes, and higher temperatures could present them with two problems—a change in the water and a change in their biology.

U.N. Report: Little Known About Ocean Plastic’s Impact on Human Health

2017-08-31T09:18:17+00:00 August 31, 2017|

An FAO study finds that more than 100 commercial seafood species ingest microplastic, which can be contaminated with toxins. More worrying are the unknown health effects of even smaller nanoplastics. There’s an estimated 51 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, most of it broken up into bits smaller than the nail on your pinkie finger. Marine animals eat this plastic when they mistake it for fish eggs, plankton and algae.

Sub-Tropical Corals Vulnerable, New Study Shows

2017-08-30T09:50:42+00:00 August 30, 2017|

The vulnerability and conservation value of sub-tropical reefs south of the Great Barrier Reef -- regarded as climate change refuges -- has been highlighted in a new study. University of Queensland School of Biological Sciences researcher Dr Brigitte Sommer said the study of Eastern Australian reefs revealed coral species would likely shift their distribution southward in response to climate change. Coral range expansions would likely vary among species depending on the species' characteristics and traits.

Tweet Streams: How Social Media Can Help Keep Tabs On Ocean Health

2017-08-30T09:31:58+00:00 August 30, 2017|

Environmental monitoring is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. One solution: Tap data stored in tweets and Instagram photos to track the health of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram could be a rich source of free information for scientists tasked with monitoring the health of coral reefs and other environmental assets, our new research suggests.

A Galapagos Seabird’s Population Expected To Shrink With Ocean Warming

2017-08-28T12:34:41+00:00 August 28, 2017|

Within the next century, rising ocean temperatures around the Galápagos Islands are expected to make the water too warm for a key prey species, sardines, to tolerate. A new study by Wake Forest University biologists, published in PLOS ONE Aug. 23, uses decades of data on the diet and breeding of a tropical seabird, the Nazca booby, to understand how the future absence of sardines may affect the booby population. Researchers have studied diet, breeding and survival of Nazca boobies as part of a long-term study at Isla Española in the Galápagos Islands for more than 30 years. In 1997, midway through the study, sardines disappeared from Nazca booby diet samples and were replaced by the less-nutritious flying fish.

Carbon Nanotubes Worth Their Salt

2017-08-28T11:53:25+00:00 August 28, 2017|

Lawrence Livermore scientists, in collaboration with researchers at Northeastern University, have developed carbon nanotube pores that can exclude salt from seawater. The team also found that water permeability in carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with diameters smaller than a nanometer (0.8 nm) exceeds that of wider carbon nanotubes by an order of magnitude. The nanotubes, hollow structures made of carbon atoms in a unique arrangement, are more than 50,000 times thinner than a human hair.

First Successful Wild Whale Shark Health Assessments Performed

2017-08-23T14:12:55+00:00 August 23, 2017|

For the first time ever, scientists successfully performed health assessments, including collecting blood and biological samples, taking measurements and attaching satellite tracking tags, to a population of wild whale sharks -- the world's largest fish, classified as "endangered" since 2016. The research advancement, which occurred in Indonesia's remote Cendrawasih Bay, has significant implications for unlocking the mysteries surrounding the overall health of whale sharks -- including the potential impacts of tourism on their health. These details can better inform future conservation policies to protect and encourage their population recovery.

Ocean Life Eats Tons Of Plastic—Here’s Why That Matters

2017-08-23T09:04:48+00:00 August 23, 2017|

Anchovies are known more as a pickled pizza topping than for their crucial place in the marine food chain. Now scientists have confirmed a disturbing new behavior by these tiny forage fish that could have larger implications for human health: anchovies are eating tiny pieces of ocean plastic, and because they, in turn, are eaten by larger fish, the toxins in those microplastics could be transferred to fish consumed by humans.

Whales Turn Tail At Ocean Mining Noise

2017-08-22T16:28:06+00:00 August 22, 2017|

A new international study has measured the effect of loud sounds on migrating humpback whales as concern grows as oceans become noisier. Scientists have said one of the main sources of ocean noise was oil and gas exploration, due to geologists firing off loud acoustic air guns to probe the structure of the ocean floor in search of fossil fuels.

Breakthrough Could Help Predict A Catastrophic Loss Of Ocean Oxygen

2017-08-22T12:38:02+00:00 August 22, 2017|

IF THE CURRENT deoxygenation of the ocean mirrors past events, the area of oxygen-deprived waters might double over the next 100 to 350 years, according to a new study. But it could also happen much faster than that, the researchers say. The ocean is losing oxygen due to nutrient pollution and the climate change effects of rising water temperatures and decreased mixing of marine layers.

What Happens In The Sea During A Solar Eclipse?

2017-08-21T12:29:11+00:00 August 21, 2017|

On July 20th, 1963, three scientists sat on a research ship 200 miles south of Woods Hole, MA, waiting for something remarkable. They were nearly 4000m above the seafloor, and using sonar, they could ‘see’ a line of creatures resting in the deep. By this time, biologists were beginning to unravel the mystery of this ‘false bottom’–a layer in the ocean that looks the the sea floor on sonar but isn’t–which covered much of the ocean. This false bottom rises in up at night and sinks down during the day. This rising and falling is in fact caused by the largest migration of animal on Earth–everything from fish, shrimp and jellyfish, moving hundreds of meters in unison up and down each day. But how and why these animals rose in fell in the ocean wasn’t clear. As the scientists watched their instruments, the light began to fade. Not from the setting sun, but from something else.

Another Climate-change Nightmare: 91 New Volcanoes Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

2017-08-18T13:06:38+00:00 August 18, 2017|

Antarctica has been having a rough time of it lately, you may have heard. You know — greenhouse gases, warming oceans, trillion-ton icebergs breaking off the continent like a middle-aged man losing hair in the sink. Not the best century for the old South Pole. And now it turns out Antarctica has problems we didn't even know about. Deep problems. Volcanoes-under-the-ice problems, which doesn't sound healthy.

Plankton ‘Mucus Houses’ Could Pull Microplastics From The Sea

2017-08-18T10:17:18+00:00 August 18, 2017|

EACH YEAR, THE world throws 8 billion metric tons of plastic into the ocean, about a dump truck every minute. Some washes up on beaches, some sinks, and the rest floats to the surface, where currents sweep it into giant rafts of garbage. Over time, chopping waves and beating sunlight break those plastics down into microscopic particles—which conservation groups worry pose a real threat to marine life and the people who eat it.

The Origin Story Of Animals Is A Song Of Ice And Fire

2017-08-17T16:01:34+00:00 August 17, 2017|

Around 717 million years ago, the Earth turned into a snowball. Most of the ocean, if not all of it, was frozen at its surface. The land, which was aggregated into one big supercontinent, was also covered in mile-thick ice. And then, everything changed. Volcanoes released enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to trap the sun’s heat and trigger global warming. The ice melted, and the surface of the sea reached temperatures of 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. By 659 million years ago, the world had transformed from snowball to greenhouse. And just 14 million years later, the ice returned and the planet became a snowball for the second time.

Lake Trout ‘A Canary In A Coal Mine’ For Climate Change: Researcher

2017-08-17T11:32:49+00:00 August 17, 2017|

A new study out of the University of Manitoba shows some lake predators are changing their behaviour due to climate change, which may have a wide-ranging effect on aquatic ecosystems. Researchers watched the feeding habits of lake trout at the IISD Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario over an 11-year span and found the fish can quickly adapt their behaviour — moving to deeper and cooler parts of the lake to feed — as water temperatures rise.

Swiss Researchers Created A Robotic Eel To Help Track Water Pollution

2017-08-15T14:45:31+00:00 August 15, 2017|

Researchers in Switzerland have developed a 4-foot-long pollution-tracking robotic water snake. The "Envirobot" comprises several special-purpose modules, which constitute it's eel-like design, according to a press release on the l'cole polytechnique fdrale de Lausanne website. The purpose of the modules are twofold. First, each has a small electric motor that lets the robot swim like a water snake. Secondly, each segment has a unique sensor for gathering different data and measurements. More modules can be added as needed.

Sea Level Rise Is Speeding Up In Parts Of The Southeastern U.s.

2017-08-15T09:31:13+00:00 August 15, 2017|

Sea-level rise isn’t just happening; it’s accelerating. And some areas of the United States—like Florida—are seeing “hot spots” where the ocean can creep up six times faster than average. Those are the findings of two new studies published yesterday, which have potentially troubling implications for urban planners trying to address sea-level rise. They also help explain why residents of Florida and North Carolina have seen sharp increases in coastal flooding in recent years.

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