Ocean Community News
Has the Atlantic Ocean Stalled Global Warming?
New research suggests that heat trapped by atmospheric greenhouse gases is getting buried in the Atlantic. Temperatures at Earth’s surface aren’t rising as fast as they did in the 1990s, even though the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to increase steadily. This apparent hiatus in global warming has been fodder for skeptics—but among climate scientists, it has sparked a search for the “sink” that is storing all the missing atmospheric heat. To read the entire article, click here.
New Antarctic Atlas Offers Index of Marine Life
The most complete audit ever assembled of Antarctic sea life is to be published this week. More than 9,000 species, from single-cell organisms to penguins and whales, are chronicled in the first Antarctic atlas since 1969. The book will be launched by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research at its Open Science Conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Across 66 chapters, the atlas contains around 100 color photos and 800 maps. It is called the Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean. To read the entire article, click here.
20 New Species Of Coral Listed As Threatened
The federal government is protecting 20 types of colorful coral by putting them on the list of threatened species, partly because of climate change. As with the polar bear, much of the threat to the coral species is because of future expected problems due to global warming, said David Bernhart, an endangered-species official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These coral species are already being hurt by climate change “but not to the point that they are endangered yet,” he said. To read the entire article, click here.
Walking Fish Reveal How Our Ancestors Evolved Onto Land
About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods — today’s amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain scientific mysteries. Researchers at McGill University published in the journal Nature, turned to a living fish, called Polypterus, to help show what might have happened when fish first attempted to walk out of the water. Polypterus is an African fish that can breathe air, ‘walk’ on land, and looks much like those ancient fishes that evolved into tetrapods. The team of researchers raised juvenile Polypterus on land for nearly a year, with an aim to revealing how these ‘terrestrialized’ fish looked and moved differently. To read the entire article, click here.
Numerous Methane Leaks Found on Atlantic Sea Floor
And up through the ground came a bubbling greenhouse gas. Researchers have discovered 570 plumes of methane percolating up from the sea floor off the eastern coast of the United States, a surprisingly high number of seeps in a relatively quiescent part of the ocean. The seeps suggest that methane’s contribution to climate change has been underestimated in some models. And because most of the seeps lie at depths where small changes in temperature could be releasing the methane, it is possible that climate change itself could be playing a role in turning some of them on. To read the entire article, click here.
Fish and Coral Smell a Bad Neighborhood: Marine Protected Areas Might Not be Enough to Help Overfished Reefs Recover
Pacific corals and fish can both smell a bad neighborhood, and use that ability to avoid settling in damaged reefs. Damaged coral reefs emit chemical cues that repulse young coral and fish, discouraging them from settling in the degraded habitat, according to new research. The study shows for the first time that coral larvae can smell the difference between healthy and damaged reefs when they decide where to settle. To read the entire article, click here.