Member Highlight: Offshore Wind Farms Could Protect Coastlines

2018-10-09T14:06:43+00:00 October 1, 2018|

(Credit: iStock/ssuaphoto) Offshore wind farms may have a greater capacity for coastal protection than first imagined. Scientists had shown previously that arrays of turbines placed in the sea may buffer storm surge and flooding. Now simulations featuring data from Hurricane Harvey suggest that smart wind farm designs have the capacity to protect [...]

Senators See Disconnect Between Dollars And Deliverables Of NOAA’s Priorities

2018-07-30T15:03:45+00:00 July 30, 2018|

From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing titled, “NOAA’s Blue Economy Initiative: Supporting Commerce in American Oceans and Great Lakes.” Why It Matters Sectors of the economy that involve the ocean and Great [...]

Preparing Coastal Communities For Change

2018-07-02T17:06:27+00:00 July 2, 2018|

From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The Sea Grant Association, in conjunction with the House Oceans Caucus (chaired by Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) and Don Young (AK-At-Large)), sponsored a congressional briefing titled, “Preparing Coastal Communities for Change: Economic Resiliency, Fisheries, Coastal Erosion, Sea Level Rise, and Ocean Acidification.” Why [...]

Member Highlight: IoT, Data Visualization Warn Coastal Residents about Flooding

2018-05-21T09:52:14+00:00 May 21, 2018|

Spearheaded by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the StormSense project combines IoT sensors, cloud systems, predictive analytics modeling, and data visualization mapping to predict flooding impacts and deliver warnings to residents in the Virginia Beach area. (From Information Week/ By Jessica Davis) -- The sound of the ocean waves may be relaxing when you [...]

Port Infrastructure In Need Of Updates

2018-01-16T15:35:04+00:00 January 16, 2018|

What It Was The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing: “America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges,” which focused on improvements for ports through the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).  Why It Matters Around 90 percent of the food, technology, and clothing we use daily is transported through ports. Whether inland or [...]

Low Ocean Oxygen Levels Causing Large-Scale Death Of Marine Life

2018-01-05T17:25:27+00:00 January 5, 2018|

(Credit: Arcadio Castillo/ Smithsonian) New research has found that in the past 50 years, the amount of ocean areas with zero oxygen has gone up more than fourfold. Low-oxygen sites, as they are called, are regions where water has lost its usual oxygen levels. In coastal water bodies, low-oxygen sites have increased 10-fold [...]

Fisheries Bills Swim Towards House Floor

2018-01-09T17:19:29+00:00 December 18, 2017|

(Credit: NOAA) What It Was The House Natural Resources Committee held a markup of 15 bills including two on fisheries— Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act (H.R. 200) and RED SNAPPER Act (H.R. 3588). Both pieces of legislations passed by votes of 23-17 and 22-16, respectively. Why It [...]

Surfing for Science: Ocean Enthusiasts Could Help Gauge Coastal Warming

2017-11-22T09:08:21+00:00 November 22, 2017|

Researchers want to enlist surfers, scuba divers and anglers to monitor hard-to-reach areas vulnerable to climate change. Satellites are good at measuring temperatures over vast stretches of ocean, but less accurate at monitoring a particularly important type of marine environment—coastlines. Now help could come from an unlikely source: a water sports “navy” of surfers, anglers, scuba divers and others. A U.K.-led team of researchers has proposed this alliance to help gather coastal climate data in a recent paper in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Scientists Develop Tool Which Can Predict Coastal Erosion And Recovery In Extreme Storms

2017-10-17T15:12:49+00:00 October 17, 2017|

The damage caused to beaches by extreme storms on exposed energetic coastlines and the rate at which they recover can now be accurately predicted thanks to new research led by the University of Plymouth. Working with the University of New South Wales, scientists have developed a computer model which uses past wave observations and beach assessments to forecast the erosion and/or accretion of beach sediments over the coming year.

The High Cost Sand Mining Extracts From Coastal Ecosystems

2017-09-21T10:21:21+00:00 September 21, 2017|

Researchers say the world faces a sand crisis as skyrocketing demand for the building material leads to the destruction of coastal environments and marine life. When people picture sand spread across idyllic beaches and endless deserts, they understandably think of it as an infinite resource. But as we discuss in a just-published perspective in the journal Science, overexploitation of global supplies of sand is damaging the environment, endangering communities, causing shortages and promoting violent conflict.

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.

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.

Will The Great American Eclipse Make Animals Act Strangely? Science Says Yes

2017-08-11T10:13:25+00:00 August 11, 2017|

It’s not just humans who will be affected by the Great American Eclipse coming on Aug. 21 — expect animals to act strangely too. Anecdotal evidence and a few scientific studies suggest that as the moon moves briefly between the sun and the Earth, causing a deep twilight to fall across the land, large swaths of the animal kingdom will alter their behavior.

Marine Reserves A Solution To Bycatch Problem In Oceans

2017-08-08T16:46:55+00:00 August 8, 2017|

Commercial fishermen may be able to catch more of the profitable fish they want with marine reserves than without them, according to a study in the journal PNAS led by the University of California, Davis. Using marine reserves as a management tool could also help the recently rebounded West Coast groundfish fishery sustain itself, the study notes. Marine reserves are a subset of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Some MPAs allow fishing, but marine reserves are areas of the ocean closed to fishing and other extractive activities.

Member Highlight: Ecosystem Cascades Affecting Salmon

2017-08-07T11:50:02+00:00 August 7, 2017|

Interpreting relationships between species and their environments is crucial to inform ecosystem-based management (EBM), a priority for NOAA Fisheries. EBM recognizes the diverse interactions within an ecosystem -- including human impacts -- so NOAA Fisheries can consider resource tradeoffs that help protect and sustain productive ecosystems and the services they provide. In the coastal ocean of California -- seabird predators, forage fish on which they feed, and the survival of salmon out-migrating to sea are each of particular interest, and an improved understanding of their interactions could in turn improve the management of the ocean ecosystem.

Sharks Revealed As The Great Protectors Of Seagrass

2017-07-27T16:40:52+00:00 July 27, 2017|

Sharks, marine scientists say, are often misunderstood, described as ravenous man-eaters. In reality, sharks are critically important to the health of the world's oceans, yet a quarter of all shark species are threatened with extinction. For more than two decades, Florida International University marine scientist Mike Heithaus has been immersed in the world of sharks and other predators that help the sea maintain a delicately balanced food web. Heithaus' work is focused on predators in the waters of South Florida and across the globe in Shark Bay, Australia.

Seawalls: Ecological Effects Of Coastal Armoring In Soft Sediment Environments

2017-07-26T15:38:28+00:00 July 26, 2017|

For nearly a century, the O'Shaughnessy seawall has held back the sand and seas of San Francisco's Ocean Beach. At work even longer: the Galveston seawall, built after America's deadliest hurricane in 1900 killed thousands in Texas. These are just two examples of how America's coasts -- particularly those with large urban populations -- have been armored with humanmade structures.

Shifting Storms To Bring Extreme Waves, Seaside Damage To Once Placid Areas

2017-07-24T17:18:31+00:00 July 24, 2017|

The world's most extensive study of a major storm front striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognised danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before. The study, led by engineers at University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, was published in the latest issue of Scientific Reports.

Record-Breaking Marine Heatwave Powered By Climate Change Cooks Tasmania’s Fisheries

2017-07-21T08:35:30+00:00 July 21, 2017|

Climate change was almost certainly responsible for a marine heatwave off Tasmania's east coast in 2015/16 that lasted 251 days and at its greatest extent was seven times the size of Tasmania, according to a new study published today in Nature Communications. The marine heatwave reduced the productivity of Tasmanian salmon fisheries, led to a rise in blacklip abalone mortality, sparked an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome and saw new fish species move into Tasmanian waters.

Polar Bears And People: Cataloging Conflict

2017-07-20T16:26:21+00:00 July 20, 2017|

ON WILLIAM BARENTS’S second Arctic expedition in 1595, the Dutch navigator’s crew had a deadly encounter. While searching for diamonds on an islet near Russia’s Vaygach Island three months into the journey, two of his sailors were resting in a wind-protected depression when “a great leane beare came sodainly stealing out, and caught one of them fast by the necke.” The bear killed and devoured both men, despite the crew’s attempt to drive the animal away. The incident, recounted in Dutch officer Gerrit de Veer’s diary, became the first account of a polar bear attacking humans in recorded history.

Mississippi Mud May Hold Hope For Louisiana Coast

2017-07-17T09:01:09+00:00 July 17, 2017|

Many studies say capturing Mississippi River sand through diversions is key to rebuilding Louisiana's vanishing coast. But a new study in the open-access journal Earth Surface Dynamics of an old levee breach, or crevasse, along Bayou Lafourche indicates that mud, the most plentiful sediment type carried by the river, may be the most powerful tool in building land.

Extreme Coastal Sea Levels More Likely To Occur, New Data, Advanced Modeling Techniques Suggest

2017-07-12T10:49:18+00:00 July 12, 2017|

Improving projections for how much ocean levels may change in the future and what that means for coastal communities has vexed researchers studying sea level rise for years, but a new international study that incorporates extreme events may have just given researchers and coastal planners what they need. The study, published in Nature Communications uses newly available data and advanced models to improve global predictions when it comes to extreme sea levels. The results suggest that extreme sea levels will likely occur more frequently than previously predicted, particularly in the west coast regions of the U.S. and in large parts of Europe and Australia.

Seagrass Meadows—Critical Habitats For Juvenile Fish And Dugongs In The Johor Islands

2017-07-11T17:27:44+00:00 July 11, 2017|

Scientists at University of Malaya, Malaysia, have found that the seagrass meadows in Johor harbor three times more juvenile fish than coral reefs. They also found that the dugong herds there prefer certain types of meadows over others. Seagrass, the world's oldest living thing, is a marine flowering plant that forms vast underwater meadows throughout all the oceans of the world, except in the Antarctic. These flowering plants first appeared in fossil records 100 million years ago and are the key to the survival of our seas, by providing oxygen, filtering out pollutants and bacteria, and capturing large stores of carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate warming.

Surveying Sea Floor Animals For Offshore Renewable Energy

2017-07-10T12:46:15+00:00 July 10, 2017|

There is growing interest in developing offshore wind and wave energy facilities in the Pacific Northwest. But not much is known about the sediment and animal life along the sea floor in the region. That presents a problem for renewable energy companies because they need to consider environmental implications before constructing facilities in the ocean.

Member Highlight: The Beach Time Capsule

2017-06-29T09:32:55+00:00 June 29, 2017|

And to think it was all right there in her garage. A load of boxes pulled from biologist Dale Straughan's home yielded a veritable treasure trove for UC Santa Barbara researchers studying the impact of climate change on coastal biodiversity in California.

Mysterious Sea Pickles Invading West Coast In Bizarre Bloom

2017-06-23T13:56:13+00:00 June 23, 2017|

Mysterious creatures called sea pickles are showing up in large numbers on the West Coast. These organisms are actually conglomerations of zooids—small, multicellular organisms—which come together into tubular shapes that in this case stretch from about 6 inches to 2 feet long, according to EarthFix, an offshoot of Oregon Public Broadcasting. Normally these animals, also known as pyrosomes, are found in tropical waters, and they also are bioluminescent, meaning they produce light. (Pyrosome is derived from the Greek pyro for “fire” and soma for “body.”) Not very well-studied, they can stretch up to 60 feet long, and look something like a living wind sock.

Rare US Floods To Become The Norm If Emissions Aren’t Cut, Study Warns

2017-06-12T11:20:50+00:00 June 12, 2017|

US coastal areas are set to be deluged by far more frequent and severe flooding events if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t slashed, with rare floods becoming the norm for places such as New York City, Seattle and San Diego, new research has found. The study, undertaken by researchers from Princeton and Rutgers universities, found that along all of the US coastline, the average risk of a 100-year flood will increase 40-fold by 2050. Such floods are statistically expected to occur only once every 100 years because of their severity, although this doesn’t mean these sort of floods never happen in consecutive years. The annual chance of such a flood is around 1%.

Acidified Ocean Water Widespread Along North American West Coast

2017-06-02T16:55:44+00:00 June 2, 2017|

A three-year survey of the California Current System along the West Coast of the United States found persistent, highly acidified water throughout this ecologically critical nearshore habitat, with "hotspots" of pH measurements as low as any oceanic surface waters in the world. The researchers say that conditions will continue to worsen because the atmospheric carbon dioxide primarily to blame for this increase in acidification has been rising substantially in recent years.

Sea Level Rise Will Double Coastal Flood Risk Worldwide

2017-05-23T09:35:31+00:00 May 23, 2017|

Small but inevitable rises in sea level will double the frequency of severe coastal flooding in most of the world with dire consequences for major cities that sit on coastlines, according to scientists. The research takes in to account the large waves and storm surges that can tip gradually rising sea levels over the edge of coastal defenses.

Louisiana’s Swamps Will Disappear As Sea Levels Rise Four Times Faster Than World Average

2017-03-23T10:23:45+00:00 March 22, 2017|

Louisiana is rapidly losing its storm-buffering wetlands to the sea due to the combined effects of blocked off river deltas, sinking land and rising sea levels. About 45% of Louisiana's swamps are on track to become totally submerged if the current trend continues, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. The other 65% are also at risk of being lost to the sea, but not so imminently.

“State of the South Coast” Report Tallies Marine Life

2017-03-20T11:02:26+00:00 March 20, 2017|

Researchers this week issued a sort of almanac of the ocean off Southern California in wide-ranging report on the the region’s marine protected areas established in 2012. San Diego’s coast includes 11 of those marine protected areas, from Batiquitos Lagoon in North County to the Tijuana River Mouth.

Study Finds That Coastal Wetlands Excel at Storing Carbon

2017-03-20T10:53:44+00:00 March 20, 2017|

As humans continually add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, getting rid of the excess greenhouse gas has become a priority. Scientists are searching for new ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere and put it into long-term lockdown. The ocean’s ability to soak up carbon like a sponge is well known, but researchers are now taking a fresh look at ocean shores. Our planet has about 620,000 kilometers (372,000 miles) of coastline, long enough to wrap around Earth almost 15 times.

Seagrass On Decline, Jeopardizing Human, Coral Health: Study

2017-02-22T15:56:30+00:00 February 22, 2017|

Underwater meadows of seagrass offer important protection against pollution to both humans and coral reefs, but are in jeopardy worldwide due to climate change, sewage and agricultural runoff, researchers said Thursday. Places with healthy seagrass -- where sponges, clams, small fish and other filter feeders thrive -- can reduce bacteria that is harmful to both people and marine life by up to 50 percent, said the study in the journal Science.

Scientists Discovered a Gigantic, 300,000-Year-Old Landslide Under the Ocean

2017-02-14T12:47:09+00:00 February 14, 2017|

You’d think that in the 21st century, every inch of Earth—above and below water—would already have been documented and studied. But that’s far from true. Much of the ocean floor remains elusive to scientists, and a new study shows just how much remains to be found. As the Australian Associated Press reports, scientists have discovered remnants of a massive undersea landslide that occurred 300,000 years ago off of the Great Barrier Reef.

Toxic Mercury In Aquatic Life Could Spike With Greater Land Runoff

2017-02-01T15:52:47+00:00 February 1, 2017|

A highly toxic form of mercury could jump by 300 to 600 percent in zooplankton—tiny animals at the base of the marine food chain—if land runoff increases by 15 to 30 percent, according to a new study. And such an increase is possible due to climate change, according to the pioneering study by Rutgers University and other scientists published today in Science Advances.

A Crab’s Eye View Of Rising Tides In A Changing World

2017-01-26T10:33:55+00:00 January 26, 2017|

Coastal ecosystems and aquifers will be greatly affected by climate change, not only from rising temperatures and more volatile weather, including changes in precipitation patterns, but also from sea level rise. In the search for methods to analyze these effects, researchers at NJIT have identified powerful statistical tools that should help coastal scientists both measure and anticipate changes in conditions such as subsurface water temperature and salinity. Results from the study, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have been published in Scientific Reports, an online affiliate of Nature.

Barrier-island Migration Drives Large-scale Marsh Loss

2017-01-26T10:14:28+00:00 January 26, 2017|

If you've visited North Carolina's Outer Banks or other barrier islands, you've likely experienced their split personalities -- places where high waves can pound the sandy ocean shore while herons stalk placid saltmarsh waters just a short distance landward. New research by a team from William & Mary and its Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that these seemingly disparate ecosystems are in fact closely coupled, and that rapid landward migration of barrier-island sands is leading to large-scale loss of adjacent saltmarshes.

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Big Hurricanes Keep Missing the U.S.

2017-01-06T10:16:38+00:00 January 6, 2017|

Scientists have scratched their heads in recent years as a series of major hurricanes have steered clear of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts, defying probability. Now, new research published in the journal Nature explains the unlikely phenomenon as at least in part the result of an occurrence called “protective barriers,” which help keep major hurricanes from making landfall. Cool ocean temperatures combine with strong vertical wind shear, a measure of how quickly wind changes speed or direction, off the Atlantic coast. Faced with those conditions, major hurricanes tend to slow down, according to the research.

New U.S. Law Poised To Improve Marine Conservation Worldwide

2016-12-21T09:15:51+00:00 December 21, 2016|

New restrictions on U.S. seafood imports, which will require seafood to be harvested in accordance with the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), will likely offer significant marine conservation benefits on a global scale. In this Policy Forum, Rob Williams et al. highlight the impacts and challenges involved in this endeavor. The U.S. is the largest importer of seafood in the world, accepting marine catches from more than 120 countries. Best case scenario, countries will comply and marine species will benefit from improved protection. Worst case, countries could suffer economically from not being able to export to the US, and/or choose not to comply.

Study Offers Coastal Communities Better Way To Prepare For Devastating Storms

2016-12-07T08:45:26+00:00 December 7, 2016|

Coastal storms can cause surges, sea-level rise, and cyclone winds that devastate communities. But emergency management experts in a new study detail a method for involving local stakeholders in planning for such extreme events and thereby helping such vulnerable areas in becoming more resilient. Coastal communities' ability to plan for, absorb, recover and adapt from destructive hurricanes is becoming more urgent. As of 2010, approximately 52 percent of the United States' population lived in vulnerable coastal watershed counties, and that number is expected to grow. Globally, almost half of the world's population lives along or near coastal areas.

Toxic ‘Marine Snow’ Can Sink Quickly, Persist At Ocean Depths

2016-12-19T17:05:39+00:00 December 6, 2016|

In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State University found that a specific neurotoxin can persist and accumulate in "marine snow" formed by the algae Pseudo-nitzschia, and that this marine snow can reach significant depths quickly. These findings have implications for food safety policies in areas affected by toxic marine algal blooms.

Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Breaking From The Inside Out

2016-12-05T08:53:17+00:00 December 5, 2016|

An ice sheet in West Antarctica is breaking from the inside out. The significant new findings published yesterday in Geophysical Research Letters show that the ocean is melting the interior of the Pine Island Glacier, which is about the size of Texas. The crack seems to be accelerating, said Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and the study’s lead author. The findings are the first confirmation of something glaciologists have long suspected was happening, he said.

Reef Degradation On Maui Linked To Quality Of Coastal Groundwater

2016-11-21T10:38:48+00:00 November 21, 2016|

Land-use practices on tropical oceanic islands can have large impacts on reef ecosystems, even in the absence of rivers and streams. Land-based pollutants, such as fertilizers and chemicals in wastewater, infiltrate into the groundwaters beneath land and eventually exit into nearshore ecosystems as submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) -- seeping into the coastal zone beneath the ocean's surface. In a study published recently in PLOS ONE, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UHM) scientists used a combination of field experiments and chemical analysis of water and algae to show that the quality of coastal groundwater plays a major role in determining the health of nearshore ecosystems in Hawai'i.

Cosmic Clue To UK Coastal Erosion

2016-11-08T12:36:35+00:00 November 8, 2016|

Recent centuries have seen a big jump in the rates of erosion in the iconic chalk cliffs on England's south coast. A new study finds that for thousands of years the rocks were being beaten back by the waves at perhaps 2-6cm a year. The past 150 years has seen this retreat accelerate 10-fold, to more than 20cm a year.

Scientist Learns Population Size Of Scallops Affects Fertilization Success

2016-09-01T13:41:10+00:00 September 1, 2016|

In 2015, Maine fishermen brought in 452,672 pounds of scallop meat valued at $12.70 per pound—the highest in years. But scallops haven't always done well in Maine and beyond. In the 1990s, after huge reductions in multiple fishery landings, including giant sea scallops, NOAA regulators instituted large fishing closures to try to bolster groundfish stocks. After four years, scallop stocks had increased 14 times what they were prior to the closure. Seeking a similar success story, Maine followed suit in 2009 and instituted a three-year scallop fishing closure.

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