Breaking Waves: Ocean News

12/10/2018 - 13:39
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Architect of the Capitol) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What Passed While the October recess leading up to the 2018 midterm elections left Congress with few legislative days in October and November, several important ocean science bills were signed into law. The Save Our Seas (SOS) Act of 2018 (S. 3508; P.L. 115-265), signed into law on Oct. 11, takes the first steps in addressing the growing global issue of marine debris by reauthorizing the Marine Debris Program under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and promoting international collaboration to combat ocean plastic pollution. The bill includes language allowing for the creation of a Coast Guard Blue Technology Center of Expertise, which came out of a hearing where Rear Adm. Jonathan White (President and CEO, Consortium for Ocean Leadership) and others testified on the importance of blue technology to understanding the ocean and how the U.S. Coast Guard’s missions are supported by robust ocean knowledge. The Water Resources Development Act, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021; P.L. 115-270) was also signed into law, authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water resources projects in flood risk management, navigation, hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, and environmental restoration. At the end of September, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that included an extension for the National Flood Insurance Program Further Extension Act of 2018 (H.R. 7187; P.L. 115-281), further extending the National Flood Insurance Program’s authorization to Dec. 7, 2018. Additionally, the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (S. 140; P.L. 115-282) passed both chambers and was signed into law. This bill authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission through Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, reauthorizes NOAA’s hydrographic services program through FY 2023, and modifies the regulation of vessel incidental discharge and ballast water. What’s New In the Senate, the Facilitate Addressing Issues with Regulating Forced Labor in International Seafood Harvesting (FAIR FISH) Act (S. 3641) was introduced to combat human trafficking in connection with catching and processing seafood obtained through illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. What’s Next A partial government shutdown was narrowly avoided on December 7, 2018 with Congress passing another short-term CR extending FY 2018 spending levels until December 21, 2018. Congress must then pass FY 2019 appropriations or another CR to avoid a government shutdown. In August, The Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Through Ocean Technology (CENOTE) Act of 2018 (S. 2511) was received in the House after passing the Senate and is scheduled for a vote on December 10, 2018. Any bills not signed into law by the end of this Congress must be reintroduced in the 116th Congress to be considered. Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership September’s Congressional Wrap Up August’s Congressional Wrap Up Our Plastic Ocean Jon White – From the President’s Office: 05-14-2018 Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post October And November’s Congressional Wrap Up appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
12/10/2018 - 12:52
Appointed by president-elect Bolsonaro, Ricardo Salles calls environmental fines ‘ideological’ Brazil’s new environment minister believes that global warming is “secondary”, that many environmental fines are “ideological” and has been accused of altering plans for an environmentally protected area in order to favour businesses. Ricardo Salles, the former environment secretary for São Paulo state, was recommended for his new role by business and agribusiness groups and announced as minister in a tweet on Sunday by the far-right president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro. Continue reading...
12/10/2018 - 12:29
The ammonia oxidizing archaea, or Thaumarchaeota, are amongst the most abundant marine microorganisms. Yet, we are still discovering which factors allow them to thrive in the ocean: A new publication reveals that marine Thaumarchaeota have a broader metabolism than previously thought.
12/10/2018 - 12:00
Clean Energy Council warns surge ‘could come to an end if the energy policy debate is left to languish unresolved’ Australia’s renewables sector has doubled its output over the past 12 months, with more than $20bn of projects now under construction, but the current boom will not last without policy certainty, according to the Clean Energy Council. The council, which represents solar, wind, energy efficiency, hydro, bioenergy, energy storage, geothermal and marine businesses, along with more than 5,000 solar installers, has released new figures claiming a record year for Australia’s renewables industry – with more than 80 wind and solar farms under construction, and rooftop solar installations now topping two million homes. Continue reading...
12/10/2018 - 11:59
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Ken Sturm/USFWS) New research shows that mussels readily take in microplastic pollution fibers from the ocean but quickly flush most of them out again, according to a study by researchers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. The findings were published in December’s Marine Pollution Bulletin. (From Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences/ By ) — Human-made microplastics exist throughout the global ocean, from busy coastal areas to remote regions far from human habitation. They have myriad impacts: microplastics are eaten by tiny animals called zooplankton, play host to bacterial colonies, and can even change how energy and nutrients flow through ocean ecosystems. “The big pieces of plastic you find on the beach are in your face, but microplastics are everywhere,” said Bigelow Laboratory Senior Research Scientist Paty Matrai, one of the study’s authors. “We desperately need ways to accurately and precisely measure their numbers in the ocean.” The most abundant type of microplastics are fibers, which shed readily from materials as common as carpets and fleece clothing, and whose small size makes them edible by marine life as small as zooplankton. However, few studies to date have focused on this type of ocean pollution. Matrai worked with Bigelow Laboratory Senior Research Scientist David Fields and researchers from the Shaw Institute to learn how marine animals handle fibers – which has important implications for understanding how microplastics move up the food web. Plastic can both directly affect the animals that ingest it and accumulate in the animals that feed on them, including humans. “We know that microfibers can be consumed by shellfish, but at what rate and how long they are retained by the animals remains unclear,” Fields said. “The degree to which plastic is impacting the food chain is unknown, but as more plastic make its way into the ocean, the number of organisms containing plastics is sure to increase.” Through a series of laboratory experiments, the team found that… Read the full article here:  The post Member Highlight: Study Shows How Mussels Handle Microplastic Fiber appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
12/10/2018 - 11:57
Researchers have found unprecedentedly high levels of nitrate, an essential plant nutrient, in streams and watersheds of Puerto Rico for a year after two consecutive major hurricanes in 2017. This high amount of nitrate may have important climate change implications that could harm forest recovery and threaten ecosystems along Puerto Rico's coastline by escalating algal blooms and dead zones.
12/10/2018 - 11:44
Ocean Leadership ~ Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at UC San Diego ( invites faculty applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor or tenured Associate Professor position with a history of innovative research activities in the broad area of climate change and the atmospheric hydrological cycle. We encourage applicants who use theory, modeling, or observations, including paleoclimate studies, to advance understanding of the changing hydrological cycle and climate. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, mesoscale to global-scale atmospheric dynamics, climate dynamics, coupled atmosphere-ocean/hydroclimate variability and predictability, extreme events including atmospheric rivers, climate sensitivity, and cloud physics. The successful candidate is expected to develop a strong extramurally supported research program that complements existing climate and atmospheric research at SIO and UC San Diego. The successful candidate will also be expected to contribute to teaching the Climate Sciences core curricula for graduate and undergraduate students. The position requires a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in a relevant field at the time of application. Depending on the level of appointment, strong potential for or previous development of a vigorous, externally funded, and internationally recognized research program and associated scholarly impact, together with evidence of service and broader contributions to diversity, leadership activities, and other items that will contribute positively to departmental welfare are preferred. In addition, documentation of strong interest and any history of achievement in mentoring undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs is requested, commensurate with rank and experience. Each position requires a separate application submission. Applicants who are competitive at both ranks are encouraged to apply at both the Assistant and Associate level. For full consideration, please apply by the 1/31/19 deadline at: (Assistant Professor) (Associate Professor) SIO is a world-renowned center of solid Earth, planetary, oceanographic, biological, and atmospheric research with approximately 200 principal investigators leading research programs. SIO is part of the University of California, San Diego, which is one of the top research universities in the world.We are committed to academic excellence and diversity within the faculty, staff, and student body. UCSD is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong institutional commitment to excellence and diversity ( The post Associate or Assistant Professor in Climate Change and the Hydrological Cycle, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) (Jan. 31) appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
12/10/2018 - 11:21
Official event praising coal, oil and gas met with laughter and chants of ‘shame on you’ A Trump administration presentation extolling the virtues of fossil fuels at the UN climate talks in Poland has been met with guffaws of laughter and chants of “Shame on you”. Monday’s protest came during a panel discussion by the official US delegation, which used its only public appearance to promote the “unapologetic utilisation” of coal, oil and gas. Although these industries are the main source of the carbon emissions that are causing global warming, the speakers boasted the US would expand production for the sake of global energy security and planned a new fleet of coal plants with technology it hoped to export to other countries. Continue reading...
12/10/2018 - 11:02
Researchers discover urban male túngara frogs call more, and with more complex vocalisations, than rural peers Living in a forest might sound romantic, but city life makes males more attractive to the opposite sex – at least if you are a túngara frog. Researchers have discovered that urban males of the species have more attractive calls than their rural peers. Continue reading...
12/10/2018 - 10:38
‘Ecological memory’ shows cumulative impact of climate change, say scientists Great Barrier Reef corals that survived bleaching in 2016 were more resistant to a second marine heatwave the following year, “astonished” scientists have observed. A study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, outlines how a process called “ecological memory” emerged in the northernmost reefs during back-to-back heatwaves in 2016 and 2017. Continue reading...