Breaking Waves: Ocean News

07/16/2018 - 14:53
Ocean Leadership ~ From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What Passed Many appropriations bills moved last month, including the Senate’s Commerce-Justice-Science bill, which was approved by both the committee and subcommittee. So far, the full appropriations committees have approved all 12 bills in the Senate and 10 in the House. A minibus that includes the Energy-Water bill (H.R. 5895) passed both chambers and will head to conference this month, as will the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515), which cleared the Senate in June. Two bills focused on ocean health and security passed out of committee in the House. The Save Our Seas Act of 2017 (S. 756) would encourage collaboration at the national and international level to address the growing marine debris problem, while the Coast Guard Blue Technology Center of Expertise Act (H.R. 6206) would support ocean knowledge for national security through innovation and partnerships. What’s New Last month, the president released the Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, emphasizing ocean use and economic prosperity. A statement from COL’s president and CEO Rear Adm. (Ret.) Jon White underscores the importance of ocean health, science-based decision making, and robust ocean knowledge for ensuring these national goals and highlights collaboration and the importance of partnerships moving forward. A new bill (H.R. 6300) aims to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to ocean sustainability and to provide certainty in coastal management planning by codifying the Obama-era ocean policy (Executive Order 13547), which was revoked by President Trump’s executive order. New legislation in both chambers focuses on coastal resiliency and ecosystem health. The bills would request a study on ocean acidification from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Ocean Studies Board (H.R. 6270), establish an ocean acidification task force and maintain a shared data system (H.R. 6267), support research on coastal sustainability (H.R. 6288), direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award grants for natural shoreline stabilization and restoration to coastal communities (S. 3087), reauthorize and amend the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 to include support for partnerships and research on coral disease and reef resiliency (H.R. 5996), and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Coral Reef Task Force (S. Res. 544). What’s Next Congress has less than three months to meet the September 30 deadline on appropriations, and it has been 21 years since all bills were passed on time. If more time is needed they must pass a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown. Related coverage from the Consortium For Ocean Leadership: Jon White – From the President’s Office: 07-02-2018 Preparing Coastal Communities For Change Ocean Science And Technology Are Critical To An Effective Ocean Policy That Will Advance The Economic, Security, And Environmental Interests Of The United States Senate Spending Bill Supports Ocean Science, Research, And Education Jon White – From the President’s Office: 06-18-2018 The Ocean Plastic Pollution Problem: Solvable with Science, Innovation, and Education May’s Congressional Wrap Up CJS Appropriations Bill Favoring NASA Space Science Flies Towards House Floor Blue Technology: Innovation For The Ocean Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post June’s Congressional Wrap Up appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
07/16/2018 - 14:49
Ocean Leadership ~ From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The Consortium for Ocean Leadership and the IOOS Association, in conjunction with the Senate Oceans Caucus (chaired by Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)), sponsored a congressional briefing titled, “Buoying our Nation’s Economy: The Role of Ocean Data in Supporting the Blue Economy.” Why It Matters The ocean economy is growing, and increased ocean science can facilitate its success while ensuring the ocean remains healthy and productive. Scientific observations and data expand our ocean knowledge and should underpin decision making on the use of the ocean’s resources. Experts who depend on our ocean and coasts discussed how shared ocean observations can improve safety and prosperity. Key Points The blue economy is expanding. According to Rear Adm. (Ret.) Tim Gallaudet (Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), who moderated the briefing, 40 percent of the U.S. population live in coastal regions, and the growth of maritime jobs is four times higher than other sectors. Data collected from our ocean (e.g., temperature, salinity, wave height, fish abundance) are used by those operating in the blue economy every day. Industry experts highlighted the data’s critical role in ensuring safety, generating money, and facilitating adaptation. All experts noted that ocean observations permit smart business decisions by informing vessels and platform operators of storms so they can avoid injury to equipment, crew, or tourists. Ms. Joy Baker (Director, Port of Nome, Alaska) expressed, “consistent and reliable real-time ocean data can prevent accidents and incidents,” such as vessel collisions, and stressed the importance of timely data for remote areas of Alaska. Dr. Ruth Mullins-Perry (Shell Exploration and Production Company) pointed out that offshore operators need to be evacuated for hurricanes well in advance of people on land and emphasized that deep ocean data play a key role in extending forecasting and improving modeling. Fisheries and tourism are prominent components of the blue economy, contributing over $108 billion annually. Ms. Leigh Habegger (Seafood Harvesters of America) celebrated ocean data’s ability to facilitate fishers’ success. She remarked that the combination of physical water data (e.g. temperature, salinity, pH) and knowing how species are connected through the ecosystem can help people “fish smarter, safer, and more sustainably.” Mr. Zack Klyver (Bar Harbor Whale Watch) agreed and further presented ocean data as powerful information that supports informed decisions and adaptability to the changing environment. He explained how knowing the locations of cool water and fish helps him ensure guests aboard his whale watch boat see the cetaceans they’ve paid to see – which keeps them and others coming back, putting money into the tourism sector of the blue economy. Both chairs of the Senate Oceans Caucus spoke at the briefing. Senators Murkowski and Whitehouse, in their opening and closing remarks, respectively, each emphasized the ocean’s expanse, the vast resources it provides, and the role of data and science for informed decisions. Quotable “Ocean data can create a more sustainable and balanced blue economy.” – Dr. Ruth Mullins-Perry, Shell Exploration and Production Company “We need ocean data portals to understand the rate of change [in the environment] and a data-rich environment is key to our success and the economy.” – Mr. Zack Klyver, Bar Harbor Whale Watch “[Fishers] cannot be safe without knowing what is going on in the water and sky.” – Ms. Leigh Habegger, Seafood Harvesters of America Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership Preparing Coastal Communities For Change Ocean Science And Technology Are Critical To An Effective Ocean Policy That Will Advance The Economic, Security, And Environmental Interests Of The United States NOAA Digital Coast: Panel Praises The Power Of Partnerships Blue Technology: Innovation For The Ocean The Key To Extended Forecasting Is The Ocean Congress Concerned About President’s Proposed Cuts For NOAA In FY 2019 Jon White – From the President’s Office: 01-15-2018 Ocean Hack: Innovations In Marine Technology And Monitoring Congress Sends Weather Forecasting Bill To The White House Advancing Ocean Observations Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post Buoying Our Nation’s Economy: The Role Of Ocean Data In Supporting The Blue Economy appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
07/16/2018 - 13:58
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)  In a hurricane-proof lab miles down the Florida Keys, scientists coddle, the way a parent might, tiny pieces of coral from the moment they are spawned until they are just hearty enough to be separated into specimens equipped to survive in the wild. (From LA Times/ By Evan Halper) —Then these dark-green fragments are put through misery, plunged into tanks mimicking the hotter, more acidic waters projected to one day overtake the tropical region. Many coral samples will die, but those that endure the hostile testing will be painstakingly transplanted back in the Atlantic. For generations, marine biologists working around this stunning, 360-mile coral reef made sure their research didn’t disturb the fragile kaleidoscope of marine habitat so critical to the local ecosystem, not to mention a multibillion-dollar tourist economy. But as global warming rapidly brings the natural wonder to the brink of extermination, scientists are abandoning their hands-off approach in favor of a once-unthinkable strategy: a massive intervention to manipulate the natural balance of the reef. The work is pioneering, and some say unsettling. It is generating both hope and exasperation. And it is being watched closely by entrepreneurs and technologists, who see opportunity in this unprecedented effort to bring what scientists call “assisted evolution” to the wild. On Summerland Key, an army of scientists is trying to rebuild thousands of square acres of the reef one centimeter at a time, cutting tens of thousands of coral microfragments, toughening them up in the lab and replanting them in the ocean piece by piece. At the nonprofit Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, scuba divers are delicately hanging small corals on rows and rows of artificial “trees” constructed of plastic pipe in an underwater nursery, where they nourish themselves until they are ready to be replanted. Both efforts are part of a laborious, costly international experiment that researchers say offers the only hope for warding off total devastation of reef systems worldwide that provide the primary source of food to as many as a billion people and a home to one quarter of all marine species at some point in their lives. “We have no choice now,” said Michael Crosby, chief executive of Mote Marine Laboratory, which runs the 19,000-square-foot laboratory on Summerland Key. “These coral are not able to come back on their own. They are really sliding into functional extinction.” It’s a now familiar cliché in the Florida Keys and in the many other coastal areas where coral is on life-support: The reefs are the canary in the coal mine of climate change. This is not about projections of what might come if emissions continue unabated. The havoc is already here. Some 95% of the coral on the Florida Reef Tract has already died. While the damage was not exclusively caused by… Read the full article here: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-na-pol-coral-climate-change-20180709-htmlstory.html The post Member Highlight: Racing To Save Florida’s Coral From Climate Change, Scientists Turn To A Once-Unthinkable Strategy: ‘Assisted Evolution’ appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
07/16/2018 - 10:00
Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples calls for a new, rights-based approach to conservation The United Nations Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has released a report highly critical of the global conservation movement and calling for indigenous peoples and other local communities to have a greater say in protecting the world’s forests. Titled Cornered by Protected Areas and co-authored with the US-based NGO Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the report is an explicit condemnation of “fortress conservation.” What exactly is meant by that? It is “the idea that to protect forests and biodiversity, ecosystems need to function in isolation, devoid of people,” the Rapporteur told the Guardian. “This model - favoured by governments for over a century - ignores the growing body of evidence that forests thrive when Indigenous Peoples remain on their customary lands and have legally recognised rights to manage and protect them.” Continue reading...
07/16/2018 - 06:45
Government’s top climate adviser warns policymakers will be judged harshly by future generations if they don’t act now The government’s official climate change adviser says politicians and policymakers are failing to rise to the challenge of a rapidly warming planet and will be judged harshly by future generations unless they act now. Lord Deben, chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC), said “anyone who read the news” could see mounting evidence of alarming trends – from melting polar ice to record heatwaves and rising sea levels. He called on politicians to “make the connections” between these events and act with more urgency. Continue reading...
07/16/2018 - 05:00
But global warming will. Eleven teams participated in a recent Stanford Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) project, examining the economic and environmental impacts of a carbon tax. The studies included “revenue recycling,” in which the funds generated from a carbon tax are returned to taxpayers either through regular household rebate checks (similar to the Citizens’ Climate Lobby [CCL] and Climate Leadership Council [CLC] proposals) or by offsetting income taxes (similar to the approach in British Columbia). Among the eleven modeling teams the key findings were consistent. First, a carbon tax is effective at reducing carbon pollution, although the structure of the tax (the price and the rate at which it rises) are important. Second, this type of revenue-neutral carbon tax would have a very modest impact on the economy in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). In all likelihood it would slightly slow economic growth, but by an amount that would be more than offset by the benefits of cutting pollution and slowing global warming. Continue reading...
07/16/2018 - 03:40
Baby spiders were abandoned in pots and RSPCA says witness saw parents scuttling away Two tarantulas may be on the loose in a village after three of their babies were found abandoned in a car park. The RSPCA said it had rescued the baby Brazilian bird-eating spiders after they were found discarded in pots in Derbyshire. Continue reading...
07/16/2018 - 01:05
The government has shaken up the UK research system. But fossil fuels, not low-carbon technologies, still seem to be in the driving seat. A new report by Richard Jones and James Wilsdon invites us to question the biomedical bubble - the slow but steady concentration of research and development (R&D) resources in the hands of biomedical science. A provocative case, it’s already generated some discussion. Here, I want to pick up a point that might be easily missed amongst fights over the role of biomedicine: the all-too-small amount of resource being put towards decarbonising energy. Continue reading...
07/16/2018 - 00:01
Amount of rubbish burned by local authorities triples while household recycling rates stall England is on the brink of burning more of its rubbish in incinerators than it recycles for the first time, according to a new analysis. The amount of waste managed by local authorities and sent to incinerators, or energy-from-waste plants, tripled between 2010-11 and 2016-17. By contrast, household recycling rates have stalled since 2013. Continue reading...
07/16/2018 - 00:00
19 July 1918 Clean-edged oblongs and circles cut from leaves are used to build the cells of their nests On two or three occasions I have referred to the wonderfully neat work of the leaf-cutter bee, and I have just received some Marechal Niel rose leaves from Rock Ferry from which clean-edged oblongs and circles have been nibbled out. The leaf-cutter bees are not unlike our honey bees to look at, but their habits are very different. The pieces cut from the leaves are used to build the cells of their nests, and very wonderful cells they are. The cells lie end to end, and are packed into a tunnel or burrow, in some species in the ground, in others in woodwork or timber, or in a hole in a wall. The long fragments are folded one upon the other to form a thimble-shaped tube with a convex base; the round bits form the door, which is concave. The end of one cell fits into the door of the next. Each cell is half filled with pollen as food for the future grubs, an egg is laid upon this, and then the door is sealed up; the grub hatches and lives upon the food until it pupates and emerges as a perfect bee. Related: The leafcutter bee: Country diary 100 years ago Continue reading...