Breaking Waves: Ocean News

07/07/2016 - 16:24
Ocean Leadership ~ (Click to enlarge) Fish school at Pearl and Hermes Atoll. (Credit: NOAA, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument) From plants and crustaceans to birds and mammals, species across the food chain in the United Kingdom are shifting how they respond to seasonal changes, and British researchers say climate change is a major reason why. (From Scientific American / by Niina Heikkinen)– Stephen Thackeray, a lake ecologist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Lancaster, England, said not all species were responding to environmental changes in the same way. The predatory species at the top of the food chain were changing the timing of their seasonal activities more slowly in response to warmer temperatures than other organisms. This suggests that species lower down on the food chain will change their behavior more as temperatures continue to rise. “It’s important to note that our projections are not saying absolutely that we will have widespread de-synchronization across all ecosystems. What we’re saying is this kind of effect is likely, at least in some systems and possibly over quite broad scales,” he said. Thackeray was one of more than two dozen researchers who participated in a recent Nature study that analyzed how 800 species responded to increases in temperature and precipitation in the United Kingdom between 1960 and 2012. While previous research has explored how climate change throws species behavior and development patterns out of sync with each other, this was one of the first to take a broad national look at how those changes varied among species on different levels of the food chain. The researchers also modeled how these species were likely to respond in the future. Based on past patterns, they predicted crustaceans, fish and insects would show greater seasonal changes than species like freshwater phytoplankton, birds and mammals. “Species generally have been more sensitive to temperature change than they have been to precipitation change, and I suspect that is probably because the U.K. is a relatively wet country and maybe precipitation isn’t really a limiting factor for many of the species here,” Thackeray said. The researchers’ findings did not mean that other species around the world would follow similar patterns. For example, precipitation could play a much greater role in species behavior in other countries. Read the full article here: The post Climate Change Could Alter Interactions Among Species appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
07/07/2016 - 14:57
Critics point to volatility of scheme but energy department says price ‘will not affect bill payers’ The total lifetime cost of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could be as high as £37bn, according to an assessment published by the UK government. The figure was described as shocking by critics of the scheme, who said it showed just how volatile and uncertain the project had become, given that the same energy department’s estimate 12 months earlier had been £14bn. The latest prediction comes amid increasing speculation about the future of the controversial project in Somerset, whose existence has been put in further doubt by post-Brexit financial jitters. Continue reading...
07/07/2016 - 13:31
Ice sheets, deserts, rivers, islands, coasts and oceans -- the features of Earth's surface are wildly different, spread across a vast geography. The same is true for Earth's thin film of atmosphere and the mix of gases it holds, although the details are invisible to human eyes. Pollutants emitted to the atmosphere -- soot, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides -- are dispersed over the whole globe, but remote regions are cleaner, by factors of 1000 or more, than areas near the continents. A new NASA airborne campaign aims to map the contours of the atmosphere as carefully as explorers once traced the land and oceans below.The Atmospheric Tomography, or ATom, mission is the first to survey the atmosphere over the oceans. Scientists aboard NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory will journey from the North Pole south over the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand and then across to the tip of South America and north up the Atlantic Ocean to Greenland. ATom will discover how much pollution survives to the most remote corners of the earth and assess how the environment has changed as a result.
07/07/2016 - 13:30
Social care | Women cleaning up the mess | Artificial turf | Resigning | Fishermen and Sturgeon The plain fact is that we are not going to get proper funding for social care until we see providers either exiting the market, or refusing unsustainable contracts (Letters, 7 July). This must be a warning to local authorities and the government that once this sector starts to fail it will also bring the NHS to breaking point because nobody can be discharged. At which point we hope the minister of state might finally get it into his head that social care is an essential part of the system.Professor Martin GreenChief executive, Care England • So Die Welt writer Mara Delius expresses the view that Merkel, May, Sturgeon et al are coming along to “clean up the mess created by the men” (Report, 6 July). Or, as the teacher Mrs Lintott put it in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys: “History is women following behind, with a bucket.” Precisely.Margaret FarnworthLiverpool Continue reading...
07/07/2016 - 12:25
Around 90% of the world’s stocks are now fully or overfished and production is set to increase further by 2025, according to report from UN’s food body Global fish production is approaching its sustainable limit, with around 90% of the world’s stocks now fully or overfished and a 17% increase in production forecast by 2025, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Overexploitation of the planet’s fish has more than tripled since the 1970s, with 40% of popular species like tuna now being caught unsustainably, the UN FAO’s biannual State of the world’s fisheries report says. Continue reading...
07/07/2016 - 12:21
Ocean Leadership ~ (Click to enlarge) Clown fish (Credit: Jeffrey Pott / Flickr) Clownfish became a household name over a decade ago when Disney released the movie “Finding Nemo.” Found exclusively in the Indo-Pacific, clownfish are symbiotic animals that only live in sea anemones, a close relative of corals that don’t have a hard outer shell. The anemone provides a home and protection for the clownfish, while the clownfish provides food for the anemone. (From– As global concern grows for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – which is experiencing the worst bleaching event in its history due to sustained high ocean temperatures amid a strong El Nino weather pattern – University of Delaware researcher Danielle Dixson has co-authored a paper demonstrating how vulnerable clownfish are to the increased frequency of bleaching events. Published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences and co-authored with Anna Scott, a researcher at Southern Cross University in Australia, the paper illustrates that while clownfish can identify – through smell alone – if their potential home is bleached or healthy, they are inflexible in selecting a habitat. “Unfortunately, our research has shown that bleaching does not break the symbiotic relationship between the anemone and clownfish. Clownfish are so behaviorally linked to one or a few particular anemone species for a home, that it limits their ability to acclimate if an entire reef bleaches,” explained Dixson, an assistant professor of marine science and policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “This means that clownfish are setting themselves up for bigger risk because we know that fish that go to bleached coral or anemones have an increased predation risk.” Read the full article here: The post Saving Nemo: Bleaching Threatens Clownfish appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
07/07/2016 - 12:14
Average temperature of 71.8F is 3.3F above 20th-century average for the month and comes amid a string of climate- and weather-related calamities The US experienced its warmest ever June last month, with a scorching summer set to compound a string of climate-related disasters that have already claimed dozens of lives and cost billions of dollars in damage this year. Worldwide, heat records have been broken for 13 months in a row, an unprecedented streak of warmth that has stunned climate scientists and heightened concerns over the future livability of parts of the planet. Continue reading...
07/07/2016 - 12:00
About 90% of forests off the western coast were wiped out between 2011 and 2013, posing a threat to biodiversity and the marine economy, say scientists A hundred kilometres of kelp forests off the western coast of Australia were wiped out by a marine heatwave between 2010 and 2013, a new study has revealed. About 90% of the forests that make up the north-western tip of the Great Southern Reef disappeared over the period, replaced by seaweed turfs, corals, and coral fish usually found in tropical and subtropical waters. Continue reading...
07/07/2016 - 11:00
During the Ordovician period, the concentration of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere was about eight times higher than today. It has been hard to explain why the climate cooled and why the Ordovician glaciations took place. A new study, published in Nature Communications, shows that the weathering of rock caused by early non-vascular plants had the potential to cause such a global cooling effect."When we can better understand the carbon cycle in the past, we can better predict what happens with the climate in the future," says Philipp Porada of Stockholm University, one of the authors of the study.
07/07/2016 - 10:40
New research based on ocean models and near real-time data from autonomous gliders indicates that the "The Blob" and El Niño together strongly depressed productivity off the West Coast, with The Blob driving most of the impact.The research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by scientists from NOAA Fisheries, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and University of California, Santa Cruz is among the first to assess the marine effects of the 2015-2016 El Niño off the West Coast of the United States."Last year there was a lot of speculation about the consequences of 'The Blob' and El Niño battling it out of the U.S. West Coast," said lead author Michael Jacox, of UC Santa Cruz and NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center. "We found that off California El Niño turned out to be much weaker than expected, The Blob continued to be a dominant force, and the two of them together had strongly negative impacts on marine productivity."