Posted on October 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A supply ship lumbers through the biodiverse waters of the Antarctic Sound. @bberwyn photo.
Ocean scientists are advocating for the designation of quiet zones to help gain a better understanding of how noise pollution affects marine life.
Creating areas where ship traffic is limited would help researchers find the best way to protect marine life from harmful noise, according to a new study published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. By assigning zones through which ships cannot travel, researchers can help find the best way to protect marine life from harmful noise.
Almost all marine organisms, including mammals like whales and dolphins, fish and even invertebrates, use sound to find food, avoid predators, choose mates and navigate. Chronic noise from human activities such as shipping can have a big impact on these animals, since it interferes with their acoustic signaling. Increased background noise can mean animals are unable to hear important signals, and they tend to swim away from sources of noise, disrupting their normal behavior. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: International Quiet Ocean Experiment, marine conservation, marine mammals, Noise pollution, ocean conservation, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A northern rainbow star afflicted with sea star wasting disease. This species had virtually disappeared from central California kelp forests as of February 2014. Photo: Steve Lonhart/NOAA MBNMS.
Unique student research project tracks immune response to virus at genetic level
Biological sleuthing by a group of young marine-disease researchers from around the country may help solve the mystery of a massive sea star die-off along the West Coast.
Millions of the animals have died the past few years. Scientists still don’t why. They suspect a common ocean virus is at fault, and the new study, published this week in PLOS ONE, has contributed key information about the sea stars’ immune response when infected with this virus, which causes the marine creatures to develops white lesions on its limbs and within days dissolve or into a gooey mass. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: marine biology, ocean conservation, sea star wasting disease | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A new marine park off the coast of Chile will help protect important ocean resources. Photo courtesy Enric Sala/National Geographic.
‘A gift to the world …’
The creation of the world’s largest marine park in the Americas could help rebuild fish stocks off the coast of South America, ocean experts said this week, hailing Chile’s announcement that it will protect 297,518 square kilometers as a no-take zone. With the formation of Nazca-Desventuradas, Chile will now protect 12 percent of its marine surface area
“Chile is one of the world’s primary fishing countries,” said Alex Muñoz, vice president for Oceana in Chile. “With the creation of this large marine park, Chile also becomes a world leader in marine conservation.” Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, biodiversity, coral reefs, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, marine conservation, oceans, Chile, National Geographic Society, Oceana, Nazca-Desventuradas | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Shipwreck areas in Wisconsin and Maryland eyed for protection
NOAA is seeking comments on its proposal to designate two areas in Wisconsin (left) and Maryland (right) as national marine sanctuaries. (Credit: NOAA).
Two historic shipwreck sites could be designated as National Marine Sanctuaries under a proposal outlined by President Barack Obama at an international ocean conference today.
In a press release, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it’s the first time since 2000 that the agency has identified new sites for that designation. NOAA is taking public comment on the proposal. Continue reading
Filed under: Archaeology, federal government, ocean conservation | Tagged: Lake Michigan, Mallows Bay-Potomac River, national marine sanctuaries, public lands, shipwrecks, Wisconsin | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Marine mammals around California and Hawaii will get some relief from U.S. Navy training exercises. @bberwyn photo.
‘If a whale or dolphin can’t hear, it can’t survive …’
Whale and dolphins off the coast of California and Hawaii will get temporary protection from naval warfare training activities under a federal court settlement that restricts sonar training and the use of powerful explosives in some areas.
The settlement is in response to a lawsuit from a coalition of activist groups that has been sparring with the U.S. Navy over the issue for about 10 years. The court previously found that the Navy’s activities illegally harm more than 60 separate populations of whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions.
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, marine mammals, U.S. Navy. naval warfare training | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The Exxon Valdez oil spill likely affected fish populations for decades. Photo via NOAA.
Exxon Valdez oil spill fingered in decline of herring, salmon populations
FRISCO — Long-term research that followed up on the impacts of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill suggests that fish and other marine organisms may feel the effects of low levels of toxic crude oil for much longer than previously believed.
The new study shows that embryonic salmon and herring exposed to very low levels of crude oil can develop hidden heart defects that compromise their later survival. The findings, published this week in the online journal Scientific Reports suggest that the delayed effects of the spill may have been important contributors to the decline of some fish populations. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, Exxon Valdez oil spill, oil spills | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 4, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Where will fish go as the oceans warm?
Changes will come at unprecedented pace
FRISCO — Ocean biodiversity is set to change at an unprecedented pace, a team of researchers said in a new study after modeling how global warming will affect some 13,000 ocean species.
The findings reinforce a large body of previous research showing that, in general, many fish will move toward toward the poles looking for cooler water. The researchers pointed out that similar redistributions have happened before — but always on a geological timescale spanning millions of years. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, climate change, global warming, oceans | Leave a comment »