Ocean biologists are starting to learn about the world’s largest fish, and the information should help efforts to protect endangered whale sharks.
Giant whale sharks, up to 60 feet long, feed mostly on tiny drifting animals and small fish like sardines. To find enough food, they endlessly cruise vast reaches of ocean to find dense swarms of prey. The learn more, scientists have been tracking the whale sharks in the eastern tropical Pacific, finding that they spend most of their time along ocean fronts, which are dynamic boundaries of cold and warm water masses that stimulate life. Continue reading “New study reveals whale shark secrets”→
There is still some scientific debate about whether global warming is increasing the number of jellyfish on a global scale, but most of the new research seems to weighing in on the “yes” side.
Degraded, oxygen-poor water and other factors are combining to make parts of the sea less habitable for fish, but more suitable for slimy hydrozoans. And while jellyfish have been desirable as a food in Asia for quite a while, the rest of the world is not on board, maybe because of the gristly texture jellyfish acquires with processing. Continue reading “Food for the 21st century: Jellyfish chips?”→
Environmental attorneys are going to be busy the next few years under an onslaught of proposed fossil fuel development projects, including offshore oil and gas drilling.
As part of the Trump administration’s misguided push for “energy dominance,’ the federal government is preparing to create a new new nationwide offshore leasing plan that could open all U.S. waters to dangerous drilling. Last week, the administration said it will ask the fossil fuel industry where it wants to drill. Continue reading “Is offshore drilling coming to a beach near you?”→
Global warming was first identified as a potential threat to sea turtles in the 1980s because the temperature at which the eggs incubate helps determine the sex of the embryos. A new study now adds weight to those concerns, finding that warmer temperatures could lead to higher numbers of female sea turtles and increased nest failure, negatively on the turtle population in some areas of the world. Continue reading “Global warming puts sea turtles at risk”→
Major study shows need for expansion of protected areas
As much as a third of the world’s oceans should be protected to help buffer against long-term climate change impacts, scientists said in a new study, calling for an expansion of protected areas, as well as better management.
Globally, coastal nations have committed to protecting 10 percent of their waters by 2020, but only 3.5 percent of the ocean has been set aside, and less than half of that (1.6 percent) is strongly protected from exploitation.
Results of the study, which evaluated 145 peer-reviewed studies on the impact of marine reserves, is being published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Marine reserves cannot halt or completely offset the growing impacts of climate change,” said Oregon State University’s Jane Lubchenco, former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator and co-author on the study. “But they can make marine ecosystems more resilient to changes and, in some cases, help slow down the rate of climate change. Continue reading “Marine preserves can protect oceans from global warming”→
Defying local communities, Trump seeks to open area for oil drilling
In the bizarro alt-reality universe of Trumpistan, there’s nothing like celebrating the world’s oceans by opening them up for oil drilling — and that’s just what the oil-stained kleptocrat wants to do by authorizing five companies to search for oil off the Atlantic Coast — from Florida to Delaware — using loud seismic airgun blasts that hurt whales, dolphins and other animals. The exploration activities are the first step to opening the Atlantic to new oil drilling.
The move comes even as communities up and down the Atlantic Seaboard have said loud and clear they are not interested. Nearly 100 municipalities from New Jersey to Florida have adopted resolutions rejecting seismic blasting off the East Coast. And more than 40,000 local businesses and business associations have publicly opposed it, citing threats to marine life and local economies. Continue reading “Seismic blasting once again threatens East Coast environment”→
Coral reefs aren’t just threatened by pollution, ocean acidification and over-heated ocean temperatures. In some places they are being undermined by erosion of the seafloor, U.S. Geological Survey scientists said in a new study that looked at reefs in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii.
In the five study sites, the reefs can’t keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.
The degradation of reefs and the subsiding seafloor go hand-in-hand, as sand and other sea floor materials have eroded over the past few decades. In the waters around Maui, the sea floor losses amounted to 81 million cubic meters of sand, rock and other material – about what it would take to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times, the researchers calculated. Continue reading “Sea level rise overwhelming some coral reefs”→