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Explore the Mariana Trench with Okeanos

Published 2016-05-03

Scientists, engineers, and technicians aboard the NOAA Okeanos Explorer began a journey in 2016 to map and explore deep and remote areas of the oceans surrounding the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Wake Atoll, and the Marianas Trench National Monument. The 2016 field season for the Okeanos Explorer marks the second year of the Campaign to Address Pacific Monument Science, Technology, and Ocean Needs (CAPSTONE). The purpose of this campaign is to collect baseline biological, geological, and oceanographic information to support science and management of... (more)

Coral bleaching in a global index

Published 2016-04-19

In a world of growing scientific knowledge and an explosion of data, it is a difficult task to synthesize a high number of studies to make conclusions that drive political, management, and research decisions. In the field of coral reef science, the literature on coral bleaching and the susceptibility of corals to thermal stress is rapidly expanding. In an attempt to gather and group this information for coral reef conservation, Swain and colleagues (2016) have conducted a major meta-analysis of the coral bleaching data currently available and created a “global index” of the most sensitive... (more)

Tidepools sensitive to acidification at night

Published 2016-03-29

Researchers from Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of California Davis and the University of California Santa Cruz have found that ocean acidification may actually impact calcifying organisms in coastal tide pools more at night than during the day. Ocean acidification is the process by which carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, changing the chemistry of the seawater and making it more acidic. This increase in acidity is a problem for organisms that extract calcium carbonate from the seawater to deposit shells and skeletons, making it more difficult for... (more)

Discovery of a Bluefin Tuna Spawning Area

Published 2016-03-15

The recent discovery of an Atlantic Bluefin tuna spawning area has researchers and fishery officials talking about a new approach to stock assessment. During the summer of 2013, scientists with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and the University of Massachusetts in Boston recorded evidence of Bluefin tuna spawning activity in an area called the Slope Sea, off the coast of the northeastern United States. Previously, Bluefin tuna were only known to spawn in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. What does the discovery of this spawning area mean for stock assessments of this... (more)

A new view on CO2 exchange in the ocean

Published 2016-03-02

A research team at the University of Exeter and Heriot-Watt University in the UK have developed a new tool that may allow scientists to take a more large-scale look at the dynamic exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean. Although about a quarter of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year ends up in the ocean, the mechanisms of this exchange still remain to be fully understood. At first thought, it may seem like a good thing that the oceans are absorbing the carbon produced by humans – but on the contrary, ocean acidification as a result of increases in CO2 has... (more)

Warming oceans spreading marine diseases

Published 2016-02-16

Photo credit: CBS News As ocean temperatures increase, many marine scientists are concerned about the accelerated spreading of marine diseases. In a special disease-themed issue of the journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, two Cornell University studies highlighted the immediate need to understand the impacts of climate change on marine diseases. (Maynard et al. 2016) The Maine lobster is an economically important species and a large portion of the New England fishing industry. Shell diseases have had strong impacts on the southern Main lobster fishing industry... (more)

Ship noise overlaps with whale frequencies

Published 2016-02-02

In the Salish Sea, off the coast of Washington State, three pods of orcas (J, K, and L) make up the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. This population of orcas is designated as endangered and is tracked closely by researchers to monitor their health, survival, and movement. J, K, and L pods each have a distinct dialect of clicks, whistles, and calls that are used to hunt and communicate. The Southern Residents primarily eat Chinook Salmon, another endangered species in the Pacific Northwest. In a recent study, researchers have found that ship noises in the heavily traveled... (more)

Challenge to reform STEM education

Published 2016-01-12

Graphic source: National Science Foundation STEM Education As scientific research technologies develop, education instructional methods are changing to prepare students in STEM disciplines to meet career challenges in the 21st century. In the past few decades, inquiry-based instruction methods have become more prevalent in an attempt to increase student engagement and development of real world skills. While many K-12 schools have shifted towards this problem-solving and integrative teaching strategy, some argue that universities and colleges are behind the pace. A group at Michigan State... (more)

Light Pollution Alters Coral Spawning

Published 2015-12-29

As development in coastal areas increases, scientists are concerned about the impact of light pollution on marine life. Light pollution is most commonly known to affect sea turtle hatchling behavior, altering their movements when they confuse city lights with moonlight. Now, biologists in Israel and Australia are finding that exposure to artificial light may hinder the reproductive capacity of corals. Coral spawning is triggered my the amount of moonlight during certain lunar phases. Because coral spawning is one of the most important processes for persistence of reef building corals, a... (more)

Fishy Business: Seafood Labeling

Published 2015-12-15

New policies implemented in Europe to halt fish fraud may be working, according to a new study from European researchers. As economic pressure rises in fish markets because of decreases in resources and an increase in demand, labeling fraud has become a more prevalent issue. In the past few years, a series of scientific studies have found that up to 40% of seafood products including cod, tuna, hake, and plaice are mislabeled. In an effort to increase transparency and consumer trust, the European Union has put new policies in place to combat fish fraud. As part of the LABELFISH project... (more)