Archive for December, 2011
Last updated at 9:19 AM on 22nd December 2011
It certainly is a Christmas card with a difference.
A marine scientist has produced this incredible Christmas card made from his own pictures of plankton.
Dr Richard Kirby has created a festive scene including a decorated Christmas tree, bells, angels and even the Star of Bethlehem.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2011) — In 2011, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added 140 new relatives to our family tree. The new species include 72 arthropods, 31 sea slugs, 13 fishes, 11 plants, nine sponges, three corals, and one reptile. They were described by more than a dozen Academy scientists along with several dozen international collaborators.
Proving that there are still plenty of places to explore and things to discover on Earth, the scientists made their finds over six continents (all except Antarctica) and three oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian), climbed to the tops of mountains and descended to the bottom of the sea, looked in their owns backyards (California) and on the other side of the world (Cameroon).
Their results, published in 33 different scientific papers, add to the record of life on Earth and help advance the Academy’s research into two of the most important scientific questions of our time: “How did life evolve?” and “How will it persist?”
by Steve Connor. independent.co.uk. December 13, 2011
by Underwatertimes.com News Service – December 14, 2011 12:49 EST
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — There’s an unseen foreign invasion going on in the Gulf of Mexico. Its stealth and speed is matched only in the uncertainty it has created among scientists and the people who make their livings from the Gulf’s waters.
Lionfish and black tiger shrimp are only two of more than 40 species of non-indigenous sea life known to be spreading through the Gulf of Mexico from their native waters, but they are seen by many resource experts as the most threatening. Lionfish have been a growing problem in the South Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Oceans Sea for most of a decade, but black tiger shrimp are a relatively new phenomenon. A few were captured in the Gulf of Mexico each year beginning in 2006, but the numbers rose significantly in 2011. During this year, more than 60 of the shrimp were brought by shrimp boats to one dock alone in Louisiana and the first captures off Texas’ coast were reported to the federal government. Three black tiger shrimp were caught in Aransas Bay, one was caught in Sabine Lake and one was caught in federal waters about 70 miles offshore from Freeport.
by Underwatertimes.com News Service – December 14, 2011 19:51 EST
MIAMI, Florida — The science behind counting fish in the ocean to measure their abundance has never been simple. A new scientific paper in Nature Climate Change shows that expanding ‘ocean dead zones’ (areas of low oxygen) driven in part by climate change makes that science even more complex.
Blue marlin, other billfish and tropical tuna are high energy fish that need large amounts of dissolved oxygen. Scientists from the disciplines of oceanography and fisheries biology are sounding an alarm that the expansion of dead zones is shrinking the useable habitat for these highly valuable pelagic fish in the tropical northeast Atlantic Ocean. And as dead zones shrink habitat by depriving fish of areas with enough dissolved oxygen for them to thrive, they squeeze these species into surface waters where they are more vulnerable to fishing.
Coral Reef Fact:
Caribbean Reef Octopus (Octopus briareus) can change its appearance from crimson to green, and bumpy to smooth.
Help protect our amazing marine world today donate at http://reefrelief.org/act/donate
Sixty-day public comment period for Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan
Dec. 14, 2011. www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. PRESS RELEASE
The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees (Trustees) today released the Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) for formal public comment. It is the first in an anticipated series of plans to begin restoration of the Gulf of Mexico to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources, from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
The DERP/EA describes the initial projects proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion Early Restoration agreement announced by the Trustees and BP on April 21, 2011, called the Framework Agreement. The Trustees will hold 12 public meetings in January and February 2012 throughout Gulf Coast communities and in Washington, D.C. to solicit formal public comment on the DERP/EA.
“Public feedback is of the utmost importance, and we encourage people to submit comments and attend the upcoming public meetings,” said Cooper Shattuck, chair of the Trustee Council Executive Committee, speaking on behalf of the Trustees. “This is the first step in beginning restoration of injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. While continuing to accept project ideas, we will move forward with additional phases of Early Restoration until the entire $1 billion is committed to Gulf Coast restoration.” Read more at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/FINALPressRelease-DERP-MultiPage-12.13.2011-1830.pdf
Coral Reef Fact:
Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) can live up to 40 years, but the normal life span is estimated at between 20 and 30 years. Help protect our marine world today donate at http://reefrelief.org/act/
ScienceDaily (Dec. 12, 2011) — Many of the animal species at risk of extinction in the United States have not made it onto the country’s official Endangered Species Act (ESA) list, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.
National “red lists” are used by many countries to evaluate and protect locally threatened species. The ESA is one of the best known national lists and arguably the world’s most effective biodiversity protection law.
Your voice needs to be heard, tell your Representative to support the Reauthorization of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act.
As you know, marine debris (plastic and other garbage in our oceans) is a huge and growing problem. Marine debris is estimated to kill millions of seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year. In all, 270 ocean species are affected by entanglement or ingestion by the roughly 14 billion pounds of trash that flow into our oceans each year.
Faced with this massive assault on our oceans, is there anything we can do? Absolutely.
Since 2006, NOAA has been running a Marine Debris Program in partnership with the Coast Guard. This program uses research, engagement and education to better understand the problem, and to prevent it by changing human behaviors. The program also ventures out into the ocean to remove existing marine debris, reclaiming destructive fishing gear, and other garbage.
This good program is making a difference, and Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) has introduced a bill to ensure that NOAA and the Coast Guard can continue and expand this important work.
Please contact your Representative and tell them to support H.R. 1171, the Reauthorization of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act