marine organisms

Marine Science

The Year 9 Marine Science class headed to AQWA on Tuesday where they completed a biodiversity challenge in teams. They then spent the afternoon at Murdoch University working in the laboratories there, to identify, classify and count various microscopic marine organisms.

Jo Parker, Science Teacher

Pentagon eyes U.S. troops in Syria

(MCCLATCHY) The top U.S. military officer declined repeatedly on Thursday to rule out committing U.S. ground troops to battle the Islamic State in in Syria, stressing that the Pentagon will present President Donald Trump with “a full range of options” to combat the terror organization.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comments at a Washington research center as the 30 days that President Donald Trump gave military leaders to develop a strategy to fight the Islamic State are almost up.

“I’m in the business of providing the president with options,” Dunford said several times at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. when repeatedly pressed on whether those choices would include conventional ground troops.

from Propaganda Guard
Pentagon eyes U.S. troops in Syria

(MCCLATCHY) The top U.S. military officer declined repeatedly on Thursday to rule out committing U.S. ground troops to battle the Islamic State in in Syria, stressing that the Pentagon will present President Donald Trump with “a full range of options” to combat the terror organization.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comments at a Washington research center as the 30 days that President Donald Trump gave military leaders to develop a strategy to fight the Islamic State are almost up.

“I’m in the business of providing the president with options,” Dunford said several times at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. when repeatedly pressed on whether those choices would include conventional ground troops.

Oil can also affect coral reefs. Oil can come in contact with coral reefs through low tides, rough sea waters, and the mixing of oil with sand. Once oil comes in contact with coral reefs, it can kill them or affect the coral greatly, including their reproduction, behavior, growth, and development. The entire reef system can suffer from spills, including fish, crabs, turtles, shrimps, and other marine organisms. However, the effects this oil has on coral reefs depend on the maturity and age of the coral. 


Organic Tamari Marinated Grass Fed Beef Short Rib (Kalbi) on the grill. Less heavy, less garlicky and 💯 tender and delicious.

One of many meats in the Korean BBQ Sampler
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So, I realized pretty quickly that my Evolution and Biogeography of Marine Organisms was going to be perfect when the guy walks in with his wife. And I’m like, 80% certain at this point that his wife is my teacher for two different classes, but because this is the first day I’m just going to have to see for myself. And so, I’m sitting down, everyone around me seems to be either a second year or a graduate student, the teacher’s drawing a cool graph, his accent is weird but not American, and honestly I’m sitting in the front center row going “I feel like this is the Dead Poet Society; I’m seeing a graph and the guy hasn’t even really started teaching yet.” So I’m just drawing out the graph and taking notes, as one does, and then he introduces the class, and then says “sometimes, there’s froth and bubble lectures, and then, there’s the meaty ones.” And I swear, I thought I’d heard it all, between hearing thongs, maccas, brekkie, and all the other weird words I was convinced was English. I glance for two seconds, wondering if anyone finds it weird that the professor has described my first class of the semester like it was some dog with rabies chasing after a steak of actual content, and when no one seemed phased, figured it was just something people said sometimes. And then the teacher was like, “Now, this is a froth and bubbles lecture, meaning, there’s not going to be much content,” and he goes on and I swear my pen, as usual is the only one moving and he’s like “Now, this means you don’t have to take notes.” 

Now. Those of you who have my blog address know what I did. 

In this hour long lecture, he managed to quote Winston Churchill twice, talk about the time he worked with Darwin’s barnacle collection in Oxford, talked about the inaccuracies in a James Bond movie, citing how James Bond wound up in the Carribean judging on marine life in a movie partially about marine science, used the “American word bounce-backability” because he liked it, an talked about the importance of history. (He’s British.) It was during his talks of history that I set aside the fact this was the weirdest introduction to a world class professor I had met, probably ever, and got to learn about Tindell’s crime in making Latin non-elite in a religious context, got to learn about how my teacher enjoyed pointing out the inaccuracies in guns, and then went on a rant about how Linneaus was a total sham in the terms of his scientific discovery, whipping out the name Petri Artedi like it was nothing, and talking about how the guy had died after becoming drunk and somehow drowning with Lineaus present. I learned Darwin was a barnacle expert, and that the guy Willi Hennig was the one who invented Cladistics, seeing the errors of the taxonomic system. And I’m learning all this information, which remember, the teacher has already mentioned won’t be on the test, because only the “meaty” lectures (which happen half the time?) are on the test. And yet, here I was, trying to preserve how honestly engaging and hilarious this guy was, as he’s discussing science in the context of history and latin. He’s talking about scientists back in the day getting begging licences, declaring latin the “language of isolation”, and making statements all the while about the rates of declining coral reefs throughout the world and endemic species which don’t seem to have any reason to be that way, and ending the lecture with a brief reminder about his views on the existence of species.

This was the moment ladies and gentlemen, when I found a teacher who I knew I would like right away. I know he sounds insane, but he actually knows what he’s talking about, for sure. And hey, I’ll get on board whenever someone tells me my side passions are relevant. 

My other class, Conserving Marine Wildlife, was taught by a weird blend of Teresa Johnson and Aaron Strong. He explained the complexities behind management in a way I would’ve loved had Aaron not discussed this information with me vaguely the semester prior, but I could tell I’d love the class regardless. This class, by the amount of people who raised their hands when the professor asked, is about 90%-95% international students. I recognized plenty of people, and it was rather impressive. I remember this teacher touching on things that I knew from the University of Maine in a now tropical setting, and remained hopeful that I would get to learn some really interesting things about reef management later on in the semester. And then, he mentions North Carolina. 

To be fair, this teacher later on did say Australia was just as bad, but I found it amusing that America had been used as an example in both my classes, this one more so the other. We briefly talked about the failure of the North Carolinian government to properly ensure marine turtle conservation. BUT, something that did interest me was when the teacher said, “Now, I won’t say I support whaling but I’d argue that there is a way to make it sustainable…” because I had been taught the very “Japan and Norway” have a problem perspective, even having “The Cove” in one of my classes curricula. I can’t wait to learn a new perspective. 

OH. And one of my class buildings has a giant aquarium?? I was floored man. It’s a brand new building, sure, but I CANNOT wait for them to add fish to the coral. 

Afterwards, I figured out some details for a field trip I have this weekend, ate food, went to a meeting for my floor, and decided to relax some. I’m trying to sleep at roughly 10 so can wake up at 5. It’s the schedule which allows me to talk to friends and family, so it’s the schedule I keep. 

Scientists have detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans

“A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.”

Read more on or discuss it on HN.

Crisis in Europe: Upon Not Knowing EUnough

By Carman Chew, Xinhua News Agency

Discussion continued in the European Union with disjointed discourse regarding non-tariff trade barriers and jurisdiction. The issues raised had revolved around fisheries, quotas and other convoluted conversations.

First up in the discussion was the non-tariff trade barriers, where Italy raised the point on deregulation leading to “huge losses on multi-billion pound industries”, resulting in the EU losing what little exports they have. The debate then spiralled into outlining what the different non-tariff barriers should be, leading to another open discussion left for another day. Because “fish don’t respect borders unlike people”, Romania continued to suggest setting up a law much like the one in Norway.

Perhaps instead of debating on ways to deal with these autonomous marine organisms, the council could have analysed deeper reasons Norway’s policy may or may not have worked had it been applied to the UK. Although raised a number of times throughout the council, further discussions could also have been carried out regarding the European Economic Area (EEA).

Following this, several working papers were presented. The first of the papers was written by Austria, proposing a new UK jurisdiction with a 15-member tribunal to hear claims regarding investment protection standards. However, this was found to be essentially a copy of the already existent Investment State Dispute Model.

The second paper was a proposal by Sweden to set quotas on trade with the UK, or more specifically, scale down the quota to 90% of current trading between the EU and UK. Fortunately, some delegates still managed to catch the absurdity of this proposal. Italy poignantly captured ludicrosity of the idea, likening this counterproductive policy to “getting shot and then cutting off one’s leg to remove the bullet”. The UK was also “thoroughly amused” with the explicit discrimination towards the country.

Overall, the discussions held by the EU had been marginally more amusing. However, delegates still failed to cover the pertinent points of Britain’s exit, such as the underlying immigration issues and the implications of the UK’s inhibition of free movement on larger issues like the refugee crisis. Moreover, some delegates seemed confused as to what their country’s stance was, sometimes arguing against what their authorities had previously stated.

Although not as important to the Eastern giant, the lack of focus on relevant issues is worrying, casting doubt on both the EU and UK’s ability to maintain the stability of their region in the future. With many questions raised regarding the legitimacy of the countries and its delegates, it is expected that more shall be clarified in the committee sessions to come.

O-Week Day 7

I FINALLY got caught up on my pre-class notes, finishing my Biological Oceanography, Coral Reef Geomorphology, and The Evolution and Biology of Marine Organisms! My Conserving Wildlife: Mammals, Birds, & Reptiles Class still hadn’t given me any readings or lecture notes. From what I can tell, my classes are going to be really great and I’m glad I’ve gotten the readings done ahead of time! My Coral Reef Geomorphology teacher in particular already seems very enthusiastic and my other two classes I’ve prepared for have the same teacher and she seems very through. It’s going to be exciting to get to my classes and see how they teach in a lecture hall. 

This afternoon I went to Riverside, and while I didn’t get in the water, I still had a ton of fun. It was nice, beautiful, and the people were really friendly. They had free food too, so that’s a plus. Nearby there’s also a free community pool and area that’s just really spectacular. I have no idea why it’s free (I suspect taxes), but it’s really convenient for me. I may just bike there to the pool instead of paying fifty dollars for the subpar pool on campus. With the bike I bought, the trek really isn’t that far either so it’s a win-win for working out and having leisure.
Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate
The oceans are losing oxygen, posing growing threats to marine life.

““Schmidtko and colleagues’ findings should ring yet more alarm bells about the consequences of global warming,” added Denis Gilbert, a researcher with the Maurice Lamontagne Institute at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Quebec, in an accompanying commentary on the study also published in Nature.

Because oxygen in the global ocean is not evenly distributed, the 2 percent overall decline means there is a much larger decline in some areas of the ocean than others.

Moreover, the ocean already contains so-called oxygen minimum zones, generally found in the middle depths. The great fear is that their expansion upward, into habitats where fish and other organism thrive, will reduce the available habitat for marine organisms.

In shallower waters, meanwhile, the development of ocean “hypoxic” areas, or so-called “dead zones,” may also be influenced in part by declining oxygen content overall.

On top of all of that, declining ocean oxygen can also worsen global warming in a feedback loop. In or near low oxygen areas of the oceans, microorganisms tend to produce nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, Gilbert writes. Thus the new study “implies that production rates and efflux to the atmosphere of nitrous oxide … will probably have increased.””

CMFRI develops anti-obesity medicine from marine organism

Kochi, Feb 15 (IANS) Kochi-headquartered Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has developed an anti-obesity nutraceutical from seaweeds, the institute said on Wednesday.

Kerala Governor Justice P Sathasivam will release the product during the CMFRI Platinum Jubilee celebrations inaugural function on Saturday, it said in a statement.

CMFRI scientists prepared the product named CadalminTM Antihypercholesterolemic extract (CadalminTM ACe) from seaweeds which are commonly available in the Indian coastal waters and are known for their extraordinary medicinal properties.

Kajal Chakraborty, Senior Scientist in Marine Biotechnology Division of CMFRI, who developed the product, said CadalminTM Antihypercholesterolemic extract can be administered to regulate clinical indicators leading to dyslipidemia or obesity, total adipose tissue and visceral fat, triglycerides besides cholesterol.

“The product contains 100 per cent natural marine bioactive ingredients from selected seaweeds by a patented technology, and would be made available in 400 mg capsules,” he said.

The nutraceutical does not have any side effects as established by detailed preclinical trials.

“CadalminTM Antihypercholesterolemic extract is the only product made from 100 per cent natural marine bioactive ingredients from seaweeds as a natural remedy of obesity,” said Chakraborty.

P. Vijayagopal, Head, Marine Biotechnology Division, said the active ingredients in the product would be packed in plant based capsules to meet the dietary needs of the large vegetarian population in India and abroad.

CadalminTM Antihypercholesterolemic extract is the fourth in the series of the nutraceutical products developed by the CMFRI.

Two anti-arthritic and one anti-diabetic nutraceutical products are the other three products developed by the institute in the past. All these technologies have been commercialised through pharmaceutical companies.

According to CMFRI Director A. Gopalakrishnan, the institute is in the process of developing more health products from the underutilised seaweeds.

“CMFRI is also in the process of standardising and promoting seaweed farming all along the Indian coasts as a livelihood option for the coastal communities. This is expected to compensate for the dip in income for the fishermen during lean seasons,” said Gopalakrishnan.



Limestone ... ?

What is limestone, actually ?  

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, composed mainly of skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, forams and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).
About 10% of sedimentary rocks are limestones. The solubility of limestone in water and weak acid solutions leads to karst landscapes, in which water erodes the limestone over thousands to millions of years. Most cave systems are through limestone bedrock. Limestone has numerous uses: as a building material, as aggregate for the base of roads, as white pigment or filler in products such as toothpaste or paints, as a chemical feedstock for the production of lime, as a soil conditioner, or as a popular decorative addition to rock gardens.The first geologist to distinguish limestone from dolomite was Belsazar Hacquet in 1778.

QUICKLIME, or calcium oxide

Calcium oxide is usually made by the thermal decomposition of materials, such as limestone or seashells, that contain calcium carbonate (CaCO3; mineral calcite) in a lime kiln. This is accomplished by heating the material to above 825 °C (1,517 °F),a process called calcination or lime-burning, to liberate a molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2), leaving quicklime.

Calcium oxide is usually made by the thermal decomposition of materials, such as limestone or seashells, that contain calcium carbonate (CaCO3; mineral calcite) in a lime kiln. This is accomplished by heating the material to above 825 °C (1,517 °F), a process called calcination or lime-burning, to liberate a molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2), leaving quicklime.

Tokio Marine America to Target Fleet Risk Using AlertDriving’s Risk Management Software


Today AlertDriving announced its partnership with the U.S. insurance organization Tokio Marine America (TMA). As an AlertDriving partner, TMA will offer FleetDefenseSM, the world’s most comprehensive driver risk management platform designed to identify, mitigate and monitor driver risk.

“As an Advantage Channel Partner, Tokio Marine America is reinforcing its mission to provide safety, security and peace of mind to its clients,” says Rob Martin, Vice President of Sales at AlertDriving. “TMA can now help fleets train more drivers over larger areas, reducing risk with scalable, behavior-based data.”

Motor vehicle accidents impact workers, their families, businesses and communities on a daily basis. Millions of workers drive or ride in a vehicle as part of their jobs, and traffic crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job fatalities in America. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workplace-driving accidents cost employers an average of $60 billion annually. The good news is that most of these accidents are preventable.

Although employers cannot control roadway conditions, they can promote safe driving behavior by providing safety training to workers, and by setting and enforcing driver safety policies. The AlertDriving program focuses on reinforcing safe driving behavior through an approach that is optimized for adult learning. Drivers are tested at regular intervals, not just once, and the modular design can be customized with local content to target specific collisions.

“Automobile accidents are a leading cause of accidental injury in the workplace. Tokio Marine America is dedicated to helping our clients and their employees remain safe at all times,” states David Gottschall, Senior Vice President, Tokio Marine America, Loss Control Department. “We are excited to partner with AlertDriving to offer our clients defensive driver training courses that will help drivers to recognize unsafe driving behaviors, encourage safe driving habits, and reduce accidents and workplace injuries in return.”

Tokio Marine America (TMA) is the new brand and marketing name for Tokio Marine America Insurance Company (TMAIC), Trans Pacific Insurance Company (TPI), and TNUS Insurance Company (TNUS). For over 100 years, TMA has offered comprehensive commercial property and casualty insurance products to some of the world’s largest and most distinguished organizations in a variety of industries in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. With the highest financial strength rating, A++ (Superior), by A.M. Best Company and an A+ rating for counterparty credit and financial strength by Standard & Poor’s, TMA provides unique insurance and risk management tools from experienced staff.

With over 1 million drivers trained, AlertDriving is dedicated to helping global fleets identify, mitigate and monitor their risk exposure. FleetDefenseSM, the company’s world class driver risk management suite, combines training in over 100 languages with built-in metrics giving fleets standardized risk reporting anywhere in the world.

Interested in offering AlertDriving solutions? Become an Advantage Channel Partner and join a growing billion-dollar industry:

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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries! It’s only with your support that we can successfully protect our nation’s precious marine ecosystems, and we are ever-thankful for you. 

We’re also thankful for the expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which has granted protection to thousands more marine organisms and many critical habitats. This expansion marked a major conservation success for our ocean, and will help protect endangered species like this cuddly monk seal and green sea turtle for decades to come. 

To all of our friends, partners, and supporters, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and a wonderful holiday season! 

(Photo: Mark Sullivan/NOAA)