ocean ecology

3D ocean map tracks ecosystems in unprecedented detail

Oceanographers are carving up the world’s seas like the last of the holiday turkey. A new 3D map sorts global water masses — from deep, frigid circumpolar waters to the oxygen-starved Black Sea — into 37 categories.

The map groups together marine regions of similar temperature, salinity, oxygen and nutrient levels. It has been available for only a few months, and researchers are still working through how they might use it. But its international team of developers hopes that the map will help conservationists, government officials and others to better understand the biogeography of the oceans and make decisions about which areas to preserve. It could also serve as a data-rich baseline for analysing future ocean changes.

Many existing systems also attempt to classify variations in the ocean, such as lists of large marine ecosystems or the Longhurst biogeographical provinces that are defined by the rate at which ocean life consumes carbon. But these are often limited to surface or coastal ecosystems. The latest effort, known as the ecological marine units (EMUs), is the most detailed attempt yet to cover the global ocean in three dimensions.

“What’s often missing is all that’s between the surface of the ocean and the ocean bottom,” says Dawn Wright, chief scientist of Esri, a geographic information-systems company in Redlands, California, that helped to develop the 3D map. “That’s what our project will hopefully bring to the table.”

This ecological marine unit (EMU) map shows variations in water conditions off the coast of Ireland. Keith VanGraafeiland & Sean Breyer/Esri

theguardian.com
Are jellyfish going to take over the oceans? | Karl Mathiesen
Karl Mathiesen: Like a karmic device come to punish our planetary transgressions, jellyfish thrive on the environmental chaos humans create. Is the age of the jellyfish upon us?
By Karl Mathiesen

Mathiesen’s article has awesome explanation of the study of Jellyfish blooms, and how global warming impacts the expansive smacks across the globe!

Snowing eggs and plankton falling from the water column; (Fungia sp) this coral uses a layer of mucous located on the surface of its tissue, as a sort of ‘conveyor belt’ to transport trapped food directly into it’s stomach.

washingtonpost.com
France becomes the first country to ban plastic plates and cutlery
The ban, to take effect in 2020, is part of a program aimed at making France a model for reducing environmental waste.

Another great step in the right direction to reduce single-use plastics and plastic pollution in the ocean!

• mente •

curiously, “mente” is the portuguese word for “mind” but also for a form of the verb “lying”. somehow, it does not seem like a coincidence. the human mind creates everything around us but it doesn’t rest until it comes across with consequent destructions. maybe, these destructions are based on the lies our minds plant upon ourselves. this painting is based on those type of thoughts and feelings, as well as some environmental concerns. we gotta stop lying to ourselves and start caring about our common home, earth

my art commissions are open, just email me to arumiillustration@gmail.com

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BLEACHING AFFECTS 93% OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

Aerial checks of more than 900 individual reefs showed the spread varies dramatically along its 2,300 kilometres, from 90 per cent north of Port Douglas to less than 10 per cent south of Mackay.  

Coral bleaching is when abnormal environmental conditions cause coral to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae. Loss of colourful algae causes coral to turn white and “bleach” -Bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops and zooxanthellae are able to recolonise them, otherwise it may die.

The Great Barrier Reef has been threatened with mass bleaching due to weather conditions El Niño and the rapid climate change. 

The southern third of the Great Barrier Reef fortunately cooled down late in summer due to ex-cyclone Winston. Researchers expect the central and southern corals to regain their colour and recover over the next few months

youtube

Sand Bubbler Crabs and the Art of Hunting Meiofauna

Sand Bubbler crabs make these beautiful assemblages of sand balls while hunting the tiny creatures that live in wet beach sand.

(via: Center for Biological Diversity)

U.S and China Announce an Agreement on Wildlife Trafficking, Including Ivory, and Ocean Conservation

Fantastic progress on two really important issues. Now the politicians in DC who give a damn about protecting elephants will have to take on the NRA and its efforts to detonate the proposed rule of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to tighten control over our domestic ivory trade.

From the White House Briefing Room:

Wildlife Trafficking

The United States and China, recognizing the importance and urgency of combating wildlife trafficking, commit to take positive measures to address this global challenge.  The United States and China commit to enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies, and to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory.  The two sides decided to further cooperate in joint training, technical exchanges, information sharing, and public education on combating wildlife trafficking, and enhance international law enforcement cooperation in this field.  The United States and China decided to cooperate with other nations in a comprehensive effort to combat wildlife trafficking.

Ocean Conservation

The United States and China intend to pursue actively cooperation on polar and ocean matters, including projects related to ocean conservation and expanding joint polar research efforts, and will work together on the proposal to establish a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.  The two sides also plan to support additional bilateral efforts in these fields, including ocean acidification monitoring and a partnership between the coastal cities of Xiamen and Weihai in China and San Francisco and New York in the United States to share best practices to reduce the flow of trash into the ocean.

youtube

Yes yes yes! What a wonderful idea! A 100% biodegradable six-pack ring, plastic-free and made of barley and wheat leftover from the brewing process. 

We need every beer company to support and switch to these edible six pack rings! In the meantime and if you must purchase a six-pack with plastic rings, don’t forget to cut it up before you throw it out, That way, if it accidentally ends up in the water, no animals will get entangled in the rings. 

youtube

You’re Not Hallucinating. That’s Just Squid Skin.

Octopuses and cuttlefish are masters of underwater camouflage, blending in seamlessly against a rock or coral. But squid have to hide in the open ocean, mimicking the subtle interplay of light, water, and waves. How do they do it?

Squid have tiny organs in their skin called chromatophores. When these organs expand, they reveal more color pigment. When they contract, the color shrinks. The chromatophores allow the squid to blend in with its environment and protect itself from predators,

Take a look at this fascinating video to learn exactly how cephalopods change the colors and textures of their skin! Make sure you set it to the 4k HD setting to get the full experience.

Originally posted by huffingtonpost

MARINE BACTERIA HEAVILY AFFECTED BY OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

Bacteria in our oceans play a crucial role in the global cycle of elements necessary to lifeThey act as the primary degraders of organic material produced through photosynthesis of microscopic algae in the ocean, or material released through wastewater. When algae or other organisms die and are degraded by bacteria, at the same time the bacteria mediate the release of elements like nitrogen or phosphorous that are essential to the food chain

Researchers can now show marine bacteria exposed to acidification are forced to significantly alter their metabolism; from focusing on degradation to investing energy on dealing with the acid in the water. The results were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.  

The result of the study conducted by researchers from Spain, Sweden and Germany, indicates that bacterioplankton adaptation to ocean acidification could have long-term effects on the economy of ocean ecosystems. Bacteria in the sea play a critical role in determining the health of marine ecosystems. For example, in addition to degradation, bacteria synthesize vitamins on which algae and other organisms in the sea depend.