ocean ecosystems

Without sharks the entire oceans ecosystem would break apart and quickly lose its balance. They’ve been keeping oceans healthy for over 400 million years, so maybe show a little respect for them.

Hi guys! I’m doing a series of ocean conservation pieces to put on redbubble and this is part one. 

The bluefin tuna is grossly overfished, and population has dropped to endangered levels. Due in part to the sushi industry, populations continue to drop as the demand for tuna rises. The bluefin tuna is a top predator, and if it disappears, the impact on ocean ecosystems will be large. Consider stopping your consumption of tuna, or limiting it to tuna that was caught with sustainable fishing. 

All profit I make on these sales will be donated to Sea Shepherd to promote ocean conservation and protect the tuna.

Buy it here!

The grass is always greener! March marks Seagrass Awareness Month, a time to recognize the importance of healthy seagrass beds in maintaining our ocean’s health. 

In places like Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, eelgrass – a type of seagrass – provides a primary food source for a variety of marine animals, and protection for others. In addition, seagrasses can help filter pollutants out of the water and prevent erosion, keeping the water column healthy and clear. 

Here, otters raft together in Elkhorn Slough, a tidal salt marsh in Monterey Bay, where they provide a critical service to eelgrass beds. Otters help protect these precious grasses by munching on predators like crabs that would otherwise threaten eelgrass beds. 

What will you do to make like an otter and protect seagrasses? 

(Photo: Becky Stamksi/NOAA)

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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

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

This innovative ocean garbage collecter could save us all

Boyan Slat’s solution for ocean pollution came to life on Thursday when a prototype of his product — a system that uses the sea’s currents to collect debris — was put to the test for the first time.The floating ocean cleaning device arrived in the North Sea on schedule and everything went as planned. When devising a name for his potentially revolutionary prototype, Slat asked the internet for help — and the result was hilarious.

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Corals like this one in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary are gorgeous, diverse marine species found throughout our world’s ocean. But did you know that corals actually provide humans several critical services? 

In addition to sustaining biodiversity and providing us food, medicine, and recreational opportunities, coral reefs can serve as a critical, natural defense for coastal communities. Healthy coral reefs like those in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary can diffuse much of the energy of hard-hitting ocean waves before waves ever reach the shore, helping to protect coastlines from damage, especially in the event of a large storm. 

(Photo: Tom Moore/NOAA) 

New illustration in my Food Chain series. 

 Available in my shop at: Visit https://www.etsy.com/listing/239687784/ocean-chain-desert-art-print?ref=listing-shop-header-3

Why is biodiversity important to national marine sanctuaries?

“Biodiversity” refers to the variety of different types of species in a given ecosystem. Many national marine sanctuaries support enormous biodiversity. By protecting these ecosystems, we can ensure they thrive for future generations.

This elephant seal knows and will shout it out loud: biodiversity is an important and essential part of the National Marine Sanctuary System!

Transcript beneath the cut.

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At dinner

friend: “Omg this tuna is amazing!!!”
me: “oh”
Me, internally, while remaining silent: 90 PERCENT OF LARGE FISH SPECIES HAVE BEEN WIPED OUT SINCE THE BEGINING OF LARGE SCALE FISHING OVERFISHING IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST THREAT TO THE OCEANIC ECOSYSTEM ONE THIRD OF ALL ANIMALS CAUGHT ARE BYCATCH AND ARE KILLED FOR NO REASON TRAWLING NETS DESTROY THE INTRICATE LANDSCAPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN FISH ESSENTIALLY SUFFOCATE TO DEATH BY BEING TAKEN OUT OF WATER WE WILL BASICALLY HAVE NO OCEAN LIFE IN A FEW DECADES :))))))

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Carbon emissions are choking our atmosphere — and we just hit a terrifying milestone

Sadly, the South Pole’s CO2 just hit 400 parts per million (ppm), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is the first time the region has reached a concentration over 400 ppm in 4 million years. 350 ppm is regarded as the safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But wait it gets worse, there’s even more devastating news.

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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. 

Stories from the Blue: Quinault Indian Nation Razor Clam Dig

Located off the coast of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary works closely with four indigenous communities: the Quinault Indian Nation and the Hoh, Makah, and Quileute tribes. These communities have forged inseparable ties to the ocean environment, maintaining traditions of the past while they navigate the challenges of the present.

Razor clams are an important resource for the Quinault Indian Nation. Historically, razor clams provided sustenance and served as trade items; today, annual razor clam digs help supplement Quinault income.

Watch our Stories from the Blue video to learn about the Quinault Indian Nation’s razor clam digs and how the nation and the sanctuary work together to protect culturally-important ocean ecosystems.

We still haven’t mapped out most of the ocean — but that could be about to change

Star Trek may have said space is the final frontier — but we actually have a huge patch of unexplored terrain right here on Earth. Ocean maps exist, but they’re fuzzy; we’ve mapped only about 5% of the ocean floor in detail. Since the oceans make up 70% of the Earth, that leaves most of our planet unexplored. A new project called General Bathymetric Chart of Oceans is seeking to create a comprehensive map of the bottom of the ocean — and they need to do it now, for all of us.

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With all of the hype with bath bombs and “omg look how pretty, let me share on Instagram!” and the pressure to buy only the most current and trendy things, I think a lot of us forget about the core values Lush carries and all of the charity work we do and the morals we carry.  With the start of the “You Won’t Miss a Bead” campaign, I find this a golden opportunity to show that Lush is doing so much more than giving you Instagram material.  Check this video out about the dangers of microbeads in products and why Lush only uses natural, ecofriendly materials!

A New Report Just Took A Look at Plastic in the Ocean and It Isn’t Pretty

A new study in Science earlier this month tried to quantify our oceans’ broader plastic problems with some pretty terrifying results. In 2010 alone, researchers calculated that of the 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste generated in 192 coastal countries, anywhere from 4.8 to 12.7 million MT of that entered the ocean––or 10.5 billion to 28 billion pounds. As Mother Jones’ Climate Desk points out, the median of those two calculations is almost 1.5 times the weight of the Great Pyramid at Giza, in plastic, in the oceans. What’s more, those numbers are only expected to rise.

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