What are scientists up to in your national marine sanctuaries?
In Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, researchers are kicking off an expedition to explore the sanctuary’s deep-sea ecosystems!
Using a remotely operated vehicle, scientists from Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary will explore the sanctuary’s deep-water ecosystems. Photo: Charleston Lab
Located off the coast of Southern California, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary protects remarkable biodiversity, productive ecosystems, and sensitive species and habitats. But more than a quarter of this ocean treasure remains unmapped and little-explored. This month, a research expedition will change that.
Throughout April and May, a team of NOAA-led researchers will explore the sanctuary’s deep seafloor environment. Deep-sea environments like those in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary provide nurseries and habitat for commercially-important species such as lobster, squid, and sea urchins. Some deep coral reefs may also produce chemicals that could be key to the next generation of medicines. However, these habitats are under threat. The two-week cruise on board the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada will shine a light on how these ecosystems are impacted by a variety of stresses facing them, such as ocean acidification.
When we burn fossil fuels like oil and gas, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When the ocean absorbs this carbon dioxide, chemical reactions occur that reduce seawater pH and the amounts of available calcium carbonate minerals. This is known as ocean acidification. Calcium carbonate minerals are the building blocks for the skeletons and shells of many marine organisms, including deep-sea corals.
Lophelia pertusa (white coral at left and lower-right) is a deep-sea coral that is sensitive to ocean acidification. Photo: NOAA
2014 survey results indicate that corals in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are already experiencing effects from ocean acidification, and waters in this area are projected to become even more acidic. Corals support extensive fish and invertebrate populations, including commercially-fished species, so it is important to monitor the potentially harmful effects ocean acidification has on deep-sea corals. Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the ocean acidification team will collect samples of Lophelia pertusa, a stony reef-building deep-sea coral found in the sanctuary. Researchers will also monitor water chemistry in and around reefs to help measure local effects of increased carbon dioxide emissions and to assess this ecosystem’s overall vulnerability to ocean acidification.
Badlands National Park is not in defiance of the president, they are in support of the American People. They don’t work for him, they work for US. Climate change is a direct threat to our national resources, and the most severe threat facing our parks today. This is not a political issue, this is not Democrats vs. Republicans, this is data-backed endangerment of our open spaces and federal lands. If a building is deemed structurally unsound, you fix it, you don’t claim that scientists are lying to you about serious fatigue in the load-bearing members, or else it comes crashing down around you. Climate change is no different, nobody has ever tried to claim that forest fires are a myth invented by the Chinese.
Ocean acidification and the development of calcifying organisms
What is ocean acidification? Increased CO2 results in a lowering of pH in the ocean, making it more acidic. Since cold water absorbs CO2 more easily than warm water, polar regions are more at risk.
How does it impact calcifying organisms? It decreases the saturation state of CaCO3 (calcium carbonate), meaning that animals which produce calcium carbonate shells or skeletons (such as molluscs, echinoderms, and corals) will be severely impacted. Their skeletons and shells may become stunted, deformed, and more porous (see below).
Pictured Above: Echinoderm larvae from tropical, temperate and polar sea urchins under different pH levels (note: the lower the pH, the more acidic). This figure shows that increasing acidity significantly inhibits their development (Byrne et al., 2013). Scale bars = 200 µm.
Whats going to happen? - Species extinctions - A decrease in biodiversity, species richness, and biomass of coral reefs - Food webs will be simplified - Habitat complexity will be reduced - A shift from coral reefs to seagrass/algae based ecosystems in some areas
"I can start with how I went to marine science camp as a kid and end with that time I accidentally brought a flamethrower into the county courthouse" --- PLEASE EXPLAIN IM SO CONFUSED D:
So, when I was a kid, my parents worked full time, so during the summer, my sister and I were enrolled in day-camp so we’d be adequately tired when we got home, and my FAVORITE camp was Marine Science Camp, run by MSI on the banks of redwood creek, right off the San Francisco bay. It was AWESOME: we got to dissect squid, there was a literal shark tank, which we got to fish leopard sharks out of and Tag Them For Scientific Research, ad we’d go out on the boat once a week and do things like haul a net full of fish out, use a scoop to study benthic creatures and look at plankton under a microscope. I realize now we were essentially doing transects, dissections and other field/lab work for a bunch of grad students but it was FUN.
I totally wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up and would tell anyone who asked me what I was into about nematocyts and oceanic acidification until The Adult realized their mistake and fled.
At the same time, I was pursing an aggressive interest in the visual arts, which my parents heavily encouraged, becuase they are excellent parents and because it;s was a QUIET hobby unlikely to result in bodily harm, unlike my sister, who got into karate and Theater, which is a surprising dangerous combination.
But then i got to college and realized an issue with this plan: I, hands down, SUCK at chemistry. I did okay in into becuase I’m great at taking standardized tests, and the teacher got suspended halfway through the semester for getting into a fistfight with another prof for poaching his grad student, but Organic Chemistry was a disaster. I’ve never been good at arithmetic, and balancing chemical equations is something i need the dang molecule models for. So marine bio was a No-Go.
So I switched my major over to Art, which turned out to be kind of a disaster (the school managed to lose an entire semester of my grades because the Art Department kept really sloppy records and i ended up dropping out and resuming college elsewhere) and AMAZING, becuase I took a human figure drawing course with professor [REDACTED] who announced on the third day of class: “SWEET THE FOOLS JUST GAVE ME TENURE. CAN’T FIRE ME NOW, SO LEMME SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE A FLAMETHROWER”
The thing she actually taught us was how to modify a culinary butane torch to empty the canister at a much higher rate than any manufacturer anywhere recommends, which gives you and AWESOME bigass jet of blue flame, but only lasts about 30 seconds per container. She also showed us how to make bandeliers so we could carry multiple containers, “just in case”.
In more practical lessons, we were in class when the first gov’t shutdown happened, so we didn’t have money for models, so she oped to bring in various animals for us to draw instead. there was the usual cats and dogs, but also chickens, horses, a farm hog, a 12-foot Burmese Python and a baby deer that had been abandoned on her porch. It was really fun, both becuase animals are amazing, and becuase they don’t hold still, so you learn to draw REAL FAST, which is a skill that’s served me well since.
A few years later, I was summoned for Jury Duty, and had to show up at the courthouse for selection. HOWEVER, I’d put my usual bag in the wash the previous night, so I grabbed my old school backpack to take with me because I knew I had a sketchbook in there to amuse myself with.
I forgot I also had my flamethrower in there.
I live in a pretty low-crime area, so the metal detectors are actually pretty far into the building- you don’t get scanned until you’re actually going into the courtroom. So for about three hours beforehand, I was sitting in the hallway having a Nice Chat with one of the state park rangers and the CEO of the local call center. We get called in, and as we walk through, my backpack sets off the alarm.
“Fuck.” I say abruptly remembering what would have set it off.
“Do you have anything metal in your backpack?” the security guy asks me. I think he was expecting me to say glasses.
“I forgot that I have my flamethrower in here. I’ll just leave this outside.” I explain, hoping I’m not about to be arrested.
“Please open your bag or leave it outs- your WHAT?” Dude stops halfway through his routine.
“Flamethrower. I made it in art class and will definitely be leaving it here.” I say, carefully putting my bag on the table, zipper open , and pointing at the small butane torch. The guard looks at it, looks at me (pls note, I am small, white, feminine and conventionally attractive so YOU BET privilege was happening here), before deciding that Art People Are Dumb and waving me in after wanding me to make sure I hadn’t accidentally brought anything else in my pockets.
I was not selected for jury duty.
In other news, I still have it, and it still works. I use it for mass-toasting creme brulee.
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
OR, save the reef, stop polluting them with your fucking livestock and causing dead zones, fishing to extinction, and bleaching coral and acidifying the oceans with the methane emissions from your fucking livestock.
“Why does it matter if we overfish tuna? It tastes so good!”
“If the oceans dried up tomorrow, why would I care? I live 500miles away from any body of water!”
The thing is, without the oceans, we would all be dead. Our planet would probably look like Mars. There would be no freshwater, no food for us to eat, no suitable climate for us to survive.
(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Whether you live by the coast, or only see the ocean once a year on holiday, the ocean has an impact on your life. Every breath you take, every food or drinks you have… is thanks to our oceans. Every single individual and living being on this planet is deeply connected, and extremely dependent upon our seas.
The oceans regulates climate, weather, and temperature. They act as carbon dioxide ‘sinks’ from the atmosphere. They hold 97% of the Earth’s water. They govern our Earth’s chemistry; all the microbes and microscopic organisms at the very bottom of the food chain support our own existence. The oceans are also crucial for our economies, health and security.
(Photo credit: Brian Skerry)
The past generations have been raised with the idea that the ocean is huge (and it is) and resilient, and that we could basically take from or put into the oceans as much as we wanted. Now, we found out that we cant go on this way. This mentality is part of our problem and it needs to change.
While we have made tremendous discoveries about the oceans over the last few decades, we have also caused more destruction to the sea than ever before. Many fisheries stocks are overfished, catastrophic fishing techniques are destroying the habitats and depleting populations, many marine species are on the verge of extinction, coral reefs are dying, pollution run-offs from agricultural farms are creating dead-zones where nothing can grow or live, millions of gallons of oil have devastated the Gulf of Mexico, bigger and faster container ships create noise pollution for marine mammals and endangers them…The list goes on, and on. We have had so much impact that we have actually changed the pH of the oceans!
Pretty overwhelming, uh?
So yes, you should care, because if the oceans crash, we as a species are crashing with them. The entire planet Earth will be gone. And if that’s not enough of a wake-up call for you, I don’t know what else could be!
While all the current marine conservation issues appear huge and insurmountable, there is still hope. Each individual can make a difference now. YOU can make better choices about which fish to consume (or not at all!) and ask about the way they were caught or raised, YOU can encourage sustainable fishing practices, YOU can decide not to use fertilizer or pesticides in your backyard, YOU can bring your own reusable bag to the grocery store and stop using plastics, YOU can stop using products with microbeads, YOU can participate in beach clean-ups, YOU can start your own research and discover even more awesome things about the oceans… YOU can spread the word to your skeptic friends! Have people follow in your footsteps; inspire your friends and family. Be the change :) !
Zoos and Aquariums do more to protect species in the wild than any other program, and once a wild habitat is gone it's GONE. Captivity is often their only hope until we can rehabilitate them somewhere. Why do so many people who call themselves vegan have zero understanding of how any of this works? : /
Hi, alumni from the Conservation Biology and Ecology program at Arizona State University here. Let me break it down for you from an evidence-based perspective, since my being vegan leads you to believe I’m just talking out of my ass or something.
In not one of my classes was it ever stated that zoos are fundamental to wildlife conservation. In fact, my biology conservation professor said captivity in zoos is very antithetical to the physical and mental health of large land mammals, especially elephants and big cats.
Rehabilitation programs only work when endangered species have an environment to return to (in many cases, they do not), and the most successful programs I have seen are in closed facilities - not zoos open to the public.
Human beings are causing the sixth mass extinction event, and zoos are not going to help stop global warming, deforestation, ocean acidification, or poaching. Zoos aren’t even a temporary stop-gap solution. It’s a feel-good option for people who want to stare at wild animals in an artificial environment.
wildlife sanctuaries, which put the animals’ welfare first and foremost, zoos place a large amount of importance on giftshop and ticket sales, and that
prioritizes species that are easily identifiable to the public - not animals who are the most threatened.
Chances are, many of you have seen Blackfish and boycott SeaWorld.
While that is admirable, zoos are simply an extension of the captive animal
entertainment industry. Some zoos even make their animals perform tricks
to the detriment of the animals.
The fact of the matter is, you don’t need a BS in Conservation Biology to understand how placing wild animals in pens for us to pay money to look at sounds dubious and suspect. We need to use our critical thinking skills and stop being dogmatically worshipful of these institutions that profit from the captivity of sentient, living beings.
The animal industry has done a really good job of paying off the right people to keep their mouths shut about their role in hurting our planet, because everyone only talks about cars and light bulbs.
However, animal agriculture is the number one cause of:
• greenhouse gases
• habitat loss/deforestation
• species extinction
• ocean acidification
• ocean dead zones
• coral bleaching
• climate change
• water shortages
Earth Day is meant to celebrate the earth and bring awareness to how much we need to protect it. So in light of that, today would be a great day to go vegan!
Every day a vegan can save:
• 1100 gallons/~4167 litres of water
• 30 square feet/~2.8 sq meters of forest
• 45 pounds/~20kg of grains
• 20 lbs/9 kg of CO2 emissions
• 1 animal’s life
It’s one of the single most effective things you can do for our planet, and you can’t go fully vegan, it’s still helpful to cut back whenever you can. If anyone has any questions at all please don’t hesitate to message me.
Please leave all animal products off your plate, not just for the sake of animals and yourself, but for our entire planet. Happy Earth Day!
What’s one of the noisiest animals in the ocean? The snapping shrimp!
These tiny, two-inch animals make a big sound by quickly shutting their snapper claws and releasing a bubble at up to 60 miles per hour. Snapping shrimp like this one can often be heard at Stetson Bank in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. They use their loud snaps to communicate, defend their territory, and in some cases, to stun or kill their prey. Other marine animals use the snapping sound as a cue about ocean conditions and resources.
Unfortunately, ocean acidification can significantly reduce the sound level and frequency of these shrimps’ snaps. When humans burn fossil fuels like oil and gas, we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Some of that carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean and changes the ocean’s chemistry. This changing chemistry seems to be changing snapping shrimps’ behavior, causing them to snap less frequently. You can help the snapping shrimp and the animals that depend on their sounds by working with your community to reduce the amount of fossil fuels you use. What steps will you take to help these noisy little shrimp?
MARINE BACTERIA HEAVILY AFFECTED BY OCEAN ACIDIFICATION
Bacteria in our oceans play a crucial role in the global cycle of elements necessary to life.
They 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.
this scares me the most about what’s going on with all the carbon we are putting into the atmosphere. everyone thinks the ocean is supposed to save us but the ocean can only soak up so much CO2. and the more CO2 the ocean takes up, the more acidic it becomes, which causes calcium carbonate to precipitate into calcium ions and carbonate ions.
which means bye-bye coral reef skeletons, and bye-bye anything with a shell. :(
this literally makes me tear up to think about. humans destroy everything.
Prompt if you'd like: Alex comes back from a conference in Prof. Chic (glasses, sweaters, and button ups) and Maggie teases/flirts with her favorite hot nerd. something something needing tutoring in biology
She doesn’t have time to change before she catches her plane back to National City.
She doesn’t have time to change, so she endures the seven hour flight in her blazer, her pantsuit, her soft blue button-up. Her heels.
She kicks off the damn shoes – they really do hurt more than getting punched by a Kryptonian – the moment she sits down, and a few hours into the flight, she slips her contacts out and puts her glasses on.
She’s been concentrating so hard, reading so much – reviewing so many journal articles, both in prep for and in residual excitement from, her presentation on the latest in bioengineered mechanisms for combating ocean acidification – that her eyes have long-since started to sting, and much as she tends to avoid wearing her glasses in public, the reward of reading the rest of the flight through without that nagging pain more than compensates.
James picks her up from the airport, full of hugs and smiles and questions and damn, Alex, you’re always beautiful, but Maggie is going to flip when she sees you like this that have her laughing, that have her blushing, that have her so, so happy to be back home.
And James is right.
About the way Maggie’s jaw drops when Alex steps through the door, heels loud on their hardwood floor, glasses still set on her nose, blazer just as sharp as it was the first day the met.
About the way Maggie stammers and splutters and gulps.
About the way Maggie collects herself with the clearing of her throat, and replaces her stunned look with a smirk, with confident eyes that border on cocky in just the way she knows Alex likes.
In just the way she knows Alex loves.
“I hope everyone was able to actually listen to your revolutionary nerd ideas instead of just stare at you, Danvers,” she grins, her eyes raking up and down Alex’s suddenly very awake body slow, heady. Wanting.
“Incidentally, they were,” Alex purses her lips and suppresses a grin, taking great care to move slowly, slowly, slowly, as she puts down her bag and steps across the living room toward her girlfriend, eyes never once leaving her face.
“Then again,” she stops just inches away from Maggie’s body, running her fingers through her hair and looking down thickly at her eyes, her lips. “I wasn’t wearing my glasses while I presented.”
Maggie nearly hisses with want at Alex’s closeness, at her touch.
“Those are just for me, huh, Danvers?”
Alex grins. “And the people on the plane with me.” She tilts her head Maggie-style and grins deeper. “And James.”
“Mmm, but do all those people get to touch you like this?” Maggie wants to know, slipping her hands under Alex’s blazer, fingers starting to tease the buttons of her collared shirt.
“Only you, babe,” Alex kisses her deep, kisses her passionate, kisses her way back home.
Maggie sighs into the kiss, into both of their smiles.
“So if the glasses are only for me… and this body is only for me…” Maggie hesitates as her eyes check with Alex that her possessiveness feels warm, not stifling, that her flirtation feels like love, not like ownership.
Alex bites her lip in answer, and Maggie smirks and continues. “Do I also get private biology tutoring from my very… very… hot nerd doctor girlfriend?”
“Hot nerd doctor girlfriend,” Alex chuckles into her lips, and Maggie inhales sharply as Alex traces her tongue down to her throat.
“What can I say, Danvers? You take my breath away, you take my words away…”
“We can start with anatomy,” Alex breathes into Maggie’s ear, and god, is she grateful they sound-proofed their apartment.
The effects of ocean acidification. The top three boxes show coccolithophores under normal pH conditions; the bottom three show lower than normal pH conditions. One of the many reasons why carbon emissions need to be reduced, and fast.