The Great Barrier Reef, Charcoal, and Robots for Sharks

Written by on April 21, 2013 in Marine Life

Daily Summary

Barrier Reef misses top dive site list

Many Australian divers were upset to learn that the Great Barrier Reef was left off of the popular travel guide Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s top dive spots. Lonely Planet maintains that the list isn’t definitive, but Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators boss Col McKenzie thinks it was done to create controversy. The number one spot went to the Great Blue Hole in Belize. You can see a video of the Great Blue Hole and some of the other top ten spots here: Lonely Planet Removes Great Barrier Reef from Top Dive Sites List.

Belize's Great Blue Hole.

Belize’s Great Blue Hole. Photo credit: wstera2 via photopin cc.

Massive amounts of charcoal enter the worlds’ oceans

Wildfires consume millions of hectares of vegetation every year, leaving only charcoal behind. Scientsits have long thought that this charcoal gets incorporated into the soil where it remains. But an international team of researchers recently found that this isn’t the case; the charcoal gets washed out of the soil and transported by rivers into the sea where it re-enters the carbon cycle. Their study revealed that in any river around the world about ten percent of dissolved organic carbon in the water came from charcoal, meaning that about 25 million tons od dissolved charcoal is transported to the sea every year. While this certainly isn’t good news, the information will help scientists better calculate the global carbon budget.

Shark-Stalking Robot Will Spy on Mysterious Ocean Predators

Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUVs) have been used in the oceans to collect data for decades. Recently, that technology has improved to allow scientists to use AUVs to track moving animals like penguins and fish. Now, scientists will use this method to track sharks for the first time. After a shark is tagged, the AUV will be able to follow it up to 4 miles per hour while staying 300-500 meters behind so it doesn’t disturb the shark. You can see the robot in action in the following video.

Some fish species may never bounce back, says study

A new study reveals some disappointing information: some depleted fish stocks may never recover, no matter how well they are currently managed. The results show that swift action is important; most fish stocks can recover within a decade if action is taken to reduce fishing pressure rapidly. If not, the stock will take much longer to recover, if it recovers at all.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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