‘World’s Smartest’ Aquarium Helps Researchers Study Climate Change

Written by on August 1, 2013 in Marine Life

Daily Summary

Crown of thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci.

Crown of thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci. Photo credit: David Burdick, NOAA.

Australia opens “world’s smartest” aquarium (link no longer active)

A new research aquarium opened in Townsville today. The National Sea Simulator (SeaSim) is housed at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and can simulate ocean warming and help researchers study the deadly crown-of-thorns starfish that poses a major threat to the Great Barrier Reef. The only difference between the “world’s smartest aquarium” and the real ocean is that the aquarium has walls.

Polar ecosystems vulnerable to sunlight

New research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Australian Antarctic Division predicts that biodiversity in some parts of the polar sea bed could decline by as much as one third over the next few decades. The loss of biodiversity will be a result of warming poles, and will depend on the timing of the annual loss of sea-ice in polar regions. Even a slight shift in the timing of the ice melt could allow more sunlight to reach the sea floor, leading to widespread ecosystem shifts.

Zoo bear sports high-tech neckwear for conservation

Tasul is a polar bear living at the Oregon Zoo who is helping researchers study climate change. Tasul was recently fitted with a collar that has a video camera and an accelerometer–a device that can detect minute changes in motion and direction of movement. By combining the video recordings with the electronic signals from the accelerometer, researchers will calibrate Tasul’s everyday movements to the electronic signals. Once the researchers know how the movements match with the signals they will be able to use similar collars (without cameras) on free-roaming bears in the Arctic. This will allow researchers to study the bears’ movements without direct observation, which will help them understand how they are reacting to the loss of sea ice.

Learn more by watching the following video:

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 MarineScienceToday.com. 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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