This Week in Marine Science

Written by on October 4, 2013 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

Seals in Scotland.

Seals in Scotland. Photo credit: saris0000 via photopin cc.

Animal welfare groups demand: take action now to stop ‘corkscrew’ slaughter of seals
Seals and porpoises around Scotland’s coast are being killed in large numbers in what activists are calling the ‘corkscrew’ slaughter. They gave it this name because of the distinctive cuts the animals get when it gets trapped between ships’ propellers and their covers. Scientists have concluded that the slaughter could have contributed to the dramatic decline in harbour seal populations along the east coast.

Bloody Icelandic Whaling Season Ends
A recent announcement declared the end of the 2013 whaling season in Iceland. Since the season began in June, a total of 134 fin whales were killed out of a self-set quota of 184.

Can bacteria combat oil spill disasters?
Typically, oil spills are cleaned up using chemicals that break up the oil and make it more soluble in the water. These dispersants can be have very negative side effects on both marine life and humans. Oil-degrading bacteria, however, can be a safer and more effective solution. One research reminds us that no matter how effective the cleanup is, nature will never completely return to normal after an oil spill so precaution is the key.

Consumption of fish may have little effect on mercury levels in pregnant women
A new study suggests that pregnant women may not need to worry so much about eating fish. The study reveals that fish consumption makes up only seven percent of the mercury levels found in the human body. The researchers were pleased with this information because other studies have found that eating fish during pregnancy has many health benefits for both mother and child.

Disney conservation grant supports coral reef research
The Hawaiian Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) was recently awarded a $24,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to support the Connecting Coral Reefs Worldwide project. The grant will “provide essential support to better understand the coral reefs around Palau.”

Georgia Aquarium: We Have to Capture Beluga Whales in Order to Save Them
Here’s a great follow-up on the Georgia Aquarium’s attempt to overrule the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to deny the import of 18 wild-caught beluga whales.

Link between humans, ocean explored in new Smithsonian exhibits
If you’re in the area, go check out the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. There are three new exhibits that highlight the link between humans and the ocean. “Portraits of Planet Ocean” includes images of marine wildlife by nature photographer Brian Skerry. “Fragile Beauty: The Art & Science of Sea Butterflies” includes amazing sculptures of the tiniest marine snails. “Living on an Ocean Planet” is a permanent gallery with interactive displays that will teach people about our impact on the ocean.

Marine: New rules for cleaning bottoms
New Zealand will soon have new rules for antifouling paints used on the bottom of boats. The goal of the new regulations is to ensure that both the environment and those applying the paints are properly protected.

Private Security: The High Seas’ Unsung Heroes
Check out this insightful piece about at topic we don’t hear about very often: the guards who work to protect ships from pirates. The business of marine security is booming in Britain.

False killer whale.

False killer whale. Photo credit: NOAA.

Rare research into false killer whales reveals anti-predator partnerships
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are one of the least studied species of dolphin. New research reveals how a population off the coast of New Zealand has developed a partnership with bottlenose dolphins to defend themselves from predators.

Russia charges 30 with piracy in Greenpeace protest
All 30 people aboard a Greenpeace ship were charged with piracy after two activists tried to scale an oil platform in a protest of Arctic drilling last month. If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in prison. To learn more about the case, check out this earlier article: Putin says Arctic activists ‘not pirates’ but broke law.

Surface ocean CO2 mapped
An international team of carbon researchers recently released new details about an atlas that maps surface ocean carbon dioxide levels around the world. The Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) will tell us how much carbon dioxide is being absorbed by the oceans annually and how that varies with climate change.

Viewpoints: Are humans capable of protecting the oceans?
A review from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean says the ocean is facing multiple threats, including overfishing, warming waters, and acidification. In this post, several researchers and scientist give share their thoughts on the report and the disappointing state of the ocean. To learn more about the report, check out this article: Oceans face ‘deadly trio’ of threats, study says.

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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