This Week in Marine Science

Written by on December 20, 2013 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

3 Steps to Community-Driven Ocean Zoning
Ocean zoning involves separating the key uses of the ocean and ensuring that they are all allocated appropriate space. The biggest challenges with ocean zoning including accommodating all of the ocean’s stakeholders, balancing all the uses of the ocean, and incorporating the latest scientific data in the decision-making process. The Blue Halo Initiative in Barbuda is taking this challenge on.

A new kind of 'ice' in Antarctica.

A new kind of ‘ice’ in Antarctica. Photo credit: Liam Quinn via photopin cc.

Antarctica may have a new type of ice: diamonds
Researchers have found kimberlite, a kind of rock that often contains diamonds, in Antarctica for the first time. They didn’t find any diamonds yet, but the researchers are confident that they are there somewhere. Don’t worry though, there isn’t likely to be a “diamond rush” in Antarctic, due partly to its harsh climate and partly because of environmental treaties.

Australian Government Puts World’s Largest Network of Marine Parks in Jeopardy
The Australian Government recently announced that it has suspended the implementation of the world’s largest network of marine parks. The creation of this network began more than 15 years ago and is supported by scientists, fishermen, conservationists, business leaders and the general public.

Basking sharks cause huge Scottish offshore windfarm to be shelved
Plans to establish a major new windfarm in the waters of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland, have been dropped. ScottishPower Renewables dropped the Argyll Array project because it was not “financially viable in the short term.” Their reasons included hard rock at the site, challenging wave conditions, and the significant presence of basking sharks in the area.

Ghana combats unregulated fishing
Ghana is working with neighboring coastal states to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in their waters. The West African sub-region, particular the Gulf of Guinea, has been identified as a major area for IUU fishing. Several nations will discuss bilateral cooperation agreements that will reduce IUU fishing and ensure that countries are benefiting from their own fisheries resources.

Loggerhead sea turtle.

Loggerhead sea turtle. Photo credit: NOAA.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nesting Activity Driven by Recent Climate Conditions and Returning Nesting Females
A study published earlier this month reveals that the number of returning nesting females and favorable climate conditions in the year prior to nesting are strongly related to the number of nests produced by loggerhead sea turtles in the Northwest Atlantic. The study suggests that climate effects combined with the cumulative survival from hatchling to maturity, which may take up to 30 years, impacts the annual nesting population size more than the impact of survival during the first (and hardest) year as a hatchling.

New Study Reveals the Biomechanics of How Marine Snail Larvae Swim
Researchers have discovered new information on how marine snail larvae swim, a behavior that is critical to survival. Using high-speed, high-resolution video, researchers could see that the larvae could actually control how fast they swim with slight shifts in the position of their wing-like velar lobes. The researchers compare this movement to the way a bird shifts its wings while soaring. This shows that the larvae have more control over their movements than previously thought. Atlantic slipper limpet, Crepidula fornicata, can change their speed from one body length per second to four body lengths per second.

Net pen aquaculture in deep coastal waters.

Net pen aquaculture in deep coastal waters. Photo credit: NOAA.

NOAA: Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable
A new report from researchers at NOAA’s National Ocean Service reveals that some kinds of fish farming can be sustainable. Researchers evaluated the environmental effects of finfish aquaculture, including interactions with water quality, benthic habitats and marine life. They found that some types of finfish farming can be accomplished with little to no harm to the coastal ocean environment as long as proper planning and safeguards are in place. The report can be used as a tool in the decision-making process when evaluating new or currently operating farming sites.

NOC scientists explore world’s largest undersea canyon
A joint British-German team returned this week from a five-week research expedition, mapping and sampling a submarine canyon off northwest Morocco. According to one of the researchers, Agadir Canyon is “remarkably similar” in size to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but this one hasn’t been fully explored until now. Agadir Canyon is more than 1,000m deep and 450km long, making it potentially the world’s largest undersea canyon. Check out this article to see a cool 3D model of the canyon!

Killer whales.

Killer whales. Photo credit: Kim Parsons/NOAA Fisheries.

Scientists uncover more clues in a whale of a mystery
Resident killer whales on the West Coast have been studied extensively for the last 40 years, but researchers still aren’t sure where they go in the winter. In November, the roughly 300 orcas of the northern and southern resident populations disappear and they don’t come back until April. With the help of acoustic stations set up along the coast, researchers are getting a better picture of where they might go. It looks like they go north, following their favorite meal: salmon.

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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