Breaking Waves: Ocean News

02/24/2020 - 12:33
Several members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk nation arrested in growing political crisis for Justin Trudeau Police in Canada have removed Indigenous activists from a railway line in Ontario, where a two-week protest against a contentious natural gas pipeline has blocked train traffic and fueled a growing political crisis for prime minister Justin Trudeau. The Wet’suwet’en nation have lived on their territories in what is now British Columbia for thousands of years. They have never signed treaties or sold their land to Canada.  Continue reading...
02/24/2020 - 12:09
Environmental group’s lawyers said they knew boarding North Sea rig was in contempt of court Greenpeace faces a heavy fine after admitting that its climate activists boarded a North Sea oil rig in defiance of a court order last year. Transocean, the US-based drilling contractor, has asked the court of session in Edinburgh to impose unlimited fines on Greenpeace UK and consider jailing its executive director, John Sauven, for contempt of court. Continue reading...
02/24/2020 - 11:30
Latest fortnightly survey shows a majority of Australian voters support net zero either strongly or somewhat A clear and growing majority of Coalition voters support the Morrison government adopting a net zero target for 2050, with support for that proposition climbing 12 points in a month, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll. The latest fortnightly survey shows a majority of Australian voters support net zero either strongly or somewhat (75%, up four points in a month), and 68% of Coalition voters in the sample hold that positive view. Last month, the proportion of supportive Coalition voters was 56%. Continue reading...
02/24/2020 - 10:44
Ocean Leadership ~ Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Distinct microbiomes flourish around sunken ships as they become artificial reefs, new research in the Gulf of Mexico reveals. (From The New York Times/ By Katherine Kornei) —Off the coast of Mississippi, under 4,000 feet of water, a luxury yacht is slowly disintegrating. Marine creatures dart, cling and scuttle near the hull of the wreck, which has been lying undisturbed for 75 years. But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this shipwreck and others, researchers have now shown — distinct assemblages of microbes inhabit the seafloor surrounding these structures, helping to turn shipwreck sites into artificial reefs rich in life. Shipwrecks are trespassers on the bottom of the ocean, human-made structures decidedly out of their element. But a wreck’s intrusion gradually becomes welcome as various forms of marine life seek refuge among the steel and wood. The macroscopic animals that inhabit shipwrecks are only there thanks to much smaller forms of life, said Leila Hamdan, a marine microbial ecologist at the University of Southern Mississippi. That’s because microbes like bacteria and archaea coat surfaces in a sticky layer, a biofilm, that functions as a chemical and physical come-hither call for larger creatures such as barnacles and coral, Dr. Hamdan said. “A shipwreck can never become an artificial reef unless the microorganisms are there first.” Her team is researching how the presence of a shipwreck affects microbial communities. This field of research, shipwreck microbial ecology, is a niche area of study that spans archaeology, biology, ecology and marine science, she said. “As far as we know, we’re the only ones doing it right now.” In September 2018, Dr. Hamdan and her colleagues departed from Gulfport, Miss., aboard the research vessel Point Sur. Roughly 70 miles off the coast, the team lowered a remotely operated vehicle called Odysseus into the 80-degree water. Within 45 minutes, Odysseus’ seven thrusters had propelled it to the seafloor. There, it began emitting sonar pings to locate Anona, a shipwreck first discovered in the 1990s that the team knew was nearby. In September 2018, Dr. Hamdan and her colleagues departed from Gulfport, Miss., aboard the research vessel Point Sur. Roughly 70 miles off the coast, the team lowered a remotely operated vehicle called Odysseus into the 80-degree water. Within 45 minutes, Odysseus’ seven thrusters had propelled it to the seafloor. There, it began emitting sonar pings to locate Anona, a shipwreck first discovered in the 1990s that the team knew was nearby. The 117-foot yacht, built in the early 20th century for a Detroit industrialist, was once sumptuously appointed in mahogany and teak, with a social hall that featured a piano. It sank in 1944, when the steel plates beneath its engines buckled during a voyage to the British West Indies. (The structural failure sent the crew of nine scrambling into a raft, and they drifted for two days before being rescued.) Anona fell to the seafloor upright and intact, its bow pointing toward Cuba. Dr. Hamdan and her colleagues directed Odysseus around the shipwreck. The remotely operated vehicle, about the size of a small car, carried a payload of clear plastic tubes. At predetermined distances from the shipwreck — ranging from about 300 to seven feet — one of the vehicle’s robotic arms plunged a tube the size of a water bottle into the fine gray sediment of the seafloor. The team collected… Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/science/shipwreck-microbes.html The post Member Highlight: Microbes Point The Way To Shipwrecks appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
02/24/2020 - 10:36
Teck Resources’ surprise decision drew outrage from politicians in oil-rich Alberta and cheers from environmental groups A Canadian mining giant has withdrawn plans for a massive C$20.6bn ($15.7bn) tar sands mine, days before the federal government was to decide on whether to approve the controversial project. Teck Resources’ surprise decision to withdraw from open pit Frontier Mine project landed as a bombshell on Sunday night, prompting outrage from politicians in oil-rich Alberta and cheers from environmental groups. Continue reading...
02/24/2020 - 06:00
Conservation groups are fighting the creation of 3,500 gas wells in Wyoming that threaten a 170-mile path The Path of the Pronghorn is a 170-mile migration route that the antelope-like creatures have traveled annually for 6,000 years. It is one of North America’s last remaining long-distance terrestrial migration corridors. And it is at risk. This week conservation groups filed a legal petition challenging the Trump administration’s plan to allow 3,500 new gas wells in south-western Wyoming that would block the route. Continue reading...
02/24/2020 - 02:44
Ahead of the release of its technology roadmap, the Coalition tries to ramp up pressure on Labor over its net zero emissions target Scott Morrison has acknowledged there are “costs associated with climate change” but has declined to spell out what 3C heating would do to job creation and economic growth in Australia. Ahead of the release of its technology roadmap, the federal government is attempting to ramp up political pressure on Labor over its commitment to a net zero target by 2050, blasting the opposition for adopting a target without a fleshed-out strategy to meet it, and pointing out that CSIRO research cited positively by Labor assumes a carbon price of more than $200 to drive the transition. Continue reading...
02/24/2020 - 02:30
Environment Agency issues warning as snow and rain force closure of 250 schools Serious flooding from swollen rivers will threaten parts of England for several days, the Environment Agency has warned, as adverse weather continues to cause disruption. The warnings came as more than 250 schools were closed across northern England on Monday because of heavy snow and rain. Continue reading...
02/24/2020 - 01:30
Negotiations over a 10-year agenda for nature are about to begin. Our ecological future depends on the engagement of every global citizen The year 2020 has been designated a “super year for nature”, when the global community will rededicate itself to halting biodiversity loss with a 10-year action agenda, scheduled for agreement at the conference of the parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Kunming in China in October. On 13 January we published an initial “zero” draft of an action framework, which will be considered at negotiations being held in Rome from 24 February. Continue reading...
02/23/2020 - 22:52
Given the madness in the political debate over a 2050 target, let’s establish some basic facts It’s not news to observe that as soon as anyone mentions climate change policy in Australia, madness generally follows. A fresh outbreak of stupidity in the political debate has been triggered by Labor’s decision last week to sign up to a net zero target by 2050. Given the madness, let’s look at net zero, and establish some basic facts. Continue reading...