Breaking Waves: Ocean News

05/26/2020 - 15:37
Ocean Leadership ~ As I try to do every Memorial Day weekend, I spent the last few days reflecting on those heroes in our nation’s military who sacrificed their lives for our country’s freedom and prosperity. We owe them and their families an incredible debt of gratitude, and I am forever grateful for their courage as they fought for a brighter future. It has been a great honor to serve alongside men and women of this caliber for much of my life. Now, amidst this current crisis, as we look to a potentially brighter future in a post-COVID world, I am mindful of our present and future ocean heroes, from those striving to better understand the connection between the ocean and human health to those restoring corals reefs and other ecosystems to those developing innovative new technologies to help us explore the ocean. The dedicated efforts of so many across the global ocean community hold great promise for the future, and I am also greatly honored to have served alongside so many of them. This certainly includes Ron O’Dor, who passed away earlier this month. Ron’s transformational work with the Census of Marine Life (COML) provided a profound impetus for us to understand our ocean’s biodiversity in ways never dreamed of even a few decades before. What if, as a true memorial to Ron and many others, we advanced the COML outcomes and the current Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) to a global, real time monitoring and decision-support system that transforms how we understand and predict the health, prosperity, and capacity of ocean ecosystems? That would not only be an excellent memorial, but a massive step forward for ocean observing and biodiversity science – I really don’t see how we ever truly get to a point of “sustainable development” in and near the ocean without doing this. Speaking of ocean heroes, on June 8, World Oceans Day, COL is creating an opportunity to recognize, observe, and cheer on some of our present and future ocean heroes with the first-ever National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) “Battle of the Ages: NOSBs vs PhDs.” This live, virtual competition will feature this year’s NOSB champions from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis, Missouri, who will take on the “Sages of the Sea” – a team of acclaimed COL scientists: Jen Miksis-Olds (University of New Hampshire), Rob Dunbar (Stanford), Kelly Kryc (New England Aquarium), Ruth Perry (Shell) and Monty Graham (University of Southern Mississippi). The match will be moderated by NOSB co-founder Rick Spinrad (president of the Marine Technology Society), and the science judge will be Marcia McNutt (president of the National Academy of Sciences). I want to sincerely thank in advance those brave sages who have agreed to take on this year’s NOSB winners. While they certainly have a leg up in ocean knowledge over the Ladue team, Ladue has the distinct advantage of studying ocean facts, practicing and executing quiz bowl strategies, and gaining experience in buzzer techniques over the last few months and years. I am approaching this exciting event with great optimism that this small example of the selfless dedication of so many educators, researchers, and mentors will spur on the next generation of students, including future ocean scientists, that will lead us into a bright tomorrow.  I think Ron and all the ocean heroes who have gone before us would appreciate that. In Memoriam: Dr. Ron O’Dor Perhaps Ron is best known for his immense contributions to cephalopod ecology and physiology, achieved by using a suite of interdisciplinary techniques including behaviour and ecology, physiology and innovative telemetry tracking techniques. He was an ecophysiologist long before the term became popular. His lab was always filled with repurposed scientific equipment tied together with wire and plumbing bits. In fact, for a time there was a “MacGyver Award” (named after the TV show hero who was always cobbling things together to save the day) in the Biology Department, but it went out of fashion after a while because Ron was in almost permanent possession of the award. One of the favourite contraptions was a squid “swim tunnel” he put together on a field trip to the Azores made out of building supplies and a fish trolling motor. He harnessed this to observe at what current speeds squid switched between fins and jet propulsion. He famously published papers such as the “Choreography of the squid’s nuptial dance” and “The incredible flying squid”. One of Ron’s quests was to know why squid fly – that is, squid not only swim, they occasionally fly, propelling themselves like rockets forward up and out of the water. His response to a journalist when he was asked why they fly was typical Ron: Who wouldn’t want to be a rocket? Why be an astronaut when you can be a rocket? Read more about Ron from the Ocean Tracking Network here Read our most recent and past newsletters here: http://oceanleadership.org/newsletter-archive/ The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: Surrounded By Heroes (05-25-2020) appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
05/26/2020 - 15:11
An international research collaboration has developed a mathematical method that can speed up search and rescue operations at sea. The new algorithm accurately predicts locations to which objects and people floating in water will drift.
05/26/2020 - 13:58
UK to ask for postponement to November 2021 because of coronavirus travel controls Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Vital international climate talks due to be hosted by the UK are expected to be delayed until late next year because of the coronavirus crisis, it has emerged, dashing hopes they could be reconvened sooner. The UN talks, known as Cop26, were to be held in Glasgow this November, but in early April they were postponed as governments around the world grappled with lockdown. At that time governments thought the summit could be reconvened within the first three months of 2021. Continue reading...
05/26/2020 - 10:50
Brown algae are important players in the global carbon cycle by fixing large amounts of carbon dioxide and thus extracting this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Moreover, because microbial decomposition of dead brown algae is slower than that of other marine plants, carbon dioxide fixed by brown algae remains much longer in the sea.
05/26/2020 - 08:00
US startup Apeel Sciences raises further $250m to help tackle supply chain disruption A Californian startup that pioneered a high-tech solution to reducing food waste has secured personal investment from Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry in its latest fundraising drive. Perishable produce such as avocados, lemons and limes stay ripe for twice as long as usual due to an edible spray-on coating on their skin made from plant materials and devised by Apeel Sciences. Continue reading...
05/26/2020 - 01:30
Experts warn the exploitation of endangered animals such as pangolin and tiger is tarnishing the industry Supporters and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have warned that the discipline is threatened by those who continue to trade in endangered animals. The small segment of the TCM community that insists on using endangered animal parts in the pharmaceutical side of TCM, ignoring welfare considerations and the idea of respecting biodiversity, could destroy its reputation for good, they argue. Continue reading...
05/26/2020 - 00:00
Open letter to G20 leaders says addressing climate breakdown key to global revival Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Doctors and medical professionals from around the globe have called on world leaders to ensure a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis that takes account of air pollution and climate breakdown. More than 200 organisations representing at least 40 million health workers – making up about half of the global medical workforce – have signed an open letter to the G20 leaders and their chief medical advisers, pointing to the 7 million premature deaths to which air pollution contributes each year around the world. Continue reading...
05/25/2020 - 19:33
British environmental photographer’s copyright claim prompts website to remove film that has been condemned by climate scientists YouTube has taken down the controversial Michael Moore-produced documentary Planet of the Humans in response to a copyright infringement claim by a British environmental photographer. The movie, which has been condemned as inaccurate and misleading by climate scientists and activists, allegedly includes a clip used without the permission of the owner Toby Smith, who does not approve of the context in which his material is being used. Continue reading...
05/25/2020 - 14:00
While colour of body changes little, legs are more translucent to help amphibians to blend in The mystery of why glass frogs have see-through skin has been solved, scientists say: the unusual feature is a type of camouflage. Glass frogs are found in tropical Central and South America, and get their name from their skin. Continue reading...
05/25/2020 - 12:30
Angus Taylor responds to question from Labor saying Australia is not due to update target until 2025 The Australian government has told parliament it does not intend to increase its climate change commitment before the next major international meeting, and is not due to set a new target until 2025. The statement was made after the British host of the meeting, Boris Johnson, and United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, urged all countries to lift their targets to include net zero emissions by 2050, noting 121 nations had already done so. Continue reading...