Breaking Waves: Ocean News

08/01/2014 - 15:00
Frohawk Ride, New Forest: The butterfly sighting was a splendid way to celebrate Frohawks birthday, though its sad the insect has declined here Continue reading...
08/01/2014 - 14:03
Bribes were paid by Innospec executives to secure orders to sell tetraethyl lead in Indonesia and Iraq, sentencing hearing told Continue reading...
08/01/2014 - 12:00
The Great Barrier Reef is sick. Almost half of its coral is already dead and a massive new coal mine, which was given final approval this week, will only cause further damage. This is not just an issue for Australia, it affects us all The Great Barrier Reef: an obituary interactive Continue reading...
08/01/2014 - 10:48
Why is the UK government seeking to exploit more fossil fuels when we cant burn what we already know is there? Continue reading...
08/01/2014 - 10:10
President’s Corner For several weeks this year, I have written in my President’s Corner about the changing federal funding scene for science, and the inability of our federal government to function with respect to the budget process. In fact, only a handful of sitting members of Congress were in office the last time the appropriations process was completed in regular order. It’s disturbing to think that this occurred in 1994, before the current crop of Capitol Hill interns, who may soon be congressional staffers, were even born. So, I suggest that this is a game changer. The budget focus in this town is on cutting the deficit and posturing for the upcoming congressional elections. So, the priority setting process has been effectively hijacked by the political process. And, unfortunately this has consequences for our nation in terms of tying the hands of our science agencies which help make this country an economic engine admired by the world- through education, scientific discovery and technical innovation. Even more troubling than the breakdown in the budget process, is the breakdown in what was traditionally bipartisan support for scientific research. Consequently, I seem to be spending more of my time articulating the value of science rather than articulating how specific priorities in various scientific disciplines and thematic areas would lead to advances in our knowledge. For the last several decades, the value of science was basically unquestioned. However, that premise has changed to one of a politically focused narrowing of the vision and expecting short term rewards for financial investments. There is no reason to believe that flat federally funded research budgets will not occur into the future. So, where does that leave us? My sense is that we need a new business model. Many institutions in this country that have relied heavily on NIH, NSF, DOD, NOAA and NASA funds are finding themselves in deeper financial trouble every year. Some have merged with large universities and others have closed. Research institutions and their scientists and engineers count on a 5-10 percent increase in their research portfolio every year, and the Administration and Congress have traditionally bought that new stock. Well, they aren’t buying anymore. So, while we all must do a better job in advocating for sustained growth – particularly given the investments other nations (including China) are making in state sponsored science – new models need to be generated. We need to think outside our comfort zone and think, for instance, about creating new academic/industry partnerships and introducing new innovative ideas to Foundations. I can assure you that I am giving careful thought to the issue. You need to do the same, and you need to engage the senior administrators of your institutions on the issue that “weathering the storm” is not going to work. We are in a new world; we need a new model. On that thought, I suggest you do some of the thinking at the beach, on a bicycle, or go for a run this weekend. It is a good way to multitask. Thanks. Bob  
08/01/2014 - 10:08
For several weeks this year, I have written in my President’s Corner about the changing federal funding scene for science, and the inability of our federal government to function with respect to the budget process. In fact, only a handful of sitting members of Congress were in office the last time the appropriations process was completed in regular order. It’s disturbing to think that this occurred in 1994, before the current crop of Capitol Hill interns, who may soon be congressional staffers, were even born. So, I suggest that this is a game changer. The budget focus in this town is on cutting the deficit and posturing for the upcoming congressional elections. So, the priority setting process has been effectively hijacked by the political process. And, unfortunately this has consequences for our nation in terms of tying the hands of our science agencies which help make this country an economic engine admired by the world- through education, scientific discovery and technical innovation. Even more troubling than the breakdown in the budget process, is the breakdown in what was traditionally bipartisan support for scientific research. Consequently, I seem to be spending more of my time articulating the value of science rather than articulating how specific priorities in various scientific disciplines and thematic areas would lead to advances in our knowledge. For the last several decades, the value of science was basically unquestioned. However, that premise has changed to one of a politically focused narrowing of the vision and expecting short term rewards for financial investments. There is no reason to believe that flat federally funded research budgets will not occur into the future. So, where does that leave us? My sense is that we need a new business model. Many institutions in this country that have relied heavily on NIH, NSF, DOD, NOAA and NASA funds are finding themselves in deeper financial trouble every year. Some have merged with large universities and others have closed. Research institutions and their scientists and engineers count on a 5-10 percent increase in their research portfolio every year, and the Administration and Congress have traditionally bought that new stock. Well, they aren’t buying anymore. So, while we all must do a better job in advocating for sustained growth – particularly given the investments other nations (including China) are making in state sponsored science – new models need to be generated. We need to think outside our comfort zone and think, for instance, about creating new academic/industry partnerships and introducing new innovative ideas to Foundations. I can assure you that I am giving careful thought to the issue. You need to do the same, and you need to engage the senior administrators of your institutions on the issue that “weathering the storm” is not going to work. We are in a new world; we need a new model. On that thought, I suggest you do some of the thinking at the beach, on a bicycle, or go for a run this weekend. It is a good way to multitask. Thanks. Bob
08/01/2014 - 09:21
Waxy monkey leaf frogs, surfing dolphins and giant trees are among the pick of this weeks images from the natural world Continue reading...
08/01/2014 - 09:11
(Click to enlarge). U.S. Capitol Building. (Credit: Architect of the Capitol) Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Jay Rockefeller [D-WV] introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act (S.2757) this week. The bill would reauthorize (through FY 2019) the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), as well as several other manufacturing, nanotechnology and science education programs. NSF and NIST would receive an average annual increase in funding of 6.7%, which is greater than the 4.9% annual increase proposed in the House version (FIRST Act). Research programs would comprise about 80% of the budget each year. The America COMPETES Reauthorization would not dictate funding down to the NSF directorates, a feature of the House version resulting in cuts to the geosciences and social, behavioral, and economic sciences funding. Additionally, the Senate bill does not include changes to the NSF peer review process proposed in the House version. The FIRST Act has been approved by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Ocean Leadership has submitted a joint comment letter with other organizations on the draft COMPETES Act, which can be viewed here.
08/01/2014 - 08:58
(Click to enlarge) Illegal fishing threatens sustainable fisheries and negatively impacts legitimate fishing operations.(Credit: NOAA) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of State are now accepting public comment on how the United States should combat illegal fishing. In June President Obama announced the creation of the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud. Comments received will be used to develop “recommendations for the implementation of a comprehensive framework of integrated programs to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud that emphasizes areas of greatest need”. The deadline for comment submission is September 2, 2014. More information on how to submit comments and upcoming public meetings can be found here.
08/01/2014 - 08:46
(Click to enlarge). The Army Corps of Engineers will conducts webinars to hear public input on WRRDA. (Credit: Army Corps) The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has issued a notice stating that it will conduct a series of listening sessions by webinar for public input to inform the agency’s implementation of the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014. (From Bay Planning Coalition) – Each session will focus on a different aspect of the issue. Session I (13 August) will focus on Deauthorization & Backlog Prevention and on Project Development & Delivery. Session II (August 27) will focus on Alternative Financing and Credits. Session III (September 10) will focus on Levee & Dam Safety and on Regulatory Issues. Session IV (September 24) will focus on Non-Federal Implementation; Water Supply & Reservoir; and Navigation. Written comments should be submitted by 30 September. 79 Fed. Reg. 44014 (July 29, 2014). For more information, please check out the information in the links below. WRRDA of 2014 – Listening Session and Public Input Notice Federal Register Notice: Implementation of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014; Public Meetings