Crinoid, New Caledonia by Rodolphe Holler
My final project in scientific illustration! I wanted to draw some of the forms of the mimic octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus, one of the coolest organisms I know of.
[Much better scans to come in the far-off future]
Colorful phytoplankton blooms off the coast of France. Nasa writes:
Blooms can be a blessing to other marine species, as these tiny floating plants often feed everything from zooplankton to fish to whales. But some algae and plankton blooms can turn dangerous, either through the production of chemical toxins or by severely depleting the oxygen supply in the ocean and creating “dead zones” that suffocate marine creatures.
Dr. Seuss-inspired swirls in the Black Sea.
A Flame Scallop (Lima scabra) showcasing its ‘electric’ bioluminescence.
Ascidian embryos | wellcome images
For the first time in human history, carbon dioxide levels reached an average daily level of 400 parts per million, as reported this week. The last time the atmosphere contained this much carbon dioxide was 3 million years ago.
This new data comes from the Mauna Loa observatory and a set of data continuously collected since 1958: The Keeling curve. This represents almost a 50% increase since the beginning of the industrial age. Although there is some seasonal variability (that little jagged edge) due to seasonal vegetation sucking up a bit of the CO2 every year, the trend is clear … and it’s not good.
So what does that mean? The effects are not something to look forward to. The last time the CO2 level was this high, way back when, here’s what the world was like:
Back then, it was a different world. Global average temperatures during the period were between 5.4 and 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) higher than today, and sea level was as much as 131 feet (40 meters) higher in some places.
While the average (which is calculated from levels over the past several days) has since dropped back to 399 (as of today), the saddest part is that both of those numbers are unacceptable. 400 is just a little more catchy. With 401 and beyond right around the corner, what now? We must cut emissions as fast as humanly possible.
Because we are mighty humans, and it is possible.
We need to take care, because we all share this air. Read about the science of our CO2 contribution here. Watch this episode of It’s Okay To Be Smart to gain some hope maybe.
What do you think is the #1 thing we can do to change? What are YOU willing to do?
No you don’t havebe a marine biologist, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities that can train you to do the work.
Here are some links that might help you:
Search the internet, follow links from one site to another, write a list of the activities and places that catch your attention, and then search for those too. Dive in, you’ll find something right for you.