Oceanic phytoplankton blooms imaged from space by Envisat. Plankton blooms occur in regions of the ocean that have optimal temperature, sunlight, and nutrient supply for marine algae to grow exponentially. Most blooms are composed of coccolithophores, single celled organisms which grow disk-like exoskeletons of calcium carbonate. Trillions of these disks color the water white, showing the phytoplankton density and beautiful fluid dynamics of ocean currents.
Are any of you looking for work experience and skill development for marine conservation?
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Doing the Zoox Experience Programme will give you intensive and unique training on the basics of marine conservation, then you embark on a six-week work experience helping to coordinate a real conservation project on the ground, and carrying out personal conservation projects aimed to develop the skills that you need to fill in on your CV!
This was my dream internship. Now it’s my dream job. Check it out!
THE HELL I CAN’T!
Life, 5 kilometers beneath the ocean
Scientists recently sent robotic submersibles down to the deepest hydrothermal vent ever studied, a warm oasis in the cold, dark depths of the ocean. Here’s a few photos of what they found there, pale white, blind and uniquely adapted to a life without light.
Another reminder that everywhere we look for life on Earth, we find it.
Whales Benefit From Action on Ocean Noise
- by Pallab Ghosh
Scientists are working to reduce the noise levels experienced by whales from North Atlantic shipping.
The blare is making it difficult for the animals to communicate with each other, which in turn is affecting their ability to find food and mates.
The researchers have persuaded shipping companies to change their routes in and around the Boston area.
Sea captains use an iPad App that helps them to understand the locations of the whales and when to slow down.
The change in operations has helped to lower the din. Scientists hope it will also limit the number accidental collisions.
The waters off New England are a home to many species of whale. Many are now suffering because of increased noise levels.
Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) suggests that it has doubled each decade over the past 30 years.
Dr Mark Baumgartner of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution played me the sound of a passing container ship as a whale might hear it.
It was a thunderous, unchanging drone.
“How would you like to have that in your bedroom, your kitchen, your work all the time?” he asked plaintively. “That’s what the acoustic environment for whales is like all the time.”
The effect is to reduce the range whales can communicate.
Social communication is necessary so that they can get together for important activities, such as mating, and it is unclear just what the ramifications of cutting off that communication will mean for them.
But the ships are not just disrupting communication; they also collide with whales from time to time.
Dr Dave Wiley who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has seen the consequences at first hand.
“Our scientists found shattered bone and large hematomas which are indicative of a ship strike,” he told BBC News.
Each year, there are one or two North Atlantic Right Whales stuck by ships in the area. Although that does not sound like a lot, it was enough to concern environmental groups because it is thought that there are just 500 of these animals left in the wild and mothers with calves get hit more frequently.
If Mermaids were real…
via Casa de Oxumarê
STOP THE INVASION!
Surfrider Foundation Europe has an awesome campaign for 2013. Stop the plastic invasion. The scene reminds me of Normandy, or Dunkirk, or some other significant event on a beach during WW2. We are beyond lucky to not have to bear witness to a war like that, but we do have a war against plastic on all our doorsteps.
Normally, I don’t like to use terminology like ‘war’ and ‘invasion’. In the case of plastic, I’ll make an exception. The havoc being wrecked on the very ecosystem services we rely on is extensive and unnecessary. We do not need so much plastic, and it’s so easy to throw a cigarette butt in a bin. Fortunately it’s also easy to take part in a clean up.
To my European followers - there’s a handy section of the website listing the when and where of all the coastal cleanups! Check it out.
Of course, you don’t need an event. Take some friends to the beach, bring music and beer (if you are allowed) and compete for how much rubbish you can collect.
“Dylan Madisetti and Scar - the friendly (?) sperm whale living in the waters off the coast of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The photo was taken by Dylan’s father Arun, a marine biologist.”
The deep waters of the ‘Tongue of the Ocean’ lick the reefs of Andros Island, the Bahamas.
Fossils of Enigmatic Sea Creatures Surface
by Sid Perkins
New fossil finds reveal that an enigmatic seafloor dweller first described more than a decade ago was armored and much larger than its modern-day kin. Cotyledion tylodes had a goblet-shaped body that surrounded a U-shaped gut (dark feature in fossil at left; arrows denote flow of food), and the animal spent its life anchored to the seafloor or to hard objects that had settled there, such as the molted exoskeletons of trilobites (artist’s representation at right). C. tylodes was first described in 1999 based on a couple of fragmentary fossils unearthed from 520-million-year-old rocks in southern China.
Previously, some scientists have proposed that the tentacled creatures were related to cnidarians, a group that contains jellyfish. But analyses of the new fossils—hundreds of well-preserved specimens extracted from the same ancient rocks—reveal that the animals belong to a group called entoprocts, aquatic creatures that attach to surfaces and filter their food from passing currents, the researchers report online today in Scientific Reports…
(read more: Science NOW)
(images: Zhifei Zhang et al., Scientific Reports)