Friday, July 18, 2014

Ocean fertilization experiment reviewed

Remember the rogue scientists who sprinkled iron in the Pacific Ocean off Canada?  Did it work?

Andy Revkin reviews the evidence and comments on the significance of the results.  The iron made a plankton bloom, but the experiment was too small to be significant beyond that.  No big impact on CO2 or salmon.

One thing's for sure, this subject isn't going away.  Ocean engineering and climate engineering will become increasingly topical and controversial if we fail to fix our CO2 problem by switching to clean energy.

By the way, I'm reading an interesting new book on rogue ocean scientists, it's a fascinating subject.  More later...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Zombie orcas in Washington

Seattle's orcas are poisoned by PCBs and other toxic chemicals, and they're among the most toxic marine mammals in the world.  Here in "nice" Seattle, we're not-so-nice to our neighbors, dumping PCBs and other toxic chemicals into their home.  

Efforts are underway to stop the poisons, but some say we should go ahead and poison the sound because it's too costly to stop.  It's wrong to try to save jobs by poisoning our neighbors, and we have to stop.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Commission calls for ocean conservation

Ho-hum, forgive me for being bored.  Another August Panel has said our oceans need conservation action.  But this one is different, this one will really matter.

Actually, I'm not this cynical.  But I might be.

Here's the news:
The Global Ocean Commission has put forward a report on the declining health of the planet’s high seas, the 64 per cent of the ocean surface that isn’t under the control and protection of a national government. The commission is a combination of public and private sector figures, including former heads of state and ministers as well as business people, supported by scientific and economic advisors working on ways to reverse the degradation of the ocean and address the failures of high seas governance. Their report sets out five main problems, from dramatic over-fishing to rising pollution, and a set of recommendations for reversing the decline.
Glad that's taken care of, now it's time for me to go swimming.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Barnacle that eats sharks

Parasites stir mixed emotions, they're biologically interesting but often gruesome.  This one eats sharks, but only a little bit at a time.

Here's an unusual parasitic barnacle that attaches to sharks and makes a living using an unusual root-like organ that penetrates the sharks flesh and absorbs food from the shark's body fluids.

This barnacle seems more exciting and scary than the mild-mannered little fortresses that cling to rocks and pilings and filter plankton for food.

Friday, June 20, 2014

US Congress passes oceans health bill!

Believe it or not, the US Congress acted in a bipartisan fashion to solve a problem.  The Harmful Algal Blooms bill passed, with bipartisan support.  President Obama is expected to sign the bill.  The bill bolsters algae bloom research and control in freshwater and ocean waters.

According to Ocean Champions President David Wilmot, the bill is a

significant step forward in recognizing and addressing the growing problem of toxic and harmful algal blooms and hypoxia including dead zones; a commitment amplified by the bipartisan nature of the support.  “Not only is this bill a strong step in the right direction, we intend to continue working with all of our champions to achieve even more for the oceans.”