With marine reserves, it may be location, location, location that is key to effectiveness

Prior posts have noted that marine reserves can play a key role in helping areas and species to recover from the destruction of over-fishing and abuse of habitat. A new study emphasizes the importance of appropriate placement of marine reserves in order to achieve the maximum benefit. Many new reserves...

Plastic garbage zones are not just in the Pacific

The plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean has received substantial media attention. However, recent studies have shown that there are a number of such garbage patches, and that unfortunately they are larger than originally believed. The so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be...

Oceans show warming in last two decades

Because water has a vastly larger capacity for heat storage than the atmosphere, eventually between 80 to 90 percent of the heat trapped by the greenhouse effects ends up being stored in the oceans. Thus, the trend in ocean temperatures is an excellent indicator of long-term trends in global GHG effects...

Antarctic shoal breaks up massive iceberg, not warm currents

There is nothing the media like to show more than pictures of huge icebergs calving from Antarctic ice shelves. Not infrequently, such large icebergs break into multiple pieces, and the question is often why, especially given that the icebergs are hundreds of meters thick. Most icebergs that calve...

Creating protected zones helps the recovery of even migratory fish species

As noted in prior posts, the creation of protected zones in which fishing is prohibited has been shown to be an effective method for assisting the recovery of fish that do not migrate over great areas. For example, protected zones in the region of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia have seen fish populations...

More life everywhere, now in great diversity at 2.3 miles below the ocean surface

As noted in prior posts, life keeps being found in some of the most unexpected places. A recent study off Indonesia found nearly 40 new species in just one week of exploration at a depth of 3,700 meters. Among the finds, distinctive corals, crabs, sea stars, shrimp, and worms. And what would depth be...

Fissures found in glaciers raise questions about future ice movement

Water is at the heart of the dynamic behavior of glaciers. Water located beneath a glacier is believed to "lubricate" its movement toward the sea. How glaciers melt and move is likely to have a major impact on sea levels. It thus came as an apparent surprise to researchers when they discovered...

The Cambrian "Explosion" is looking less so

The Cambrian "explosion", as evidenced by the fossil record of specific aspects of the Burgess Shale, has been interpreted as representing the relatively rapid appearance of most major Phyla over the course of several million years. The fossils that began to "emerge" some 505 million...

California sets forth indicators of disproportionate impacts of climate change on environmental justice communities

To assist Cal-EPA with the examination of potential environmental justice concerns associated with climate change, Cal-EPA requested the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) [best known for its role in setting drinking water related Public Health Goals and in overseeing much of the...

Movement of corals around Japan provides evidence of global warming

Prior posts have noted that in terms of ascertaining evidence of global warming, it may be worthwhile to assess the numerous studies of various potential indicators (e.g., migration patterns, drought, relocation of biota). Add another indicator. A new study of reefs around Japan reveals that a handful...

Where is the methane from the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout?

Natural gas in various forms comprised approximately 2/3 of the hydrocarbons emitted from the Deepwater Horizon well blowout. Methane is believed to compose an estimated 87.5% of that natural gas. Sampling in June 2010 found no microbial breakdown of methane. [See http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330...

What killed off much of the explosion of life following the Cambrian "explosion"?

Prior posts have discussed the Cambrian explosion, and noted the evidence suggesting that it was a more gradual process than stereotypically described. However, there has been little solid evidence to explain why, following this alleged burst of complex life, a substantial extinction set in. As with...

Another potential sign of global warming: Crabs are invading the shallow waters of the Southern Ocean

Numerous past posts have noted that evidence for global warming can be found in the numerous reports on specific environmental conditions and events around the globe (for example, the migration of corals around Japan, the trend in lakes around the world to become warmer). Although these events and conditions...

Newly discovered deep-sea currents carry biota from one vent to another

The "accepted wisdom" for many years has been that the deep-sea ocean floor was boring; nothing much happened, including currents. Some areas were assumed to be so devoid to life and motion that they were considered as potential burial sites for nuclear wastes. They are no longer viewed that...

Coast Guard stumbles as it tries to preempt Massachusetts state law

The Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention Act (OSPA) was enacted following an oil spill in Buzzards Bay. [As the appellate court notes, Buzzards Bay is a scenically beautiful body of water. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Buzzards_Bay_map.png.] OSPA requires a tugboat escort for all tank vessels...

Oil Field Service Company Settles Claims Related To Oil Spill Litigation

NEW ORLEANS - (Mealey's) Weatherford International Ltd. announced June 20 that it has reached a $75 million agreement with BP LLC to settle any claims between the companies relating to the Deepwater Horizon incident and oil spill ( In re: Oil Spill By The Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" In...

Acidification of Oceans May Affect the Brains of Fish

Yesterday's post noted some of the adverse consequences that are likely to arise from acidification of oceans. Another recent study shows that such acidification can influence the behavior of fish because of impacts on their brains; the response of nerve cells can be reversed as acidifying seawater...