AltaSea: Trending Newsletter

August 11, 2021 Edition

A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.

HERE’S THE BLUE DEAL

Sourcing Materials for a Renewable Energy Future: Deapsea Metal Mining as an Alternative to Land-Based Metal Extraction (AltaSea)

A report from the World Bank estimates that 3 billion tons of metals and minerals will be needed to create the renewable energy infrastructure necessary to keep global warming below 2°Celsius, raising concern about sourcing the necessary materials. On the ocean floor, rocks called polymetallic nodules contain the metals needed to create the batteries that power electric vehicles, providing an alternative to land-based metal extraction.

Ocean Pathways for Carbon Sequestration (AltaSea)

Since the day in 1988 when a NASA scientist testified to the U.S. Senate about the certainty of anthropogenic climate change, the global response to the climate crisis can be represented by various points on a Venn diagram of denial, indifference, and insufficient action. Only over the past few years has the impetus to address the crisis begun to match the severity of the challenge. Currently, 38 countries—including the member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom as well as New Zealand and Japan—have declared a climate emergency, encouraging their governments to take comprehensive action as they would with any other state of emergency.

MARINE SCIENCE

‘Code red’: UN scientists warn of worsening global warming (Associated Press)

Earth is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, according to a report released Monday that the United Nations called a “code red for humanity.”

“It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” said report co-author Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”

Remarkable Structures of Deep-Sea Venus Flower Sponges Useful for Design of Ships, Planes and Skyscrapers (SciTechDaily)

The remarkable structural properties of the basket sponge (E. aspergillum) might seem fathoms removed from human-engineered structures. However, insights into how the organism’s latticework of holes and ridges influences the hydrodynamics of seawater in its vicinity could lead to advanced designs for buildings, bridges, marine vehicles and aircraft, and anything that must respond safely to forces imposed by the flow of air or water.

World’s Largest Seagrass Project Proves “You Can Actually Restore the Oceans” (Reasons to Be Cheerful)

When Karen McGlathery used to swim in the coastal bays off Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the water would quickly turn cloudy and brown as sediment swirled around her. Now, 25 years later, for as far as she can swim the water remains clear. The sediment is anchored in place by lush green seagrass meadows, teeming with fish, scallops and crustaceans. “It’s like this beautiful underwater prairie,” says McGlathery. “It’s just gorgeous.”

SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS

Our growing need to rely on blue foods (The Los Angeles Times)

A friend used to tell me “something’s a-fish” when things were off kilter. Today, the global food system is not just “a-fish”; it’s failing billions of people.

Hunger, malnutrition and obesity coexist in rich and poor countries alike, often in the same town or even in the same home. Diabetes, heart disease, coastal dead zones and other social burdens connected to our food system continue to rise. In recognition of this urgent challenge, the United Nations will hold a global summit in September for government, business, nonprofit organizations and civil society leaders to map a more sustainable, healthy and equitable food system.

Transforming our food system will require a new mindset and more careful consideration of blue foods — aquatic animals, plants and algae cultivated and captured in freshwater and marine environments.

New research on aquaculture feed will test alternative ingredients to help minimize water pollution (UC Santa Cruz)

Researchers from UC Santa Cruz’s ecological aquaculture lab won a three-year, $1 million grant from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This funding will support collaborative research to develop, test, and evaluate new low-polluting fish feed formulas for farm-raised rainbow trout.

EDUCATION

Meet the women diversifying shark science (PBS.org)

I learned to swim when I was two years old, and since then I have been fascinated by the animals that call the marine ecosystems of our planet home. However, there was always one animal that struck fear into my psyche whenever I ventured into the ocean: the great white shark. This apex predator and villain of the classic film Jaws has had a powerful effect on the public’s view of sharks. And this fear has been perpetuated through media programming like Discovery’s Shark Week.

In fact, researchers from Allegheny College presented a new analysis of Shark Week content at this year’s American Elasmobranch Society Conference. The study, which is undergoing peer review, reveals that “Shark Week is deeply flawed in ways that undermine its goals, potentially harming both sharks and shark scientists,” according to a statement. The content and discourse analysis covers more than 200 Shark Week episodes spanning 32 years of programming.

A Lifelong Teacher: Founder of Ocean Institute to Be Honored After Fatal Collision (Dana Point Times)

Stanley Cummings had a vision as a teenager growing up in rural Massachusetts while sitting in chemistry class.

In a 1994 essay written in Orange County Metropolitan magazine, he wrote: “A subject which I found inherently interesting was obscured behind the mists of boredom brought on by the unenthused presentation of the department chair. An image of the way chemistry should be taught floated out of the haze into my consciousness.”

He vowed then and there that the teaching of science would be his life’s work.

Cummings, the founder of Ocean Institute and a lifelong science educator, died on Tuesday, July 13, of injuries sustained while riding his bicycle in Washington state earlier that month. He was 76 years old.

COMMUNITY

LA Fleet Week (Lafleetweek.com)

September 3 – September 6, 2021. LA Fleet Week is an annual, multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services held on the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles over the extended Labor Day Weekend.  Past events have included active duty ship tours, military displays and equipment demonstrations, live entertainment, aircraft flyovers, STEM Expo for kids of all ages, the annual Conquer the Bridge Labor Day 5.3-mile walk/run over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, sports tournaments, and the Galley Wars culinary cook-off competition between Sailor, Marine & Coastguard teams. Lots of fun for the entire family.  And best of all, entrance is FREE to the general public!

Educator Institute (The Emerald Bay Outdoor Academy Educator Institute)

October 15 – October 17, 2021. The Emerald Bay Outdoor Academy Educator Institute is an immersive weekend retreat at Camp Emerald Bay for formal and informal educators that want to develop their competence in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Ocean Literacy within the company of other passionate educators in an inspiring and rejuvenating coastal setting. The Institute offers a mixture of structure class time, elective breakouts, and recreational activities such as hiking and snorkeling. Families of attending educators are welcome to come and enjoy the beachfront facilities.

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