A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.
How a ‘Shadow Zone’ Traps the World’s Oldest Ocean Water (Science Daily)
New research from an international team has revealed why the oldest water in the ocean in the North Pacific has remained trapped in a shadow zone around 2 kilometers below the sea surface for over 1,000 years. To put it in context, the last time this water encountered the atmosphere the Goths had just invaded the Western Roman Empire. The research suggests the time the ancient water spent below the surface is a consequence of the shape of the ocean floor and its impact on vertical circulation.
In the years since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster – the largest marine oil spill in United States history – scientists have been monitoring the effects of the so-called “dirty blizzard” that showered the seafloor. Oil particles and chemical dispersants released in the spill hijacked a ride on phytoplankton and flecks of biological debris that naturally fall to the bottom, forming a toxic storm over deep-sea ecosystems.
Today, as President Trump and Congress push to expand offshore drilling, scientists are still coming to terms with the spill’s effects on deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico, an important but poorly understood part of this ecosystem. Even as oil spill research funding moves on to new priorities, scientists say the story of how these slow-growing corals will fare could take decades or more to conclude.
The Scallop Sees With Space-Age Eyes — Hundreds of Them (The New York Times)
While some invertebrate eyes can sense only light and dark, scientists have long suspected that scallops can make out images, perhaps even recognizing predators quickly enough to jet away to safety. But scallop eyes — each about the size of a poppy seed — are so tiny and delicate that scientists have struggled to understand how they work.
Now, a team of Israeli researchers has gotten a look at the hidden sophistication of the scallop eye, thanks to powerful new microscopes. On Thursday, they reported in the journal Science that each eye contains a miniature mirror made up of millions of square tiles. The mirror reflects incoming light onto two retinas, each of which can detect different parts of the scallop’s surroundings.
SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS
How Marine Algae Could Help Feed the World (EcoWatch)
Our planet faces a growing food crisis. According to the United Nations, more than 800 million people are regularly undernourished. By 2050, an additional 2 to 3 billion new guests will join the planetary dinner table. Meeting this challenge involves not only providing sufficient calories for every person, but also assuring a balanced diet that includes the protein and nutrients that are essential to good health. A newly published study, explains how marine microalgae could be a sustainable solution for solving global macro-hunger.
Russia, U.S. and Other Nations Restrict Fishing in Thawing Arctic (The New York Times)
Relations between Russia and the United States are in a deep freeze, but they share a looming common problem north of their Arctic coastlines — the prospect that commercial trawling fleets might overfish the thawing Arctic Ocean.
To address the problem, five nations with Arctic shorelines completed negotiations on Thursday with countries farther south that operate major trawling fleets. The agreement imposes a moratorium on fishing in newly ice-free areas in the high Arctic, at least until scientists can study the ecology of the quickly thawing ocean.
Astronaut Jessica Meir, on the horizon where space and ocean science meet (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
The frontiers of sea and space are related realms of exploration that help drive technology, medicine and conservation, astronaut Jessica Meir said Tuesday in the keynote talk at Blue Tech Week. The event, organized by the Maritime Alliance and held at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, brings together more than 400 participants from academia, government and industry to promote jobs and technology in the marine sector.
Meir, 40, earned a doctorate in marine biology from Scripps in 2009, was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2016, and is now preparing for a future mission on the International Space Station.
Her talk detailed the links between oceanography and space science, and how developments in one field benefit the other.
Can a Career Tech Ed. School Be Too Popular? (Education Week)
On a chilly spring morning, 18 teenagers clamber aboard a 65-foot research vessel and become marine scientists. In big blue nets, they haul in an array of sparkling, spiny, wiggly sea creatures. They identify each one, carefully measure it, and toss it back into the water. The data they collect will help state officials monitor ocean life and oversee commercial fishing licenses.
It’s the chance of a lifetime, but it’s also a regular part of students’ experience at their elite public high school, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology. It’s a full-time career-and-technical-education program offered by a countywide vocational district. Acceptance rates at MAST rival those at some of the most selective universities. Seats are coveted for good reason: They funnel students into impressive colleges, and jobs in marine science, engineering, and other fields.
With few exceptions, however, the only students who get to benefit from this powerhouse program are white. Only 8 percent are Hispanic or Asian. None are black. Only 6 percent of MAST’s 290 students are from low-income families, even though 37 percent of New Jersey’s students live in poverty.
Unveiling the Vision (AltaSea)
Monday, December 11th – 9:00 AM
Join Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Joe Buscaino, The Port of Los Angeles, Distinguished Community Leaders, Supporters, Partners and Donors for the Official Ceremony Celebrating the Beginning of Construction for AltaSea’s Ocean Innovation Campus with the La Kretz Blue Economy Incubator.
Warehouse 58: 2456 Signal Street, San Pedro, CA 90731
Coffee reception to follow
Please email your RSVP at: email@example.com
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