AltaSea: Trending Newsletter

December 8, 2021 Edition

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

MARINE SCIENCE

Unusual and extremely hot deep sea world discovered by scientists (Mashable)

In toxic, over 500-degree Fahrenheit environments, life thrives.

During a fall 2021 deep sea expedition in Mexico’s Gulf of California, scientists observed wondrous vents spouting superheated fluid over two miles beneath the ocean surface. The trip, aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor, used a sturdy underwater robot to find intriguing life and potentially new-to-science creatures dwelling at these dark depths.

Marine Oxygen Levels are the Next Great Casualty of Climate Change (Scientific American)

Last summer, more than 100 miles of Florida’s coastal waters became an oxygen-depleted dead zone, littered with fish that could be seen even into Tampa Bay. On the other side of the country, Dungeness crabs were washing onto Oregon’s shoreline, unable to escape from water that has, in dramatic episodes, become seasonally depleted of oxygen over the past two decades.

While much of the conversation around our climate crisis focuses on the emission of greenhouse gases and their effect on warming, precipitation, sea level rise and ocean acidification, little is said about the effect of climate change on oxygen levels, particularly in oceans and lakes. Water without adequate oxygen cannot support life, and for the three billion people who depend on coastal fisheries for income, declining ocean oxygen levels are catastrophic.

US must cut plastic production to save oceans, report says (The Hill)

The United States must act to curb plastic waste in oceans by developing a comprehensive national strategy that includes reducing plastic production, a new report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has determined.

While only 4.3 percent of Earth’s population resides in the U.S., the country was the world’s “top generator of plastic waste” in 2016 and exceeded that of all European nations combined — generating a total of 42 million metric tons of such waste that year, the report found.

The entire world produces about 242 million metric tons of plastic waste annually, of which an estimated 8 million metric tons enters the oceans, according to the NAS, an independent body of scientists established by former President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS

Self-Propelled Fish-Farm Vessel Receives Approval from RINA (The Maritime Executive)

A group based in Chile has received design approval for what it believes can be a revolutionary ship to improve the farming and production of fish. The Ocean Ark, a concept for a floating, offshore, self-propelled aquaculture vessel, received an Approval in Principle from the Italian ship classification society RINA.

The vessel which is a movable fish farm is a truly unique vessel concept. The initial designs are for a 558-foot-long vessel with a 197-foot beam using a trimaran design to create large tanks with metal cages to contain the fish. The vessel would be self-propelled with diesel-electric motors and capable of operating at speeds of four knots. Initial testing indicates it could operate in seas with waves over 20 feet.

Semi-Finalists Announced: US$1 Million Ocean Innovation Prize (IOC-UNESCO)

The Blue Climate Initiative (BCI) announced today the 21 semi-finalists for the US$1 Million Ocean Innovation Prize. As an endorsed programme of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (‘the Ocean Decade’), the Blue Climate Initiative is hosting the Ocean Innovation Prize together with the Sustainable Ocean Alliance in the framework of the Ocean Decade.

These semi-finalists are advancing creative, innovative approaches to help us find a way out of the climate crisis. Coming from all corners of the globe, their projects include clean energy and desalination from sea waves and solar technologies; kelp forest restoration and seaweed innovations such as for bioplastics and methane-reducing livestock feed supplements; carbon dioxide removal such as through gasification of algae biomass, electrochemistry and alkalinity enhancement; and many more.

EDUCATION

How Danni Washington Fights For The Ocean While Supporting The Next Generation Of Science Leaders (UPROXX)

Danni Washington is a lover of the natural world. A woman making waves and diving deeper into the health of our oceans while also advocating for women and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in STEM fields. A science communicator who uses her voice, social media platform, and engaging personality to serve a larger cause.

The world is taking notice of her efforts. Washington recently joined the judging panel for the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize, powered by Adrian Grenier’s 52HZ. This million-dollar competition, tied to a three-year accelerator program, will create and adopt alternatives to thin-film plastic — the material used in over 300 billion non-recyclable polybags every year.

James Cameron’s plea to protect the ocean twilight zone (CNN.com)

Before the perpetual dark of the deep sea, in the space at the final reaches of daylight, is the ocean twilight zone.

It is one of the final frontiers for Earth exploration, and as researchers delve deeper into this mysterious region, it is becoming clear that the animals that inhabit it play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate.

When he isn’t directing movies, filmmaker James Cameron explores and studies the twilight zone. His missions there have shed new light on this carbon-sequestering environment in the inky abyss, populated with beautiful and bizarre creatures that wouldn’t look out of place in one of Cameron’s sci-fi epics.

L.A.’s port could have been in Santa Monica. Here’s how San Pedro won out (The Los Angeles Times)

If matters had gone differently about 125 years ago, all those monster cargo ships now backed up at anchor off San Pedro would instead be waiting offshore from the sands of Santa Monica.

The Great Free Harbor battle pitted two California oligarchs and their loyalists against each other over where the federal government would choose to put its money toward L.A.’s first industrial port. It was like bearded, Victorian versions of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk racing each other into space, although space has enough room for them both; there never was going to be a San Pedro and a Santa Monica port.

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