Thursday, April 14, 2016

Week in Review: Shark Population Threatened Due to Fin Harvesting

1. Shark Population Threatened Due to Fin Harvesting

Unfortunately, this is not a new news headline. This week, a new study was published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Marine Science that continues to build the public understanding of the shark finning industry. The world's largest shark fin industry lies in the heart of the Coral Triangle, a region of the Indian and pacific oceans. Indonesia's annual shark catch is approximately 100,000 tons and contributes more to the international shark fin trade than any other nation. According to this study, "effective shark conservation in Indonesia only works when shark protection through no-fishing zones is combines with efforts to involve local communities in the management of their own fisheries and by providing alternative to sustain their livelihoods".Read more...


2. Extreme Life Found Deep Below Sea Floor

The largest aquifer on the planet is actually underneath the floor of the ocean. Although researchers have had a difficult time drilling through the layers of sediment, details published in the journal Scientific Reports reveals that microbial life can be found while drilling up to 820 feet, or 2.7 miles, into the ocean floor. According to Marine Biological Laboratory associate scientist Julie Huber, " in many cases, we found the same general group of bacteria in the crustal aquifer and in bottom seawater, but different species within that group". This is the first study to provide detail on the sub-seafloor microbial community in a "cold" crustal aquifer site. Read more...


3. Your High-End Perfume is Likely Part Mucus

Cuttlefish beaks embedded in lumps of ambergris used in perfume makingYes, you read the title of this article correctly. Pretty shocking! "Whale vomit" is a slang term used for chunks of ambergris that is produced by sperm whales. Scientist believe that this substance is formed in the intestinal tract of male sperm whales. When the ambergris is released from the whale, the chunks will float to the surface and congeal. The longer the substance floats in the salt water, the more it develops an earthy aroma.  This week, a couple in Lancaster, England found a 3.5 pound lump of ambergris on the beach. They are now looking to sell it to brokers in New Zealand or Europe. It's value is depended on the age and scent that it has developed. The product will not only provide a unique smell but, it helps affix the perfume to the skin. There have been some controversy over the substance. Since it comes from sperm whales, a species listing in a CITES category and under the US endangered species act, technically the use of ambergris is illegal in the United States.  Read more...


4. Uncovering a Deep-Sea Swarm of Zombie Crabs

Honestly, I vaguely remember having a nightmare about this! 

This week scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported that they stumbled upon thousands of crabs marching like a zombie horde while examining sea urchins, sponges, and black coral from their submarine in Panama's Hannibal Bank Seamount. The crabs were approximately an inch long and found around 1,200 feet below sea level Read more... 

To watch the video of the thousands of crabs click here... 


5. El Nino's Warm Water Devastates Coral Reefs

A team from Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Victoria have reported on the current state of the coral reefs in the middle of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Take a look at the picture on the right, that is not what coral is supposed to look like! According to one member on the team, the reefs have now turned into a uniform red/brown color. The report states that "when the Georgia Tech team visited the reefs last November, 50 to 90 percent of corals they saw were bleached and as many as 30 percent were already dead. This time, after months of warm waters powered by the El Nino, the numbers were more stark". Corals are an essential foundation of the marine ecosystem and are extremely temperature-sensitive. According to one team member "to our knowledge, this is the greatest coral mass mortality event at a single location on record". Read more...


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Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.