Friday, September 2, 2016

Week in Review: How Much Plastic Debris Does the Ocean Hold?

1. Microplastic Discovered in the Deep, Open Ocean

Microplastics discovered in the deep, open oceanOur oceans have long been considered a major sink for plastic debris. Scientists at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will soon begin analyzing over twenty years of sample data collected using sediment traps from an ocean depth of 3,000 meters to gain a deeper understanding of microplastic accumulation in the deep sea. Their findings will be used to generate ocean model scenarios to reveal deeper insight into how microplastic pollution impacts the health of both humans and marine ecosystems around the world. Read more here... 

Photo Credit: National Oceanography Center


2. The Scientific Southern Elephant Seals!

The Southern Elephant Seal is doing what scientists can’t, which is studying the dynamics of ocean currents during the Antarctican winter. The temporary data monitors attached to the heads of the seals studies the Antarctic Polynya System, a patch of ocean that is surrounded by shelf ice and fails to freeze. The study, published in Nature Communications, shows that during this critical time for dense shelf water formation, fresh water is melting from southern sea ice and significantly reducing ocean density in the area. Changes to this global ocean overturning system, as a result of a warming climate, could potentially lead to the collapse of the Antarctic bottom water formation. Read more...


3. Greenland Sharks May Live for 400 Years

According to Science magazine, the Greenland Shark has now replaced the Bowhead Whale as the longest living vertebrate on Earth. The gray colored shark grows only one centimeter per year and can live for up to 400 years. An international team of biologists and physicists used a complex system involving chemical tests, growth measurements, and mathematical models using the lenses of the sharks’ eyes to determine their age. They believe the sharks’ slowed metabolism, due to their cold and deep water habitat, contributes to the sharks’ long lifespan. Read more...


4. Cannibal Sharks?!

The coprolite of an ancient creature with a corkscrew shaped rectum, unearthed at the Minoto Coalfield, is on display at the New Brunswick Museum. The fossilized scat is speculated to have come from an orthacanthus, a long, eel-like shark which lived during the Carboniferous Period, 300 million years ago. Rifled rectums are still present in modern sharks, which only have one foot long intestines, helping with the passage of their fecal matter and providing additional surface area to digest their meals.


5. Largest Protected Place on the Plant is Founded

Spire-like Mokumanamana is one of the many dramatic features in the Monument.

President Obama quadrupled the size of the Papahanaumakuakea Marine National Monument last Friday, making it the largest ecologically protected area on Earth. The monument is home to black coral estimated to be 4,500 years old and has six highly biologically diverse, massive seamounts. Commercial fishing and deep-sea mining is now off limits in the area, in an effort to preserve the delicate ecosystem. Read more...

Photo credit: Wayne Levin


6. America's First Offshore Wind Farm is Powered On!

Riffgat Offshore Wind Farm Nears Completion

America’s first offshore windfarm has just been constructed three miles off the coast of Rhode Island. The offshore windfarm, normally met with stiff opposition for marring coastal views, was met with great enthusiasm by the Block Island community. Area citizens were eager to help the environment and gain a more reliable power supply generated by the strong ocean breezes. Read more...


7. Sustainable Cinderblocks

The sustainably minded company, ByFusion, has sleuthed out an innovative way to convert the oceans’ plastic pollution into LEED certified cinderblocks. The blocks use 95% less Greenhouse Gas Emissions will preserving the world’s dwindling sand deposits used to make regular concrete blocks. Read more...

Photo Credit: ByFusion


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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.