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  • richardmitnick 3:08 pm on September 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bailey Skinner, Oceanography, ,   

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute: Women in STEM “On Board for the First Time” Bailey Skinner 

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute

    9.13.19
    Bailey Skinner

    Howdy! My name is Bailey Skinner and I a am junior environmental geoscience major at Texas A&M University. When I am done with school, I would like to go into ocean conservation work, so when Dr. Roark presented this opportunity to aid him in this research on deep-sea corals, I knew it was something I would not be able to pass up. Seeing the Falkor for the first time in person was a bit of a surreal and humbling moment – I knew right then that any nerves I had about coming on this expedition were instantly calmed.

    I have been living on the Falkor for almost over a week now, and have already learned so much. Each day has been something new and since I am on the 0:00-12:00 shift adjusting my sleep schedule. After unpacking all the equipment in the wet lab, we were given a run-through on how to process the samples once the ROV is back on deck. After Falkor left the harbor, the XBT, Expendable Bathythermograph, had to be calibrated. The XBT measures temperature through a water column and uses copper wires to transmit the data back to the ship as it is falling to the sea floor. This probe plays an essential role in multibeam mapping, such that the sound speed in water be calculated to the multibeam sonar gives accurate depth measurements.

    2
    You don’t get a lot of sun during the 0:00-12:00 shift, but then again, no one inside Falkor’s Control Room does! OI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez

    During our 70-hour transit to our first dive site, one of the marine technicians taught us how to use the multibeam mapping system in two different programs: Qimera and Fledermaus. This software is important because after the XBT data is sent over and the calibration of the USBL, Ultra-short baseline – the tracker for the ROV, the multibeam echo sounder (MBES) should be ready to map the seafloor. These two pieces of software help to visually interpret the 3-D mapping of the seafloor. Once all of the background noise is removed, the maps can be used to find slopes of terrain for the ROV dives.

    3
    Marine Technician John Fulmer explains how to process bathymetric data to members of the current research team. SOI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez

    With all of that being said, let me tell you a little about the star of the show: SuBastian. This is the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) going down – deep down – into the Midnight Zone of the ocean, about 2000-4000 meters deep. ROVs were first developed for industrial processes (e.g.. internal and external process of underwater pipelines), but now ROVs have a wide range of applications, many of which are scientific. ROVs allow scientists to investigate areas that are too deep for humans to reach safely, and these machines can stay underwater much longer than a human diver, thus increasing time efficiency for exploration.

    I am eager to keep learning all that I can while aboard the Falkor, as it feels I have just begun to scratch the surface of the vast amount of knowledge that is on this vessel. By my next update I will have gotten a lot more hands on experience with sample processing and seeing SuBastian dive down a few times.

    Thanks and Gig’em!

    4
    Bailey Skinner helps in the processing of samples collected during ROV SuBastian’s dives. SOI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Our Vision
    The world’s oceans understood through technological advancement, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information.

    Schmidt Ocean Institute RV Falkor

    Schmidt Ocean Institute ROV Subastian

    Schmidt Ocean Institute is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit operating foundation established in March 2009 to advance oceanographic research, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze sharing of information about the oceans.

    Since the Earth’s oceans are a critically endangered and least understood part of the environment, the Institute dedicates its efforts to their comprehensive understanding across intentionally broad scope of research objectives.

    Eric and Wendy Schmidt established Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 as a seagoing research facility operator, to support oceanographic research and technology development focusing on accelerating the pace in ocean sciences with operational, technological, and informational innovations. The Institute is devoted to the inspirational vision of our Founders that the advancement of technology and open sharing of information will remain crucial to expanding the understanding of the world’s oceans.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:40 pm on September 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Necker Ridge: Bridge or Barrier?, Oceanography,   

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute: “Transecting time” 

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute

    Necker Ridge: Bridge or Barrier?

    9.10.19
    Mónika Naranjo González

    1
    Schmidt Ocean Institute

    For the crew, one of the many perks of working onboard Falkor (apart from the satisfaction of aiding the advancement of science) is that each expedition is unique. Every new cruise brings with it new people to meet, new science to learn, and new logistical challenges to overcome. This is something the team is completely familiar with, yet something about the Necker Ridge expedition still feels different.

    2
    Necker Ridge. https://www.sciencedirect.com

    Both the 24-7 operations and intense involvement of everyone onboard make an this extremely busy mission. However, once SuBastian hits the water, time seems to expand and slow down. The strategy in which the scientists are exploring the seafloor may be part of this phenomenon.

    3
    During the Necker Ridge expedition, scientists will be looking at the megafauna community composition and distribution. SOI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez.

    Meticulous and Replicable

    “We’re very selective in where we deploy the ROV, because even if we’re covering a fair bit of ground, once you go back and you look at the aerial expanse of the seamount, we are still seeing just a relatively small percentage of it,” explains Brendan Roark, chief scientist. “One of the other things we’re careful about doing is what we think will be representative transects.”

    Flying Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) SuBastian over the seafloor almost uninterruptedly feels very different from the ROV’s more common operation, which is to dive, explore, sample and come back over the course of around eight to ten hours. The way the dives are currently planned is of course not a whim, but a carefully designed strategy.

    ROV SuBastian is exploring this area of the ocean for the first time, which means the scientists have to be very discerning when it comes to choosing the diving spots. After processing high definition bathymetric maps acquired with the ship’s multibeam echosounder, the team looks for geological features that might suggest the presence of megafauna. Such features include hard substrate or structures that might increase the flow of currents (hence benefiting filter-feeders).

    Once the scientists choose a location, they dive along a contour line for a set distance. This is a meticulous process in which they do not even change the ROV’s camera angle. Being systematic in how they are observing the community composition at different depths is critical. This is an exercise that they replicate in each seamount – by keeping the navigation and dive characteristics consistent, the scientists can make a direct comparison from seamount to seamount, as well as making their technique replicable.

    4
    The team must first acquire high resolution bathymetric images with Falkor’s multibeam echosounder. Then they can choose a location to dive in.

    Non-Stop

    Because of their previous work experience, the ROV team is very familiar with these types of dives. “This is not uncommon in the ROV world,” shares Russ Kjell, who supervises the ROV team. “However, we have not done so many transects with SuBastian.”

    Hovering 1.5 to 2 meters over the seafloor can be tricky, “Especially if the ships takes a heave, the vehicle is programmed to compensate for that, and you don’t have much room to maneuver, so it could actually plunge into the seabed,” Russ explains. “But what we’ve done is dialed the controls back so it’s very light, yet even if it does want to go back to the seabed it won’t go beyond a certain point.”

    Diving long transects over unknown territory poses its own particular challenges. The pilots must be very aware of the sonar and what it is showing up ahead so they can adjust the ship’s position, its speed, and the ROV accordingly. The ROV team keeps in constant communication with the officers on the Bridge, who maintain Falkor heading in the right direction and at the right pace, in spite of the elements.

    5
    Russ Kjell keeps an eye on the ROV at all times, communicating constantly with the officers on the Bridge. Erik Suits and Captain Allan Doyle, in this case. SOI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez

    “These types of dives can actually be easier,” shares Erik Suits, navigation officer. “You are moving with the water, instead of holding position like in most ROV dives.” That is, until the different forces that affect the vessel begin complicating the scene. During one of the dives, the currents were pushing Falkor in one direction while the wind pushed and yawed it. Both forces were opposing each other by about 120 degrees. Keeping an eye on every factor at the same time is fundamental.

    Weather conditions might also change during the course of such long dives. Recovering SuBastian while wrestling with surface currents of over two knots helps shake things up and breaks the cadence of the prolonged operations. Time then accelerates while the vehicle is tested and prepared for its next mission, and the scientists swiftly recover the samples and process them in the wet lab.

    After that, time stretches again, and a transect is drawn over the silhouette of a previously unexplored seamount.

    6
    What would be ocean exploration without a little bit of adventure? Recovering ROV SuBastian from strong surface currents is one of them.
    SOI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Our Vision
    The world’s oceans understood through technological advancement, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information.

    Schmidt Ocean Institute RV Falkor

    Schmidt Ocean Institute ROV Subastian

    Schmidt Ocean Institute is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit operating foundation established in March 2009 to advance oceanographic research, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze sharing of information about the oceans.

    Since the Earth’s oceans are a critically endangered and least understood part of the environment, the Institute dedicates its efforts to their comprehensive understanding across intentionally broad scope of research objectives.

    Eric and Wendy Schmidt established Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 as a seagoing research facility operator, to support oceanographic research and technology development focusing on accelerating the pace in ocean sciences with operational, technological, and informational innovations. The Institute is devoted to the inspirational vision of our Founders that the advancement of technology and open sharing of information will remain crucial to expanding the understanding of the world’s oceans.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:40 am on September 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Super corals can handle acid; heat; and suffocation", , , Oceanography, University of Technology Sidney   

    From University of Technology Sidney via Cosmos: “Super corals can handle acid, heat and suffocation” 

    1

    From University of Technology Sidney

    via

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS Magazine

    Emma F Camp
    David Suggett

    1
    Resilient corals are offering hope for bleached reefs. Emma Camp

    Climate change is rapidly changing the oceans, driving coral reefs around the world to breaking point. Widely publicised marine heatwaves aren’t the only threat corals are facing: the seas are increasingly acidic, have less oxygen in them, and are gradually warming as a whole.

    Each of these problems reduces coral growth and fitness, making it harder for reefs to recover from sudden events such as massive heatwaves.

    Our research, published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, investigates corals on the Great Barrier Reef that are surprisingly good at surviving in increasingly hostile waters. Finding out how these “super corals” can live in extreme environments may help us unlock the secret of coral resilience helping to save our iconic reefs.

    3
    Bleached coral in the Seychelles. Emma Camp, Author provided.

    Coral conservation under climate change

    The central cause of these problems is climate change, so the central solution is reducing carbon emissions. Unfortunately, this is not happening rapidly enough to help coral reefs, so scientists also need to explore more immediate [Nature Ecology & Evolution] conservation options.

    To that end, many researchers have been looking at coral that manages to grow in typically hostile conditions, such as around tide pools and intertidal reef zones, trying to unlock how they become so resilient.

    These extreme coral habitats are not only natural laboratories, they house a stockpile of extremely tolerant “super corals” [Global Change Biology].

    What exactly is a super coral?

    “Super coral” generally refers to species that can survive both extreme conditions and rapid changes in their environment. But “super” is not a very precise term!

    Our previous research quantified these traits so other ecologists can more easily use super coral in conservation. There are a few things that need to be established to determine whether a coral is “super”:

    What hazard can the coral survive? For example, can it deal with high temperature, or acidic water?

    How long did the hazard last? Was it a short heatwave, or a long-term stressor such as ocean warming?

    Did the coral survive because of a quality such as genetic adaption, or was it tucked away in a particularly safe spot?

    How much area does the coral cover? Is it a small pocket of resilience, or a whole reef?

    Is the coral trading off other important qualities to survive in hazardous conditions?

    Is the coral super enough to survive the changes coming down the line? Is it likely to cope with future climate change?

    If a coral ticks multiple boxes in this list, it’s a very robust species. Not only will it cope well in our changing oceans, we can also potentially distribute these super corals along vulnerable reefs [PNAS].

    4
    Some corals cope surprisingly well in different conditions. Emma Camp, Author provided.

    Mangroves are surprise reservoirs

    We discovered mangrove lagoons near coral reefs can often house corals living in very extreme conditions – specifically, warm, more acidic and low oxygen seawater.

    Previously we have reported corals living in extreme mangroves of the Seychelles, Indonesia, New Caledonia – and in our current study living on the Great Barrier Reef. We report diverse coral populations surviving in conditions more hostile than is predicted over the next 100 years of climate change [Frontiers in Marine Science].

    Importantly, while some of these sites only have isolated populations, other areas have actively building reef frameworks.

    Particularly significant were the two mangrove lagoons on the Great Barrier Reef. They housed 34 coral species, living in more acidic water with very little oxygen. Temperatures varied widely, over 7℃ in the period we studied – and included periods of very high temperatures that are known to cause stress in other corals.

    5
    Mangrove lagoons can contain coral that survives in extremely hostile environments, while nearby coral reefs bleach in marine heatwaves. Emma Camp, Author provided.

    While coral cover was often low and the rate at which they build their skeleton was reduced, there were established coral colonies capable of surviving in these conditions.

    The success of these corals reflect their ability to adapt to daily or weekly conditions, and also their flexible relationship with various symbiotic micro-algae that provide the coral with essential resources.

    While we are still in the early phases of understanding exactly how these corals can aid conservation, extreme mangrove coral populations hold a reservoir of stress-hardened corals. Notably the geographic size of these mangrove locations are small, but they have a disproportionately high conservation value for reef systems.

    However, identification of these pockets of extremely tolerant corals also challenge our understanding of coral resilience, and of the rate and extent with which coral species can resist stress.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UTS is a public university of technology defined by our support for the economic, social and cultural prosperity of our communities. We are measured by the success of our students, staff and partners and committed to research, innovation and the dissemination of knowledge of public value. We are, and always will be, an inclusive university.

    UTS has a culturally diverse campus life and vibrant international exchange study and research programs that prepare graduates for the workplaces of today and the future. Our campus is in the heart of Sydney’s creative and digital precinct and alongside Sydney’s central business district. Continuing a 10-year period of major development, the ongoing transformation of the UTS campus will ensure we continue to maintain and develop a purpose- and sustainably-built campus to support innovation in education and research.

    Our UTS 2027 strategy outlines our vision to be “a leading public university of technology recognised for our global impact” . Our purpose is to advance knowledge and learning through research-inspired teaching, research with impact and partnerships with industry, the professions and community. UTS is part of the Australian Technology Network of universities: a group of prominent universities committed to working with industry and government to deliver practical and professional courses.

    With a total enrolment of over 44,000 students, UTS is one of the largest universities in Australia.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:49 pm on September 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "SharkCam reveals secret lives of basking sharks in UK", An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) known as the REMUS SharkCam has been used in the UK for the first time to observe the behavior of basking sharks., “Every time we deploy REMUS SharkCam we learn something new about the species we are studying., Fieldwork for the project took place in July in the proposed Sea of the Hebrides Marine Protected Area (MPA) – one of four possible MPAs currently under consultation by the Scottish Government., It is set to reveal the secret lives of the world’s second largest fish—a species that little is known about despite being prevalent in the region’s waters., MPAs are specially designated and managed to protect marine ecosystems; habitats; and species which can help restore the area for people and wildlife., Oceanography, Sharks basking in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland., This is groundbreaking technology designed and built by the Oceanographic Systems Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute: “SharkCam reveals secret lives of basking sharks in UK” 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    1
    Underwater footage captured by the REMUS SharkCam observing the behavior of basking sharks off the west coast of Scotland. (Credit: Amy Kukulya, @oceanrobotcam, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) known as the REMUS SharkCam has been used in the UK for the first time to observe the behavior of basking sharks in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland.

    The groundbreaking technology, designed and built by the Oceanographic Systems Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), is set to reveal the secret lives of the world’s second largest fish—a species that little is known about, despite being prevalent in the region’s waters.

    The research team, which included colleagues from the University of Exeter, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Sky Ocean Rescue, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), hope the stunning images captured by the AUV will strengthen the case for creating the world’s first protected area for basking sharks in this part of the sea.

    The team used SharkCam to track sharks once they were tagged and disappeared beneath the water’s surface. The robot collects wide-angle, high definition video of their behaviour from a distance, as well as high quality oceanographic data, such as ocean temperature, salinity, biological productivity and bathymetry, which shows how far the sharks are off the bottom of the seafloor.

    2
    The REMUS SharkCam is programmed to follow a specially designed tag placed on a shark and can forward predict where the animal will go and follow along at a safe distance. (Photo: Amy Kukulya, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    Initial footage from the innovative SharkCam deployed off the coast of Coll and Tiree last month shows the sharks moving through the water column, potentially searching for food, feeding near the surface and swimming close to the seafloor.

    It is hoped that further analysis of the many hours of video footage from the AUV, as well as visuals from towed camera tags attached to the sharks and the deployment of advanced sonar imaging, will uncover even more about the underwater behavior, social interactions, group behavior and courtship of the elusive species.

    “Every time we deploy REMUS SharkCam, we learn something new about the species we are studying,” said WHOI Research Engineer Amy Kukulya and SharkCam Principal Investigator. “We’re able to remove the ocean’s opaque layer and dive into places never before possible with this groundbreaking technology, answering questions about key species and revealing new ones.”

    Fieldwork for the project took place in July in the proposed Sea of the Hebrides Marine Protected Area (MPA) – one of four possible MPAs currently under consultation by the Scottish Government. MPAs are specially designated and managed to protect marine ecosystems, habitats and species, which can help restore the area for people and wildlife.

    3
    Dr. Matthew Witt from the University of Exeter, and Amy Kukulya, research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), prepare equipment before deploying an underwater robot camera to follow a tagged basking shark. (Photo: WWF/Jane Morgan)

    The area is one of only a few worldwide where large numbers of basking sharks are found feeding in the surface waters each year. It is suspected that basking sharks may even breed in Scotland—an event that has never before been captured on film.

    “Our seas and coasts are home to some incredible wildlife,” said Dr. Jenny Oates, WWF SEAS Programme Manager. “As our oceans come under increasing pressure, innovative technology like the REMUS SharkCam can reveal our underwater world like never before and help to show why it must be protected. It is essential that we safeguard our seas, not just to enable magnificent species like basking sharks to thrive, but because all life on earth depends on our oceans.”

    Footage gathered by the REMUS SharkCam technology will help support and promote basking shark conservation work by demonstrating how important this area is for the life cycle of the species, adding weight to the case for the MPA designation and providing a better understanding of measures which might help protect this iconic species and its habitat.

    The REMUS SharkCam technology—owned and operated by WHOI—was originally developed to track great white sharks, but has been adapted to also be able to track sea turtles, smaller sharks and now basking sharks. The ‘smart’ AUV is programmed to follow a specially designed tag placed on a shark and can forward predict where the animal will go and follow along at a safe distance. The special acoustic bio-logger tag trails slightly behind the attachment point at the base of the main dorsal fin and can remain on sharks for the duration of a mission. The SharkCam tags are fitted with a three-tiered release technology and communication system, which allows researchers to find and collect the tags after they have detached from the sharks recovering more data about the animals behavior.

    The project was funded by WHOI, WWF, Sky Ocean Rescue, SNH, and the University of Exeter. Additional support came from Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and Hydroid Inc.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.
    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on September 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New study tracks sulfur-based metabolism in the open ocean", A study by University of Washington oceanographers published this summer in Nature Microbiology looks at how photosynthetic microbes and ocean bacteria use sulfur a plentiful marine nutrient., , Field samples were collected during a 2015 cruise in the North Pacific., In the ocean phytoplankton use energy from the sun to create sulfonate molecules. Bacteria then consume the phytoplankton to gain nutrients and energy., In the Seattle lab the team cultured 36 species of marine microbes and then tested their ability to produce sulfonates., Oceanography, The new study focused on sulfonates in which a sulfur atom is connected to three oxygen atoms and a carbon-based molecule., The open ocean contains tiny organisms — phytoplankton — that perform half the photosynthesis on Earth., The study discovered “some striking similarities between sulfonate pathways in terrestrial and ocean systems.", , We returned from sea with a freezer’s worth of samples that generated over six terabytes of data for us to explore.   

    From University of Washington: “New study tracks sulfur-based metabolism in the open ocean” 

    U Washington

    From University of Washington

    September 4, 2019
    Hannah Hickey

    1
    In the Seattle lab, the team cultured 36 species of marine microbes and then tested their ability to produce sulfonates. Each phytoplankton type has its own unique set of pigments that absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light, creating the range of colors in the test tubes.Bryndan Durham/University of Washington

    2
    Field samples were collected during a 2015 cruise in the North Pacific. Co-authors Bryndan Durham (center) and Laura Carlson (right) recover the sampling instrument. The gray bottles open and close at specific depths to collect seawater samples.Dror Shitrit/Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology.

    One of the planet’s most active ecosystems is one most people rarely encounter and scientists are only starting to explore. The open ocean contains tiny organisms — phytoplankton — that perform half the photosynthesis on Earth, helping generate oxygen for animals on land.

    A study by University of Washington oceanographers, published this summer in Nature Microbiology, looks at how photosynthetic microbes and ocean bacteria use sulfur, a plentiful marine nutrient.

    Sulfur is the odorous element that gives beaches their distinctive smell. The new study focused on sulfonates, in which a sulfur atom is connected to three oxygen atoms and a carbon-based molecule. In the ocean, phytoplankton use energy from the sun to create sulfonate molecules. Bacteria then consume the phytoplankton to gain nutrients and energy.

    Bryndan Durham, then a postdoctoral researcher in oceanography at the UW and now an assistant professor at the University of Florida, drew on the recent genetic studies of soils to learn which microbial pathways are used to process sulfonates in the ocean. The study first focused on 36 marine microbes that the team cultured in the lab, using a UW-developed method to test which organisms produce sulfonates on their own in a lab environment.

    The study discovered “some striking similarities between sulfonate pathways in terrestrial and ocean systems,” Durham wrote in a “Behind the Paper” post in Nature Microbiology that discusses the project. In soils, plants typically produce sulfonates. In the oceans most sulfonates are also produced by photosynthetic organisms, in this case by unicellular phytoplankton.

    The study then considered microbes in the open ocean that cannot yet be bred in the lab. During a 2015 research cruise north of Hawaii co-led by a team of researchers including Virginia Armbrust and Anitra Ingalls, both professors of oceanography and senior authors on the new study, microbial samples were collected at different times of day and night. The researchers then froze the samples in order to analyze their genetic and chemical contents back in Seattle.

    “We returned from sea with a freezer’s worth of samples that generated over six terabytes of data for us to explore,” Durham wrote, “a major computational hurdle.”

    The team eventually succeeded in extracting the relevant data and found patterns that backed up the findings from the lab samples. They also detected a day–night rhythm in sulfonate metabolism that reflects the activity of photosynthetic organisms.

    “Sulfonates are produced and consumed by certain groups of microbes, so we can use them to track specific relationships in seawater communities,” Durham said. “And because sulfonates contain a carbon–sulfur bond, they are part of the global carbon cycle which controls the flux of carbon dioxide into and out of the ocean. This is increasingly important to understand as the climate changes.”

    Other co-authors are Angela Boysen, Laura Carlson, Ryan Groussman, Katherine Heal, Kelsy Cain, Rhonda Morales, Sacha Coesel and Robert Morris, all at the UW. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Simons Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-washington-campus
    The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public universities. Our impact on individuals, on our region, and on the world is profound — whether we are launching young people into a boundless future or confronting the grand challenges of our time through undaunted research and scholarship. Ranked number 10 in the world in Shanghai Jiao Tong University rankings and educating more than 54,000 students annually, our students and faculty work together to turn ideas into impact and in the process transform lives and our world. For more about our impact on the world, every day.
    So what defines us —the students, faculty and community members at the University of Washington? Above all, it’s our belief in possibility and our unshakable optimism. It’s a connection to others, both near and far. It’s a hunger that pushes us to tackle challenges and pursue progress. It’s the conviction that together we can create a world of good. Join us on the journey.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:21 am on August 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Algae needs sunlight to grow so while the rocks were from about 1000 m down today in the past they were at sea level. This highlights how sea levels have changed over time., , Bathymetry, Birdlife Australia, , , , Kleptoparasite – it steals food from other birds., Oceanography, Sampling in the waters of Australia; Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; and New Caledonia, Sea plates, , Since the start of the voyage more than 6000 individuals from 23 species of bird have been logged.   

    From CSIROscope: “Every week is science week on RV Investigator!” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    CSIRO RV Investigator. CSIRO Australia

    The secrets of the Coral Sea are not given up easily. But the scientists, research assistants and crew on RV Investigator are more than equipped to delve deep for answers.

    Those onboard are an industrious and intrepid bunch, finding ways to overcome the challenges of remote work at sea. But what have they been up to in the last few weeks since the voyage began?

    Our 94-metre floating laboratory is now drawing a picture of a chain of ancient seafloor volcanoes. The researchers will then describe the interplay of the sea plates, which are the focus of this voyage.

    Analyse this!

    A typical geoscience voyage on Investigator comes with all the trappings of using dredges to sample the seafloor. This includes snagged dredging equipment 2500 m below the surface, broken shear pins which upend the basket carrying rock samples (sending them back to the seafloor), a two-to-three metre sea swell and 25 knot (46 km/hr) winds blowing for three straight days.

    So far on this voyage, there have been 22 dredges of the seafloor from sites starting about 1000 km south-east of Cairns. By the end of this voyage, it is hoped more than 36 sites will have been surveyed and sampled in the waters of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.

    4
    This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Kahuroa. Wikipedia.

    Voyage Chief Scientist, Associate Professor Jo Whittaker from the University of Tasmania, said while most of the rocks being hauled to the surface were what was expected, the real value came when the ship arrives back at port.

    “There is a lot of geochemistry to be done and age dating,” Jo said.

    “We have basalt, lavas and carbonates. What we don’t have so far is continental rocks – rocks which could show that a large area of the seafloor out here was rifted from continental Australia millions of years ago.

    “Early in the voyage, we did get some cool carbonate rocks which had alternate layers of algal and coral fossils. Algae needs sunlight to grow, so while the rocks were from about 1000 m down today, in the past they were at sea level. This highlights how sea levels have changed over time.”

    2
    A bathymetry image (seafloor image) of Frederick Reef. The scientists use this to pick rock dredge sites and better understand the seamounts deep below.

    The early bird catches the flying fish

    The science on Investigator is all around you, and around the clock. The science team, as they are known, work alternating 12-hour shifts. Everywhere you look, there are scientists, researchers and students busy with their work 24 hours a day.

    Sitting in a small enclosed deck 25 m above the waterline is a dedicated trio of bird and mammal observers from Birdlife Australia. Led by Principal Investigator and BirdLife Tasmania Convenor, Dr Eric Woehler, the team (which includes volunteer observers Jessica Bolin and Josie Lumley) scan the horizon from dawn to dusk. They’re spotting, identifying and logging marine birds and mammals. And any plastic or other jetsam (rubbish from ships) that passes within range.

    Since the start of the voyage, more than 6000 individuals from 23 species of bird have been logged. Red-footed, brown and masked boobies have been the main species. But winging their way around the ship have also been storm petrels, wedge-tailed shearwaters, and frigatebirds. With the ship heading further north toward Papua New Guinea, the eagle-eyed observers are now seeing white-tailed tropicbirds.

    Eric has more than earned his sea legs and bird skills. He has clocked up more than 400 days at sea on the Australian Antarctic Division’s research and supply vessel (RSV) Aurora Australis. He’s been spotting, identifying and logging birds across the Southern Ocean from Australia to Antarctica. Now on his tenth voyage on Investigator, when Eric steps ashore from a voyage in January next year, he would have logged more than 140 days onboard and circumnavigated Australia in the process.

    3
    Look up! The scientists aren’t just looking deep below for the answers. Image: Huw Morgan

    Extreme birdwatching

    Eric’s enthusiasm for birds is matched by his passion for inspiring and educating anyone who comes within range on the life and times of seabirds.

    “Australia has about 130 to 140 seabird species and I would expect we will see about 40 of those on this voyage,” Eric says from behind binoculars which seem glued to his face.

    As he speaks, what seems like a black blur passes overhead.

    “The lesser frigatebird – an amazing bird,” Eric reveals.

    “They have the lowest body mass to wing-loading ratio of any bird. They hardly have to flap their wings at all.”

    “It’s a kleptoparasite – it steals food from other birds.”

    Pilot whales, dolphins, a 2.5 m hammerhead shark, and a lone whale shark have also made appearances.

    Lying about 1000 km east of Cairns, the ship is currently drawing near the very remote Mellish Reef. About 10 km long and 3 km wide, the reef has only a small area of land permanently above the highwater mark. This speck of land is the nesting ground for thousands of birds.

    Before we reach the reef, Eric hurries outside to the open deck with his camera and captures a truly remarkable image of a pair of red-footed boobies right on the tail of a flying fish spooked out of the sea by the ship.

    The booby wins.

    4
    Red-footed Booby vs flying fish – some of the sights on RV Investigator. Image: Eric Woehler, BirdLife Tasmania

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:49 am on August 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Underwater robots swarm the ocean", , , Oceanography,   

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute: “Underwater robots swarm the ocean” 

    From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    August 21, 2019
    Evan Lubofsky

    1
    (Illustration by Tim Silva, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

    Underwater robots do a lot these days. They can be programmed to go to remote, dangerous, and often previously unexplored parts of the ocean to measure its key characteristics—from salinity and temperature to the speed and direction of currents. They map the seafloor and benthic environments in outstanding detail. And, they find things—from shipwrecks and downed war planes to the billowing plumes of hydrothermal vents in the deep sea.

    These smart workhorses of the ocean have become so useful, in fact, that some ocean scientists like Erin Fischell can’t get enough of them.

    “Instead of using just a single, larger and more expensive underwater robot to cover an area of the ocean, we want to have hundreds or even thousands of smaller, lower-cost robots that can all work in sync to give us a more complete picture of what’s happening,” said Fischell, who develops autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). “This will give us better spatial and temporal coverage in the areas we’re trying to study, and provide us with much richer and robust data sets in far less time.”

    Getting in sync

    For underwater robots to become the vast and coordinated ocean monitoring network that Fischell envisions, they need to form underwater ‘swarms’ that move en masse through the ocean—not unlike schools of fish. Swarming has already shown promise in disaster rescue missions and other applications on land, but we haven’t yet been able to extend the capability to the ocean due to basic physics. Radio signals, such as those generated by GPS navigation systems, travel at the speed of light. But the absorption of light in water is 10 trillion times greater than that in air, so radio signals can’t go very far underwater and thus aren’t viable for underwater communications.

    To overcome these limitations, underwater robot navigation has traditionally relied upon different kinds of technologies such as high-power inertial navigation sensors (INS) that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fischell says that while these pricey peripherals would be impractical for low-cost underwater vehicles, a robot attempting to navigate without INS technology can quickly run into severe issues.

    “These low-cost ocean robots can drift hundreds of meters every 10 minutes, so if you leave one down there for an hour, it can end up being a kilometer off from where you think it is,” she said. “It doesn’t take long for them to lose their way.”

    And that’s just a single unit. If you want a fleet of robots moving collectively in the same direction, the lack of accurate, controllable navigation becomes a show stopper.

    Do you hear what I hear?

    Fischell has been working with MIT professor Henrik Schmidt and Nicholas Rypkema, a researcher at MIT and former MIT/WHOI Joint Program graduate student, to bridge this capability gap with the development of a new acoustic-based navigation system. It includes a series of small, economical underwater robots known as SandSharks that eavesdrop on a pulsing underwater speaker—or acoustic beacon—that transmits sound into the ocean every second. The robots listen in with help of underwater microphones that pick up the acoustic signals, enabling the system’s control software to determine the distance and angle of each robot relative to the beacon. In this sense, the beacon acts as a common reference point for each robot, allowing them to navigate collectively in a swarm.

    “Once we know range and angle, we can figure out where a robot is relative to the sound source,” Fischell said.

    2
    Three ready-to-deploy SandShark robots on a dock before engineers launch them into Boston’s Charles River. (Photo by Nick Rypkema, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

    Field proven

    The system was recently field tested in Boston’s Charles River. A kayak acted as command central, with an acoustic beacon mounted off its side and a shoe-box sized control box placed inside the cockpit.

    “The controls are very easy for the user—there’s a simple four-way switch for Follow, Sample, Return, and Abort,” Fischell said.

    Three low-cost robots were launched from shore and cruised at roughly 2 meters below the surface. Once “Follow” mode was selected during the field tests, the robots began receiving the acoustic bleeps and moments later, all three were moving in the same pattern relative to the beacon attached to the kayak as it glided around the river.

    “As the beacon moved though the water, all of the robots followed along, which made it easy for the user to understand what was going on,” Fishchell said. “We put strobe lights on the robots so we could see them moving in sync through the water.”

    The system also offers a great deal of flexibility with respect to controlling the swarm. Depending on the mission, the robots can cruise in various lines, angles, and circles relative to the beacon, and line up together in virtual arrays.

    “The robots’ course can easily be changed if the ocean features that are being monitoried—like fronts or plumes, for example—shift in space,” Fischell said.

    Scaling up

    The team appears to have solved a big problem for tiny robots—and one that oceanographers have grappled with for quite some time, according to Rypkema.

    “Swarms of underwater vehicles have been a dream for researchers for decades, and the nature of the ocean means that these swarms can have an enormous impact on understanding its properties and dynamics,” he said.

    Getting a fleet of three robots to work cooperatively is a huge win, but Fischell and her colleagues are thinking much bigger. They ultimately want a scalable network of hundreds of robots roaming the ocean.

    “There are a lot of underwater robots out there in the sub-$10,000 price range,” Fischell said. “So as we optimize our technology and methods, we can hopefully get a lot of these vehicles working together for less cost than some of the larger and more complex robots we’ve had to rely on.”

    This work is supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Battelle, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Reuben F. and Elizabeth B. Richards Endowed Fund at WHOI.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

    Vision & Mission

    The ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment. WHOI researchers are also dedicated to training future generations of ocean science leaders, to providing unbiased information that informs public policy and decision-making, and to expanding public awareness about the importance of the global ocean and its resources.
    Mission Statement

    The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:09 am on August 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ocean warming has fisheries on the move helping some but hurting more", , , , Oceanography, ,   

    From The Conversation: “Ocean warming has fisheries on the move, helping some but hurting more” 

    Conversation
    From The Conversation

    August 19, 2019
    Chris Free, UCSB

    1
    Atlantic Cod on Ice. Alamy. Cod fisheries in the North Sea and Irish Sea are declining due to overfishing and climate change.

    Climate change has been steadily warming the ocean, which absorbs most of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, for 100 years. This warming is altering marine ecosystems and having a direct impact on fish populations. About half of the world’s population relies on fish as a vital source of protein, and the fishing industry employs more the 56 million people worldwide.

    My recent study [Science] with colleagues from Rutgers University and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that ocean warming has already impacted global fish populations. We found that some populations benefited from warming, but more of them suffered.


    3

    Overall, ocean warming reduced catch potential – the greatest amount of fish that can be caught year after year – by a net 4% over the past 80 years. In some regions, the effects of warming have been much larger. The North Sea, which has large commercial fisheries, and the seas of East Asia, which support some of the fastest-growing human populations, experienced losses of 15% to 35%.

    4
    The reddish and brown circles represent fish populations whose maximum sustainable yields have dropped as the ocean has warmed. The darkest tones represent extremes of 35 percent. Blueish colors represent fish yields that increased in warmer waters. Chris Free, CC BY-ND

    Although ocean warming has already challenged the ability of ocean fisheries to provide food and income, swift reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reforms to fisheries management could lessen many of the negative impacts of continued warming.

    How and why does ocean warming affect fish?

    My collaborators and I like to say that fish are like Goldilocks: They don’t want their water too hot or too cold, but just right.

    Put another way, most fish species have evolved narrow temperature tolerances. Supporting the cellular machinery necessary to tolerate wider temperatures demands a lot of energy. This evolutionary strategy saves energy when temperatures are “just right,” but it becomes a problem when fish find themselves in warming water. As their bodies begin to fail, they must divert energy from searching for food or avoiding predators to maintaining basic bodily functions and searching for cooler waters.

    Thus, as the oceans warm, fish move to track their preferred temperatures. Most fish are moving poleward or into deeper waters. For some species, warming expands their ranges. In other cases it contracts their ranges by reducing the amount of ocean they can thermally tolerate. These shifts change where fish go, their abundance and their catch potential.

    Warming can also modify the availability of key prey species. For example, if warming causes zooplankton – small invertebrates at the bottom of the ocean food web – to bloom early, they may not be available when juvenile fish need them most. Alternatively, warming can sometimes enhance the strength of zooplankton blooms, thereby increasing the productivity of juvenile fish.

    Understanding how the complex impacts of warming on fish populations balance out is crucial for projecting how climate change could affect the ocean’s potential to provide food and income for people.

    4

    Impacts of historical warming on marine fisheries

    Sustainable fisheries are like healthy bank accounts. If people live off the interest and don’t overly deplete the principal, both people and the bank thrive. If a fish population is overfished, the population’s “principal” shrinks too much to generate high long-term yields.

    Similarly, stresses on fish populations from environmental change can reduce population growth rates, much as an interest rate reduction reduces the growth rate of savings in a bank account.

    In our study we combined maps of historical ocean temperatures with estimates of historical fish abundance and exploitation. This allowed us to assess how warming has affected those interest rates and returns from the global fisheries bank account.

    Losers outweigh winners

    We found that warming has damaged some fisheries and benefited others. The losers outweighed the winners, resulting in a net 4% decline in sustainable catch potential over the last 80 years. This represents a cumulative loss of 1.4 million metric tons previously available for food and income.

    Some regions have been hit especially hard. The North Sea, with large commercial fisheries for species like Atlantic cod, haddock and herring, has experienced a 35% loss in sustainable catch potential since 1930. The waters of East Asia, neighbored by some of the fastest-growing human populations in the world, saw losses of 8% to 35% across three seas.

    Other species and regions benefited from warming. Black sea bass, a popular species among recreational anglers on the U.S. East Coast, expanded its range and catch potential as waters previously too cool for it warmed. In the Baltic Sea, juvenile herring and sprat – another small herring-like fish – have more food available to them in warm years than in cool years, and have also benefited from warming. However, these climate winners can tolerate only so much warming, and may see declines as temperatures continue to rise.

    5
    Shucking scallops in Maine, where fishery management has kept scallop numbers sustainable. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

    Management boosts fishes’ resilience

    Our work suggests three encouraging pieces of news for fish populations.

    First, well-managed fisheries, such as Atlantic scallops on the U.S. East Coast, were among the most resilient to warming. Others with a history of overfishing, such as Atlantic cod in the Irish and North seas, were among the most vulnerable. These findings suggest that preventing overfishing and rebuilding overfished populations will enhance resilience and maximize long-term food and income potential.

    Second, new research suggests that swift climate-adaptive management reforms can make it possible for fish to feed humans and generate income into the future. This will require scientific agencies to work with the fishing industry on new methods for assessing fish populations’ health, set catch limits that account for the effects of climate change and establish new international institutions to ensure that management remains strong as fish migrate poleward from one nation’s waters into another’s. These agencies would be similar to multinational organizations that manage tuna, swordfish and marlin today.

    Finally, nations will have to aggressively curb greenhouse gas emissions. Even the best fishery management reforms will be unable to compensate for the 4 degree Celsius ocean temperature increase that scientists project will occur by the end of this century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Conversation launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:06 am on August 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Deep Coral Diversity at Emperor Seamount Chain, Oceanography,   

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute: “From Mesocale to Naked Eye” 

    From Schmidt Ocean Institute

    Aug 16, 2019
    Christine Lee

    Deep Coral Diversity at Emperor Seamount Chain 2019

    1
    Hawaiian seamount chain. Wikipedia

    We have passed the halfway mark of our cruise’s journey having sailed over 3,200 nautical miles during the past eighteen days. The Schmidt Ocean Institute’s ROV SuBastian [below] has made eight dives so far to depths ranging from 1500-2400 meters deep at the seamounts; Hess Rise, Suiko (north end), Suiko (south end), Yomei, Godaigo, Nintoku (deep), Nintoku (shallow), and Jingu. I was able to witness an amazing show – in real time – of the ancient and young corals, sponges, and other deep sea life observed through the ROV Cam. I can not imagine now how any other live streaming video can compare to seeing nature’s beauty in the deep ocean. Read on to learn about the first two projects I have started while onboard the Falkor, inspired by eddies and by some of the collected specimens we have acquired from the dives.

    2
    HES 102-1 sample: Paragorgia with Brittle Star collected during the Hess Rise dive Christine Lee

    Mesocale

    The swirling of ocean water into currents that flow in a somewhat circular motion are known as mesoscale eddies, with the rotation dependent on the temperature and salinity of the water masses inside and outside the eddy. Cold eddies rotate cyclonically and warm rotate anti-cyclonically. I have been embroidering on paper the estimated averages of the eddies located in the rough area our cruise has been conducting dives. I am using the gradient numbers that characterize the Bell curve for each eddie calculated by Glenn Carter, associate professor in the Department of Oceanography at UH Manoa, to determine the stitching pattern. Since our region of research is in the northern hemisphere, I use cooler tones stitched counterclockwise for eddies under the sea surface and warmer tones stitched clockwise for eddies above.

    3
    In progress: My hand-stitched map of eddies within our research regio Christine Lee

    Naked Eye

    During each dive, the ROV collects specimens as designated by the scientists watching through the live video feed, observing the organisms in their habitat. After the specimens have been documented and preserved, I have been capturing some of them using the Autodesk photogrammetry program ReCap Pro to create an archive of 3D scans, and ROV Supervisor Jason Rodriquez has helped me to 3D print them at various scales. Chief Engineer Allen, with Fitters Edwin and Alex, modified a piece of equipment to create a small platen press where even pressure is applied to transfer a low relief pattern or texture to the surface of a piece of paper or other thin substrate. We used this process to transfer the surface topology of the 3D printed object made from the HES102-1 sample to paper, as well as to a piece of tin sheet. I am now preparing a series based on the antiquated look of ceiling tins to reference how the corals we observe today may become extinct and part of our history.

    4
    Chief Engineer Allen and Fitter Edwin helping me to create a blind embossing on paper with the 3D printed model. SOI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez

    5
    3D printed object made from the HES102-1 sample (left) and blind embossing paper test (right). Christine Lee

    6
    Tin sheet test embossing. Christine Lee

    Coming Up…

    When we observe these corals, sponges, and other organisms, there are similar characteristics they share – yet when their DNA is analyzed, they may be from totally different families. I am curious about this occurrence as well as another research question begging to be investigated on board: how does the environment trigger similar morphology across diverse species? Of the variety of characteristics exhibited by the collected specimens and viewed in situ, I am amazed by their surface quality, textures, and colors. We are able to see these with a light source from the ROV, but what do the inhabitants “see” in the deep dark abyss? Perhaps textures and touch interactions are one of the threads that connect us. Stay tuned for the next blog to read about the other projects I have started looking at inspiration from micro to the molecular!

    7
    Christine Lee threading the shapes of the different eddies in this region, inside the diameter of one of Falkor’s portholes. SOI / Monika Naranjo Gonzalez

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Our Vision
    The world’s oceans understood through technological advancement, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information.

    Schmidt Ocean Institute RV Falkor

    Schmidt Ocean Institute ROV Subastian

    Schmidt Ocean Institute is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit operating foundation established in March 2009 to advance oceanographic research, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze sharing of information about the oceans.

    Since the Earth’s oceans are a critically endangered and least understood part of the environment, the Institute dedicates its efforts to their comprehensive understanding across intentionally broad scope of research objectives.

    Eric and Wendy Schmidt established Schmidt Ocean Institute in 2009 as a seagoing research facility operator, to support oceanographic research and technology development focusing on accelerating the pace in ocean sciences with operational, technological, and informational innovations. The Institute is devoted to the inspirational vision of our Founders that the advancement of technology and open sharing of information will remain crucial to expanding the understanding of the world’s oceans.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:54 am on August 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "About last night: multiple coral spawning in the Great Barrier Reef", , , Coral biology, Coral spawning- which is when corals release tiny egg and sperm bundles into the water., , Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is made up of more than 3800 coral reefs?, , It generally happens only once a year after a full moon for a few hours over one to two nights., Oceanography, Spawning over successive months helps corals synchronise their reproduction to the best environmental conditions., When coral colonies spawn more than once a year it can lead to better health for our coral reefs.   

    From CSIROscope: “About last night: multiple coral spawning in the Great Barrier Reef” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIROscope

    14 August 2019
    Natalie Kikken

    1
    Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is made up of more than 3,800 coral reefs? New research on coral spawning could help coral health, particularly in areas that have suffered coral disturbances. Credit: Shella Dee

    It’s been described as “the most spectacular events in our oceans.” And no, it’s not the gnarly waves you caught surfing on the weekend.

    It’s coral spawning, which is when corals release tiny egg and sperm bundles into the water. It generally happens only once a year, after a full moon, for a few hours, over one to two nights.

    But our scientists along with the University of Queensland have discovered something for the first time. When coral colonies spawn more than once a year, it can lead to better health for our coral reefs. The more larvae that set off into the water, the more chances they have to find new homes to help establish coral recovery. This even includes travelling to neighbouring reefs hundreds of kilometres away. This is good news for strengthening the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Multiple coral spawning: Larvae in numbers

    The corals that spawned over multiple months were successful in spreading their offspring across different parts of the Great Barrier Reef. This is exciting news for Dr Christopher Doropoulos, from our Oceans and Atmosphere team. He’s been studying coral spawning events, and what drives the successful recruitment of coral larvae, for the last 10 years.

    “Spawning over successive months helps corals synchronise their reproduction to the best environmental conditions,” he said.

    “Reproductive success during split spawning may be lower than usual, because it can lead to reduced fertilisation. But we found that the release of eggs in two separate smaller events gives the corals a second and improved chance of finding a new home reef. We call this ‘split spawning’ and it could help the coral communities of the Great Barrier Reef.”

    2
    Larvae larvae! Coral spawning is when coral release egg and sperm bundles into the water.

    Multi-skills for a mega-reef

    To understand the impacts of this spawning, we applied modelling, coral biology, ecology, and oceanography. This meant we could simulate the dispersal of coral larvae during these split spawning events across the whole of the Great Barrier Reef. That’s more than 3800 individual reefs!

    To do this we enlisted the expertise of our researchers Rebecca Gorton and Scott Condie, who have developed online tools such as eReefs and CONNIE. eReefs provides a picture of what is currently happening on the reef and what will likely happen in the future. CONNIE is used to calculate the movement and dispersal of almost any substance or planktonic organism in the ocean.

    The team looked at whether the split spawning events were more reliable at supplying larvae to the reefs. They also looked at whether connectivity (the ability to exchange larvae) among the reefs was improving.

    3
    About last night: corals release egg and sperm bundles into the water, at the same time! They can then be fertilised and will turn into larvae.

    Reef recovery and resilience

    The results showed an increase in diversity of larvae, and better reliability for the larvae to reach different areas of the Reef.

    These findings explain the higher chances of recovery for reefs in the region during split-spawning years. The extra spawning events provide a more robust supply of coral larvae to reefs. This is particularly important for areas of the reef that have suffered disturbances, such as coral bleaching and unpredictable environmental conditions.

    The Great Barrier Reef providing ecosystem services worth more than $6 billion per year in Australia alone. So, this research highlights the importance of coral recovery to sustainably manage the Reef.

    This research was published in Nature Communications and was a collaborative project with University of Queensland and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    SKA/ASKAP radio telescope at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia

    So what can we expect these new radio projects to discover? We have no idea, but history tells us that they are almost certain to deliver some major surprises.

    Making these new discoveries may not be so simple. Gone are the days when astronomers could just notice something odd as they browse their tables and graphs.

    Nowadays, astronomers are more likely to be distilling their answers from carefully-posed queries to databases containing petabytes of data. Human brains are just not up to the job of making unexpected discoveries in these circumstances, and instead we will need to develop “learning machines” to help us discover the unexpected.

    With the right tools and careful insight, who knows what we might find.

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

     
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