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News articles on oceans

Mongabay.com news articles on oceans in blog format. Updated regularly.









Shipping industry struggles with pollution

(11/28/2007) Pollution is a rising concern for the cargo shipping industry which carries more than 90% of the world's merchandise by volume, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Ocean CO2 collector could fight global warming and ocean acidification

(11/19/2007) Researchers have proposed a geoengineering solution to global warming that involves building a series of water treatment plants that enhance the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by removing hydrochloric acid from seawater by electrolysis.


86% of sea turtle species threatened with extinction

(11/14/2007) Marine turtles have thrived for more than 100 million years. But only the last few hundred years have given the huge, spectacular, prehistoric amphibians serious trouble.


Global warming is melting soft corals

(11/13/2007) Soft corals are "simply melting and wasting away" due to global warming-induced environmental stress says Dr. Hudi Benayahu, head of Tel Aviv University's Porter School of Environmental Studies.


NASA: Arctic Ocean circulation reversal not due to global warming

(11/13/2007) A study published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that weakening of the Arctic Oscillation results from a cyclical process rather than climate change. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.


North Atlantic carbon sinks absorbing less CO2

(10/23/2007) The capacity of the North Atlantic ocean to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) has declined significantly since in the mid 1990s, report researchers from the University of East Anglia. The findings raise concerns that oceans may be slowing their uptake of CO2, potentially worsening the climate impact of greenhouse gas emissions.


Carbon sinks failing to keep up with emissions

(10/22/2007) Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) growth has increased 35 percent faster than expected since 2000, report scientists writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Worryingly, more than half the increase came from a decreased efficiency of natural land and ocean sinks to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The reminder came from a slowing in the efficiency of use of fossil fuels.


Black jellyfish, strange marine species discovered in deep ocean

(10/17/2007) An expedition to an unexplored deep ocean basin south of the Philippine Islands has turned up a trove of previous undiscovered species including a black jellyfish, a transparent sea cucumber, and a tentacled worm that resembles a squid.


Mexican fishing villages work to change practices to preserve loggerhead turtles

(10/17/2007) Industrial fishing operations take plenty of blame for both depleting fish stocks and inadvertently catching innocent bystanders such as dolphins, sharks, seabirds, and sea turtles--a phenomenon known as "bycatch.".


CO2 emissions cause ocean acidification, threaten sea life

(09/21/2007) Human-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could alter ocean chemistry to the point where it will violate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Quality Criteria by mid-century if emissions are not significantly reduce, reports a team of scientists writing in the September 25, 2007 issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The commentary is the first to warn that atmospheric CO2 emissions will cause ocean waters to violate EPA water quality criteria.


Apology for Whale Shooting given by Tribe

(09/13/2007) The ninth of September saw a gray whale shot and killed by members of the Makah Tribe, off the coast of the Washington Coast, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.


Gray whale populations a fraction of historic level

(09/10/2007) The current population of gray whales is one-third to one-fifth of the number found in the Pacific before industrial whaling began in the 19th century, reports a new study based on genetic analysis.


World's first sustainable tuna fishery certified

(09/09/2007) The world's first certified sustainable tuna fishery was announced today, a move that could help save one of the world's most valuable fish -- and the fishing industry that relies on it -- from extinction.


La Nina may be coming

(09/07/2007) Scientists with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center are predicting that another La Nina event is on its way, according to the latest monthly El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion.


Environmentalists may use Endangered Species Act to pressure gov't on global warming

(09/07/2007) The addition of elkhorn and staghorn corals to the Endangered Species Act due to threats from climbing ocean temperatures, may be environmentalists' best weapon for levering the U.S. government into action on global warming, writes Mark Clayton of The Christian Science Monitor.


Felix Death Toll Washes Up on Coastline

(09/07/2007) Nicaraguan and Honduran officials have announced that upwards of 100 people are confirmed dead, and another 120 still unaccounted for after Hurricane Felix made landfall earlier this week.


Squid chasing drove evolution of whale sonar

(09/06/2007) A University of California at Berkeley study argues that dolphins and other toothed whales developed sonar to chase schools of squid swimming near the ocean surface at night.


Second set of jaws help moray eels feed

(09/06/2007) Moray eels have a unique way of feeding reminiscent of a science fiction thriller, researchers at UC Davis have discovered. After seizing prey in its jaws, a second set of jaws located in the moray's throat reaches forward into the mouth, grabs the food and carries it back to the esophagus for swallowing.


Industrial pollution acidifies ocean, threatens marine animals

(09/03/2007) Ocean acidification, already a concern due to rising levels of carbon dioxide, is worsening due to nitric acid and sulfuric acid from industry, report researchers writing in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).


"Weird" algae key to survival of coral reefs

(08/31/2007) A team of coral researchers has taken a major stride towards revealing the workings of the mysterious "engine" that drives Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and corals the world over.


Iceland halts whaling

(08/24/2007) With stagnant demand for whale meat nearly a year after ending its ban on commercial whaling, Iceland said it would not issue new whale-hunting quotas until it gets an export license from Japan, reports Reuters.


Iron boosts carbon sequestration by the ocean

(08/23/2007) Wind-blown iron contributes significantly to the biological productivity of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Science.


'New continent' and species discovered in Atlantic study

(08/18/2007) A scientist from the University of Aberdeen is leading a team of international researchers whose work will continue our understanding of life in the deepest oceans, and contribute to the global Census of Marine Life.


Arctic sea ice shrinks to record low in 2007

(08/15/2007) Arctic sea ice has shrunk to a record low according the Japan Aerospace Exploration agency.


Antarctic Bottom Water has warmed since 1992

(08/14/2007) Deep ocean waters near Antarctica have warmed significantly since 1992, though variable temperatures may it difficult to determine whether it is a trend, reports a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.


2004 Indian Ocean tsunami waves hit Florida, Maine

(08/14/2007) Waves from the devastating December 2004 tsunami were recorded along the Atlantic coast of North America, reports a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.


U.S. government weather agency cuts hurricane outlook

(08/10/2007) The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday reduced its forecast for the number of tropical storms and hurricanes expected during the 2007 Atlantic season. NOAA said it now expected between 13 and 16 named storms, with seven to nine becoming hurricanes and three to five of them classified as "major" hurricanes (categories 3, 4, or 5).


Coral reefs declining faster than rainforests

(08/08/2007) Coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean are dying faster than previously thought due to costal development, climate change, and disease, reports a study published Wednesday in the online journal PLoS One. Nearly 600 square miles of reef have disappeared per year since the late 1960s, a rate twice that of tropical rainforest loss.


U.S. court blocks sonar testing to protect whales

(08/07/2007) A U.S. federal court blocked the Navy from using a type of sonar that environmentalists say pose a threat to whales off the coast of California. The judge noted that the Navy's own analyses concluded that the Southern California exercises "will cause widespread harm to nearly thirty species of marine mammals, including five species of endangered whales, and may cause permanent injury and death" and characterized the Navy's proposed mitigation measures as "woefully inadequate and ineffectual."


Overfishing takes toll on Bluefin tuna

(08/06/2007) Overfishing has caused dramatic shifts in bluefin tuna populations that have pushed the species closer towards extinction in some areas, reports a series of studies by the Census of Marine Life (CoML) and other researchers.


2007 hurricane season downgraded, questions over climate role remain

(08/06/2007) Hurricane researcher William Gray from Colorado State University cut his 2007 hurricane season outlook, saying there will likely be fewer storms than previously projected due to weak La NiƱa conditions and more atmospheric dust from Africa.


New device allows biologists to track seals under sea ice

(08/06/2007) Biologists have devised a new device for tracking how environmental change affects the physiology, behvaior, and populations of Southern elephant seals, according to a paper published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Jet stream drives summer temperature, plankton growth in Oregon

(08/06/2007) Short-term shifts in the jet stream off the Oregon coast drive changes in ocean temperature and plankton growth during summer months, reports a new study published in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings are significant because they could help improve weather prediction and bolster understanding of ocean food chains along the northwestern United States. Plankton are the base of the food chain for important ocean fisheries in the region.


Jumbo squid invade California waters, affecting fish populations

(07/25/2007) Jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) are invading California waters, putting commercial fish populations at risk, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Fish cultivate gardens of algae

(07/24/2007) Damselfish cultivate "gardens" of algae, according to a study published last October in the journal Biology Letters.


Wal-Mart demand drives "greener" shrimp farms

(07/24/2007) Wal-Mart's demand for sustainably-produced products is driving "greener" production of shrimp in Thailand, reports the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).


In Alaska, fishing industry drives marine conservation

(07/24/2007) Alaska's fisheries are some of the richest in the world, with fishermen harvesting hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of salmon, crab, herring, halibut, pollock, and groundfish every year. However, such bounty has not always been the case. Over-exploitation and poor fisheries management in the 1940s and 1950s took a heavy toll on the industry. Born of this difficult origin, today Alaska sets the bar in fisheries management. Unusually for natural resource management, industry is leading the way, relying on dialog with scientists to determine catch levels and where to designate "no-fishing zones", while pushing for certification standards for sustainable seafood products. These efforts are coordinated by the Marine conservation Alliance (MCA), an industry-backed nonprofit based in Juneau, Alaska. In July 2007, David Benton, executive director of the Marine conservation Alliance, spoke with mongabay.com about MCA's work in Alaska.


Melting glaciers and ice cap will drive sea level rise

(07/19/2007) Melting glaciers and ice caps will contribute more to global sea level rise this century than the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, reports a study published in the current issue of Science.


Foreign fishing fleets deplete African fish stocks

(07/18/2007) Heavily subsidized foreign fishing fleets are depleting coastal fish stocks of poor Africa countries, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Fines on bycatch could help make conservation groups, industry accountable

(07/18/2007) Assessing fines on illegal bycatch could help clean up the fishing industry, reports a new study published in the August issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


Hurricanes can help coral reefs

(07/17/2007) A close call with a hurricane can be beneficial to a stressed coral reef, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Giant squid found in Australia

(07/11/2007) A giant squid has washed up on a beach on the western coast of the Australian island Tasmania, reports Reuters.


How long does it take reef fish to recover from overfishing?

(07/11/2007) Recovery of fish populations from overfishing can take decades, reports a new study based on 37 years of observations.


How to save the world's oceans from overfishing

(07/08/2007) Global fishing stocks are in trouble. After expanding from 18 millions tons in 1950 to around 94 million tons in 2000, annual world fish catch has leveled off and may even be declining. Scientists estimate that the number of large predatory fish in the oceans has fallen by 90 percent since the 1950s, while about one-quarter of the world's fisheries are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion. Despite these dire trends, the situation is changing. Today some of the world's largest environmental groups are focused on addressing the health of marine life and oceans, while sustainable fisheries management is at the top of the agenda for intergovenmental bodies. At the forefront of these efforts is Mike Sutton, director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's conservation program: the Center for the Future of the Oceans. The aquarium, which has long been recognized as one of the world's most important marine research facilities, is pioneering new strategies for protecting the planet's oceans. Sutton says the approach has four parts: establishing new marine protected areas, pushing for ocean policy reform, promoting sustainable seafood, and protecting wildlife and marine ecosystems.


Sea anemone genome provides insight on evolution

(07/05/2007) The sea anemone genome is far more complex and vertebrate-like than the fruit fly or nematode genomes, reports a study published in the July 6th issue of the journal Science. The analysis provides insights into the common ancestor of nearly all multi-celled animals, including humans.


WWF condemns iron fertilization scheme to fight global warming

(06/28/2007) Environmental group WWF condemned a scheme by Planktos, Inc. (OTCBB: PLKT) to dump up to 100 tons of iron dust in the open ocean west of the Galapagos Islands. The firm claims the experiment will fertilize massive blooms of phytoplankton that will absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and help fight global warming.


Melting Antarctic icebergs help increase biodiversity, slow climate change

(06/21/2007) Icebergs breaking off Antarctica are unexpected hotspots of biological productivity and have a surprising role in climate change, reports a new study published in the journal Science.


Study: Global cooling of oceans did not occur from 2003-2005

(06/18/2007) The top 700-meters of global oceans did not cool from 2003-2005, reports a study published in the June 18 early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results challenge recent findings that suggest otherwise.


Ocean acidification monitoring system launched

(06/13/2007) The first buoy to monitor ocean acidification has been launched in the Gulf of Alaska reports the National Science Foundation (NSF). Scientists hope the instrument, which will transmit data via satellite, will help examine how ocean circulation and ecosystems interact to determine how much carbon dioxide the north Pacific Ocean absorbs each year.


Harpoon proves whale is 115-130 years old

(06/12/2007) A 19th-century weapon found in the neck of a 50-ton bowhead whale caught off Alaska shows that cetaceans can live more than 100 years, reports the Associated Press (AP).



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