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Human impacts

This category contains 111 posts

BAD BOYZ 2.0. Emerging environmental contaminants

Our generation is facing environmental challenges not only from commonly-known contaminants, but also emerging ones, which have been lurking in the shadows until recently. Check this week’s post to know more about these (sometimes surprising) pollutants, and their effects!

New Nitrogen in Town: Nitrogen Deposition on the Open Ocean

Life in the ocean depends on a variety of nutrients, an important one being nitrogen. Phytoplankton, at the bottom of the oceanic food chain, require it to photosynthesize. Burning fossil fuels releases nitrogen into the atmosphere, and a portion of it is known to settle into the ocean. Has the ocean started to show signs of change as a result?

Happy World Oceans Day!

Happy World Oceans Day! A day to celebrate and appreciate the fantastic oceans, while also raising awareness of the importance of minding and minimizing our impacts.

Ctrl+P: 3D printing applications for oceanography

3D printing and oceanography? Check out the fascinating new research advancements made in ocean sciences using one of the most innovative technologies of the 21st century!

Tarballs invading our coastlines: Ghosts of oil spills past

We live in a world that is torn between reliance on fossil fuels and renewable energy. Although we have made great strides towards increasing wind and solar energy, the ghosts of oil spills past are washing up on our shorelines.

Marine Protected Areas need more than just a name

It is no secret that the Earth’s oceans are in trouble. Every day there is a new article on rising temperatures, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and species extinction, to name just a few. Luckily, governments are taking notice and policies are being enacted to curb the loss of this delicate, and essential ecosystem. However, deciding to take action does not always guarantee that the necessary measures will follow. Continue reading to see how one team of researchers have quantified the effectiveness of some of these policies, and what needs to happen to ensure they are moving forward.

Shark attack prevention: what works, what doesn’t?

We aren’t going to need a bigger boat to prevent shark attacks…read this review article to get an idea what shark attack prevention strategies are best for both humans and sharks!

Throwing Babies out with the Sea Ice: Ringed Seals Response to Ice Decline

As the Earth warms, sea ice declines. What happens to those animals who rely on the ice? Today’s oceanbites looks at one animal, the ringed seal, and how it may be affected by climate change!

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

Fisheries and Food Security

Fish have provided sustenance for millions of people, but in a world where stocks are rapidly depleting, what are the consequences of trying to save and rehabilitate their populations?

Working with the coast

The coast is very dynamic and at the constant mercy of wind and water energy. Often times, humans will try to control the coast by constructing seawalls and groins. Such projects have major impacts on sediment transport that can affect natural ecosystems and recreational beaches. Read here about a group of scientists who sought to quantify just how much of an impact seawall and groin development had on a section of coast in southeast India.

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

The Kelp in the Coal Mine: can kelps act as an indicator for climate change?

Many scientific studies have shown that kelp species are sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. Some scientists think of them as sentinel species, or early warning indicators of climate change. Recently, a large mass of warm water, affectionately known as “The Blob,” covered the northeast Pacific, resulting in a long-term elevation of ocean temperature. With existing ecological records of kelp forests in California, this provided an opportunity for researchers to test whether these giant kelps are indeed a sentinel species and can warn us about the looming effects of climate change.

Paradise Loss: How humans are impacting coastal reef communities

Humans are drawn to beautiful beaches and warm water, and with us come the conveniences of modern day civilization. While life may be flourishing in the shops, restaurants and luxury hotels, this development is taking its toll on the fragile reef community just off shore. Although reefs may appear healthy to the naked eye, researchers have discovered coastal development impacts their biological diversity, and this may be an indication of more serious, long-term damage.

The Rebirth of the “Mighty-I”

Happy Halloween! This is the true, spooky tale of life, death, and rebirth beneath the waves. To end off OceanBites’ haunting Halloween theme week, read the story of USS Independence – an aircraft carrier that participated in atomic bomb trials at Bikini Atoll.

Let’s Ghost Fishing for Halloween!

Ghost fishing is ghastly because it creates underwater graveyards for wildlife. The authors covered here wrote a new review of gear entanglement among mammals, reptiles, and sharks. Find out what they discovered by reading today’s post!

Oil rigs, the food trucks of the sea?

We humans don’t always take time to assess how we impact other environments; more often we survey before we enter the ecosystem, but what happens when we leave? Oil rigs in the North Sea have provided a great opportunity for scientists to start investigating. Click here to find out more!

Big animals face big trouble in our oceans

Many believe we are in the midst of another mass extinction both on land and in the ocean. What marine animals are most at risk of extinction? Using current and past extinction data, researchers were able to pinpoint the most vulnerable types of marine animals.

From Wastewater to Seahorses to the Medicine Cabinet

Pollution of metals could be getting into the tissue of seahorses–the very tissues that are used to make a special Chinese medicine. Now scientists fear that the metal pollutants could harm the patients who take the medicine. Read more to find out what they learned about the accumulation of metals in seahorse tissues.

Ancient swimmers: Greenland sharks live for centuries

Using radiocarbon dating, scientists have discovered that the Greenland shark can live longer than any other known vertebrate. How long have some of these individuals been alive?

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