The Lenfest Ocean Program is pleased to announce a new research project now underway. North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered marine species, with fewer than 500 individuals remaining. In the last few years, the species seems to have shifted northward in summer. There has also recently been an unprecedented number of right whale deaths in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, an area where right whale sightings had previously been rare. Officials in both the U.S. and Canada would like to know what is causing the range shift.
New Genetic Research Shows the Legacy of Fish Farm Escapees
New tests have discovered interbreeding between escaped farm salmon and native salmon stocks in Newfoundland due to the 2013 Cooke Aquaculture pen collapse in that area. This was not the first, nor the last of pen collapses for Cooke Aquaculture. During the summer of 2017, where over 260,000 farmed salmon escaped into Puget Sound, Cooke stated that survival of the escaped fish was low and interbreeding was impossible. The same statements were given in 2013. Obviously those fish did survive and found a way to flourish. (via Hakai Magazine)
Angry at plight of southern-resident orcas, speakers rebuke NOAA in public meetings
With the most recent loss of J50, only 3 years old and one of the two females born in her generation, there is reason to be upset. NOAA officials have known about the plight of the residential whales for some time and the public feels they have not done enough with that knowledge. With the death of J50, and the too soon departure of J35’s calf, NOAA officials hope that only progressive change will come from this low point. (via Seattle Times)
Scientists Gave MDMA to Octopuses—and What Happened Was Profound
Dosed with a small amount of MDMA, octopuses display similar acts as expected by humans. When given to seven octopuses, the usually loner beings piled together showing affectionate touching and even “dancing”. This research suggests that our human brain chemistry and that of octopuses may be more alike than we previously thought. (via Gizmodo)
Environmental groups release results of three-year project that shows how Arctic being altered by climate change
Canada’s Arctic Marine Atlas is a new extensive online toolkit created to aid in the protection and study of Canada’s arctic. Covering topics from sheet ice thickness to location of mines, this toolkit serves to provide information for free for use by the general public and academic researchers. (via The Globe and Mail)
"If the last blue whale choked to death on the last panda, it would be disastrous but not the end of the world. But if we accidentally poisoned the last two species of ammonia-oxidizers, that would be another matter. It could be happening now and we wouldn't even know..."
--- Microbiologist Tom Curtis in Nature, 2006
Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools and methods for facilitating EBM and MSP processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.
The last two issues of MEAM featured two Skimmers chock full of cutting edge research and insights from some of our climate change researcher heroes. If you didn’t have a chance to check them out yet, we highly recommend doing so now!
The United Nations Is Considering Banning High-Seas Fishing
In a recent study, published through Science Advances, researchers try to determine how influential high sea fisheries are for global supplies. The results show that the answer is very little. Another question to ask though is “how important is the high seas for the overall health of global fish stocks?” (via Hakai Magazine)
Hundreds of Researchers From Harvard, Yale and Stanford Were Published in Fake Academic Journals
An undercover study, performed by a German team led by journalist Silvia Eckert, discovered that hundreds of papers were submitted to predatory journals by real researchers from prominent institutions. These journals go on to create fake conferences with “experts” to draw in millions of dollars. One plausible explanation for these researchers to submit to these inauthentic journals is purely to say they were published. ( via Motherboard)
How Whale Poop Could Counter Calls to Resume Commercial Hunting
Researchers continue to explore the importance of whales for the overall vitality of ocean. Results have shown that fecal wastes from whales increase abundance of sea life, especially that of phytoplankton, which in turn consumes atmospheric carbon helping to mediate climate change. The IWC Scientific Committee will use this information, and more, to decide on the fate of commercial whaling. (via Scientific American)
Dosed salmon, clipped fins, a ‘dinner bell’: How far is too far in helping starving orca?
J50 is one of the 75 remaining residential Salish Sea orcas, and she is dying. Sick with intestinal worms and suffering from a fungal infection, J50 needs help fast. Oral medication is necessary to treat these ailments, and to supply these is going to require some ingenuity. (via Seattle Times)