OC Overview for the Week of May 7, 2018

OC Overview

A primer on what's needed in the UN high seas negotiations

Nature magazine offers a good primer on current management of the high seas (marine areas beyond national jurisdiction) and what’s needed from the forthcoming negotiations on a UN treaty to conserve them effectively. The article examines the challenges ahead, and hears from scientists concerned that the regulations that emerge might not be strict enough. (via Nature)

Shipping industry mag: MPAs won’t matter because climate change will kill the species anyway

In one of the more cynical headlines we've seen, the shipping industry magazine Maritime Executive says "marine protected areas won't matter" – and presumably should not be designated – because all their species are going to be gone soon due to climate change. (The article references this recent study on MPAs and climate change.) According to a report last year, shipping’s current 3% share of global CO2 emissions could grow as high as 17% by 2050. (via Maritime Executive)

The Social Life of Fish and How It Affects the Health of Coral Reefs

In an interview with Yale Environment360, Mike Gil, post-doctoral fellow in Marine Biology for UC Davis, describes his study on coral fish behavior off of French Polynesian island, Mo’orea. His research suggests that in large enough numbers non-schooling fish follow a “copycat behavior” and are more willing to enter risk averse areas to feed when they see other fish in the area. These fish hold an important ecological role as they remove algae that rapidly grows throughout these corals when left alone. Gil talks of the effects of overfishing on this coral community and the resulting algal growth. (via Yale Environment360)

Seattle Councilmember shoved out of fisherman-owned venue for support of pedestrian/bike trail

During an after-party for the opening of Ballard's new Nordic Museum being held at the Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, Seattle Councilmember Mike O'Brien was shoved out of the premises by the building's owners. O'Brien supports closing the 1.4 mile "missing link" of the Burke-Gilman trial, a walking/biking trail that currently ends abruptly at old railroad tracks near a big-box store and then resumes over a mile away. The "missing link" is proposed to run near the Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, which fishers in the Seattle area largely do not want to see completed. (via The Seattle Times)

The more "prestigious" the journal, the less reliable the results

Prestigious journals like Science and Nature are often seen as the "holy grail" for scientific publishing. Having a paper published in one of these journals can make or break a scientist's chance at getting tenure, a promotion, or even hired to begin with. However, mounting evidence shows that, even when you account for increased scrutiny and readership, the results and methodologies hyped in such publications are often not reliable. (via Frontiers in Human Neuroscience)

The Last Days of the Blue-Blood Harvest

The blood of horseshoe crabs holds an amazing property - the ability to detect the faintest hint of bacterial toxins. This property has a saved countless human lives at the expense hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs per year, worldwide. Jeak Ling Ding and her husband Bow Ho of the National University of Singapore have discovered a new formula that mimics the properties of horseshoe crab blood entirely, without any life loss. However, it has been a slow turn-around as large corporations are wary of changing techniques. (via The Atlantic)