News

Chesapeake Bay water quality declines by four percentage points

"An estimated 38% of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries met clean water standards for clarity, oxygen and algae growth between 2016 and 2018. This score is lower than the record high 42% from the previous reporting period, but is still the fifth highest estimate of water quality standards attainment since 1985. This four percentage point decrease is due in large part to a decline in dissolved oxygen in the open waters of the Bay, those areas beyond the shoreline and shallows. Dissolved oxygen is necessary for the survival of the Bay’s aquatic species, and is a factor in the annual dead zone. [...]"

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Shedding New Light on the Nitrogen Cycle in the Dark Ocean

"Every year, the Mississippi River dumps around 1.4 million metric tons of nitrogen into the Gulf of Mexico, much of it runoff from agricultural fertilizer. This nitrogen can lead to algal blooms, which in turn deplete oxygen concentrations in the water, creating hypoxic dead zones. The nitrogen cycle is a phenomenon environmental scientists would really like to understand better. “As humans, we do put a lot of reactive nitrogen compounds into the ocean, especially in coastal regions, by…river runoff,” said Katharina Kitzinger of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. “It’s really crucial to understand how microbes turn over this excess nitrogen that we put into the environment. [...]”"

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Ocean deoxygenation could be silently killing coral reefs, scientists say

"In March, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef suffered its most widespread bleaching event to date. Sixty percent of the reef underwent moderate to severe bleaching, and some corals may never recover.

The cause of this bleaching event was climate change, which brought unusually warm waters to the Great Barrier Reef in February, and disrupted the delicate, symbiotic relationship between the corals and their life-sustaining algae. In general, when sea temperatures rise, corals become stressed and expel algae from their tissues. Without this algae, the corals turn ghostly white and slowly starve. [...]"

Source: Mongabay

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'A bad time to be alive': Study links ocean deoxygenation to ancient die-off

"In a new study, Stanford researchers have strongly bolstered the theory that a lack of oxygen in Earth's oceans contributed to a devastating die-off approximately 444 million years ago. The new results further indicate that these anoxic (little- to no-oxygen) conditions lasted over 3 million years—significantly longer than similar biodiversity-crushing spells in our planet's history. Beyond deepening understandings of ancient mass extinction events, the findings have relevance for today: Global climate change is contributing to declining oxygen levels in the open ocean and coastal waters, a process that likely spells doom for a variety of species. [...]"

Source: Phys.org

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HKU study shows that control of anthropogenic atmospheric emissions can improve water quality in China’s coastal Seas

"A new research led by MPhil student Miss Yu Yan Yau and supervised by Dr Benoit Thibodeau from the Department of Earth Sciences and the Swire Institute of Marine Science, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), highlighted the importance of reducing fossil fuel combustion not only to curb the trend of global warming, but also to improve the quality of China’s coastal waters. The findings were recently published in the prestigious journal Environmental Science & Technology. [...]"

Source: The University of Hong Kong

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Our Vanishing World: Oceans

"As the human onslaught against life on Earth accelerates, no part of the biosphere is left pristine. The simple act of consuming more than we actually need drives the world’s governments and corporations to endlessly destroy more and more of the Earth to extract the resources necessary to satisfy our insatiable desires. In fact, an initiative of the World Economic Forum has just reported that ‘For the first time in history, more than 100 billion tonnes of materials are entering the global economy every year’ – see ‘The Circularity Gap Report 2020’– which means that, on average, every person on Earth uses more than 13 tonnes of materials each year extracted from the Earth. [...]"

Source: GlobalReasearch

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UK's lost sea meadows to be resurrected in climate fight

First seagrass restoration in Britain will capture carbon rapidly and offer habitat for lost marine life

 

“We think this whole bay was once carpeted with seagrass,” says Evie Furness, waving across the sparkling, sunlit waters of Dale Bay in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The underwater meadow is long gone though, a victim of past pollution and shipping. So from a boat half a mile from shore, Furness is feeding a long rope into the water, which carries a little hessian bag of seagrass seeds every metre. “We’ve passed the 800,000 seed mark now,” she says. [...]"

Source: The Guardian

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Multi-agency report highlights increasing signs and impacts of climate change in atmosphere, land and oceans

"New York / Geneva, 10 March 2020 - The tell-tale physical signs of climate change such as increasing land and ocean heat, accelerating sea level rise and melting ice are highlighted in a new report compiled by the World Meteorological Organization and an extensive network of partners. It documents impacts of weather and climate events on socio-economic development, human health, migration and displacement, food security and land and marine ecosystems. [...]"

Source: World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

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Fishing trawlers could harm water quality by disrupting seafloor microbes

"Fishing boats that drag nets along the sea floor to catch seafood can indiscriminately harm marine life and destroy habitat. Now, a new study suggests “bottom trawling” can also disrupt the ability of microbes in sediment to remove excess nutrients in coastal waters, potentially increasing that pollution. “This is one of the first papers to look at actual biogeochemical effects of bottom trawling,” says Sebastiaan van de Velde, a marine biogeochemist at the University of California, Riverside, who was not involved. “The whole angle is very novel.” [...]"

Source: Science

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Is there a technological solution to aquatic dead zones?

"Could pumping oxygen-rich surface water into the depths of lakes, estuaries, and coastal ocean waters help ameliorate dangerous dead zones? New work says yes, although they caution that further research would be needed to understand any possible side effects before implementing such an approach. [...]"

Source: Science Daily 

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