X Prize takes on ocean acidification. New research changes theory about polar bear lineage. Chile expands marine reserves.
Dive into the latest edition of The Weekly Dive, where we bring you the big ocean news!
X Prize takes on ocean acidification. Wendy Schmidt, wife of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, will sponsor the latest ocean health challenge for X Prize Foundation, which creates competitions aimed at solving global problems. The winner will develop the best deep ocean pH sensors to improve monitoring of climate change effects. Schmidt previously sponsored the Oil Cleanup X Prize after the BP oil spill. [Forbes]
Redrawing the polar bear family tree. A study published in Science counters previous studies suggesting that polar bears were a young species, having diverged rapidly from brown bears about 150,000 years ago. The new genetic study traces their lineage back to 600,000 years ago and provides evidence that mating between polar and grizzly bears occurred at various periods. [TIME]
Bankers to save the Arctic? Near the anniversary of the BP oil spill, German bank WestLB announced it will not finance any offshore drilling activities in the Arctic Ocean, saying “the risks and costs are simply too high.” Just two weeks ago insurance giant Lloyd’s of London, in an unusual move, urged companies to “think carefully about the consequences,” of Arctic oil drilling. [Think Progress]
Chile to expand marine reserves. The reserves at Easter and Salas y Gomez Islands will more than double to 411,000 square km by the end of the year. Highlighting the biological diversity of the area, a new shark species from the Galapagos was just discovered in March. [MarketWatch; California Academy of Sciences]
56 US coral species face extinction. In an evaluation of 82 at-risk coral species in US waters, more than half are expected to go extinct by 2100 as a result of warming and acidification if policies and practices don’t change. [msnbc.com]
Tidal power surges forward. Regulators in Maine set terms for three companies to provide tidal energy to consumers there, in the first long term power agreement of its kind in the US. A similar project is making headway in New York City’s East River, and Canada may follow close behind. [The Huffington Post]
Half of seabird species are in decline. A global study finds that 28% of species are threatened and nearly 50% are in decline. Thanks to conservation efforts, 17% of species are increasing. Seabirds are more vulnerable and fare significantly worse than non-sea birds. [SeaWeb]
Purple crab, white orca prove there’s much left to discover. Researchers in the Palawan islands, Philippines identified a bright purple species of freshwater crab, previously unknown to science. A rare white orca, probably albino, exists off Russia’s coast, where orcas may be endangered. [Discovery News; The Huffington Post]
It’s spring in the Arctic! Polar bear mating season is underway. Watch below to learn more!