Arctic ice melt setting records. Ocean Health Index tool for marine management. N. American freshwater fish extinctions to double.
Dive into the latest edition of The Weekly Dive, where we bring you the big ocean news!
The new Ocean Health Index provides a tool for global marine management. Developed by dozens of scientists over the last two years, it provides a standardized basis for comparing marine health. The ocean received an overall global score of 60, but regional scores ranged from 36 in Sierra Leone to 86 around the uninhabited Jarvis Island (an unincorporated US territory south of Hawaii). [The New York Times]
Ice melt breaks records in Greenland and the Arctic. Melting of the Greenland ice sheet far exceeded seasonal records, well before the end of summer. Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice coverage is currently the fourth lowest on record and still falling, putting it on track to be the lowest ever recorded before the summer ends. [EurekAlert; Climate Central]
Floridians most concerned about dolphin conservation are most likely to break harassment laws. Florida law bans touching, swimming with, or feeding wild dolphins, which are federally protected, for the sake of both human and dolphin safety, but illegal dolphin harassment is rampant due to lack of awareness of locals and tourists. [The New York Times]
North American freshwater fish extinctions set to double in 40 years. In the last century, 39 species were lost, an extinction rate 877 times higher than historical averages in the fossil record of one extinct species every 3 million years. Many more freshwater fish are expected to disappear from North America by 2050, largely due to effects of human activities, such as dam construction and sedimentation. [Treehugger]
Some fish could adapt to climate change better than expected. Zebrafish raised in warmer water as embryos were found to cope better with variation in temperature as adults, and were faster and stronger at cold as well as warm temperatures, but this also raises further questions about the limits of such adaptation. [Science Daily]
Shell’s Arctic drilling plans reduced due to delays. The number of wells anticipated this summer has been reduced from five to two, while a containment barge meant to help with emergency spill response awaits completion. [The Huffington Post]
Underwater noise reduces right whale ability to communicate by two-thirds. In Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, researchers found high levels of background noise (largely from ships) affected critically endangered North Atlantic right whale communication, reducing opportunities to communicate by 63-67% compared to historic low levels of noise. [Science Daily]
Plastic pellets bombard Hong Kong beaches after container spill. A spill several weeks ago sent 150 tons of small pellets, called nurdles, into the ocean, which subsequently washed up on beaches in massive volumes, prompting a massive cleanup effort that could take months as well as an investigation into who is responsible. [The New York Times; Environment News Service]
Great white shark swims above a stingray and cameraman. Enjoy our latest video, captured by Howard Hall off the coast of Whyalla, South Australia.