Study Analyzed Reef Fish Grazing Behaviors To Understand Coral Reef Health

Ocean Leadership ~

Parrotfish graze on algae on coral reefs. (Credit : Richard Ling/ Wikimedia Commons)

(Click to enlarge) Parrotfish graze on algae on coral reefs. (Credit : Richard Ling/ Wikimedia Commons)

Grazing on algae is a full-time job for a highly specialized group of coral reef fish.

(From Phys.org)– In a new study, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego-led research team examined the unique grazing roles of algae-eating herbivores on to learn more about how they help keep corals from being overgrown by seaweeds.

To find out, Scripps marine ecologist Emily Kelly and her research team recorded the feeding behaviors of 15 of the most common species of algae-eating , such as parrotfish and surgeonfish on a coral reef in Maui, Hawaii. The study, conducted over a four-year period, compared these observations to the stomach contents of several of the fish species as well as the habitat in which different fish were grazing.

Kelly’s team discovered that despite large-scale similarities across all species in the consumption of “,” a group of algae comprised of a number of different species, a finer scale analysis revealed that individual species are actually selectively grazing on different types of algae and in different ways.

“These ‘lawnmowers’ on the reef are selective in the types of algae they consume and the impact of each bite,” said Kelly, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral scholar in the Scripps Coral Reef Ecology Lab. “These fish are in fact each a different type of gardening tool with a slightly different function in .”

Read the full article here: http://phys.org/news/2016-12-reef-fish-grazing-behaviors-coral.html#jCp

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Polar Bear Population, Threatened By Shrinking Sea Ice, Could Drop 30 Percent In 40 Years

Ocean Leadership ~

Polar bears in the Arctic depend on sea ice to survive, which is diminishing with climate change. (Credit: Shailapic76/Flickr)

(Click to enlarge) Polar bears in the Arctic depend on sea ice to survive, which is diminishing with climate change. (Credit: Shailapic76/Flickr)

Emblematic of the effects of climate change, polar bears have once again been shown to be highly vulnerable due to shrinking sea ice levels throughout the range of their habitat. A study published Wednesday by an international team of researchers found a 71 percent chance that over 30 percent of Earth’s polar bear population could be gone in 35-41 years.

(From International Business Times / by Himanshu Goenka)– he researchers first calculated the generational length of polar bears and found it to be an average of 11.5 years. They also developed a standard measurement for sea ice in the important habitats occupied by polar bear subpopulations, based on the fact that days of sea ice cover had reduced at an average of 1.26 days per year from 1979 to 2014. Then, both of those were combined with statistical models and computer simulations to project changes to the global population of the animals under different scenarios.

They found the high chance of losing about a third of polar bear population over the next 35-40 years (about three generation cycles) based on the projection of their sea ice range reducing to between 20-95 percent of the 2014 level. However, the chance of an upward of 50 percent population decline over the same time was much lower at about 7 percent, and was based on the range reducing to between 0-35 percent. And there was a less than 1 percent chance of the population dropping by 80 percent in the given time frame, which would entail a range loss of over 98 percent.

Read the full article here: http://www.ibtimes.com/polar-bear-population-threatened-shrinking-sea-ice-could-drop-30-40-years-2456297

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Ancient Seagrass Holds Secrets Of The Oldest Living Organism On Earth

Ocean Leadership ~

Posidonia oceanica is a seagrass that lives only in the Mediterranean and Australian waters.  (Credit: Yoruno/Wikimedia Commons)

(Click to enlarge) Posidonia oceanica is a seagrass that lives only in the Mediterranean and Australian waters. (Credit: Yoruno/Wikimedia Commons)

It’s big, it’s old and it lives under the sea — and now an international research collaboration with The University of Western Australia’s Ocean’s Institute has confirmed that an ancient seagrass holds the secrets of the oldest living organism on Earth.

(From ScienceDaily)– Ancient giant Posidonia oceanica reproduces asexually, generating clones of itself. A single organism — which has been found to span up to 15 kilometres in width and reach more than 6,000 metric tonnes in mass — may well be more than 100,000 years old.

“Clonal organisms have an extraordinary capacity to transmit only ‘highly competent’ genomes, through generations, with potentially no end,” said Director of UWA’s Oceans’ Institute Winthrop Professor Carlos Duarte.

Researchers analysed 40 meadows across 3,500 kilometres of the Mediterranean sea. Computer models helped demonstrate that the clonal spread mode of Posidonia oceanica, which as all other seagrasses can reproduce both sexually and asexually, allows them to spread and maintain highly competent clones over millennia, whereas even the most competent genotypes of organisms that can only reproduce sexually are lost at every generation.

“Understanding why those particular genomes have been so adaptable to a broad range of environmental conditions for so long is the key to some interesting future research,” Professor Duarte said.

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207152545.htm

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Civil liberties of indigenous people illegally suppressed at Standing Rock

The US is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, write Colin Samson & Øyvind Ravna. Both require free, prior and informed consent for any intrusions on indigenous lands and stipulate that indigenous peoples shall own and control their traditional lands. The US is violating both at Standing Rock.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Wind turbines may have beneficial effects for crops

A multi-year study led by an Iowa State University scientist suggests the turbines commonly used in the state to capture wind energy may have a positive effect on crops.

Gene Takle, a Distinguished Professor of agronomy and geological and atmospheric sciences, said tall wind turbines disbursed throughout a field create air turbulence that may help plants by affecting variables such as temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations.

ENN: Top Stories

Trump’s EPA pick may struggle to dismantle Obama’s environmental legacy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has fought President Barack Obama’s measures to curb climate change at every turn as attorney general of Oklahoma. Now he is hoping to take apart Obama’s environmental legacy from the inside out, a task that could prove tougher than it sounds.


Reuters: Environment

Polar vortex redux? U.S. forecasters say it could hit next week

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Forecasters are sending chills down some spines with a prediction that much of the northern half of the United States could see frigid weather next week similar to life-threatening lows the polar vortex brought to parts of the country in 2014.


Reuters: Environment

Opportunity: Tenure-Track Research Scientist in Physical Oceanography at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Jan. 31)

Ocean Leadership ~

employment-opportunites-e1433868852278The Physical Oceanography Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (http://www.whoi.edu/main/PO) invites applications for a tenure track position on our scientific staff. The successful candidate will join a collaborative group of scientists who address a wide range of fundamental problems in ocean and climate dynamics, as well as interdisciplinary research questions, using observations, modeling, theory, and laboratory experiments.

World-class technical support personnel facilitate the use of a broad mix of traditional and innovative instruments and observational techniques to make measurements on all scales from microstructure up to global, and in all ocean domains including open-ocean and coastal regions at polar, temperate and tropical latitudes.  WHOI specifically seeks individuals with expertise in these areas: 1) coastal dynamics, 2) high-latitude processes, 3) decadal-scale climate variability, and 4) air-sea interaction.  WHOI seeks a balance of observational, modeling, and theoretical approaches, as well as interdisciplinary scientists with interests in the interplay between ocean dynamics and biological or geochemical processes, or in the interaction of the ocean with the atmosphere, the land, and the cryosphere. We expect to hire at the Assistant Scientist level, but exceptional candidates at more senior levels will be considered.

Applicants should have a doctoral degree, postdoctoral experience, and a strong publication record. Scientific staff members are expected to develop independent, externally funded, and internationally recognized research programs. They also have the option of advising graduate students and teaching courses through the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography and Oceanographic Engineering (http://www.whoi.edu/jointprogram/). Opportunities for interdisciplinary research exist through collaborations with colleagues in the other science departments, centers, and labs at WHOI (www.whoi.edu/main/departments-centers-labs; www.whoi.edu/main/ocean-institutes). Members of WHOI’s Scientific Staff are expected to provide for their salaries from grants and contracts, but the Institution provides salary support when no other funding is available, as well as significant internal funding opportunities for developing innovative research projects. Candidates hired at the junior level will receive an initial appointment for four years with salary guaranteed. Women and minority applicants are particularly encouraged to apply. WHOI is sensitive to the issues of dual career families and will work with applicants to address these. Our benefits include vacation time, flexible scheduling, family illness days, medical and dental plans, child care subsidy, and an employer contribution retirement plan.

HOW TO APPLY:

Apply online; please visit http://jobs.whoi.edu and respond to Job Reference 16-11-06.  Applications should include, as a single pdf document, a cover letter, CV, 3-page research statement that clearly describes your research interests, names and contact information for four references, and copies of up to three relevant publications.

Applications should be submitted no later than 31 January 2017.

For more information: http://www.candidatemanager.net/cm/Micro/JobDetails.aspx?&mid=YWWY&sid=FDB&jid=GTAZGTFCXF&site=Scientific+Postings&a=Ya5kVOjNOCU%253d&b=QJrY7Uf3hQk%253d

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French taxpayers face huge nuclear bill as EDF financial crisis deepens

Nuclear giant EDF could be heading towards bankruptcy, writes Paul Brown, as it faces a perfect storm of under-estimated costs for decommissioning, waste disposal and Hinkley C. Meanwhile income from power sales is lagging behind costs, and 17 of its reactors are off-line for safety tests. Yet French and UK governments are turning a blind eye to the looming financial crisis.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Opportunity: Consortium for Ocean Leadership Science and Education Community Support Internship

Ocean Leadership ~

employment-opportunites-e1433868852278The Consortium for Ocean Leadership is offering a Washington, DC-based internship in the areas of science and education community support.  Over the years, interns have come from a variety of backgrounds, disciplines and institutions in the academic and government sectors and have made many valuable contributions to the mission and work of Ocean Leadership.

The Science and Education Community Support internship is designed to further professional development for current or recently graduated students by working with Ocean Leadership’s program and senior staff.  The intern will support the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) staff with the development and review of competition questions, creation of surveys, entry and analysis of evaluation data, updates to program website, and completion of tasks related to the planning and implementation of the National Finals competition.  The intern will also support fundraising efforts to include research and proposal development.  He/she will provide support to the CEO and senior staff in meeting with and convening various groups in the ocean science community, including Ocean Leadership’s annual Industry Forum.

Qualified applicants will possess (or be in the final stages of pursuing) at least a bachelor’s degree in a Natural Science or a related field; students with graduate degrees are welcome; excellent communications skills (written and oral); excellent organizational skills and keen attention to detail; ability to work effectively within a team environment; strong computer skills including proficiency in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email, and database management and internet research experience. Familiarity with ocean science, marine education or marine policy is preferred, as is a desire to work in one or more of these fields. Reliable transportation is required.

Interested applicants should provide a writing sample (less than 3 pages), a cover letter, a C.V. or resume, and a letter of recommendation (preferably from a university representative or faculty member if still in an academic degree program).  Incomplete application packages will not be considered. Recommendation letters may be sent directly from reference.

This full-time internship is for the period of January or February 2017 through December 2017 or January 2018.   The intern will be paid an hourly rate of $ 11.50 and will be eligible for certain benefits including accrued sick leave, health insurance, and a commuting subsidy. 

For more information or to submit your application materials, contact Human Resources: e-mail address: jobs@oceanleadership.org with the subject header “Science and Education Community Support Intern 2017”; mailing address: 1201 New York Ave., N.W., 4th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005; phone: (202) 787-1642.

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