Archives for January 2014

The Effects of Third-hand Smoke

Many of us are familiar with first-hand smoke and second-hand smoke, but what about third-hand smoke? Well, you better get familiar with it because according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the effects of third-hand smoke may be just as deadly as first-hand smoke. Let’s break it down: First-hand smoke refers to the smoke inhaled by a smoker. Second-hand smoke refers to exhaled smoke and other substances emanating from a burning cigarette that can get inhaled by others. Third-hand smoke is the second-hand smoke that gets left on the surfaces of objects. Over time, these left over chemicals can age and becomes progressively more toxic.
ENN: Top Stories

ONW: Monthly Program Updates Now Available – January 2014

NOTE: THIS POST AUTOMATICALLY RE-DIRECTS USERS TO THE NEWSLETTER:
http://oceanleadership.org/news-resources/newsletters/#programupdates


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Australia permits dredge dumping near Great Barrier Reef for major coal port

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef watchdog gave the green light on Friday for millions of cubic meters of dredged mud to be dumped near the fragile reef to create the world’s biggest coal port and possibly unlock $ 28 billion in coal projects.




Reuters: Environment

First Known Sea Anemone Found That Lives Upside Down in Sea Ice

In an underwater image, Edwardsiella andrillae anemones protrude from the bottom surface of the Ross Ice Shelf. For scale, the two red dots are 10 centimeters apart. (PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FRANK RACK, ANDRILL SCIENCE MANAGEMENT OFFICE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN)

(Click to enlarge) In an underwater image, Edwardsiella andrillae anemones protrude from the bottom surface of the Ross Ice Shelf. For scale, the two red dots are 10 centimeters apart. (PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FRANK RACK, ANDRILL SCIENCE MANAGEMENT OFFICE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN)

Delicate-looking creatures burrow into the bottom of sea ice in the Antarctic.

(From National Geographic / by Jane J. Lee) – Where else would a species that spends its life upside down live but in the Southern Hemisphere? The newly discovered Antarctic sea anemone resides in burrows dug into the bottom of sea ice in the Ross Sea, where it lives a mysterious existence.

The discoverers are unsure of what it eats, how it reproduces, or even how the anemone—an opaque-white creature with a stringy body topped by delicate-looking tentacles—excavates its burrows. But they are sure that it’s a species new to science, and they describe it in a recently published study in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study authors, led by Ohio State’s Marymegan Daly, also write that the new species is the first anemone found to live in sea ice, rather than stuck to hard surfaces like rocks or reefs. The find points to the hardiness and variety of life, even under the frigid ice shelves of Antarctica.

Discovery of the new anemone, dubbed Edwardsiella andrillae, came by accident during environmental surveys intended to test underwater equipment, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), said study co-author Frank Rack, a marine geologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The ROV that Rack and his colleagues wanted to test is rated to a depth of 984 feet (300 meters). It had traveled through ice a couple of meters thick before, said Rack, but the area they were in had ice up to 853 feet (260 meters) thick.

ROV pilots wanted to make sure the vehicle could maneuver properly and control its buoyancy under that much ice before Rack and colleagues used it for a future seafloor drilling project. (Explore Antarctica with an interactive map.)

That’s when the discovery came.

Fuzzy Ice

A camera on a rope dropped down the hole Rack and colleagues had drilled through the ice revealed a “flat, uninteresting” surface, he said. “But when we went down with the ROV and its camera systems, the [underside of the] ice looked fuzzy.”

Upon closer inspection, the researchers saw tentacles sticking out of the ice. “As the [ROV] approached the anemones, they would pull back into their hole,” Rack recalled. “It was amazing.”

Although Rack and colleagues aren’t biologists, “we knew what we had stumbled on and it was very cool,” Rack said.

Bad weather prevented staff at the nearby McMurdo Station from sending collecting supplies out to the ROV testing group. (See “South Pole Expeditions Then and Now: How Does Their Food and Gear Compare?”)

This close-up view shows the Edwardsiella andrillae sea anemone, which measures less than 1 inch in length. (PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FRANK RACK, ANDRILL SCIENCE MANAGEMENT OFFICE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN)

(Click to enlarge) This close-up view shows the Edwardsiella andrillae sea anemone, which measures less than 1 inch in length. (PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FRANK RACK, ANDRILL SCIENCE MANAGEMENT OFFICE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN)

But they were able to jury-rig a vacuum tube out of a spare ROV thruster and a coffee filter to suck up 20 to 30 anemones.

Many of the animals clung tenaciously to their frigid homes, so researchers had to stun them with some warm water before they could collect the invertebrates.

Rack and colleagues were unable to properly preserve the animals for DNA analysis. But with sea anemones, DNA is not always definitive when identifying species, Rack said. “The taxonomy [or physical characteristics] is what’s really needed for species identification.”

The opaque anemones ranged from 0.63 to 0.79 inches (16 to 20 millimeters) in length. And they appeared to glow an orange color when illuminated by the ROV’s lights, said Rack. But he’s unsure if that glow is due to the food the animals eat, or if they themselves are generating it.

A New Perspective

The pilots were able to do all this while flying their ROV upside down. Normally used for seafloor surveys, the underwater robot came equipped with two cameras—one facing down and a second facing forward.

The only way to document the anemones, along with other organisms on the underside of the ice like small crustaceans and fish that swim upside down, was to fly the vehicle with the cameras pointing at the bottom of the sea ice.

Rack and colleagues are in the midst of writing another grant proposal to the U.S. National Science Foundation to go back, this time with a group of biologists. Rack hopes to kill two birds with one trip: completing his drilling project and getting more information about this new species of sea anemone.

Correction/Clarification:

From Frank R. Rack, Ph.D.; Executive Director, ANDRILL Science Management Office:

The sea anemones are living in the ice at the base of the Ross Ice Shelf. This is not sea ice. The Ross Ice Shelf is a floating extension of thick ice that extends from the grounding zone of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to the ice shelf front, about 600 miles to the north of the grounding line. The ice thickness decreases from about 800 meters thick at the grounding zone to about 230 meters thick at the front of the ice shelf. By comparison, sea ice is only a few meters thick.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Taiji – Japan’s dolphin slaughter continues

The Japanese dolphin slaughter at Taiji is an exercise in wilful sadism, writes Joshua Frank. But responsibility for the killing spreads much wider than Japan, with captive cetaceans from Taiji reaching aquaria around the globe – including SeaWorld.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Opportunity: Marine Research Associate, University of Hawaii at Manoa

OpportunityTo support the Hawaii Ocean Time-series and other oceanographic research projects, we are seeking a seagoing physical oceanographic researcher experienced in data collection, quality control, management, and analysis using oceanographic instrumentation.

Closing date of the position is 3/3/14.

Refer to the RCUH website (www.rcuh.com), Job Id #14047, for job responsibilities, qualifications, salary ranges, and for application requirements and procedures.

For additional information, contact Kellie Terada by e-mail: kterada@hawaii.edu.

RCUH is an EEO/AA employer.


Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Audio Emails Beamed To Your Ears Only

The BoomRoom uses an array of gesture-reading cameras and speakers to create a free-flowing, hands-free audio-enabled smart space. Continue reading →
Discovery News

New ‘Swamp Monster’ Skull Found in Texas

A toothy, long-nosed skull found in Texas belonged to a swamp monster that lived more than 200 million years ago.
Discovery News

India: Coca-Cola eviction from ‘land-grab’ site imminent

Local authorities in Varanasi, India, are preparing to evict Coca-Cola from land that the company is occupying illegally at its bottling plant in Mehdiganj. The eviction is due to take place ‘within days’.
Environment news & analysis, climate change reports –
The Ecologist

Record year for offshore wind energy hides slowdown in new projects

A record number of offshore wind turbines were connected to the grid in Europe last year — and nearly 50% of the projects were installed in UK waters, according to a new report released today. However, the pipeline of new wind energy projects is running worryingly low, according to the new industry briefing.
ENN: Top Stories