In new research published in a special issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and in “Sources to Seafood: Mercury Pollution in the Marine Environment”, scientists report that mercury released into the air and then deposited into oceans contaminates seafood commonly eaten by people in the U.S. and globally.
Over the past century, mercury pollution in the surface ocean has more than doubled, as a result of past and present human activities such as coal burning, mining, and other industrial processes. The research findings by C-MERC published December 3 also examine the effects of local mercury inputs that dominate some near-shore coastal waters. The research is presented through nine scientific papers in Environmental Health Perspectives and is the culmination of two years of work by approximately 70 mercury and marine scientists from multiple disciplines including biology, ecotoxicology, engineering, environmental geochemistry, and epidemiology. The research provides a synthesis of the science on the sources, fate, and human exposure to mercury in marine systems by tracing the pathways and transformation of mercury to methylmercury from sources to seafood to consumers.
The team’s findings are especially timely, as the U.S. and other nations prepare for the fifth session of the United…
Using a new comprehensive index designed to assess the benefits to people of healthy oceans, scientists have evaluated the ecological, social, economic, and political conditions for every coastal country in the world. Their findings, published recently in the journal Nature, show that the global ocean scores 60 out of 100 overall on the Ocean Health Index. Individual country scores range widely, from 36 to 86. The highest-scoring locations included densely populated, highly developed nations such as Germany, as well as uninhabited islands, such as Jarvis Island in the Pacific.
Determining whether a score of 60 is better or worse than one would expect is less about analysis and more about perspective. “Is the score far from perfect with ample room for improvement, or more than half way to perfect with plenty of reason to applaud success? I think it’s both,” said lead author Ben Halpern, an ecologist at UC Santa Barbara. “What the Index does is help us separate our gut feelings about good and bad from the measurement of what’s happening.”
The Ocean Health Index is the first broad, quantitative assessment of the critical relationships between the ocean and people, framed in terms of the many benefits…
The grant application process for projects to take place next year (2013/14) is now open. Stage 1 grant applications must be submitted by August 26th 2012. This year, SOSF encourages researchers to apply for new projects focused upon mobulid rays and whale sharks. More information is provided below.
Unfortunately we were unable to fund many highly rated projects. Researchers who got to the final stage 2 list last year, but did not receiving funding for this grant year, and who would like to resubmit their 2011 applications (either in the same form or only slightly amended) are invited to inform the SOSF project team of this intention. Please do so using a Stage 1 form, but make it clear in section 5 that this will be a resubmission of the application that you made last year.
Education and Public Awareness
The Foundation considers education and awareness vital to long-term success – by inspiring people to fall in love with, to respect and learn to act in a more responsible manner towards the ocean, we create the guardians of the future. We therefore welcome applications for projects in this field, and prefer those in the regions where we have…
The oceans cover 71% of our planet and are home to 90 percent of the planet’s living biomass. In other words, 90% of life on our planet lives in the oceans, and we still know remarkably little about what’s alive down there: in the past decade alone, the Census of Marine Life discovered more than 6,000 potentially new species!
June 8th 2012 marks the 20th World Oceans Day, and the theme this year is Youth - the Next Wave for Change. Events are taking place around the world this weekend: find an event near you.
To mark this occasion, we’ve created a special World Oceans Day page featuring a new PSA, facts about the importance of the oceans and the threats they face, as well as a live Twitter wall showing what people are talking about and doing in relation to #WorldOceansDay. Have a look and spread the word!
The oceans have changed more in the past 30 years than in all of human history. In many places, more than 75% of marine megafauna has been lost, and almost nowhere shallower than 3,000 feet has been untouched by commercial fishing.
These are just some of the stark facts presented by Callum Roberts, professor at the University of York and member of the Save Our Seas Foundation Science and Conservation Advisory Panel, in a new book titled The Ocean of Life. In an excerpt published this week in Newsweek, Roberts describes the extent to which we have impacted the oceans through overfishing and CO2 emissions, painting a disheartening picture of the future in store for over 70% of our planet if we don’t change course.
On the subject of ocean acidification, he writes:
The oceans have absorbed around 30 percent of the carbon dioxide released by human activity since pre-industrial times, mainly from fossil-fuel burning, conversion of forests and swamp to cities and agriculture, and cement production. If carbon-dioxide emissions are not curtailed, ocean acidity is expected to rise 150 percent by 2050, the fastest rate of increase at any time in at least the last 20 million…
Peru’s northern coast is currently the site of one of the biggest Unusual Mortality Events for dolphins ever recorded. As many as 3,000 dead dolphins have been found since January 2012, and more than 1,000 dead seabirds, mainly pelicans, have washed up on shore in recent weeks. And nobody seems to know why.
As nearly every major news source has reported, a cloud of uncertainty surrounds the die-off. Officials from Peru’s federal Ocean Institute are suggesting that the culprit, in the case of the dolphins, is morbillivirus, from a family of viruses linked to previous mass deaths of marine mammals. Others are less certain, and autopsies performed on the dead dolphins have found hemorrhagic lesions in the acoustic chamber and fractures in the periotic bones, pointing towards acoustic impact and decompression syndrome as the cause of death. This would suggest that seismic survey blasts used in oil exploration in the region may be a cause of death. Yet much uncertainty remains, as the New York Times reports:
The discovery of dead animals on beaches near Lima, the capital, in recent days has complicated matters. Over the weekend, the…
This weekend saw the official launch of theBlu, a globally shared art and entertainment experience. Inspired by the world’s oceans, “theBlu” is a living and breathing digital art exhibit of ocean habitats and species, created by artists and developers from all over the world. Its aims are to:Use the power of the internet to connect geographically disparate people in a meaningful way. Empower a global community of artists and developers to create an extraordinarily beautiful and high fidelity series of apps. Support non-profit collaborators in their efforts to better understand and protect the world’s oceans.
It’s not easy to get an idea of what theBlu is exactly from the description, but we’ve tried it and it’s definitely worth checking out! theBlu is available as a free download for PC and Mac.
From social gaming to social responsibility
“theBlu” turns the internet into a globally-connected 3D digital ocean wherein every species and habitat is an original work of art created by a worldwide community of artists, animators and developers, including Academy Award winners Andy Jones and Kevin Mack, and students alike.
Exploring “theBlu” is as easy as browsing the web and includes information about species, exploration of geo-located…