May 2011

Insights can inform urgently needed shark conservation strategies

New research reveals shark super highways

The world’s sharks are disappearing. These fearsome yet charismatic fish continue to fall victim to overfishing and many are now at risk of extinction as a result. New research shows that open-ocean sharks are particularly threatened from overfishing, and other work shows that the deeper sharks live, the longer it takes for their populations to recover. Yet researchers are just now learning critical details of their behavior, including the fact that some species migrate quickly along “superhighway” routes and congregate at established “stepping stone” sites.

Space Diving

To simulate work in space, astronauts practice maneuvering equipment and gear underwater

At the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) where astronauts train for ESA’s manned space missions, trainee astronauts undergo a 16-month basic training program, and an integral part of this is to dive. Astronauts need to be under water to practice spacewalks, also known as Extra Vehicular Activities (EVA). Diver and underwater photographer, Christian Skauge, paid ESA’s Neutral Buoyancy Facility a visit.

Tide pool sea stars feast on Dungeness crabs that suffocated in the low oxygen waters of a dead zone.
Tide pool sea stars feast on Dungeness crabs that suffocated in the low oxygen waters of a dead zone.

'Dead Zones' off US west coast may be irreversible

Dead zones form where microscopic plants, known as phytoplankton, are fertilized by excess nutrients, such as fertilizers and sewage, that are generated by human activities and dumped into the ocean by rivers, or more rarely, where they are fertilized by naturally occurring nutrients. The result: blooms of organic matter that ultimately decompose through processes that rob the ocean of life-sustaining oxygen. Animals that fail to flee dead zones either suffocate or suffer severe stress.

Viscount Melbourne ca 1841 William John Huggins (artist & publisher) Charles Rosenberg (engraver)
Viscount Melbourne ca 1841 William John Huggins (artist & publisher) Charles Rosenberg (engraver)

19th Century Shipwreck found off Borneo

Part-time marine archaeologists Hans and Roz Berekoven - who are married to each other - said their find was unlikely to yield any treasures as the ship had been a British cargo vessel, but it could add to knowledge of trade then, the Jakarta Globe reports

Newspapers in the region reported on its loss at the time but interest faded and the wreck was abandoned to its fate.