Why are scientists involved about Asian tiger shrimp?

image of an Asian tiger shrimp

Asian tiger shrimp are native to Pacific waters, however are actually discovered alongside the southeast and Gulf coasts of the US. Researchers are at present investigating the origin and doable influence of this invasive species.


Asian tiger shrimp are native to Indo-Pacific, Asian, and Australian waters, however are actually discovered alongside the southeast and Gulf coasts of the US. Whereas small numbers of this invasive species have been reported in U.S. waters for over a decade, sightings have notably elevated over the previous few years.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NOAA are actually working with state companies from North Carolina to Texas to look into whether or not these shrimp carry illness, compete for a similar meals supply, or prey instantly on native shrimp. An investigation can be underway to decide how this transplanted species reached U.S. waters, and what’s behind a current rise in sightings of the non-native shrimp.

Scientists haven’t but formally deemed the Asian tiger shrimp “established” in U.S. waters, and nobody is definite what triggered the current spherical of elevated sightings. The non-native shrimp species could have escaped from aquaculture amenities; nevertheless, there are not any recognized Asian tiger shrimp farms presently in operation within the U.S.  Ballast water from ships has been advised as one other pathway. One other risk is that they’re arriving on ocean currents from wild populations within the Caribbean and even as far-off as Gambia, a west African nation the place they’re recognized to be established.

With so many different theories about the place these shrimp are coming from and solely a handful of juveniles reported, it’s exhausting for scientists to conclude whether or not they’re breeding or just being carried in by currents.

To search for solutions, NOAA and USGS scientists are analyzing shrimp collected from the Gulf and Atlantic coasts to search for refined variations of their DNA, data which may supply beneficial clues to their origins. That is the primary take a look at the genetics of untamed caught Asian tiger shrimp populations discovered on this a part of the U.S., and should make clear whether or not there are a number of sources.

NOAA scientists are additionally launching a analysis effort to grasp extra concerning the biology of those shrimp and the way they might have an effect on the ecology of native fisheries and coastal ecosystems. As with all non-native species, there are considerations over the potential for novel avenues of illness transmission and competitors with native shrimp shares, particularly given the excessive progress charges and spawning charges in contrast with different species.

When you see a number of shrimp suspected to be an Asian tiger shrimp, you possibly can assist the analysis effort by noting the placement and submitting a report of the sighting with the USGS.

If doable, freeze a specimen to assist verify the identification and contribute to a tissue repository maintained by NOAA scientists.


What’s the distinction between a nautical mile and a knot?

Homeported in Pascagoula, Mississippi, NOAA Ship Pisces is the third in a class of state-of-the-art, acoustically quiet fisheries survey vessels built for a wide range of living marine resource surveys and ecosystem research projects. The ship focuses primarily on U.S. waters from the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and South Atlantic to North Carolina.

The U.S. adopted the worldwide nautical mile in 1954. Proven right here: NOAA Ship Pisces is the third in a category of state-of-the-art, acoustically quiet fisheries survey vessels constructed for a variety of residing marine useful resource surveys and ecosystem analysis initiatives.

Nautical Miles

Nautical miles are used to measure the gap traveled by the water. A nautical mile is barely longer than a mile on land, equaling 1.1508 land-measured (or statute) miles. The nautical mile relies on the Earth’s longitude and latitude coordinates, with one nautical mile equaling one minute of latitude.

However why use a unique measurement system for marine navigation? Utilizing latitude and longitude coordinates is extra sensible for long-distance journey, the place the curvature of the Earth turns into a think about correct measurement. Nautical charts use latitude and longitude, so it’s far simpler for mariners to measure distance with nautical miles. Air and house journey additionally use latitude and longitude for navigation and nautical miles to measure distance.

The phrase “mile” may depart you questioning if there’s a “nautical kilometer,” too. There’s not. The worldwide nautical mile is used all through the world. The measurement was formally set at precisely 1.852 kilometers in 1929 by what’s now referred to as the Worldwide Hydrographic Group. The U.S. and the UK each used barely completely different measurements after that point, however the U.S. adopted the worldwide nautical mile in 1954 and the U.Okay. in 1970.

Knots

animation showing the measurement of a know in historical terms

Measuring the knot within the seventeenth century.

Knots, alternatively, are used to measure pace. One knot equals one nautical mile per hour, or roughly 1.15 statute mph.

The time period knot dates from the seventeenth century, when sailors measured the pace of their ship utilizing a tool referred to as a “frequent log.” The frequent log was a rope with knots at common intervals, hooked up to a chunk of wooden formed like a slice of pie. Mariners would decrease the wooden piece into the water and permit it to drift freely behind the ship for a particular period of time (typically measured with an hourglass). When the time was up, they’d rely the knots between the ship and the piece of wooden, and that quantity estimated their pace.

What’s shoreline armoring?

Shoreline armoring along Wells Beach, Maine.

Shoreline armoring alongside Wells Seashore, Maine. Coastal managers and property house owners typically try and stabilize coastal land and shield residential and business infrastructure alongside the coast by constructing shoreline armoring buildings to carry again the ocean and forestall the lack of sediment.


Coastal erosion—the lack of shoreline sediment – is a fancy course of that constantly reshapes the shoreline and may threaten coastal property. With roughly 350,000 buildings situated inside 500 ft of the nation’s shoreline, erosion is an issue many U.S. coastal communities should handle.

Coastal managers and property house owners typically try and stabilize coastal land and shield residential and business infrastructure alongside the coast by constructing shoreline armoring buildings to carry again the ocean and forestall the lack of sediment. Examples of such buildings are seawalls, breakwaters, and riprap.

Shoreline armoring has each helpful and detrimental results. Armored shorelines can stop sandy seashores, wetlands, and different intertidal areas from transferring inland because the land erodes or sea ranges rise, however in addition they have the potential to get rid of habitat for marine organisms and seaside entrance for the general public by proscribing the pure motion of sediments. The important thing to shoreline stabilization, whether it is required, is to make use of a site-specific stabilization technique that balances the wants of the general public and the wants of the pure system.

Whereas coastal erosion is a pure course of, the speed of erosion may be drastically influenced by human actions. Pure components that contribute to erosion embody sediment provide; geologic traits; adjustments in sea degree; and the consequences of waves, currents, tides, and wind—all of which differ by location. Human actions that may alter pure shoreline processes embody seaside nourishment (including sand), dredging of ports and coastal approaches, development of harbors and sediment-trapping dams, and the use of shoreline armor.

What’s the distinction between an AUV and a ROV?

VIDEO: What is the distinction between an AUV and an ROV? Here is what it’s worthwhile to know in a single minute. Transcript

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster's Chief Boatswain Greg Walker and Bosun Group Leader James Best work with scientist Tim Battista to prepare the ocean glider for launch.

From left, NOAA Ship Nancy Foster’s Chief Boatswain Greg Walker and Bosun Group Chief James Finest work with scientist Tim Battista to arrange the ocean glider for launch.

AUV stands for autonomous underwater car and is often often called uncrewed underwater car. AUVs can be utilized for underwater survey missions akin to detecting and mapping submerged wrecks, rocks, and obstructions that may be a hazard to navigation for business and leisure vessels.

An AUV conducts its survey mission with out operator intervention. When a mission is full, the AUV will return to a pre-programmed location the place the info may be downloaded and processed.

A remotely operated car (ROV) is an unoccupied underwater robotic that’s linked to a ship by a collection of cables. These cables transmit command and management indicators between the operator and the ROV, permitting distant navigation of the car. An ROV might embrace a video digital camera, lights, sonar methods, and an articulating arm. The articulating arm is used for retrieving small objects, chopping traces, or attaching lifting hooks to bigger objects.

Whereas there are numerous makes use of for ROVs, among the most typical hydrographic purposes embrace object identification (for submerged navigation hazards) and vessel hull inspections. An ROV will not be meant to be a alternative for hydrographic diver investigations, however may serve as an alternative if divers aren’t obtainable or diver security is in query.

Video Transcript

Listed below are two uncrewed ocean explorers. Can you notice the distinction between the 2? One, an AUV or Autonomous Underwater Car, explores ocean depths with none connected cables. Researchers drop an AUV within the ocean decide it up at a pre-selected place. Like an AUV, a Remotely Operated Car is unmanned. The distinction is that an ROV is linked to a ship by cables. An individual on the ship “drives” it round. ROVs are sometimes used when diving by people is both impractical or harmful, akin to working in deep water or investigating submerged hazards. ROVs and AUVs carry gear like video cameras, lights, robotic arms to seize issues. By going the place people can’t go, these underwater robots assist us safely research the ocean.

Why do now we have spring tides within the fall?

graphic showing orbit of moon around Earth, illustrating spring and neap tides

A spring tide is a typical historic time period that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Somewhat, the time period is derived from the idea of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides happen twice every lunar month all yr lengthy with out regard to the season. Neap tides, which additionally happen twice a month, occur when the solar and moon are at proper angles to one another.


Tides are long-period waves that roll across the planet because the ocean is “pulled” forwards and backwards by the gravitational pull of the moon and the solar as these our bodies work together with the Earth of their month-to-month and yearly orbits.

Throughout full or new moons—which happen when the Earth, solar, and moon are practically in alignment—common tidal ranges are barely bigger. This happens twice every month. The moon seems new (darkish) when it’s instantly between the Earth and the solar. The moon seems full when the Earth is between the moon and the solar. In each circumstances, the gravitational pull of the solar is “added” to the gravitational pull of the moon on Earth, inflicting the oceans to bulge a bit greater than typical. Which means excessive tides are a little bit increased and low tides are a little bit decrease than common.

These are referred to as spring tides, a typical historic time period that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Somewhat, the time period is derived from the idea of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides happen twice every lunar month all yr lengthy, with out regard to the season.

Seven days after a spring tide, the solar and moon are at proper angles to one another. When this occurs, the bulge of the ocean brought on by the solar partially cancels out the bulge of the ocean brought on by the moon. This produces reasonable tides often known as neap tides, that means that prime tides are a little bit decrease and low tides are a little bit increased than common. Neap tides happen through the first and third quarter moon, when the moon seems “half full.”

NOAA’s tide and tidal present predictions take note of astronomical issues as a result of place of the moon and the solar.

What’s the most venomous marine animal?

photo of box jellyfish

Carybdea branchi, pictured right here, is a relative of the Australian field jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri), which is taken into account probably the most venomous marine animal. (Picture courtesy of Brent Viljoen)


They might not look harmful, however the sting from a field jellyfish might be sufficient to ship you to Davy Jones’s locker-a watery grave, that’s.

Field jellyfish, named for his or her physique form, have tentacles lined in organic booby traps referred to as nematocysts – tiny darts loaded with poison. Folks and animals unlucky sufficient to be injected with this poison could expertise paralysis, cardiac arrest, and even dying, all inside a couple of minutes of being stung. However don’t select the mountains over the ocean simply but. Of the 50 or so species of field jellyfish, additionally known as sea wasps, only some have venom that may be deadly to people.

Whereas field jellyfish are present in heat coastal waters world wide, the deadly varieties are discovered primarily within the Indo-Pacific area and northern Australia. This consists of the Australian field jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri), thought of probably the most venomous marine animal. Chironex fleckeri is the biggest of the field jellyfish, with physique sizes reaching as much as one foot in diameter and thick, bootlace-like tentacles as much as 10 ft lengthy.

Field jellyfish have traits that set them other than different jellyfish. Most notably, field jellyfish can swim—at most speeds approaching 4 knots—whereas most species of jellyfish float wherever the present takes them, with little management over their path. Field jellyfish may also see. They’ve clusters of eyes on both sides of the field. A few of these eyes are surprisingly subtle, with a lens and cornea, an iris that may contract in brilliant gentle, and a retina.

Their pace and imaginative and prescient leads some researchers to imagine that field jellyfish actively hunt their prey, primarily shrimp and small fish.

What’s ocean acidification?


What’s ocean acidification? Watch our video for a fast overview.


For greater than 200 years, or for the reason that industrial revolution, the focus of carbon dioxide (CO2) within the ambiance has elevated as a result of burning of fossil fuels and land use change. The ocean absorbs about 30 p.c of the CO2 that’s launched within the ambiance, and as ranges of atmospheric CO2 enhance, so do the degrees within the ocean.

When CO2 is absorbed by seawater, a collection of chemical reactions happen ensuing within the elevated focus of hydrogen ions. This enhance causes the seawater to turn into extra acidic and causes carbonate ions to be comparatively much less plentiful.

Carbonate ions are an necessary constructing block of buildings similar to sea shells and coral skeletons. Decreases in carbonate ions could make constructing and sustaining shells and different calcium carbonate buildings troublesome for calcifying organisms similar to oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton.

These modifications in ocean chemistry can have an effect on the conduct of non-calcifying organisms as properly. Sure fish’s skill to detect predators is decreased in additional acidic waters. When these organisms are in danger, all the meals net can also be in danger.

Ocean acidification is affecting all the world’s oceans, together with coastal estuaries and waterways. Many economies are depending on fish and shellfish and folks worldwide depend on meals from the ocean as their main supply of protein.

What’s a bivalve mollusk?

Bivalve mollusks (e.g., clams, oysters, mussels, scallops)

A roughfile clam from the Flower Backyard Financial institution Nationwide Marine Sanctuary—simply considered one of many various bivalve mollusk species.


Like fish, bivalve mollusks breathe by way of their gills. As filter feeders, bivalves collect meals by way of their gills. Some bivalves have a pointed, retractable “foot” that protrudes from the shell and digs into the encircling sediment, successfully enabling the creature to maneuver or burrow.

Bivalves even make their very own shells. An inside organ known as the mantle secretes calcium carbonate in order that because the inside invertebrate grows, the outer shell supplies a roomier house.

Many bivalve species play vital roles in aquatic and marine ecosystems by filtering the water and serving as habitat and prey for quite a lot of sea life. This various group of species, estimated at about 9,200, inhabits just about the complete world ocean, from the balmy tropics to the sub-zero Arctic, and from the deep ocean to sandy and rocky shorelines. Just a few have even taken up residence round hydrothermal vents discovered deep within the Pacific Ocean, under 13,000 toes.

If the bivalve’s organic brilliance alone fails to impress, then contemplate that NOAA estimated the 2011 financial worth of economic bivalve mollusk harvesting at about $1 billion yearly within the U.S., and the burden of the harvest was estimated at 153.6 million kilos.

Was Moby Dick an actual whale?

Illustrations from Moby-Dick, published in 1851 and authored by Herman Melville.

Illustrations from Moby-Dick, revealed in 1851 and authored by Herman Melville.

Do you know?

In 2011, maritime heritage archaeologists working with NOAA’s Workplace of Nationwide Marine Sanctuaries discovered the wreckage of Two Brothers positioned practically 600 miles northwest of Honolulu.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, the allegorical novel about Captain Ahab’s search to kill an awesome white whale, was based mostly on real-life occasions. Born in 1819, writer Herman Melville grew up through the peak of American dominance of the whaling trade, roughly the interval between 1820 and the beginning of the Civil Conflict. Weaving up to date accounts and his personal experiences as a whaler, Melville created his American masterpiece.

The younger Melville was famously impressed by the story of George Pollard, the previous captain of the whaler Essex. Whereas on a two-year whaling expedition crisscrossing the Pacific, the Essex was rammed by a sperm whale. Rapidly abandoning ship and hundreds of miles from land, Pollard and his crew escaped in leaky lifeboats to start a horrific ordeal leading to illness, hunger, and cannibalism. One of many few to outlive, Pollard was given a second likelihood at captaining one other whaler, the Two Brothers. However after 18 months within the Pacific, Pollard ran the Two Brothers aground, sinking the ship in what’s now the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Nationwide Monument.

The identify of the whale was additionally impressed by real-life occasions. In 1839, Melville learn a narrative in a journal about an albino sperm whale famed for its lethal assaults on whaling ships attempting to hunt it down. This whale, killed off the coast of Chile close to Mocha Island, was referred to as Mocha Dick.

What’s a hurricane?


VIDEO: What’s a hurricane? Here is what it’s essential to know in lower than a minute. Transcript


A tropical cyclone is a rotating low-pressure climate system that has organized thunderstorms however no fronts (a boundary separating two air lots of various densities). Tropical cyclones with most sustained floor winds of lower than 39 miles per hour (mph) are referred to as tropical depressions. These with most slot spadegaming rtp tertinggi winds of 39 mph or larger are referred to as tropical storms.

When a storm’s most sustained winds attain 74 mph, it’s referred to as a hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to five score, or class, primarily based on a hurricane’s most sustained winds. The upper the class, the higher the hurricane’s potential for property injury.

Hurricanes originate within the Atlantic basin, which incorporates the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, the jap North Pacific Ocean, and, much less often, the central North Pacific Ocean. A six-year rotating listing of names, up to date and maintained by the World Meteorological Group, is used to determine these storms.

“Hurricane Season” begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, though hurricanes can, and have, occurred outdoors of this timeframe. NOAA’s Nationwide Hurricane Middle predicts and tracks these large storm techniques, which happen, on common, 12 occasions a 12 months within the Atlantic basin.

As a world chief in hurricane analysis, NOAA strives to know the mechanics of those advanced storms to be able to defend individuals, property, commerce, and pure sources.

Video Transcript

When the utmost sustained winds of a tropical storm attain 74 miles per hour, it’s referred to as a hurricane. Hurricane Season begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, however these highly effective storms can happen earlier than and after the official season. A hurricane might be an superior and damaging drive of nature. Be ready. Go to Prepared.gov

Is the Earth spherical?

Earth from space

This NASA picture reveals Earth from area. The picture is a mixture of knowledge from two satellites. The Reasonable Decision Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite tv for pc collected the land floor information over 16 days, whereas NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite tv for pc (GOES) produced a snapshot of the Earth’s clouds.


Whereas the Earth seems to be spherical when seen from the vantage level of area, it’s truly nearer to an ellipsoid. Nonetheless, even an ellipsoid doesn’t adequately describe the Earth’s distinctive and ever-changing form.

Our planet is pudgier at the equator than on the poles by about 70,000 ft. That is because of the centrifugal power created by the earth’s fixed rotation. Mountains rising virtually 30,000 ft and ocean trenches diving over 36,000 ft (in contrast to sea degree) additional distort the form of the Earth. Sea degree itself is even irregularly formed. Slight variations in Earth’s gravity subject trigger everlasting hills and valleys within the ocean’s floor of over 300 ft relative to an ellipsoid.

Moreover, the form of the Earth is all the time altering. Typically this alteration is periodic, as is the case with day by day tides that have an effect on each the ocean and the crust; generally the change is gradual and regular, as with the drift of tectonic plates or the rebound of the crust after a heavy sheet of ice has melted; and generally the form of the planet adjustments in violent, episodic methods throughout occasions reminiscent of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or meteor strikes.

The Nationwide Geodetic Survey measures and screens our ever-changing planet. Geodesy is the science of measuring and monitoring the measurement and form of the Earth, together with its gravity subject, and figuring out the location of factors on the Earth’s floor.

What’s a slough?

aerial view of South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (image credit: South Slough NERR)

South Slough is a 4,771-acre Nationwide Estuarine Analysis Reserve positioned on Coos Bay Estuary in Oregon (Picture credit score: South Slough NERR).


A slough is usually used to explain wetlands. Sloughs alongside the perimeters of rivers type the place the previous channel of the river as soon as flowed. These areas are additionally known as oxbows as a result of they have an inclination to type at a bend within the previous river mattress, making them appear to be the U-shaped collar positioned across the neck of an ox to which a plow is hooked up.

Alongside the West Coast, sloughs are sometimes named for the quiet, backwater elements of bays and due to this fact, they’re a part of the estuary, the place freshwater flows from creeks and runoff from land combine with salty ocean water transported by the tides.

There are two sloughs within the Nationwide Estuarine Analysis Reserve System (NERRS). First, Elkhorn Slough is positioned simply north of Monterey, California. Elkhorn Slough is called a preferred birding vacation spot with greater than 135 species of birds together with six which might be listed as threatened or endangered. Second, there may be the South Slough NERR positioned in southwestern Oregon. South Slough gives vital habitat for salmon, nice blue herons, bald eagles, migrating geese, elk, sea otters, oysters, and crabs.

Whereas, Elkhorn and South Slough share lots of the identical estuarine species, their climates and watersheds are fairly completely different. Elkhorn is way drier, and traditionally was set in a watershed of prairie, chaparral, and oak woodlands, whereas South Slough is wetter and closely wooded. Agriculture now surrounds Elkhorn Slough, and air pollution is a significant challenge, whereas timber harvest and related results are extra of a difficulty at South Slough. At each sloughs, the NERRS are working inside their neighborhood to attain sustainable practices that help wholesome estuaries.

NERRS is a community of 29 reserves across the U.S. representing distinctive coastal ecosystems. Established by Congress underneath the Coastal Zone Administration Act, the reserves are “dwelling laboratories” managed via a partnership between NOAA and coastal states and territories for long-term analysis, ecosystems monitoring, schooling, and coastal stewardship.

Are there oceans on different planets?

Europa

Europa could have subsurface liquid water. Scientists hypothesize that Europa’s hidden ocean is salty, tidal, and causes its ice floor to maneuver, leading to giant fractures which can be clearly seen. Though Europa lies exterior of our photo voltaic system’s liveable zone, it could have the elements wanted to help life — water, power, and natural compounds. (Picture Credit score: NASA/JPL/Ted Stryk).


Proof factors to oceans on different planets and moons, even inside our personal photo voltaic system. However Earth is the one identified planet (or moon) to have constant, secure our bodies of liquid water on its floor. In our photo voltaic system, Earth orbits across the solar in an space referred to as the liveable zone. The temperature inside this zone, together with an ample quantity of atmospheric stress, enable water to be liquid for lengthy intervals of time.

Scientists imagine a number of moons inside our photo voltaic system have vital subsurface liquid water deposits. Saturn’s moon Enceladus and Jupiter’s moon Europa are two examples. Each seem to have salty, liquid oceans lined with thick layers of ice on the floor. Scientists have noticed water plumes erupting from Enceladus, and imagine related plumes might be discovered on Europa. The existence of those geysers additionally tells scientists that these moons have a supply of power, maybe from gravitational forces or radiation — power that retains the oceans liquid beneath the ice and will even help life.

Past our photo voltaic system, scientists have discovered hundreds of exoplanets — planets that orbit different stars — together with some within the liveable zone. Utilizing mathematical fashions, researchers estimate that greater than 1 / 4 of identified exoplanets could have liquid water, although the bulk would have subsurface oceans like these on Europa and Enceladus.

The seek for liquid water is crucial to the seek for life past Earth. Whereas scientists initially centered the search on discovering planets with liquid water on their floor, that considering is altering. Right here on Earth, we’ve examples of life flourishing in a number of the most excessive circumstances, such because the complicated ecosystems round hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. Scientists are reconsidering whether or not life might exist beneath an icy floor, even inside our photo voltaic system on moons like Europa and Enceladus.

How far does sound journey within the ocean?

illustration of whale and sound channel

Water temperature and strain decide how far sound travels within the ocean.


Whereas sound strikes at a a lot quicker velocity within the water than in air, the space that sound waves journey is primarily dependent upon ocean temperature and strain. Whereas strain continues to extend as ocean depth will increase, the temperature of the ocean solely decreases as much as a sure level, after which it stays comparatively steady. These elements have a curious impact on how (and the way far) sound waves journey.

Think about a whale is swimming via the ocean and calls out to its pod. The whale produces sound waves that transfer like ripples within the water. Because the whale’s sound waves journey via the water, their velocity decreases with rising depth (because the temperature drops), inflicting the sound waves to refract downward. As soon as the sound waves attain the backside of what’s often called the thermocline layer, the velocity of sound reaches its minimal. The thermocline is a area characterised by fast change in temperature and strain which happens at completely different depths all over the world. Under the thermocline “layer,” the temperature stays fixed, however strain continues to extend. This causes the velocity of sound to extend and makes the sound waves refract upward.  

The realm within the ocean the place sound waves refract up and down is named the “sound channel.” The channeling of sound waves permits sound to journey 1000’s of miles with out the sign dropping appreciable power.  In reality, hydrophones, or underwater microphones, if positioned on the correct depth, can decide up whale songs and artifical noises from many kilometers away.

What are Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems?


NOAA Ocean As we speak: The Mesophotic Zone

You’re getting into one other dimension. A dimension of water, of darkness, of thriller. Subsequent cease, The Mesophotic Zone! Did you take pleasure in this video? Head to Ocean As we speak for over 100 movies that discover all facets of the ocean realm—exploration and discoveries, marine life and science.


Mesophotic coral ecosystems are present in tropical and subtropical areas at depths starting from nearly 100 ft to over 490 ft under the ocean’s floor. The dominant communities offering structural habitat within the mesophotic zone are corals, sponges, and algae.

Little is understood or understood about these ecosystems as a result of till lately, research have been hampered by lack of know-how. The higher restrict of mesophotic coral ecosystems coincides with the diving restrict for standard scuba diving (130 ft), however is just too shallow and expensive for many deep-diving applied sciences, such as remotely operated autos and submersibles, to function in. Nonetheless, advances in undersea applied sciences up to now decade now make it doable to analyze these ecosystems.

In an period of serious modifications occurring on shallow coral reefs, it’s important for scientists to grasp the function of mesophotic coral ecosystems in tropical and subtropical areas. These ecosystems are considered extensions of shallow coral ecosystems and share widespread species. Because of this, scientists hypothesize that mesophotic corals could function potential sources to reseed or replenish degraded shallow-water reef species.

Mesophotic coral ecosystems additionally function important fish habitat for some economically and ecologically vital fish species, which use these areas for spawning, breeding, feeding, and development to maturity. Much like shallower coral ecosystems, mesophotic coral ecosystems comprise organisms with specialised defenses to chase away predators and microbial infections. These specialised defenses typically yield compounds that can be utilized to develop pure merchandise that profit human well being.

What’s aquaculture?

VIDEO: What’s aquaculture? Here is an outline in underneath two minutes. Transcript


Because the demand for seafood has elevated, expertise has made it potential to develop meals in coastal marine waters and the open ocean. Aquaculture is a technique used to provide meals and different industrial merchandise, restore habitat and replenish wild shares, and rebuild populations of threatened and endangered species.

There are two fundamental varieties of aquaculture—marine and freshwater. NOAA efforts primarily deal with marine aquaculture, which refers to farming species that dwell within the ocean and estuaries.

In the US, marine aquaculture produces quite a few species together with oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, seaweeds, and fish similar to salmon, black sea bass, sablefish, yellowtail, and pompano. There are various methods to farm marine shellfish, together with “seeding” small shellfish on the seafloor or by rising them in backside or floating cages. Marine fish farming is usually achieved in internet pens within the water or in tanks on land.

U.S. freshwater aquaculture produces species similar to catfish and trout. Freshwater aquaculture primarily takes place in ponds or different artifical techniques.

NOAA is dedicated to supporting an aquaculture business that’s economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. NOAA consultants and companions work to know the environmental results of aquaculture in several settings and supply greatest administration practices to assist cut back the chance of unfavorable impacts.

Video Transcript

Aquaculture is breeding, elevating, and harvesting fish, shellfish, and aquatic crops. Principally, it’s farming in water. U.S. aquaculture is an environmentally accountable supply of meals and industrial merchandise, helps to create more healthy habitats, and is used to rebuild shares of threatened or endangered species.

How does NOAA monitor water ranges across the nation?

A National Water Level Observation Network station in San Francisco, California

An NWLON station in San Francisco, California.


The Nationwide Water Degree Commentary Community (NWLON) is a everlasting observing system that features 210 repeatedly working water degree stations all through the U.S. and its territories. NWLON is the “go-to” supply for presidency and commercial-sector navigation, recreation, and coastal ecosystem administration.

Correct water degree knowledge is crucial for a lot of coastal actions, from navigation and engineering to restoration and preservation. Along with water ranges, the stations measure different oceanographic and meteorological parameters resembling water temperature and wind pace. NOAA makes use of this info to make sure protected navigation via entry to real-time knowledge 24 hours a day, seven days every week. NOAA nowcast and forecast fashions use the information to offer a glance into current and future oceanographic situations, which might improve tsunami and storm surge warnings. NOAA additionally makes use of this knowledge to publish annual tide predictions.

NWLON supplies historic in addition to present-day water degree info. Historic knowledge is used to compute relative native imply sea degree traits and to grasp the patterns of excessive tide occasions. The primary water degree observing stations had been established within the 1850s, and a few have been gathering knowledge ever since!

NWLON is managed by NOAA’s Middle for Operational Oceanographic Merchandise and Companies.

What’s HAZMAT?

ship near oil spill

In January 2010, NOAA’s Workplace of Response and Restoration was notified of a collision between a crude oil tanker (T/V Eagle Otome) and a barge in Port Arthur, Texas.

HAZMAT is an abbreviation for “hazardous supplies”—substances in portions or varieties that will pose an affordable threat to well being, property, or the surroundings. HAZMATs embrace such substances as poisonous chemical substances, fuels, nuclear waste merchandise, and organic, chemical, and radiological brokers.  HAZMATs could also be launched as liquids, solids, gases, or a mix or type of all three, together with mud, fumes, fuel, vapor, mist, and smoke.

HAZMAT spills have brought about well being issues, accidents, and even demise in folks and animals, and have broken buildings, properties, property, and the surroundings. Given such dire penalties, it’s cheap to conclude that one might not encounter HAZMATs each day. The reality, nevertheless, is that many merchandise containing hazardous chemical substances are routinely used and saved in properties, and are transported on daily basis on the nation’s highways, railroads, waterways, and pipelines.

HAZMAT Incidents

1000’s of incidents happen every year during which HAZMATs are launched into the surroundings because of accidents or pure disasters. Along with probably harming folks and the surroundings, spills in coastal waters might trigger substantial disruption of marine transportation with potential widespread financial impacts. Each coastal and inland spills are known as HAZMAT incidents, and are routinely addressed by first responders like firefighters and native legislation enforcement.

NOAA HAZMAT Response

Below the Nationwide Contingency Plan, NOAA supplies scientific assist to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for oil and different HAZMAT spills, and participates in emergency response actions in coastal and near-coastal waters.

NOAA’s Workplace of Response and Restoration responds to 120-150 HAZMAT incidents every year. Most are oil spills originating from leaking pipelines or vessel collisions, in addition to hurricanes and drilling properly blowouts, such because the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill within the Gulf of Mexico.

For the 1000’s of minor incidents dealt with by first responders, NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Safety Company collaborate on instruments just like the CAMEO software program suite that supply quick entry to chemical properties and different related info.

What’s a wetland?

VIDEO: What’s a wetland? This is what it is advisable to know in lower than a minute. Transcript

There are a lot of completely different sorts of wetlands and some ways to categorize them. NOAA classifies wetlands into 5 normal varieties: marine (ocean), estuarine (estuary), riverine (river), lacustrine (lake), and palustrine (marsh). Frequent names for wetlands embrace marshes, estuaries, mangroves, mudflats, mires, ponds, fens, swamps, deltas, coral reefs, billabongs, lagoons, shallow seas, bogs, lakes, and floodplains, to call only a few!

Typically discovered alongside waterways and in floodplains, wetlands fluctuate extensively because of variations in soil, topography, local weather, water chemistry, and vegetation. Massive wetland areas may be comprised of a number of smaller wetland varieties.
 
Wetland habitats serve important features in an ecosystem, together with performing as water filters, offering flood and erosion management, and furnishing meals and houses for fish and wildlife. They do greater than maintain crops and animals within the watershed, nonetheless. Many wetlands should not moist year-round as a result of water ranges change with the seasons. In periods of extreme rain, wetlands take in and gradual floodwaters, which helps to alleviate property harm and will even save lives.

Wetlands additionally take in extra vitamins, sediments, and different pollution earlier than they attain rivers, lakes, and different waterbodies. They’re additionally nice spots for fishing, canoeing, mountaineering, and bird-watching, and are fulfilling outside “school rooms” for individuals of all ages.

Video Transcript

Wetlands are discovered alongside waterways and in floodplains. They arrive in all sizes and shapes. Wetlands filter water, offering flood and erosion management. Wetlands have been as soon as considered ineffective swamps. However now, we all know they’re house to ample fish and wildlife.

What’s a Portuguese Man o’ Conflict?

The Portuguese man o’ war is recognized by its balloon-like float.

The Portuguese man o’ battle is acknowledged by its balloon-like float, which can be blue, violet, or pink and rises as much as six inches above the water line. Picture credit score: Elizabeth Condon, Nationwide Science Basis

The Portuguese man o’ battle, (Physalia physalis) is typically referred to as a jellyfish, however is definitely a species of siphonophore, a bunch of animals which can be intently associated to jellyfish. A siphonophore is uncommon in that it’s comprised of a colony of specialised, genetically similar people referred to as zooids — clones — with varied types and capabilities, all working collectively as one. Every of the 4 specialised elements of a person o’ battle is chargeable for a particular job, corresponding to floating, capturing prey, feeding, and copy. Discovered largely in tropical and subtropical seas, males o’ battle are propelled by winds and ocean currents alone, and generally float in legions of 1,000 or extra!

Resembling an 18th-century Portuguese warship below full sail, the person o’ battle is acknowledged by its balloon-like float, which can be blue, violet, or pink and rises as much as six inches above the waterline. Lurking under the float are lengthy strands of tentacles and polyps that develop to a mean of 10 meters (about 30 toes) and will prolong by as a lot as 30 meters (about 100 toes). The tentacles include stinging nematocysts, microscopic capsules loaded with coiled, barbed tubes that ship venom able to paralyzing and killing small fish and crustaceans. Whereas the person o’ battle’s sting isn’t lethal to individuals, it packs a painful punch and causes welts on uncovered pores and skin.

Beachcombers be warned: The stalwart man o’ battle should sting you even weeks after having washed ashore.

What’s seaspeak?

NOAA Corps Ensign Diane Perry on the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson

Whether or not on the excessive seas or at port, misunderstood communication can result in critical and even harmful conditions. “Seaspeak”, the official language of the seas, helps to stop miscommunication.


Have you ever ever puzzled how crews on ships at sea talk? These days, crews include women and men from all around the world, and sometimes, a single ship’s crew comes from quite a lot of completely different nations. However that was not at all times the case. Again within the Nineteen Sixties, america and the UK dominated ocean site visitors, and 80 % of ships’ crews had been native English audio system. By the top of Seventies, nonetheless, the state of affairs had reversed, and as we speak, 80 % of ship’s crews don’t converse English as a primary language.

So what occurs when a ship captain wants to speak together with his or her crew, to a different ship, or to shore? Whether or not on the excessive seas or at port, misunderstood communication can result in critical and even harmful conditions.

To keep away from such confusion, in 1983 a gaggle of linguists and transport specialists created a brand new system of communication referred to as Seaspeak. English was chosen because the precept lexicon for Seaspeak as a result of it was the most typical language spoken on ships at the moment, and, importantly, it was additionally the language of civil aviation. In 1988, the Worldwide Maritime Group made Seaspeak the official language of the seas.

Seaspeak defines the principles of how you can speak on a ship’s radio. The variety of phrases is proscribed to make sure that messages and conversations are quick and clear. Eight phrases, referred to as message markers, precede every sentence. These phrases are Recommendation, Reply, Info, Instruction, Intention, Query, Request, and Warning.

An vital rule of Seaspeak is that numbers made up of two or extra digits are spoken in single digits. For instance, the quantity 33 is spoken as “three three” and the time 9:33 a.m. is spoken as “zero 9 three three.” Coordinated Common Time—the first time customary or worldwide time scale by which the world regulates clocks and time—is at all times used at sea.

What’s marine biogeography?

Making a habitat ecosystem map of the seafloor—a key part of marine biogeography—is a difficult course of. Study the way it works on this two-minute video. Study extra.

By mapping benthic habitats, finding out what happens on the underside of a physique of water, and assessing the relationships between the setting and the organisms that dwell there, biogeographers present helpful data to guard and preserve marine sources.

Marine biogeographers typically use Geographic Info Methods, or GIS, to assist of their analysis of marine animals, crops, and habitats. Scientists and GIS specialists develop map-based knowledge that describe the distribution and ecology of residing marine sources and their connections to human communities. State and federal planners can apply these instruments and data to place aquaculture websites and different vitality services, and to guard fisheries and coral spawning areas. Info from biogeographers permits planners to think about potential eventualities, reminiscent of new growth, that will, or could not, affect the setting.

NOAA’s Nationwide Facilities for Coastal Ocean Science conducts analysis on the distribution and ecology of marine crops and animals to foretell future traits. Instruments reminiscent of surveys, maps, and stories present particular data to evaluate ecosystem circumstances, anticipate adjustments within the setting, and consider how individuals’s social and financial wants could be met.

What’s the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)?

The global conveyor belt, shown here, circulates cool subsurface water and warm surface water throughout the world.

The worldwide conveyor belt, proven right here, circulates cool subsurface water and heat floor water all through the world. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation is a part of this complicated system of worldwide ocean currents. This illustration is captured from a brief video produced by NOAA Science on a Sphere.

The ocean’s water is continually circulated by currents. Tidal currents happen near shore and are influenced by the solar and moon. Floor currents are influenced by the wind. Nevertheless, different, a lot slower currents that happen from the floor to the seafloor are pushed by modifications within the saltiness and ocean temperature, a course of known as thermohaline circulation. These currents are carried in a big “international conveyor belt,” which incorporates the AMOC.

AMOC stands for Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The AMOC circulates water from north to south and again in an extended cycle inside the Atlantic Ocean. This circulation brings heat to varied components of the globe and in addition carries vitamins essential to maintain ocean life.

The circulation course of begins as heat water close to the floor strikes towards the poles (such because the Gulf Stream within the North Atlantic), the place it cools and types sea ice. As this ice types, salt is left behind within the ocean water. Because of the great amount of salt within the water, it turns into denser, sinks down, and is carried southwards within the depths beneath. Finally, the water will get pulled again up in direction of the floor and warms up in a course of known as upwelling, finishing the cycle.

The whole circulation cycle of the AMOC, and the worldwide conveyor belt, is kind of gradual. It takes an estimated 1,000 years for a parcel (any given cubic meter) of water to finish its journey alongside the belt. Although the entire course of is gradual by itself, there may be some proof that the AMOC is slowing down additional. NOAA funds analysis to raised perceive this potential slowing, in addition to to analyze the AMOC’s position in coastal sea degree modifications and its relationship to excessive occasions.

Is the AMOC slowing down?

As our local weather continues to vary, is there a risk that the AMOC will decelerate, or come to a whole cease? Whereas analysis exhibits it’s weakening over the previous century, whether or not or not it can proceed to gradual or cease circulating fully stays unsure. If the AMOC does proceed to decelerate, nonetheless, it may have far-reaching local weather impacts. For instance, if the planet continues to heat, freshwater from melting ice on the poles would shift the rain belt in South Africa, inflicting droughts for hundreds of thousands of individuals. It might additionally trigger sea degree rise throughout the U.S. East Coast.

Why do scientists measure sea floor temperature?

A simulation of sea-surface temperatures from a GFDL climate model

A simulation of sea-surface temperatures from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. This mannequin impressed the U.S. Postal Service to create a Eternally worldwide charge stamp, launched on Earth Day in 2014.


As a result of the ocean covers 71 % of Earth’s floor, scientists file sea floor temperature (SST) to grasp how the ocean communicates with Earth’s ambiance. SST gives elementary data on the worldwide local weather system. SST is an important parameter in climate prediction and atmospheric mannequin simulations, and can also be vital for the research of marine ecosystems.

SST knowledge are particularly helpful for figuring out the onset of El Niño and La Niña cycles. Throughout El Niño, temperatures within the Pacific close to the equator are hotter than regular. Throughout La Niña, the identical space experiences colder than regular ocean temperatures. These cycles are brought on by multiyear shifts in stress and wind speeds, and have an effect on ocean circulation, world climate patterns, and marine ecosystems.

SST measurements profit a large spectrum of operational purposes, together with local weather and seasonal monitoring/forecasting, navy protection operations, validation of atmospheric fashions, sea turtle monitoring, analysis of coral bleaching, tourism, and business fisheries administration.

To measure SST, scientists deploy temperature sensors on satellites, buoys, ships, ocean reference stations, and thru marine telemetry. The NOAA-led U.S. Built-in Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) and NOAA’s Middle for Satellite tv for pc Purposes and Analysis (STAR) merge their knowledge to supply SSTs worldwide.

What’s coral spawning?


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Corals are a good looking and necessary a part of our ocean. However they can not transfer across the ocean ground. So, how, precisely, do they discover mates? See the weird and delightful phenomenon of coral spawning on this Ocean At this time video.


Annually, on cues from the lunar cycle and the water temperature, complete colonies of coral reefs concurrently launch their tiny eggs and sperm, referred to as gametes, into the ocean. The phenomenon brings to thoughts an underwater blizzard with billions of colourful flakes cascading in white, yellow, pink, and orange.

In ways in which scientists nonetheless don’t totally perceive, mature corals launch their gametes all on the similar time. This synchrony is essential, as a result of the gametes of most coral species are viable for just a few hours. The “blizzard” makes it extra probably that fertilization will happen.
 

The gametes, stuffed with fatty substances referred to as lipids, rise slowly to the ocean floor, the place the method of fertilization begins.

When a coral egg and sperm be part of collectively as an embryo, they develop right into a coral larva, referred to as a planula. Planulae float within the ocean, some for days and a few for weeks, earlier than dropping to the ocean ground. Then, relying on seafloor circumstances, the planulae could connect to the substrate and develop into a brand new coral colony on the sluggish charge of about .4 inches a yr.

How are satellites used to look at the ocean?

an artist's rendering of GOES-R in space

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite tv for pc-16 (GOES-16) is the primary of NOAA’s subsequent technology of geostationary climate satellites. Among the many many missions of this satellite tv for pc, it can accumulate ocean and local weather information.


Satellites are wonderful instruments for observing the Earth and the large blue ocean that covers greater than 70 p.c of our planet. By remotely sensing from their orbits excessive above the Earth, satellites present us far more data than can be doable to acquire solely from the floor.

Utilizing satellites, NOAA researchers intently research the ocean. Info gathered by satellites can inform us about ocean bathymetry, sea floor temperature, ocean shade, coral reefs, and sea and lake ice. Scientists additionally use information assortment programs on satellites to relay alerts from transmitters on the bottom to researchers within the discipline—utilized in purposes akin to measuring tidal heights and the migration of whales. Transmitters on satellites additionally relay place data from emergency beacons to assist save lives when individuals are in misery on boats, airplanes, or in distant areas. Listed here are only a few of the numerous methods satellites assist us be taught extra about our ocean:

Sea Floor Temperatures

A simulation of sea-surface temperatures from a GFDL climate model

A simulation of sea-surface temperatures from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

Understanding the temperature of the ocean floor can inform scientists so much about what’s occurring in and across the ocean. Temperature modifications affect the habits of fish, may cause the bleaching of corals, and have an effect on climate alongside the coast. Satellite tv for pc photographs of sea floor temperature additionally present patterns of water circulation. Examples embrace places of upwelling, characterised by chilly waters that stand up from the depths, typically close to the coasts; and heat water currents, such because the Gulf Stream. Essentially the most generally used instrument to gather sea floor temperatures is the Seen Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite tv for pc. This sensor captures new information daily, permitting scientists to piece collectively sequence of maps that present sea floor temperature variations over time for various areas across the globe.

Sea Floor Coloration

Satellites additionally present details about the colour of the ocean. For instance, shade information helps researchers decide the affect of floods alongside the coast, detect river plumes, and find blooms of dangerous algae that may contaminate shellfish and kill different fish and marine mammals. Ocean shade information from satellites permits us not solely to establish the place an algal bloom is forming, but additionally to foretell the place it would drift sooner or later. Therapy vegetation additionally use algal bloom forecasts created by NOAA to resolve when to vary their water therapy components to deal with the algae.

Sea Degree Change

A map of complete sea degree change since 1993.

Some of the important potential impacts of local weather change is sea degree rise, which might trigger inundation of coastal areas and islands, shoreline erosion, and destruction of vital ecosystems akin to wetlands and mangroves. Satellite tv for pc altimeter radar measurements might be mixed with exactly identified spacecraft orbits to measure sea degree on a world foundation with unprecedented accuracy. The measurement of long-term modifications in international imply sea degree gives a solution to take a look at local weather fashions’ predictions of world warming.

Mapping

The floor of the ocean bulges outward and inward, mimicking the topography of the ocean flooring. The bumps, too small to be seen, might be measured by a radar altimeter aboard a satellite tv for pc.

Satellite tv for pc imagery may additionally be used to map options within the water, akin to coral reefs. Sea flooring geology is much less complicated than the geology of the continents as a result of erosion charges are decrease, and likewise as a result of the continents have suffered a number of collisions related to the opening and shutting of ocean basins. Regardless of its relative youth and geologic simplicity, most of this deep seafloor has remained poorly understood as a result of it’s masked by the ocean. Thus far, ships have charted solely a small fraction of the seafloor. However because of gravity, the ocean floor has broad bumps and dips that mimic the topography of the ocean flooring. These bumps and dips might be mapped utilizing a really correct radar altimeter mounted on a satellite tv for pc.

Climate

Hurricane Ivan on September 15, 2004, earlier than it slammed into the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The ocean performs a serious position in regulating the planet’s climate and local weather. Climate information is probably probably the most well-known utility of satellite tv for pc know-how. NOAA’s operational climate satellite tv for pc system consists of two kinds of satellites: geostationary operational environmental satellites (GOES) for short-range forecasts, warnings, and observations; and polar-orbiting satellites for longer-term forecasting. Each kinds of satellite tv for pc are mandatory to supply an entire international weather-monitoring system.

Monitoring

NOAA Fisheries scientists maneuver a tagged sea turtle towards the top of the boat ramp.

Satellites offering environmental imagery may additionally be used collectively with different organizations that obtain information from varied sensors. For instance, marine animals, akin to sea turtles and manatees, might be fitted with transmitters that relay details about their places to orbiting satellites. Related know-how can also be used for human search and rescue.

What are the Roaring Forties?

A research vessel ploughs through the waves, braving the strong westerly winds of the Roaring Forties in the Southern Ocean.  Credit: Nicolas Metzl, LOCEAN/IPSL Laboratory

A analysis vessel braves the robust westerly winds of the Roaring Forties throughout an expedition to measure ranges of dissolved carbon dioxide within the floor of the ocean.


Through the Age of Sail (circa fifteenth  to nineteenth centuries), these robust prevailing winds propelled ships throughout the Pacific, usually at breakneck pace. However, crusing west into heavy seas and powerful headwinds may take weeks, particularly round Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America, making it one of the vital treacherous crusing passages within the world.

The Roaring Forties take form as heat air close to the equator rises and strikes towards the poles. Heat air transferring poleward (on either side of the equator) is the results of nature making an attempt to cut back the temperature distinction between the equator and on the poles created by uneven heating from the solar.

This course of units up international circulation cells, that are primarily accountable for global-scale wind patterns. The air descends again to Earth’s floor at about 30 levels’ latitude north and south of the equator. That is generally known as the high-pressure subtropical ridge, also called the horse latitudes. Right here, because the temperature gradient decreases, air is deflected towards the poles by the Earth’s rotation, inflicting robust westerly and prevailing winds at roughly 40 levels. These winds are the Roaring Forties.

The Roaring Forties within the Northern Hemisphere don’t pack the identical punch that they do within the Southern Hemisphere. It’s because the big land plenty of North America, Europe, and Asia hinder the airstream, whereas, in the southern hemisphere, there’s much less land to interrupt the wind in South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Whereas the Roaring Forties could also be fierce, 10 levels south are even stronger gale-force winds known as the Livid Fifties. And 10 levels south of the Livid Fifties lie the Screaming Sixties! We are able to thank the intrepid sailors of yore for these wildly descriptive phrases.

What’s a catcher seaside?

A classic example of a catcher beach along the shores of Hawaii.

A basic instance of a catcher seaside alongside the shores of Hawaii.

This map shows debris concentrations from an aerial survey done in Alaska in 2012. The map points to two known catcher areas, along Kruzof Island and Gore Point.

This map reveals particles concentrations from an aerial survey carried out in Alaska in 2012. The map factors to 2 identified catcher areas, alongside Kruzof Island and Gore Level.

To not be confused with a dumping floor or closely trashed public seaside, a catcher seaside usually receives its accumulations of particles attributable to its form and placement together with high-energy waves, storms, or winds. Consciousness and customary data of a lot of these areas range considerably by state, though many states have a superb understanding of the place catcher seashores are situated. In lots of circumstances, catcher seashores are present in distant areas which are tough to entry and could be difficult by way of particles cleanup and removing.

A selected instance of a catcher seaside could be discovered alongside the shores of Gore Level, Alaska. The geography of this location makes it a really high-density catcher seaside, because it stands proud like a hook into the Gulf of Alaska present. Scientists and group teams have been monitoring and cleansing this catcher seaside for over 9 years as a result of a variety of particles finally ends up there annually. Most notably in 2007-2008, a cleanup effort in Gore Level eliminated greater than 20 tons of particles from lower than a mile of shoreline! The particles included piles of logs reaching 10-15 ft excessive—proof of the power of the winter storms that deliver particles ashore in that a part of Alaska.

What’s a Rossby wave?

Rossby waves naturally happen in rotating fluids. Throughout the Earth’s ocean and environment, these planetary waves play a big position in shaping climate. This animation from NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Heart reveals each lengthy and quick atmospheric waves as indicated by the jet stream. The colours characterize the pace of the wind starting from slowest (mild blue colours) to quickest (darkish crimson).


Oceanic and atmospheric Rossby waves — often known as planetary waves — naturally happen largely because of the Earth’s rotation. These waves have an effect on the planet’s climate and local weather.

Oceanic Rossby Waves

Waves within the ocean are available in many various styles and sizes. Sluggish-moving oceanic Rossby waves are basically completely different from ocean floor waves. Not like waves that break alongside the shore, Rossby waves are large, undulating actions of the ocean that stretch horizontally throughout the planet for lots of of kilometers in a westward route. They’re so giant and large that they’ll change Earth’s local weather circumstances. Together with rising sea ranges, King Tides, and the consequences of El Niño, oceanic Rossby waves contribute to excessive tides and coastal flooding in some areas of the world. 

Rossby wave motion is advanced. The horizontal wave pace of a Rossby (the period of time it takes the wave to journey throughout an ocean basin) depends upon the latitude of the wave. Within the Pacific, as an illustration, waves at decrease latitudes (nearer to the equator) might take months to a yr to cross the ocean. Waves that kind farther away from the equator (at mid-latitudes) of the Pacific might take nearer to 10 to twenty years to make the journey. The vertical movement of Rossby waves is small alongside the ocean’s floor and giant alongside the deeper thermocline — the transition space between the ocean’s heat higher layer and colder depths. This variation in vertical movement of the water’s floor might be fairly dramatic: the everyday vertical motion of the water’s floor is usually about 10 centimeters, whereas the vertical motion of the thermocline for a similar wave is roughly 1,000 occasions better. In different phrases, for a 10 centimeter or much less floor displacement alongside the ocean floor, there could also be greater than 91.4 meters of corresponding vertical motion within the thermocline far beneath the floor! Because of the small vertical motion alongside the ocean floor, oceanic Rossby waves are undetectable by the human eye. Scientists sometimes depend on satellite tv for pc radar altimetry to detect the huge waves.

Atmospheric Rossby Waves

Based on the Nationwide Climate Service, atmospheric Rossby waves kind primarily because of the Earth’s geography. Rossby waves assist switch warmth from the tropics towards the poles and chilly air towards the tropics in an try to return environment to stability. Additionally they assist find the jet stream and mark out the monitor of floor low stress methods. The sluggish movement of those waves usually ends in pretty lengthy, persistent climate patterns.

What does the ocean need to do with human well being?

Ocean water contamination warning sign on the beach

Our ocean and coasts have an effect on us all!


Our ocean and coasts have an effect on us all—even these of us who do not stay close to the shoreline. Think about the financial system. Via the fishing and boating trade, tourism and recreation, and ocean transport, our coastal and marine waters help hundreds of thousands of jobs. U.S. customers spend over billions yearly for fishery merchandise. Then there’s journey and tourism. Our seashores are a high vacation spot, attracting hundreds of thousands of individuals a yr. And let’s not neglect concerning the Nice Lakes—these huge our bodies of water provide greater than 40 million individuals with ingesting water. Our ocean, coasts, and Nice Lakes serve different vital wants, too—wants which might be more durable to measure, however no much less vital—corresponding to local weather regulation, nutrient recycling, and maritime heritage. Final however not least, a wholesome ocean and coasts present us with sources we depend on daily, starting from meals, to medicines, to compounds that make our peanut butter simpler to unfold! So what does all of this need to do with human well being?

Ocean in Misery

Once we consider public well being dangers, we might not consider the ocean as an element. However more and more, the well being of the ocean is intimately tied to our well being. One signal of an ocean in misery is a rise in seaside or shellfish harvesting closures throughout the nation. Intensive use of our ocean and runoff from land-based air pollution sources are simply two of many components that stress our fragile ecosystems—and more and more result in human well being considerations. Waterborne infectious ailments, dangerous algal bloom toxins, contaminated seafood, and chemical pollution are different indicators. Simply as we will threaten the well being of our ocean, so, too, can our ocean threaten our well being. And it isn’t public well being alone which may be threatened; our coastal economies, too, might be at important danger.

Closing the Security Hole

All through the U.S., there are literally thousands of seaside and shellfish closures or advisories every year because of the presence of dangerous marine organisms, chemical pollution, or algal toxins. To handle public well being threats and advantages from the ocean, NOAA scientists and companions are growing and delivering helpful instruments, applied sciences, and environmental data to public well being and pure useful resource managers, decision-makers, and the general public. These services embrace predictions for dangerous algal blooms and dangerous microbes to scale back publicity to contaminated seafood, and early warning methods for contaminated seashores and ingesting water sources to guard and stop human sickness.

Rising Well being Threats

Whales, dolphins, and different marine mammals eat a lot of the identical seafood that we eat, and we swim in shared coastal waters. Not like us, nonetheless, they’re uncovered to potential ocean well being threats corresponding to poisonous algae or poor water high quality 24 hours a day, seven days per week. These mammals, and different sentinel species, can shed vital mild on how the situation of ocean environments might have an effect on human well being now and sooner or later. Because the principal stewardship company answerable for defending marine mammals within the wild, NOAA’s Marine Mammal Well being and Stranding Response Program helps a community of nationwide and worldwide tasks aimed toward investigating well being considerations. This analysis cannot solely warn us about potential public well being dangers and result in improved administration of the protected species, however may additionally result in new medical discoveries.

Cures from the Deep

Retaining our ocean wholesome is about greater than defending human well being—it is also about discovering new methods to avoid wasting lives. The variety of species present in our ocean presents nice promise for a treasure chest of prescription drugs and pure merchandise to fight sickness and enhance our high quality of life. Many new marine-based medicine have already been found that deal with some kinds of most cancers, antibiotic resistant staph infections, ache, bronchial asthma, and irritation.

What’s a backscatter?

VIDEO: How does backscatter assist us perceive the ocean flooring? This is an outline in underneath two minutes. Transcript

Backscatter is the reflection of a sign (resembling sound waves or mild) again within the route from the place it originated. Backscatter is often utilized in medical ultrasounds to grasp traits of the human physique, however on this planet of hydrography and marine science, backscatter from soundwaves helps us perceive traits of the ocean flooring.

backscatter image

Blue Carbon

A backscatter mosaic, which data the power of the sonar return from the ocean flooring, is overlaid on a nautical chart.

NOAA ships outfitted with multibeam echo sounders use beams of sound to map the ocean flooring. These sonar methods acquire two kinds of 3D information: sea flooring depth and backscatter. The ocean flooring depth, or bathymetry, is computed by measuring the time it takes for the sound to depart the sonar, hit the ocean flooring, and return to the sonar. Backscatter is computed by measuring the quantity of sound that’s mirrored by the ocean flooring and acquired by the sonar.

Totally different backside varieties “scatter” sound power in another way, telling scientists about their relative hardness and roughness. More durable backside varieties (like rock) mirror extra sound than softer backside varieties (like mud), and smoother backside varieties (like pavement) mirror extra sound than bumpier backside varieties (like coral reef).

Combining bathymetry and backscatter information collected by multibeam echo sounders permits scientists to create very detailed 3D maps of the ocean flooring and the habitats current there. The data is used for a number of functions, together with marine ecosystem safety, coastal hazard preparedness, and navigation security.

Video Transcript

Backscatter—measure of sound that’s mirrored by the ocean flooring and acquired by the sonar. A stronger return sign signifies a tough backside resembling coral or rocks. A weaker return sign signifies a tender backside resembling mud. Scientists use this info to create detailed 3D maps of the ocean flooring and the habitats current on the underside of the ocean with the purpose of enhancing navigation security and marine ecosystem safety.

Are tides larger when the moon is instantly overhead?

Earth viewed from the surface of the moon

This NASA picture from the Apollo 8 mission exhibits the Earth seen over the horizon of the moon. Whereas the moon and solar trigger tides on our planet, the gravitational pull of those celestial our bodies doesn’t dictate when excessive or low tides happen.


Tides originate within the ocean and progress towards the coastlines, the place they seem because the common rise and fall of the ocean floor. Because of Sir Isaac Newton’s 1687 discovery, we all know that tides are very long-period waves that transfer by the ocean in response to forces exerted by the moon and solar. Nevertheless, these gravitational forces don’t management when excessive or low tide occasions happen. Different forces, extra regional than the moon or solar, management the tides. Lots of them need to do with the geography and form of the Earth.

The form of our planet has loads to do with variations in gravitational pull at numerous places. If Earth was a real sphere lined by an ocean of fixed depth, then it might be true {that a} excessive tide occasion would happen on the location with the moon overhead. The tidal “bulge” would transfer across the Earth with the moon, however this isn’t the case with our planet. The Earth just isn’t a real sphere, however bulges barely on the Equator. Additionally it is dotted with massive land lots (continents). Areas the place the Earth’s floor is larger, akin to mountains, have a stronger gravitational power than do locations the place the floor is decrease, akin to a valley or cavern. On the similar time, the depth of the world ocean varies vastly. All of those components play into the peak of the tides.

One other factor to think about when enthusiastic about tides is the dimension of time. There are lags in time when an observer experiences excessive or low tide, and the lag varies from one location to a different. For instance, the rising slope of the ocean ground approaching the U.S. East (often known as the continental rise, continental slope, and continental shelf) slows down the tidal “bulge” or “wave” of water. The lag may be hours and even near a complete day in some elements of the world. Consider the wave or bulge that you simply see if you throw a rock right into a pond. The wave travels outward in a hoop. If there’s a tree or different obstruction within the pond, the ring of waves would journey and wrap round it. The identical holds true for the tides.

NOAA’s Heart for Operational Oceanographic Merchandise and Providers makes use of superior acoustic and digital tools to measure and monitor the tides alongside our coasts. NOAA has water remark stations in additional than 3,000 places across the U.S. to look at water ranges and generate tidal predictions.

How do hurricanes kind?

satellite image of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricanes kind over the ocean, usually starting as a tropical wave—a low strain space that strikes by way of the moisture-rich tropics, probably enhancing bathe and thunderstorm exercise.

Recipe for a Hurricane

Whipping up a hurricane requires various substances available in tropical areas:

  • A pre-existing climate disturbance: A hurricane usually begins out as a tropical wave.
  • Heat water: Water at the least 26.5 levels Celsius over a depth of 50 meters powers the storm.
  • Thunderstorm exercise: Thunderstorms flip ocean warmth into hurricane gasoline.
  • Low wind shear: A big distinction in wind pace and course round or close to the storm can weaken it.

Combine all of it collectively, and also you’ve received a hurricane—perhaps. Even when all these elements come collectively, a hurricane doesn’t all the time develop.

Hurricanes are powerhouse climate occasions that suck warmth from tropical waters to gasoline their fury. These violent storms kind over the ocean, usually starting as a tropical wave—a low strain space that strikes by way of the moisture-rich tropics, probably enhancing bathe and thunderstorm exercise.

As this climate system strikes westward throughout the tropics, heat ocean air rises into the storm, forming an space of low strain beneath. This causes extra air to hurry in. The air then rises and cools, forming clouds and thunderstorms. Up within the clouds, water condenses and kinds droplets, releasing much more warmth to energy the storm.

When wind speeds inside such a storm attain 74 mph, it’s labeled as a hurricane. The phrases “hurricane” and “tropical cyclone” confer with the identical form of storm: a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed, low-level circulation.

Throughout only one hurricane, raging winds can churn out about half as a lot vitality as {the electrical} producing capability of the whole world, whereas cloud and rain formation from the identical storm may launch a staggering 400 occasions that quantity.

What’s a glass sponge?

a glass sponge

Probably the most well-known glass sponge is a species of Euplectella, proven right here within the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Generally referred to as the “Venus flower basket,” this sponge builds its skeleton in a manner that entraps a sure species of crustacean inside for all times.


Glass sponges within the class Hexactinellida are animals generally discovered within the deep ocean. Their tissues include glass-like structural particles, referred to as spicules, which are made from silica (therefore their title). Some species of glass sponges produce extraordinarily massive spicules that fuse collectively in lovely patterns to kind a “glass home”—a fancy skeleton that always stays intact even after the sponge itself dies. The skeleton of the glass sponge, along with numerous chemical substances, gives protection in opposition to many predators. Nonetheless, some starfish are recognized to feed on these uncommon creatures of the deep.

Most glass sponges stay connected to laborious surfaces and eat small micro organism and plankton that they filter from the encompassing water. Their intricate skeletons present many different animals with a house.

Probably the most well-known glass sponge is a species of Euplectella, referred to as the “Venus flower basket,” which builds its skeleton in a manner that entraps a sure species of crustacean inside for all times. This sponge typically homes two small, shrimp-like Stenopodidea, a male and a feminine, who stay out their lives contained in the sponge. The crustaceans breed, and when their offspring are tiny, they escape to discover a new Venus flower basket of their very own. The pair contained in the basket clear it and, in return, the basket gives meals for the crustaceans by way of its waste. The animals finally develop too massive to flee the sponge, so they’re pressured to “keep put” for the remainder of their lives.

Will we nonetheless want lighthouses?

Point Arena Lighthouse

Level Enviornment Lighthouse, which sits close to the northern boundary of Higher Farallones Nationwide Marine Sanctuary. Picture credit score: Robert Schwemmer

Lighthouses and beacons are towers with vibrant lights and fog horns positioned at essential or harmful areas. They are often discovered on rocky cliffs or sandy shoals on land, on wave-swept reefs within the sea, and at entrances to harbors and bays. They serve to warn mariners of harmful shallows and dangerous rocky coasts, and so they assist information vessels safely into and out of harbors. The messages of those long-trusted aids to navigation are easy: both STAY AWAY, DANGER, BEWARE! or COME THIS WAY!

Whereas lighthouses nonetheless information seafarers, these days, the World Positioning System (GPS), NOAA’s nautical charts, lighted navigational aids, buoys, radar beacons, and different aids to navigation successfully warn mariners of harmful areas and information them to secure harbors. Some 48,000 federal buoys, beacons, and digital aids of the marine transportation system mark greater than 25,000 miles of waterways, harbor channels, and inland, intracoastal and coastal waterways, and serve greater than 300 ports.

On August 7, 1789, Congress permitted the Lighthouse Act—the primary public works program undertaken by the brand new federal authorities—which established and supported lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers. Members of Congress thought the invoice was so essential that they handed the measure even earlier than they established pay for themselves!

August 7 Is acknowledged as Nationwide Lighthouse Day. Even with the arrival of superior navigation know-how, many lighthouses nonetheless sparkle for seafarers.

What’s the commonest type of ocean litter?

Cigarette and cigarette filter found on the beach at Sandy Point State Park, MD. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Cigarette and cigarette filter discovered on the seaside at Sandy Level State Park, Maryland.

Damaged bottles, plastic toys, meals wrappers … throughout a stroll alongside the coast one finds any of these things, and extra. In all that litter, there may be one merchandise extra frequent than some other: cigarette butts.

Cigarette butts are a pervasive, long-lasting, and a poisonous type of marine particles. They primarily attain our waterways by means of improper disposal on seashores, rivers, and anyplace on land, transported to our coasts by runoff and stormwater. As soon as butts attain the seaside, they might impression marine organisms and habitats.

Most cigarette filters are made out of cellulose acetate, a plastic-like materials that’s straightforward to fabricate, however not straightforward to degrade. The fibers in cigarette filters behave similar to plastics in our oceans, the UV rays from our solar might break the fibers down into smaller items, however they don’t disappear. One strong filter finally ends up being hundreds of tiny microplastics.

Right here’s what you are able to do about protecting these cigarette butts, lighters and cigar ideas from spoiling our ocean:

  • Should you smoke, don’t flick your butt! Place it in a correct receptacle.
  • Set up cleanups in your local people. Be sure to doc your findings with the Marine Particles Tracker App.
  • Be an environmental steward in your individual group. Unfold consciousness about cigarette butt litter.
  • Fearful in regards to the odor from cigarettes in your pocket? Buy a pocket ashtray! These trays can come within the type of metallic bins or vinyl pouches, slot in your pocket, purse, or backpack, and extinguish cigarettes till they are often correctly disposed of within the trash.
  • Recycle your butts! Though it isn’t frequent, there are a couple of locations, just like the Metropolis of Vancouver, and organizations, like TerraCycle, that can really recycle your filters for you. Verify to see if there any applications in your space.

The NOAA Marine Particles Program is the U.S. Federal authorities’s lead for addressing marine particles.

What’s a tide pool?

tide pool in West Quoddy Head, Maine

Tide swimming pools are present in intertidal zones, that are areas the place the ocean meets the land: from steep, rocky ledges to lengthy, sloping sandy seashores and huge mudflats.

tide poool in Monterey Bay, California

Tide Pool Ideas
  • The perfect time to go to tide swimming pools is at low tide.
  • Carry a bag with you to choose up any plastic, paper, glass, or metallic trash on the seaside.
  • Discover footholds on naked rocks, that are much less slippery than these colonized with algae and different delicate sea life.
  • In the event you peek below a rock, put it again the place and as you discovered it. Depart the animals and vegetation alone.
  • Don’t accumulate intertidal species. It’s unlawful to take action in lots of areas.

Fashioned in depressions alongside the shoreline of rocky coasts, tide swimming pools are stuffed with seawater that will get trapped because the tide recedes. Whereas these small basins on the ocean’s edge usually vary from mere inches to a couple toes deep and some toes throughout, they’re filled with sturdy sea life similar to snails, barnacles, mussels, anemones, urchins, sea stars, crustaceans, seaweed, and small fish.

As ocean water retreats exterior the tide pool throughout low tide, the resident marine life should endure hours uncovered to the solar, low oxygen, rising water temperature, and predators similar to wading birds focusing on eating in these shallow swimming pools. At excessive tide, the pool’s vegetation and animals are bathed in recent seawater, however should endure the pounding of crashing waves and foraging fish with momentary entry to the shoreline.

To outlive on this rugged surroundings, tide pool inhabitants usually cling very tightly to any rock to which they will adhere. Barnacles, for instance, produce a fast-curing cement that lets them keep put. This pure substance is among the many strongest glues recognized to exist. In truth, researchers try to determine if and the way it may be harvested or reproduced for industrial use.

The house in a tide pool could also be restricted, however the meals there may be plentiful. Each wave at each excessive tide delivers recent vitamins and microscopic organisms, similar to plankton, to assist and replenish the pool’s intricate meals chain. Washed in by the waves, these organisms nourish the smallest animals, which, in flip, maintain the bigger ones.

What’s the carbon cycle?

Begin with our brief video overview after which get the larger image with our accompanying article.

VIDEO: The carbon cycle describes the method through which carbon atoms regularly journey from the ambiance to the Earth after which again into the ambiance. Human actions have an incredible affect on this cycle. Burning fossil fuels, altering land use, and utilizing limestone to make concrete all switch large portions of carbon into the ambiance. Because of this, the quantity of carbon dioxide within the ambiance is quickly rising — it’s now higher than at any time within the final 3.6 million years. Transcript

mangroves

Blue Carbon

Blue carbon is the time period for carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems. Sea grasses, mangroves, salt marshes, and different programs alongside our coast are very environment friendly in storing CO2. These areas additionally soak up and retailer carbon at a a lot sooner price than different areas, similar to forests, and might proceed to take action for hundreds of thousands of years. The carbon present in coastal soil is commonly hundreds of years outdated. When these programs are broken or disrupted by human exercise, an infinite quantity of carbon is emitted again into the ambiance, contributing to local weather change.

Carbon is the muse of all life on Earth, required to type advanced molecules like proteins and DNA. This factor can also be present in our ambiance within the type of carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon helps to control the Earth’s temperature, makes all life doable, is a key ingredient within the meals that sustains us, and supplies a serious supply of the power to gas our international financial system.

The carbon cycle describes the method through which carbon atoms regularly journey from the ambiance to the Earth after which again into the ambiance. Since our planet and its ambiance type a closed surroundings, the quantity of carbon on this system doesn’t change. The place the carbon is positioned — within the ambiance or on Earth — is continually in flux.

On Earth, most carbon is saved in rocks and sediments, whereas the remainder is positioned within the ocean, ambiance, and in dwelling organisms. These are the reservoirs, or sinks, via which carbon cycles.

Carbon is launched again into the ambiance when organisms die, volcanoes erupt, fires blaze, fossil fuels are burned, and thru quite a lot of different mechanisms.

Within the case of the ocean, carbon is regularly exchanged between the ocean’s floor waters and the ambiance, or is saved for lengthy durations of time within the ocean depths.

People play a serious function within the carbon cycle via actions such because the burning of fossil fuels or land growth. Because of this, the quantity of carbon dioxide within the ambiance is quickly rising; it’s already significantly higher than at any time within the final 800,000 years.

Video Transcript

What’s the carbon cycle? Carbon is the chemical spine of all life on Earth. The entire carbon we at present have on Earth is identical quantity we’ve got at all times had. When new life is fashioned, carbon types key molecules like protein and DNA. It is also present in our ambiance within the type of carbon dioxide or CO2. The carbon cycle is nature’s means of reusing carbon atoms, which journey from the ambiance into organisms within the Earth after which again into the ambiance again and again. Most carbon is saved in rocks and sediments, whereas the remainder is saved within the ocean, ambiance, and dwelling organisms. These are the reservoirs, or sinks, via which carbon cycles. The ocean is a big carbon sink that absorbs carbon. Marine organisms from marsh vegetation to fish, from seaweed to birds, additionally produce carbon via dwelling and dying. Typically lifeless organisms change into fossil fuels that undergo combustion, giving off CO2, and the cycle continues.

What are coquina and tabby?

The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida, stands sentinel over Matanzas Bay. The coquina structure remains sturdy after three centuries. (Photo credit: iStock Getty Images)

The Castillo de San Marcos Nationwide Monument in St. Augustine, Florida, stands sentinel over Matanzas Bay. The coquina construction stays sturdy after three centuries.

Gazebo and oak tree at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Photo courtesy Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

The pure coquina outcroppings at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park close to Palm Coast, Florida, are among the many largest on the Atlantic Coast. Credit score: Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Almost each little one who’s performed on the seashore has constructed a easy sand citadel by making a turret
with an upturned bucket of sand. Others, extra elaborate (and sometimes constructed with assist from an
bold mum or dad), boast a number of constructions surrounded by moats and rivers that ebb and move
with the movement of ocean waves.

However do you know that close to St. Augustine, Florida — the nation’s oldest metropolis — there exists an
precise “citadel” fabricated from sand? Situated on 20.5 acres on the western shore of Matanzas Bay, the
Castillo de San Marcos Nationwide Monument is the oldest (circa 1695) and largest masonry fort in
the continental United States.

The Castillo’s masonry, or stonework, is essentially comprised of coquina (Spanish for “small
shells”) — a pure concrete derived from the ocean. Coquina is a uncommon type of limestone
composed of the shell fragments of historic mollusks and different marine invertebrates, which, over
time, are glued collectively by dissolved calcium carbonate within the shells. Coquina can also be the identify of
a typical tiny clam discovered in every single place on Florida seashores. Their shells, which are available
numerous colours, are mirrored within the Castillo’s muted hues.

As a constructing materials, coquina is light-weight, straightforward to seek out (it’s indigenous to the Florida coast),
straightforward to make use of, and almost indestructible. Not solely is coquina bullet-proof, it’s just about cannon-ball-
proof! Attributable to its plentiful microscopic air pockets, coquina is well compressed. In days gone, cannon
balls fired on the Castillo merely lodged in its partitions. Which, one supposes, is why the previous fort nonetheless
stands after 300 years.

Probably the greatest locations to see coquina in its pure state is Washington Oaks Backyard State Park
close to Palm Coast, Florida, about 30 miles south of St. Augustine. The park’s picturesque coquina
outcroppings are a number of the largest on the Atlantic Coast.

A associated constructing materials is tabby, usually referred to as coastal concrete, which is mainly artifical
coquina. Tabby consists of the lime from burned oyster shells combined with sand, water, ash,
and different shells. Way back to the 1600s, Spanish and English settlers used tabby to construct their
properties and different constructions, and to pave their roads, all through the coastal Carolinas, Georgia,
and Florida.

Many tabby buildings nonetheless stand right now, together with Georgia’s Fort Pulaski close to Savannah and the
R.J. Reynolds mansion on Sapelo Island. These historic constructions, amongst many others, are
testomony to each the ingenuity of early People and the untold bounty of the ocean.

How lengthy do Greenland sharks dwell?

 Close-up image of a greenland shark taken at the floe edge of the Admiralty Inlet, Nunavut.

Shut-up picture of a greenland shark taken on the floe fringe of the Admiralty Inlet, Nunavut.

Picture credit score – Hemming1952 | Wikimedia Commons | Used below the Inventive Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Worldwide | Modifications: measurement

Scientists have suspected for some time that Greenland sharks lived extraordinarily lengthy lives, however they didn’t have a technique to decide how lengthy. The age of different shark species may be estimated by counting progress bands on fin spines or on the shark’s vertebrae, very similar to rings on a tree. Greenland sharks, nonetheless, haven’t any fin spines and no exhausting tissues of their our bodies. Their vertebrae are too smooth to kind the expansion bands seen in different sharks. Scientists may solely guess that the sharks lived a very long time based mostly on what they knew — the sharks develop at a really sluggish charge (lower than 1 cm per 12 months) they usually can attain over 6 meters in measurement.

However current breakthroughs allowed scientists to make use of carbon relationship to estimate the age of Greenland sharks. Contained in the shark’s eyes, there are proteins which are fashioned earlier than beginning and don’t degrade with age, like a fossil preserved in amber. Scientists found that they might decide the age of the sharks by carbon-dating these proteins. One research examined Greenland sharks that had been bycatch in fishermen’s nets. The biggest shark they discovered, a 5-meter feminine, was between 272 and 512 years outdated in response to their estimates. Carbon relationship can solely present estimates, not a definitive age. Scientists proceed to refine this technique and will present extra correct measurements sooner or later. However even on the decrease finish of the estimates, a 272-year lifespan makes the Greenland shark the longest-lived vertebrate.

One idea to clarify this lengthy lifespan is that the Greenland shark has a really sluggish metabolism, an adaptation to the deep, chilly waters it inhabits. A NOAA remotely operated car doing a dive off New England encountered a Greenland shark at a depth of 783 meters, however these sharks are recognized to dive as deep as 2,200 meters. They’re additionally the one shark that may face up to the chilly waters of the Arctic Ocean year-round.

The sluggish metabolism may clarify the shark’s sluggish progress, sluggish getting old, and sluggish motion — its prime pace is below 2.9 kilometers per hour. As a result of the sharks develop so slowly, they aren’t thought to succeed in sexual maturity till they’re over a century outdated. Meaning eradicating mature Greenland sharks from the ocean impacts the species and the ecosystem for a lot of a long time. Although the Greenland shark was once hunted for its liver oil, the vast majority of Greenland sharks that find yourself in fishing nets and contours now are caught by chance. Lowering bycatch is essential in conserving this distinctive species.

What’s latitude?

iStock graphic of earth with lines showing latitude

Latitude strains begin on the equator (0 levels latitude) and run east and west, parallel to the equator. Strains of latitude are measured in levels north or south of the equator to 90 levels on the North or South poles. A transcript is on the market that describes this infographic content material in plain textual content. (Picture credit score: iStock)



Strains of latitude, additionally referred to as parallels, are imaginary strains that divide the Earth. They run east to west, however measure your distance north or south. The equator is essentially the most well-known parallel. At 0 levels latitude, it equally divides the Earth into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. From the equator, latitude will increase as you journey north or south, reaching 90 levels at every pole.

Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory, Credit: City of Gaithersburg

Since 1899

Do you know that the Nationwide Ocean Service (NOS) has been monitoring latitude since 1899? A scientist with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (later included into NOS) constructed an observatory close to his dwelling in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and commenced accumulating latitude measurements as a part of a worldwide challenge to watch the wobble of the Earth on its polar axis. One other observatory was inbuilt Ukiah, California, becoming a member of worldwide stations at places alongside the thirty ninth parallel north. Satellite tv for pc information changed human observations within the Eighties, however the information from the observatories continues to be getting used.

There are different named strains of latitude. They’re based mostly on the solar’s place throughout Earth’s orbit, they usually assist us perceive local weather, climate, and ocean currents. The Tropic of Most cancers, at roughly 23 levels north, and the Tropic of Capricorn, at roughly 23 levels south, are the boundaries of what we think about the tropics. The Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle are at roughly 66 levels north and south, respectively. They mark the boundaries of the Arctic and Antarctic areas.

Every diploma of latitude covers about 111 kilometers on the Earth’s floor. One diploma of latitude might be additional divided into 60 minutes, and one minute might be additional divided into 60 seconds. A second of latitude covers solely about 30.7 meters. In contrast to longitude strains, which get nearer to one another on the poles, latitude strains are parallel. Irrespective of the place you might be on Earth, latitude strains are the identical distance aside.

Latitude and longitude have been utilized in astronomy and navigation since historic instances. By calculating the angle between the horizon and a celestial object (often the solar or the North Star), navigators may decide their approximate latitude utilizing fundamental instruments. The calculations had been easy, so measuring latitude at sea was dependable a whole bunch of years earlier than correct longitude measurements may very well be calculated throughout a voyage. If the North Star was 60 levels above the horizon, the observer was at 60 levels latitude (north). This course of was extra complicated within the southern hemisphere, the place the North Star is just not seen.

We nonetheless look to the sky to find out our place, however the gear is a little more refined. A constellation of over 30 world positioning satellites orbit the Earth, transmitting alerts to receivers on land. NOS’s Nationwide Geodetic Survey manages a community of stationary world positioning satellite tv for pc receivers referred to as Repeatedly Working Reference Stations (CORS). When mixed with different positioning information within the Nationwide Spatial Reference System, processed CORS information can present latitude, longitude, and top positions correct to inside a couple of centimeters.

half of the Earth viewed from space

Whereas the Earth seems to be spherical when seen from the vantage level of house, it’s really nearer to an ellipsoid. Our planet is pudgier on the equator than on the poles as a result of centrifugal power created by the earth’s fixed rotation. The truth that the Earth is just not an ideal sphere makes calculating latitude strains with excessive levels of accuracy a sophisticated endeavor.



Levels of Accuracy

If we assume the Earth is an ideal sphere, strains of latitude are comparatively easy to calculate. The latitude of a sure level on the floor of the Earth is the angle between two strains: a line from that location to the middle of the Earth and a line from the middle of the Earth to the Equator. This technique of calculation provides us geocentric strains of latitude. Nonetheless, this technique is just not correct sufficient for astronomy, world positioning, and different real-world purposes. As a substitute, we use what is called geodetic latitude. This technique of calculating latitude for any level on Earth accounts for the truth that the Earth is definitely squished on the poles as a result of centrifugal power created by the planet’s rotation. Measuring latitude strains with excessive levels of accuracy is however one element of geodesy, the science of precisely measuring and understanding the Earth’s geometric form, orientation in house, and gravity subject.


Infographic Transcript: Latitude

  • The left picture reveals the Earth tilted on its axis. A piece has been lower away to point out latitude strains (or parallels) that run horizontally from the equator to the North Pole. These are labeled from 0 to 80 levels north. The equator and the Greenwich meridian line (prime meridian) are additionally labeled. Extra strains are drawn from the middle of the Earth to every labeled parallel. These illustrate that the latitude measurement for every level equals the angle made between the road to the middle of the earth and one drawn by way of the aircraft of the equator. Close to the South Pole, an arrow signifies the course of the Earth’s rotation on its axis.
  • The proper picture reveals the Earth with the equator and Greenwich meridian line labeled. The world north of the equator is labeled Northern Hemisphere; the realm south of the equator is labeled Southern Hemisphere. Latitude strains are labeled from the north pole (90 levels north) to the equator (0 levels) and all the way down to the south pole (90 levels south).