ocean science

NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette.
NOAA photo by Benjamin Richards

A U.N. special report on the impacts of climate change on the ocean sparked dire headlines such as UN report on world’ oceans is damning: We’re all in big trouble. Or, from the New York Times: The World’s Oceans are in Danger.

While true, those headlines don’t tell the whole story.

Scientist Jeff Kneebone tags a juvenile sand tiger shark in Quincy Bay off Wollaston Beach.
Courtesy Jeff Kneebone

Say the word “shark” to a New Englander these days and the mind jumps straight to great white sharks, which have seen a remarkable increase here in recent years.

But great whites aren't the only sharks around. And it turns out we know little about many of the sharks that frequent New England's waters.

Now there’s a new effort to understand how catch-and-release fishing of sandbar sharks impacts their survival.

Jakob Owens / unsplash

Coral reefs around the world face a host of threats from human activities – from destructive fishing practices, to pollution, and of course, climate change. Reefs in the Caribbean have been in decline. Close to half of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef died during a two-year heat wave starting in 2016. And scientists have said that the vast majority of reefs could be gone by 2050.

On Living Lab Radio this week:

  • Scientists are working on a new definition of the second.
  • A study started as the MeToo movement ramped up, suggests that women sharing their stories may have helped alleviate the stigma of reporting sexual harassment on the job. 
  • Hundreds of thousands turned out for the March for Science in 2017. Those numbers have dwindled, but the impact hasn’t been lost.
  • Ocean warming is devastating coral reefs around the world. But some reefs can take the heat, and they may represent the future of corals.

Team Salient. From left, Stephen, Ray, and Eric Schmitt. Stephen and Eric are Ray's twin sons.
Nancy Copley

We’ve got 10-day weather forecasts. We’ve got NOAA seasonal outlook forecasts. But there’s a no man’s land in between, and that’s where predictions get really tricky.

L. Lerner

 

People who love the ocean know it can be blue, or green, or gray, depending on the weather. It’s a different color in the tropics than here in New England or up in the Arctic.
 

But here’s a factor most people probably have not considered when it comes to ocean color – climate change.   

Physicist Dominic Walliman's map of physics.
Dominic Walliman / http://dominicwalliman.com/

“The term quantum leap has already pervaded our vocabulary. We use it to mean something magical - something that challenges the imagination - even if many people who use it don't quite understand what it means."  -Evelyn Hu

This week on Living Lab Radio:

NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

You might have seen the headlines recently. Scientists gave octopuses ecstasy. It was part of a study where they expected to learn about social behavior. What the scientists didn’t expect though, was for the study to go viral.

Kerstin Forsberg is a Peruvian marine scientist and the champion of conserving the giant manta ray
Courtesy New England Aquarium

Just off the coast of Peru, there's a huge amount of sea life. There are whales, a robust fishing industry, and a strange, gentle creature the size of a car called the giant manta ray.

It used to be that fat was fat, and fat was bad. Then, we learned about different kinds of fats – some worse for us than others – and then some other fats – the omega-3 fatty acids – that are actually good for us. 

National Weather Service

We are officially more than a month into hurricane season and we have a rare bit of good news: this year’s hurricane season may not be as active as originally thought, and it's already forecasted to be less active than last year.

Jeff Janowski, UNCW

Great white sharks have started filtering back into Massachusetts waters. Researchers are pretty sure food is what brings them here, but it’s hard to know for sure what sharks are thinking.

Rabbit Rabbit Radio

Three Cape Cod-based composers will mark World Oceans Day (Friday, June 8) by releasing a new album of original music developed in collaboration with ocean scientists. It’s called Black Inscription, and two of the composers – the husband and wife team Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi – spoke with Living Lab Radio about it. 

WHOI / REMUS

In late 2015, the Colombian government announced they had found what could be the world’s most valuable shipwreck. The Spanish galleon ship San Jose sank off the Colombian coast in 1708 during a battle with British ships, and it is believed to hold billions of dollars worth of gold, silver, and emeralds. An underwater vehicle built and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution played a key role in the search, and now they’ve released new details of the search.
 

Hawaii has passed a ban on certain sunscreens that are harmful to corals.
Elsa Partan / WGBH

Hawaii is poised become the first state to ban certain sunscreens – not because they are bad for people necessarily, but because they’ve been implicated in the decline of coral reefs. The ban specifically targets sunscreens that contain two chemicals – oxybenzone and octinoxate. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature.

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