Current location: Home » News

Category: News

AOOS map syncs up agencies’ beluga research

The Alaska Ocean Observing System, an organization that monitors ocean and coastal conditions, is trying to link some of the data with a new online portal called the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Ecosystem Portal. Varying information about the endangered whales, ranging from sightings to ocean conditions in their habitats, is presented in a map available to the public on AOOS’s website. AOOS had collected significant data on the Cook Inlet beluga whales, which are considered one of eight species most at risk of extinction in the near future, according to a February announcement from NOAA. The agency recently issued a five-year plan for managing the belugas, which have an estimated population of about 340 as of 2014. The priorities listed in the plan include reducing human-generated noise in the whales’ habitat, habitat protection to encourage foraging and reproduction, research on the whales’ population characteristics, ensuring prey is available and improving the stranding response program.

AOOS is a Regional Association in support of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

For more coverage of this story, click here.

U.K. Invests in Long-Range AUV Technology

The U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has unveiled plans to develop new long-range autonomous underwater vehicles capable of under-ice and deep-ocean research.  NERC will $22 million over five years to develop a new 5,000 foot depth-rated long range autosub (ALR1500) and a 20,000 foot depth-rated autonomous underwater vehicle (Autosub6000 Mk2). These vehicles will support future under-ice and deep-ocean science, including a number of upcoming major marine research programs such as the Changing Arctic Ocean program. The program will be carried out at the Marine Robotics Innovation Centre at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton.

For more coverage of this story, click here.

NASA helps monitor L.A. coastline

When a Los Angeles water treatment plant had to discharge treated water closer to shore than usual in the fall of 2015 due to repair work, NASA satellite observations helped scientists from the City of Los Angeles and local research institutions monitor the Santa Monica Bay for any impacts. To keep a closer-than-usual watch on the bay during this diversion, LA’s Environmental Monitoring Division called on the research institutions that comprise the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. By combining the remotely sensed observations with shipboard measurements, the scientists were able to make an accurate assessment of the extent of the diverted wastewater plume and its impact on Santa Monica Bay and its shoreline.

SCCOOS is a Regional Association in support of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

For more coverage of this story, click here.

“Atlantic Canyons” Study Team Receives “Excellence in Partnering Award”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), NOAA, the USGS and scientists and communicators from 14 other organizations received the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) 2015 Excellence in Partnering Award during a ceremony held at Ocean Sciences 2016 meeting in New Orleans. The partnership between these organizations was recognized for their work in conceiving, managing and conducting the “Atlantic Canyons: Pathways to the Abyss” project over a four year period. The team coordinated the exploration and documentation of the deep-water and benthic marine habitats of two mid-Atlantic Canyons located offshore of Virginia and Maryland. This effort involved research cruises to the Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons from 2011 to 2013 that found unexpected extensive deep-water coral ecosystems, identified over 125 species of fish, discovered large swaths of chemosynthetic mussel communities, documented historically important shipwrecks off the coast of Virginia, and deployed innovative sensing technologies on the canyon floors to monitor their oceanographic characteristics.

For more coverage of this story, click here and here.

To view underwater footage of the exploration, click here.

Global ocean conservation efforts are on the verge of a major advance

Two major advances in global ocean governance are developing and offering hope humanity can begin to repair global seas. The first encouraging policy development is set up of massive marine protected areas of unprecedented size. The biggest of these newly proposed mega-marine protected areas, the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve, is three-and-a-half times larger than the United Kingdom, and more than 100,000 times larger than the historical median size for an ocean protected area. The second key development is that the United Nations is now drawing up a treaty to manage biodiversity across the high seas. These new regulations are focused on preserving marine biodiversity, establishing international ocean reserves, evaluating processes for sharing marine genetic resources, and effectively carrying out environmental impact assessments. Both of these advancements rely on new satellite-based technologies and newly available online data. Ocean-observation data is essential to effectively monitoring and controlling the industrialization of the oceans.

For more insights, click here.