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Oceans

Oceans

Ocean Acidification: How Carbon Dioxide Is Drastically Changing Our Oceans

December 10, 2018
ocean acidification

When considering the effects of human-caused carbon emissions on the planet, most people would likely say climate change is their biggest concern. Indeed, rising temperatures due to excesses of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide may lead to rising sea levels, droughts and other threats. But another consequence of burning fossil fuels, called ocean acidification, may have equally concerning implications for life on earth.

Let’s take a look at what ocean acidification is, what it does and how people can stop it from harming ocean biodiversity and human livelihood.

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Oceans

Common Chemicals in Our Water Supply and How to Avoid Them

November 15, 2018
chemicals in water supply

People rely on tap water almost every day of their lives, at least in the United States, where we are lucky enough to have running water available in our homes. Most of the time, people don’t question the safety of their water. However, when a water crisis such as the one in Flint, Michigan captures public attention, people grow more concerned about the chemicals that may exist in their water.

The human instinct to guard the water supply exists for a reason. Water contaminated by undesirable bacteria and chemicals can make people sick, sometimes severely so. For this reason, it’s smart to remain cautious about water safety even when no obvious problems present themselves.

Let’s consider which chemicals enter the water supply and how you can avoid them.

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Oceans

Stopping Florida Red Tide From Spreading

October 25, 2018
Florida red tide

Off the coast of Florida, something in the water is causing wildlife to wash up dead on beloved beaches. The phenomenon is causing fishing operations to stall and costing the state millions of dollars in lost tourist revenue and cleanup costs.

The cause isn’t the apocalypse. In fact, the phenomenon isn’t even particularly unusual. The algal bloom causing Florida’s problems, called red tide, began to appear in records of Florida’s Gulf Coast as early as the 1840s.

The culprit behind Florida’s red tide is a tiny organism called Karenia brevis, a type of algae. It’s effects on humans and the ocean ecosystem can be devastating, but currently, there isn’t a lot people can do to stop it.

Here are a few answers to common questions about red tide and a few ways normal citizens can help.

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Oceans

Is There Any Way to Stop Vaquita Extinction?

October 11, 2018
vaquita extinction

Is there any way to stop the extinction of the world’s rarest marine mammal? It’s a pressing question for conservationists.

They’ve posed the same question of the white rhino, saiga antelope and golden lion tamarin with varying degrees of success. Conservation is no easy task, and saving an endangered species of marine life comes with a unique set of challenges that complicates the undertaking.

Compared to the white rhino or saiga antelope, the vaquita is a relatively new discovery. It’s the most recent cetacean — a grouping that includes whales and dolphins — to be recognized by modern science. It was only in 1966 that a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recovered the first full specimen for observation.

Since then, the vaquita population has only continued to diminish. Earlier in the decade, an estimated 200 vaquitas inhabited the Northern Gulf of California in Mexico — shallow waters that make up their natural habitat. Today, fewer than 30 of these rare porpoises remain.

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Oceans

How Does Desalination Work to Increase Access to Drinking Water?

September 27, 2018
how does desalination work

Water scarcity affects an estimated one out of three people on every continent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

It’s crucial that we find solutions to this crisis, especially since water shortages are expected to worsen as the population grows, consumption increases and climate change increases the frequency and severity of droughts. One potential solution is desalination, which is defined as any of several processes used to remove dissolved salts from water to make the water drinkable.

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Oceans

What Are the Most Effective Water Pollution Solutions?

September 13, 2018
water pollution solutions

Water pollution is one of our most pressing environmental problems. We all need water to survive, and as population grows, so does the demand for clean water. The pollution of the world’s oceans, rivers, lakes and streams, however, is making it harder to meet this demand. Water pollution also harms fragile ecosystems and causes widespread environmental problems.

There are various water pollution solutions that can help to mitigate this issue and prevent it from getting worse. Here are some of the most effective ones.

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Oceans

Effects of Overfishing on Ocean Health

August 30, 2018
effects of overfishing

Fish is a staple on restaurant menus all over the world. You might eat this protein-rich food every week or more.

Humans consuming fish for nutrition is certainly not a new trend. It’s been happening for at least 164,000 years, and researchers found fishhooks dating back to 40,000 B.C.

In modern times, we have to be concerned about the effects of overfishing on local marine populations and overall ocean health. Technology and large-scale fishing operations allow people to catch vast quantities of fish while exerting relatively low effort.

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Oceans

Coral Bleaching May Lead to End of Oceans As We Know Them

August 20, 2018
coral bleaching

The only glimpse you’ve gotten of a coral reef might have occurred when you watched an Animal Planet documentary. If you’re lucky, you might have gone on a diving trip that gave you a much closer look.

Even if you don’t know a lot about marine biology, coral reefs are undoubtedly awe-inspiring. However, they serve much more significant purposes than looking pretty. Due to a phenomenon called coral bleaching, coral reefs around the world could be short-lived.

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Oceans

How Ocean Exploration Technology Is Changing Our Understanding of the Sea

July 23, 2018
ocean exploration technology

It’s 2018, and we’ve got humans living in orbit and robots exploring the cosmos to look for new places for our civilization to expand. At the same time, we’ve still only managed to explore five percent of the ocean’s depths. We’ve mapped the length and breadth of the oceans, but most of what is hiding beneath the surface is still unexplored. Advances in ocean exploration technology are just starting to let us discover what is hidden in the depths of the ocean. How are these technological advances changing our understanding of the sea?

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Oceans

World’s Longest Swim to Highlight Plastic Pollution in the Pacific

July 5, 2018
plastic pollution in the pacific

Recently, ocean pollution has been making headlines. Queen Elizabeth of England announced her decision to cut plastic use on royal estates, the BBC announced their plan to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2030 and the EU decided to reduce the availability of single-use plastics in all of their countries. This has sparked new conversations about the amount of plastic that is in the ocean and what its impact on humans may be. After all, we are part of the food chain, so anything that impacts our food can also impact us.

The statistics on plastic in the ocean are staggering. For example, as much as 15 percent of the sand on some Hawaiian beaches is actually microplastics. But for many people, it’s out of sight, out of mind. We exist in a culture of convenience, and being able to throw things away without a second thought is a huge aspect of that. One of the best ways to combat that attention problem is to keep the spotlight on the issue. After all, plastic trash is an issue we have the power to fix. We know the solution is to use less plastic, recycle and avoid single-use items.

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