Browsing Tag

Ocean Exploration


Celebrating World Oceans Day: What Strides Have We Made in Ocean Protection in the Past Decade?

June 12, 2020
world oceans day

When you turn on the news, you’ll most likely find negative stories about tragedies happening around the world. Most often, you can hear about how climate change is affecting the planet. There are many ways the Earth is changing to adapt to human pollution, but don’t get lost in the bad news. People are finding new ways to break old habits, especially in the past decade.

Here are some of the strides made in ocean protection in the past 10 years. There are so many reasons to celebrate during the upcoming World Oceans Day, so find something that encourages you to keep making sustainable choices.

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What Does Ocean Habitat Destruction Mean for Our Planet?

March 27, 2020
ocean habitat destruction

Human activities have been affecting our oceans and the life within them for centuries. But, only recently has the world begun to notice these detrimental effects. From low oxygen levels to ocean oil slicks, entire marine ecosystems are rapidly taking a turn for the worse. In many areas, our actions have even created unlivable ocean conditions, endangering marine life and, therein affecting our own economy and food supply. If we hope to recover from these effects, we must work together to restore the marine ecosystems we’ve so carelessly destroyed. 

Polluted Seas

As humanity’s dependency on plastic continues to grow, so will its effect on ocean habitats. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for instance, stretches 1.6 million square kilometers and largely consists of plastic objects and small microplastics. Marine animals mistake this floating debris for food, but these plastics are indigestible, filling their stomachs until they starve. Thes plastic particles also spread hazardous chemicals that can climb up the food chain and destroy entire ecosystems. Currently, ocean debris directly affects more than 800 marine species.

Humanity’s demand for oil has also resulted in a more polluted ocean. Oil spills contribute about 12% of all ocean oil, while shipping, drains, dumping and drilling produce the other 88%. New methods of hunting for oil also have a significant impact on marine life. Seismic blasts used to detect new drill sites have decreased the number of zooplankton, which are an essential food and oxygen source for many species like fish and whales. Therefore, increased drilling operations have the potential to affect every level of the aquatic food chain.

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Are We Depleting the Amount of Oxygen in the Ocean?

March 25, 2019
oxygen in the ocean

The level of oxygen in the ocean is falling, an issue scientists say calls for urgent attention. Decreasing oxygen levels could cause substantial harm to the health of the ocean and the life that depends on it.

Across the planet, oxygen levels have fallen by 2 percent in the last 50 years, according to research from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Kiel, Germany. If the problem goes unchecked, global ocean oxygen levels could fall by an average of 7 percent by 2100. Another study found that in some tropical regions, oxygen levels declined by as much as 40 percent. For every degree the ocean warms, oxygen concentration decreases by 2 percent.

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People Are Aware of Ocean Changes. Now, How Do We Stop Those Changes?

March 7, 2019
ocean changes

The effect of climate change on our oceans is inarguable, and more than that, distressing. As acidity levels rise, the delicate balance of marine ecosystems has started to tip, affecting countless species of fish and plant life that depend on environmental stability to survive. We’ve already seen the consequences.

Coral bleaching events have increased in frequency, leaving large areas of the world’s reefs pale and weak. Diseases like white syndrome are gaining traction, compounding the problem, and pollution from packaging, bottles and spills have all contributed to detrimental, large-scale ocean changes across the globe.

While this situation is admittedly upsetting, more and more people are beginning to acknowledge the effect their actions have on the environment. They’ve adopted eco-friendly lifestyles that reduce their emissions and waste, and many have corrected their bad habits, doing away with single-use plastics for green alternatives.

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Green Technology

Wind-Powered Ocean Drones and What They Teach Us About the Sea

January 17, 2019
ocean drones

Many believe outer space is the next great frontier and that our current trajectory has placed us on a path toward the stars. It’s far more reasonable to say that our planet’s ocean is the next great frontier and that the future of exploration lies in the depths of the sea and not among the Milky Way, as so many people assume.

It’s a fair assumption, with the pace of progress and the investments of entrepreneurs like Elon Musk. That said, we’re more likely to see a thorough mapping of the ocean before we see extensive space travel. With recent innovations like wind-powered ocean drones, this scale of mapping isn’t distant on the horizon.

We should examine today’s technology in greater detail, looking at the application of “saildrones” for fishing, drilling and environmental science. These drones have enormous potential to teach us more about the mysteries of the sea — let’s touch on a bit of what we’ve already learned.

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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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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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7 Tips for Knowing Sea Animals by Ocean

June 4, 2018
animals by ocean

Our oceans are filled with countless unique and amazing creatures. Some can be found in waters all around the globe, while others live only in particular locations. And there are still many more species — such as this bizarre squid — to be found!

Here are seven sea animals by ocean who remain unique to their area of the world.

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Endangered Ocean Plants Essential to Our Ecosystems

May 17, 2018
ocean plants

When you think of the ocean, and especially endangered species in the ocean, what comes to mind? For most people, it’s things like adorable penguins, majestic whales or playful dolphins. While these animals are all important parts of their respective ecosystems and may be endangered, they’re not the only life forms at risk. Ocean plants are an essential part of our ecosystems, and many of them are endangered as well, thanks to overfishing and other human interventions. Here are a few ocean plants that are essential parts of their own ecosystem and part of the oceanic biosphere as a whole.

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Oceanography vs. Marine Biology — What’s the Difference?

May 3, 2018
oceanography vs marine biology

Our planet is a wonder, at least as far as we know. It’s the only place in the universe that contains life. That life, all of the life we know of in the entire universe, depends on the oceans. Our oceans cover 70% of the planet and has been largely unexplored compared to its size, which is why studying the oceans is a life-long goal for many people. The oceans can be studied in a vast amount of ways, but two popular fields of study are oceanography and marine biology. Both fields have intense competition, especially for graduate school placement.

The work you do, regardless of which field you choose, will be essential. As climate change progresses, it will only become more so. But that doesn’t always mean it will be good. Working on the ocean is hard, it can be dangerous, and it’s often underfunded. When considering oceanography vs. marine biology, you face similar working conditions and hazards. It comes down to the work you’ll be doing.

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