The Weekly Dive Vol. 9

Dive into the latest edition of The Weekly Dive, where we bring you the big ocean news - along with the video update!

Kelp-ing with our energy needs. Scientists reported last week that a genetically engineered microbe successfully turned seaweed (algae) into ethanol. Biofuels, though a low-carbon alternative to petroleum, traditionally come from crops like corn or sugar, and have disrupted supply of those staple foods. The finding could pave the way the for large-scale seaweed farming for biofuels. [The Guardian]

Scientists pressured by White House to downplay Gulf Oil Spill. A complaint by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has accused the White House of pressuring scientists studying the oil spill to downplay its severity. As scientists realized the spill was 10 to 14 times larger than early estimates, they allegedly received “suggestions” from White House communications personnel on how to state their findings. [The Los Angeles Times

A whale of a suit. The Natural Resources Defense Council is suing the National Marine Fisheries Service for issuing a permit to the US Navy allowing them to use high-output sonar, potentially lethal to whales, inside a national marine sanctuary that is home to a critically endangered group of orcas and other marine mammals. [NRDC Switchboard]

All I needed to know about fisheries management I learned in this new study. Recent findings highlighted in Marine Policy shows catch shares are more effective than catch limits in ensuring healthy fisheries. Catch limits, the more common method, lead vessels to compete against one another before the quota for an entire fishery is reached. With catch shares, each vessel has its own quota, making it easier for fishermen to track progress, decreasing the sense of competition, and extending the fishing season, resulting in fresher product. [Seattle Weekly Blogs]

A new meaning to hook, line and sinker… A team of international archeologists, led by the Spanish National Research Council discovered ancient fishing gear over 7,500 years old in Russia that was found to be surprisingly complex. The advanced fish traps, hooks, spears and other items uncovered confirm that the people of the Holocene period had permanent, not seasonal establishments, and that fish were more vital to their nutrition and economy than previously thought. [Science Daily]

Black and white and wet all over! Orcas have appeared off the Southern California coast, where these lucky whale watchers got to see them leap out of the water, a behavior called breaching. Scientists aren’t sure why whales breach, but it may be for cleaning off parasites, displaying dominance, or just having fun!

And now presenting the Weekly Dive, video edition - this week: sea turtles!


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