Growing up listening to the sounds of the sea in a shell. The entire seascape captured within the delicate structure of the conch. The inspiration of nature drove me to continuously spend my head in the books when away from the ocean. We didn’t say studying- we said wonder. Wonder about the abyss, the deep blue ocean and its rich inhabitants. How they breathe, how they respire. Eating their way across the food web. A pioneering life history strategy they said- that was our vision. As a student of marine science, there was so much to learn- so much to inspire, digest and reflect upon. The continuous inspiration of the oceans drove me forward into the deep blue wilderness of the abyss. Where had I come from to do oceanography? From a place in my imagination so intrinsically connected with nature. A place unexplored where explorers seek to find wonder. Confronted with scientific understanding I looked to nature to find my muse. Paper after paper, searching for the vision of the natural world within my data. I learned to be a scientist, an ecologist mapping the shallows as well as the deep. Listening to the sea and all its glory I sat there wondering what could be done to save our oceans.Continue reading “My journey in oceanography”
The Galway aquarium was celebrating World Ocean’s Day weekend so I wrote a poem for World Ocean’s Day, inspired by the Marlisco marine litter course:
A Plastic Poem
As the ocean glistened in the Sun’s ray
I took a walk to along the coast of Galway Bay
As I began my journey into the deep blue
I started to wonder what we should do
Give up one use plastics- now that’s a start
Reduce marine litter and debris- though it is quite hard;
But think of the fulmars, the gulls entangled
Seals and turtles- all could get strangled
In seas of garbage – bags, bottles and balloons
From estuaries, the deep sea to lagoons
Mistaken for food by whales, dolphins and birds
Ending up in stomachs and entire food webs
Bio-degradation- it takes a lot of time
Instead recycle our rubbish – yes it’s sublime
Pesticides and sewage straight to our beaches
Eutrophication– even in the far reaches
Chemicals end up in microplastics from lotions and scrubs
Instead use alternatives such as the orange rind rub
Leaks and spills end up in ocean currents
Let’s talk to our politicians about industrial pollution
Reduce marine litter in the world’s oceans
Today let’s make it a world ocean’s day resolution
Take part in the Better Bag Challenge: The World Oceans day organisers are also encouraging people to sign up for the Better Bag Challenge, where you can commit to use reusable bags instead of disposable for a whole year! Please sign up here!
Happy world oceans day!
Happy World Ocean’s Day to you! To celebrate this year, we are hosting our Seabed Habitats Blog Carnival especially for World Ocean’s Day!!! Today on the 8th of June, people around our planet Earth celebrate and honour the ocean, which links us all. Hence, here is the anthology of posts nominated or selected for you to enjoy today from a diverse range of bloggers!
Love between coral and worm NIOZ News. A couple of years ago, I went on a cold water corals cruise to help a fellow PhD candidate Anna Rengstorf with her data acquisition aboard the Celtic Explorer in the North East Atlantic as part of the CoralFISH project. During this trip, during a coral sampling exercise, we came across, to my amazement, Eunice norvegica, the worm that lives inside the coral, and saw first-hand the love between the coral and the worm! “The relationship between a cold-water coral and a worm is beneficial for both partners involved,” Christina Mueller, NIOZ.
Marine Invertebrates MarineBio.org. This wonderful blog introduces us to all the major phyla of invertebrates in simple language. The most common marine invertebrates are sponges, cnidarians (coral, anemones, hydozoans and jelly fish), marine worms, lophophorates (bryozoans), mollusks (oysters, chitons, clams, snails, slugs, octopus, and squid), arthropods (spiders, lobsters, crabs, barnacles, and shrimp), echinoderms (with five-point radial symmetry) and the hemichordates (our closest invertebrate relatives!).
Manta Madness- a world famous snorkel experience in Kona, Hawaii, Seaing Blue, Natalie Reichenbacher. Manta rays are large eagle rays, which evolved from bottom-dwelling stingrays, eventually developing more wing-like pectoral fins. Night snorkelling in the moon shimmered Pacific Ocean, Natalie tells us of their flamboyant display with mantas cartwheeling as they feed on the plankton in the water column. They can be seen moving through the water by the wing-like movements of their pectoral fins. Once in a lifetime underwater experience!
Conservation of maerl habitats Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Maerl beds in the St. Mawes Bank, Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation (SAC) include the largest maerl beds in south-west UK. Slow-growing over time, maerl beds are amongst the oldest marine plants in Europe, with beds being up to 8000 years old and are a protected seabed habitat in danger of disappearance. Following proposals of dredging, a proposal to make a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) was made. Here, sensitive issues are discussed openly and transparently with marine stakeholders to clarify their stance on maerl conservation and strategies to protect maerl for future generations.
Epifauna and their importance in regeneration of the seabed Arran Coast. The Community of Arran Seabed Trust, Scotland are a community organisation working for the protection and restoration of the marine environment around Arran and the Clyde. This guest post discusses life at the benthos and the recoverability following an anthropogenic disturbance, such as dredging and bottom trawling -fishing activity. Epifauna play a role in reducing the three-dimensional habitat destruction due to dredging.
What lies beneath? NUI Galway Marine Science Blog. This post by marine geomatician and geomorphologist Dr. Garret Duffy, is about the hidden landscape beneath us- the seabed. It explores some of the physical oceanographic processes responsible for shaping the spatial variability of the seabed and its sediment dynamics. It finishes with a specific example of sediment ‘waves’ in Galway Bay, West of Ireland.
Hydrographic surveying in Dingle Bay INFOMAR Blog, Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI). INFOMAR is a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute and is the successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey. As one of the 26 INFOMAR priority bays to survey, Dingle Bay was recently surveyed using the multibeam echosounder, aboard the R.V. Keary, M.V. Cosantóir Bradán and the R.V. Geo. The INFOMAR programme is a leading example of a national seabed mapping initiative and application of technologies to answering scientific questions about the seabed.
Multibeam Backscatter NOAA Ocean Science. Acoustic Mapping Specialist Will Sautter describes multibeam backscatter as painting a portrait of the seafloor of Grand Reserve of Puerto Rico, to be used for seabed classification. He uses an excellent analogy of the tennis court, with different surfaces of grass, clay, concrete etc bouncing/returning the tennis ball with a different intensity, just like the acoustic signal at the seabed.
Smart Sea School in the West of Ireland University College Cork and partners. Marine micropalaeontologist, Margaret Browne writes about her cruise with Prof. Andy Wheeler’s team, to the Moria Mounds, West Porcupine Bank and inner shelf off the West of Ireland as part of the West of Ireland Coring Programme (WICPro). The cruise studied the glacial depositional history and ice sheet limits, using the gravity corer and box corer.
Pheronema sea belt and the muddy deep sea Plymouth University. This blog post introduces the Pheronema carpenteri, the bird’s nest sponge, forms dense aggregations in the deep sea, forming a belt at the Procupine Seabight, North Atlantic. The post also describes neighbouring deep-sea habitats and discusses the importance of deep-sea stewardship. It was lovely to find out about this little documented and rare seabed habitat virtually unknown! Image Crown copyright © 2006, Marlin.
Ocean observatories ESONET members. An ocean observatory is a a sub-sea networked infrastructure of sensors to measure the physical, chemical, geological and biological variables in the ocean and seabed. The European Sea Floor Observatory Network (ESONET), with the Procupine/Celtic leg, enhances the long term monitoring capability in geophysics, geotechnics, chemistry, biochemistry, oceanography, biology and fisheries in Europe. Coral-covered carbonate mounds of the Belgica Mound Province, north-eastern Porcupine Seabight are main targets for proposed long-term seafloor observatories.
Mining at Deep Sea Vents – what are the impacts on marine life? Deep Sea Mining Out of Our Depth. Dr. Jon Copley, University of Southampton asks the question – what are the impacts of deep sea mining on the organisms at deep-sea vents? Increasing levels of experimental deep sea mining are being proposed to take place at vent fields. Mineral extraction at deep sea hydrothermal vents has been proposed by mining companies after “seafloor massive sulfide” (SMS) deposits. There has been a surprisingly mixed response from the deep-sea scientific community regarding conservation/exploitation, however it is agreed that as a minimum, effective regulation is essential for deep sea vent mining, if not a complete ban.
Setting Priorities to Conserve Marine Biodiversity Global Partnership for Oceans. This blog post by Conservation International discusses which places globally should be a priority for conservation in the marine environment and how to identify which are the most critical ocean habitats. High diversity – high impact places should be conserved first with analysis of the broad-scale patterns of biodiversity and human impacts. Wonderful initiative towards a global solution to maximise ocean health and to apply in practice.
Success of MPAs depends on these 5 things Conservation International. This blog discusses the reasons behind the success of Cocos Island, Marine Protected Area (MPA) a revered diving site and ecotourism destination. It explores five features of this MPA, discussed in a new accompanying Nature paper and sustainable management strategies; those being how much fishing is allowed, enforcement levels, how long protection has been in place, area and degree of isolation. (© Conservation International/photo by Sebastian Troëng)
How Bad is Marine Litter? Marine Science Blogs, Cefas. This blog post from Cefas discusses the source of marine litter and quantifying the impacts of plastics and microplastics on the oceans. It also highlights the importance of scientific research blogging and science communication initiatives to creatively and reliably educate the wider public, especially from scientists of the UK government.
Poem for Vayda Seamount Tropics- Illuminating the Deep. To conclude, a beautiful poem about the Vayda Seamount, written by Sarah Robinson, as part of the Tropics (Tracing ocean processes using corals and sediments) cruise. An inspirational poem from the deep!!
Acknowledgements, sincere thanks and most thumbnail image credits go out to the creators of the posts for taking part in this blog carnival. A special thank you especially to Natalie for sharing her phenomenal experience underwater with the Manta rays! Image credit for Conservation of Maerl Habitats is to Ross Bullimore. Posts are in logical order by subject matter. It has been a joy to create this post- would love to hear your views on this Blog Carnival here!! Also, thank you to World Ocean Day organiser for putting up the details of the event on their website. Happy World Oceans Day to you!
A philosophy professor stood before his class with items on the table in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up some pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles of course rolled in to the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up some sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”
The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar- effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. “Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things; Your life, Your health, Your family, things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter- like your job, your home, your career. The sand is everything else- the small stuff which seems important but is not really that necessary. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to things that are critical to your happiness. But if you put the rocks in first; the things that really matter in your life, than your life will be a lot more fulfilling and happier. Set your priorities; the rest is just sand.”
One of the students raised their hand and enquired what the beer represented? The professor smiled, “I am glad you asked. It goes to show, no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a couple of beers.”
Porosity: The science
Porosity (p) in sediment dynamics is the ratio of the volume of voids, to the total volume. For non-cohesive sediments such as sand, p= 0.3 to 0.4. Well-graded and poorly sorted sediments have a large standard deviation of the mean, with p= 0.3. Poorly graded and well sorted sediments have a small standard deviation of the mean with large porosity, with p=0.4. Coastal engineers often take p=0.35 when the actual value is unknown.
This is a story I heard from David Basco, Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA, during his lectures in Coastal Hydrodynamics and Sediment Transport. In Plymouth, I had the opportunity to meet him and his wife in person, and share with him this photograph of our outreach activity at the National University of Ireland, Galway, a jar full of oranges, marbles and maerl.
Welcome to Seabed Habitats- The newest blog about everything to do with marine habitats.The marine realm is such a dynamic system and is very much an “unexplored wilderness.” Being a relatively new science (with most sub-disciplines being only 50-120 years old), a lot of work is being done to gain a thorough understanding. With technological advances happening rapidly, there are always new methods to try out and new equipment to test. With research being so interdisciplinary in nature, spanning a range of areas such as marine ecology, marine geology, coastal processes, geophysics, oceanography, hydrography, remote sensing, surveying, GIS.. This blog attempts to keep you up to date on the latest developments in the field. From new research ideas to images to the latest technology- all can be discussed here.
A big thank you to those of you who voted in the Seabed Habitats opening poll! As a first time blogger, it has really helped me to get a better idea of the audience. And the results are:
In first place: Maerl Beds (with 41.67%)
Joint second: Rocky Shores, Mangroves and Extreme Environments (all with 16.67%)
Third place: Cold water Corals (with 8.33%)
Hence, I am currently preparing the post on maerl beds (which will be with you very shortly!) Meanwhile, enjoy the following video about maerl in French as an introduction to the subject :
Le maërl des Îles Glénan from Rade-de-Brest Bretagne.Vivante on Vimeo.
Location of video: Réserve Naturelle Saint-Nicolas-des-Glénan- an archipelago South East of Brest, Finistère, Brittany, France
Image Credit to Keith Hiscock, Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA), published on the MarLIN website