Daily Express (Malaysia): UMS students build whale shark database. “Marine biology students at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) have been taking advantage of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to start building a database of whale shark sightings in Malaysia including using divers’ posts on social media. The travel restrictions brought on by the outbreak of coronavirus left the students unable to travel to survey sites such as Pulau Gaya where they recorded and identified their first official whale shark of the project, MY-065, on a survey just five days before the MCO was declared on Mar 13.”
James Cook University: New global database to guide coral restoration. “Coral restoration projects typically focus on reintroducing coral to areas where coral reefs are degraded or lost. Common strategies include attaching small fragments of coral, reintroducing baby coral, or stabilising the material coral grows on. Dr Boström-Einarsson was part of an international team of scientists that looked at 362 case studies on active coral restoration spanning four decades in 56 countries. The researchers developed a database to document case studies of coral restoration from around the world.”
Phys .org: Updated shark tagging atlas provides more than 50 years of tagging and recapture data. “This new atlas updates an earlier version covering 1962 to 1993 and adds information on 22 species. Detailed profiles are provided for 14 shark species, including bull and tiger sharks and smooth dogfish. The updated data significantly extended their known ranges and movements.”
Phys .org: On the edge between science and art: Historical biodiversity data from Japanese ‘gyotaku’. “Historical biodiversity data is being obtained from museum specimens, literature, classic monographs and old photographs, yet those sources can be damaged, lost or not completely adequate. That brings us to the need of finding additional, even if non-traditional, sources….In Japan many recreational fishers have recorded their memorable catches as ‘gyotaku’, which means fish impression or fish rubbing in English. ‘Gyotaku’ is made directly from the fish specimen and usually includes information such as sampling date and locality, the name of the fisherman, its witnesses, the fish species (frequently its local name), and fishing tackle used.”
Big thanks to Shirl K. for this one — The Deep Sea. There’s not really a description I can quote from. It’s an illustration of the sea. You keep scrolling down and down while the page shows you some creatures who live at that depth. You keep going lower, and lower, and even when you think you’re at the end you’re not. I think it’s the physical act of scrolling that “makes it click,” when it comes to understanding just how deep the ocean is. Highly recommended.
Iceland Monitor: Stunning Marine Life Pictures Made Accessible. “A new website… offers a vast collection of pictures of marine life in Icelandic waters. The man behind the website, Erlendur Bogason, has probably spent more time under water than any other Icelander.”
Phys .org: Facebook and Instagram gave away the presence of the ‘Japan pig’ seahorse in Taiwan. “While monitoring of cryptic and elusive tiny creatures, such as pygmy seahorses that measure only 13 to 27 mm, might be too costly and time-consuming for research teams and institutions, the underwater activity might be proving of particular interest to photography and diving enthusiasts. At least, this is what comes across from the recent reports of five miniature species identified from Taiwanese waters by local citizen scientists and passed along via Facebook and Instagram.”
Phys .org: Online prototype could improve ocean migratory species governance. “An online mapping and knowledge platform prototype could soon offer free and easily accessible information on the migratory patterns of endangered species in the ocean. The Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean (MiCO) system has been launched by The University of Queensland’s Dr. Daniel Dunn.”
University of Washington: New portal takes you deep within the ocean’s hidden world. “The Interactiveoceans website takes you deep into the ocean, offering data on light, temperature and a whole host of other variables collected by more than 140 instruments throughout the water column and along the seafloor. It offers recordings of mammal vocalizations and video from underwater hot springs where never-before-seen organisms live. It introduces the technology and the instruments being used on the Regional Cabled Array, with data streaming to shore through fiber optic cables at the speed of broadband Internet.”
National Geographic: Do We Know Enough About The Deep Sea To Mine It?. “The United Nations organisation [International Seabed Authority (ISA)] headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, is charged with promoting the mining of the ocean floor while, contradictorily, ensuring its protection. That’s about to change. As the ISA meets this month to draft regulations to allow mining to begin, it is set to unveil a public database that contains all environmental data reported by the miners since 2001. For the first time, scientists will be able to analyse the quantity and quality of that information and determine if mining contractors have complied with ISA rules.”
Imperial College London: Marine ‘biodiversity crisis’ tackled with new database of conservation plans. “… researchers led by James Cook University, Imperial College London and the University of Maine have taken the first step towards a global repository by launching a database of marine conservation plans. A description of the database is published today in Biological Conservation.”
University of Cincinnati Magazine: Diving deep for data. “Paleobiologist David Meyer took his first underwater photograph in 1967, the year he got into diving…. Fifty years later, Meyer has accumulated a library of images documenting marine species around the world to understand the ancient ones from the Ordovician Period 450 million years ago that he studied as a geologist in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. Now Meyer is sharing his life’s work with the public in UC’s digital repository for scholarly works, Scholar@UC. He is converting his old photographic slides to digital images for UC’s new Global Marine Biodiversity Archive.” There isn’t a lot in the archive yet, but enough that I’m looking forward to seeing what gets added.