YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
 

 

CEPHALOPODS

In the summer of 1969, Ringo Starr returned from a sailing vacation in Sardinia to record a much-loved Beatles song about chilling under the sea, in a “little hideaway beneath the waves.” Fifty years later, marine biologists have found an literal Octopus’s Garden off the coast of California.

Some two miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, scientists piloting a remotely-operated submersible came across something no one has ever seen before: Hundreds of octopuses, all huddled on a rocky outcrop at the base of an underwater mountain. In all, the researchers estimate that more than 1,000 deep-sea dwelling octopuses known as Muusoctopus robustus were nestled among the rocks, most of which appeared to be inverted, or turned inside out. For this species, that inside-out pose is common among females that are brooding, or protecting their growing young. In some cases, the submersible’s camera could even spot tiny embryos cradled within their mothers’ arms.

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PLASTIC POLLUTION

A black plastic garbage bag was discovered in the throat of an endangered sei whale that recently washed up on a North Carolina beach. A marine biologist from the Marine Mammal Stranding Program noted that the bag may not have been the cause of death, but that the young whale appeared to be underweight and had not eaten in some time. Marine mammal researchers have collected samples to study the case further.

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ILLEGAL FISHING

Officials in Indonesia, home to one of the world’s biggest fisheries, say their fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to be hampered by the complex web of offshore holdings that own much of the illegal fishing fleet. The country is calling for IUU fishing to be recognized as a transnational crime, putting it in the same bracket as drug trafficking and human smuggling to enable greater international cooperation.

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INNOVATION

A Canadian scientist has developed a low-cost powder that can soak up carbon dioxide before it is expelled into the air. Like other carbon capture methods, the CO2-saturated powder still would need to be buried to ensure the carbon dioxide is not released into the atmosphere, but it’s a welcome development. As Prof. Zhongwei Chen explains, “this technology can help us do better while we find and adopt new, reliable energy sources.”

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CLIMATE CHANGE

A new analysis published this week found that the oceans are heating up 40% faster than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago, a finding with dire implications for climate change. As the planet has warmed, the oceans have provided a critical buffer. They have slowed the effects of climate change by absorbing 93 percent of the heat trapped by the greenhouse gases – at the expense of marine life and ecosystems.

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