The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.
This year, the theme is Healthy oceans, healthy planet. Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.
World Oceans Day is celebrated on 8 June, and this year Google is marking the occasion with some highlights of the underwater photography it’s collected as part of its Street View program. There’s brand new imagery for more than 40 locations around the world, including the Bahamas and the Great Barrier Reef, and you can see all of the locations through the Street View Oceans page.
The initiative is about more than sharing some impressive subaqueous photography, though – Google wants to draw attention to the preservation of these underwater kingdoms. “Mapping the ocean is key to preserving it,” write Jenifer Austin and Brian Sullivan of the Google Ocean Program. “Each image in Google Maps is a GPS-located digital record of these underwater and coastal environments, which can be used as a baseline to monitor change over time. This comprehensive record of coral reefs showcases the beauty of these ecosystems and highlights the threats they face.”
In awesome news, NASA’s Hubble observations suggest the existence of an underground ocean on Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede.
The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth’s surface.
Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search of life as we know it.
“This discovery marks a significant milestone, highlighting what only Hubble can accomplish,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “In its 25 years in orbit, Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our own solar system. A deep ocean under the icy crust of Ganymede opens up further exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth.”
Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and the only moon with its own magnetic field. The magnetic field causes aurorae, which are ribbons of glowing, hot electrified gas, in regions circling the north and south poles of the moon. Because Ganymede is close to Jupiter, it is also embedded in Jupiter’s magnetic field. When Jupiter’s magnetic field changes, the aurorae on Ganymede also change, “rocking” back and forth.
By watching the rocking motion of the two aurorae, scientists were able to determine that a large amount of saltwater exists beneath Ganymede’s crust affecting its magnetic field.
In this artist’s concept, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on the moon generated by Ganymede’s magnetic fields. A saline ocean under the moon’s icy crust best explains shifting in the auroral belts measured by Hubble. Image Credit: NASA/ESA
method Ocean Plastic: From Beach to Bottle – As a small soap company, we know we can’t clean up the world’s oceans, but we can raise awareness about the issue and use method’s business to demonstrate smart ways of using and reusing the plastics that are already on the planet. We think the best way to do that is by proving that solutions exist, even at a small scale, so that’s what we’re doing with our new packaging made from a blend of recovered ocean plastic and PCR.
Today, October 8th, is World Octopus Day! Octopus have been around for a long long time, so why do we need an international octopus day?
Right now more than 50,000 tons of octopus are caught each year. And scientists still have little idea how many octopuses are out there in the oceans—or even how to go about measuring them. Octopuses, being asocial animals, don’t swim in schools that can be tracked and measured. And researchers are only just now devising ways to estimate an octopus’s age, as various species—and even individual populations in different environments—grow at various rates and live for anywhere from months to several years. And assessing populations accurately demands this sort of basic info.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out NASA’s Earth Observatory, do it now! Their mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about climate and the environment that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and climate models.
Amazing images and cool features every day. One thing to check out is their “World of Change“, which features images of the changes occurring to our planet over the course of several years. Some are depressing, others are quite fascinating. Here are a few to check out:
A new study shows that plankton, including sea monkeys, may be able to have an impact on ocean mixing. Researchers Monica Wilhelmus and John Dabiri at the California Institute of Technology used lasers to herd groups of sea monkeys, and observed the effect of the sea monkey movement on the water they swam in (see video below). News articles here and here.
The researchers were able to observe the hydrodynamic influence of swimming brine shrimp by using lasers to coax their movements. A horizontal green laser was used to lure them to the surface, while a vertical blue laser encouraged them to focus their path along a central column, according to the release.
The scientists were then able to scale up their measurements by creating a model to better understand how a school of zooplankton numbering in the billions might influence ocean currents.
A vertical migration of newly hatched A. salina (a species of brine shrimp, commonly known as Sea-Monkeys) is triggered by means of a blue luminescent signal. Animals were introduced at the top right corner of the tank resulting in a large concentration of organisms within that region at the beginning of the video. After the blue laser beam was triggered, the organisms located the brightest spot at the bottom of the container, where the blue beam reflected off the surface. Thus, collective motion was induced toward that spot. Once the organisms reached that position, the light source was identified above, triggering vertical motion to the top. A red laser sheet at the center of the tank illustrates the lack of attraction to this particular light signal. Playback is four times faster than real time. (Credit: M. M. Wilhelmus and J. O. Dabiri/Caltech)