Catching fishy imports to tackle seafood fraud

Next time you plate up your favourite seafood, there’s a fair chance it could have been illegally fished. At risk of quashing your appetite, estimates suggest one in five fish caught every year is fished illegally or from unreported or unregulated sources. There’s also no real guarantee that the seafood you’re buying is what the … Continue reading Catching fishy imports to tackle seafood fraud

Tracking the hardening coast

As urbanisation increases, the world’s coasts are changing their physical shape: from fluid and mobile sand and eroding rocks and cliffs they’re becoming harder and simpler with the addition of piers, sea walls, and other engineering projects. The result could lead to less diversity of coastal species and nutrients in coastal environments. A team of … Continue reading Tracking the hardening coast

Once-in-a-century extreme weather events to happen annually

Even if global warming is limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, once-in-a-century extreme-sea-level events will occur every year, according to an international study. The study models the frequency of extreme-sea-level events – triggered by a combination of storm surges, tides and waves – that we will see across the globe as temperatures increase. “At vulnerable … Continue reading Once-in-a-century extreme weather events to happen annually

How will El Niño and La Niña events change with the climate?

For the last 11,000 years, the southern Pacific Ocean has cycled between warm El Niño and cold La Niña conditions, driving the climate on both sides of the ocean. But new modelling suggests that these cycles may be interrupted as a world warms under human-induced climate change. An international team used one of South Korea’s … Continue reading How will El Niño and La Niña events change with the climate?

Bombs, lows and other cyclones

Earlier this week, we saw reports about a “bomb cyclone” off the east coast of Australia. It’s an exciting name for a dramatic storm, but what does it actually mean – and what does it have to do with other cyclones and storms? What is a cyclone? When we say “cyclone”, we’re usually thinking of … Continue reading Bombs, lows and other cyclones

Coral crusaders

A massive coral has just been discovered on the Great Barrier Reef, more than 10 metres wide – and it’s all thanks to citizen scientists, undertaking reef surveys in Queensland’s Palm Island Group, about 60km north-west of Townsville. Estimated to be between 421 and 438 years old, the coral has been named Muga dhambi (‘big … Continue reading Coral crusaders

Have you ever seen a coral this big?

Amid the doom and gloom of news about the Great Barrier Reef comes a feel-good story: volunteer snorkellers have discovered the widest coral on the reef. At 5.3 metres in height and 10.4 metres wide, it’s the sixth-tallest and by far the widest coral on the Great Barrier Reef – 2.4 metres broader than the … Continue reading Have you ever seen a coral this big?

Could ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ come true?

A German scientist has echoed the warnings of the film The Day After Tomorrow, finding that a major oceanic circulation system is becoming more unstable – with concerning implications for the climate. A study published in Nature Climate Change observes that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) – a massive ocean current system that circulates … Continue reading Could ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ come true?

Baby sea turtles are eating too much plastic

Baby sea turtles caught off the coast of Australia almost always have plastic in their tummies, a new study shows. Research published in Frontiers in Marine Science reveals that 83% of green turtles and 86% of loggerhead turtles found off the coast of Queensland had ingested plastics. The team suggested this was because juvenile turtles … Continue reading Baby sea turtles are eating too much plastic

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DNA reveals separate populations of killer whales Using two decades’ worth of DNA samples, Flinders University researchers have determined that at least three distinct populations of killer whales (orcas) occupy Australian and New Zealand waters – and they’re structured around matrilineal ties. “We have found three populations of killer whales within Australasian waters – one … Continue reading You may have missed…

Taking aquaculture offshore, beyond the blue horizon

Earth’s oceans are – to use the French idiom – pretty much screwed. From time immemorial we have treated the seas like a cesspool, and a garbage dump. We have relied upon our world’s biggest saline solution to soak up the gasses and the heat that we pump into the air. We have scraped and … Continue reading Taking aquaculture offshore, beyond the blue horizon

Australia generates at least $25 billion per year in blue carbon sequestration

German researchers have examined the carbon storage potential of the planet’s coastal ecosystems (“blue carbon” storage), and found that Australia has the world’s largest potential for carbon sequestration. Indeed, according to their calculations, Australia’s coast provides the world with around A$30 billion, give or take $5 billion, in blue carbon storage per year. “Marine CO2 … Continue reading Australia generates at least $25 billion per year in blue carbon sequestration