The Beacon

The Scanner: Sights on CITES Edition

© Oceana/Keith Ellenbogen

Happy Friday!

As we speak, an Oceana team is headed to the CITES conference in Doha, Qatar, which begins tomorrow. We will be bringing you updates from the conference as we push for trade restrictions for bluefin tuna, corals and sharks.

CITES wasn't the only thing on the ocean radar this week, though. Check out the rest of this week's stories:

…Scientists have found that oxygen-starved pockets of the ocean, known as dead zones, can contribute to climate change. The increased amount of nitrous oxide produced in low-oxygen waters can elevate concentrations in the atmosphere, exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to holes in the ozone layer.

… OK, this one’s a little gross -- but also really cool. Forensic researchers recently dropped several dead pigs into an ocean dead zone off Vancouver Island to gain insight into how fast cadavers in an ocean can disappear thanks to scavengers. Marine researchers took advantage of the study to do their own by using an underwater camera to see what kinds of animals fed on the disintegrating dead pigs -- and how long they could tolerate low-oxygen zones. While crabs, shrimp and starfish normally stay at shallower depths (where there’s more oxygen), the scavengers pushed their limits for the pig pickin’. Who knew swine could be such a boon for ocean science?

The Maldives joined Palau in banning shark fishing in its territorial waters. Researchers from Australia estimate that a single gray reef shark was worth $3,300 a year to the Maldivian tourism industry, compared with the one-time value of $32 that a fisherman would get from the same shark.

… Dozens of hungry and sick sea lion pups have washed up on Southern California beaches this winter and many have died at rescue centers. Rescuers say the El Niño ocean warming makes the sea lions' prey, squid and fish, scarce.

…Last but not least, check out this gigapan image of a barnacle that washed up in Mendocino. The image is magnified 800x using a scanning electron microscope, and the image is composed of 384 pictures. Check out more large pictures of small things at  http://nanogigapan.blogspot.com

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