The Beacon

Ocean Roundup: Vaquita Porpoise Needs Swift Protection, Atlantic Ocean behind Global Warming Slow Down, and More

A vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus), the most endangered marine mammal. (Photo: "Vaquita5 Olson NOAA" by Paula Olson, NOAA, Wikimedia Commons

- New research shows that the Atlantic and Southern Oceans may just be behind the slowdown of sea surface temperatures increases after years of rapid warming. Scientists say that heat-storing greenhouse gases have sunk to the depths of these oceans, and not the Pacific as previously assumed. The Guardian

- New research shows that corals and reef fish are capable of detecting chemical signals from damaged coral reef areas, sending off cues to not recolonize there. Therefore, scientists think marine protected areas may not do enough to attract and help coral colonies regrow. LiveScience

- An article is Scientific American’s September magazine takes a close look at how overfishing and bottom trawling adversely impact seafloor ecosystems. As deep-sea mining gets underway, offshore drilling continues, and trawls reach deeper waters, urgent work on these issues is needed, says the article. Scientific American


- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at the end of July, saying that species must be threatened “throughout all or a significant portion of its range” to receive protection.  This op-ed points out how the new regulations undermine the ESA, and that many species that have been saved by this Act, like the bald eagle, would never make it onto the Endangered Species List today. The New York Times

- The vaquita, a small porpoise that lives in the upper Gulf of Mexico, is said to be the most endangered marine mammal in existence today, largely from overfishing and bycatch. The only thing that can save the vaquita, argue the authors, are cooperation and quick action from Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. CNN

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