Oceana has once again teamed up with Google to create a powerful new educational tool about the oceans. In the new Google Earth 6.0 tour, â€śOcean Acid Test,â€ť Oceana scientist Dr. Jeffrey Short explains the science and effects of ocean acidification, particularly the threats facing shell-producing creatures, such as crabs, lobsters and corals.
Coinciding with the start of the United Nationsâ€™ COP16 climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, the tour was unveiled today at Google Earthâ€™s Outreach hompage: www.google.com/cop16 and will also be revealed at the Google Earth booth in Cancun. Oceana will also be holding a presentation at COP 16 to highlight the global threat of ocean acidification.
Check it out for yourself below and then take action to stop ocean acidification!
The crew aboard the Latitude has successfully completed the experiment to map the oil plume around the Deepwater Horizon. They successfully deployed 16 buoys up to 6,000 feet deep, and were able to retrieve 90% of the buoys and hundreds of sensors.
Oceanaâ€™s Pacific science director Dr. Jeff Short will now analyze the presence and concentration of toxic hydrocarbons surrounding BP's Deepwater Horizon wellhead, which noone has yet done.
Hereâ€™s Willâ€™s final report, and stay tuned for the next leg of the expedition, in which the crew will use a deep-sea ROV to explore important habitat areas near the Deepwater Horizon.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Another hard working day notched into the belt. After today the Oceana team can check three more moorings off the list. Today started in similar fashion as the last few days: wake up early, eat breakfast and hoist a mooring. What separated today from the others were jellyfish and canyons.
To this point the Oceana team has been relatively lucky in terms of accidents and painful encounters. Yet today after an â€śeasyâ€ť first set, we went for another, and boy did we get a surprise. Everything was normal at first, and then it happened. Jellyfish started floating past the line. Minutes later, as the crew pulled the line through the winch, jelly slime began to pass through hands. Unnoticed at first, soon people began to squirm.
Jellyfish sting their prey using nematocysts which are their stinging structures located in specialized cells called cindocytes. In our case the stinging structures of the jellies wrapped around the long line and in some cases stuck. As the crew pulled in the line the cindocytes transferred from the rope to the gloves of the team. Minutes later the fun ensued. When nematocysts pierce the skin they inject venom. The venom is very uncomfortable, and sometimes requires medical assistance. Luckily for us no such medical assistance was needed, but we all immediately washed off and changed clothes after the set.
The last few days have been a whirlwind for the Latitude crew. Hereâ€™s the latest from Will Race on the ongoing experiment to measure the oil plume near the Deepwater Horizon:
Morning came fast on Monday. By 6:30 am the entire crew was on deck ready to deploy the first mooring. But instead of a beautiful sunrise, we were greeted by an unnerving thunder and lighting show.
Eight was the lucky number: The eight man crew successfully deployed eight moorings. The complete process, from the preparation of anchors and lines, to deploying the anchor, marking the line, and clipping on test strips went smoothly and efficiently.
The weather calmed down after the morning storm and was key to the efficiency of the day. For the first time during this leg of the trip, the Oceana team finally had the pleasure of setting the last mooring of the day to a breathtaking sunset.
In today's update from the boat, Will Race describes the crew's arrival at oil spill ground zero to deploy oil measuring straps. As you can see from today's photos, the crew endured the roughest conditions on the expeditions yet:
The site of the Deepwater Horizon was the focus of the day. The objective was to establish a 10 kilometer diameter of moorings around Deepwater Horizon site. With an average water depth of 1600 meters, the Oceana team knew it would be a long day.
At 6:30am team members positioned themselves on deck and had the pleasure of witnessing a beautiful Gulf of Mexico sunrise. Amidst the landscape of sunny cumulous clouds and dark unwieldy thunder fronts, there sat the site of the Deepwater Horizon. It was very noticeable thanks to the small city that has been crafted around the site. Shadows loomed over the spill site and brought a sobering reminder to what the objective of the day was.
On Friday the Latitude set off on the next leg of the journey: measuring the underwater oil plume in the Gulf of Mexico. Hereâ€™s our on-board dispatcher for this leg, Will Race, on the very wet start to the experiment:
On Friday, the crew held a strategy meeting to discuss the next seven days and whatâ€™s in store. Pacific Science Director Dr. Jeff Short explained his science experiment: The basic approach for evaluating the subsurface oil plumes will be the deployment of an array of moorings with sensor strips every 100 meters.
Moorings will be deployed in three main areas: 12 within 5 km of the wellhead, 12 in a rectangular array extending up to 90 km to the northeast of the wellhead, and 12 in another rectangular array extending up to 90 km southwest of the wellhead.
With everyone in agreement, it was time to go. Due to the drastically shallow shore line, the Mississippi Port Authorities require a local captain come aboard to navigate boats through the shallows, until they are offshore. An additional treat was when pelicans and various other marine birds decided to escort us out to sea.
Once out at sea, the Oceana team continued to assemble gear for the next dayâ€™s first mooring drop. We traveled nearly 10 hours to the first drop site.
Today is the one-month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
And still it spills.
This week Oceanaâ€™s Pacific science director Dr. Jeff Short is down in the Gulf responding to the disaster. Short is an environmental chemist who worked for NOAA on the Exxon Valdez spill.
He sent us the images of the oil spill in the slideshow below, including one of himself collecting samples of the mousse oil for analysis at LSU.
Short wrote in an e-mail to us that â€śDespite deploying mile after mile of oil containment boom to protect the coast from oiling, nearly all the boom materials we saw during our overflight had been abandoned and their integrity subsequently compromised, often resulting in scrambled masses of boom uselessly washed up against shorelines.â€ť
If you havenâ€™t already, sign the petition to stop new offshore drilling today.