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Wiring, Monitoring, and Protecting the Oceans

Wiring, Monitoring, and Protecting the Oceans

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, June 5, 2016/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine life, sustainability, environment

                      Ocean Noise Strategy (credit: NOAA)

The oceans need all the help they can get. Whether it is overfishing, dying coral reefs, plastic pollution, acidification, or any myriad of other abuses, the signs are not pointing in a good direction for the Earth's marine environments.

However, there are positive initiatives evolving. They include a new effort by National Atmospheric and Oceanic Adminiatration (NOAA) to address sonic pollution affecting marine mammals and fish. Known as the Ocean Noise Strategy, NOAA hopes to reduce the impact of noise generated by ships and Navy submarines on migrating marine mammals and commercial fish populations. These and other oceanic species use sound to navigate, hunt, and reproduce by communicating over long distances. Mechanical noise from ships can confuse the animal's radar-like reception. The agency is using their initiative to addresse this serious concern about noise impacts. Over the next 10 years NOAA will refine the strategy as a way to guide ocean science and management actions towards their vision to reduce these human-caused stresses.

In another pro-active case, oceanographer John Delaney of the University of Washington is leading a team that is building an underwater network of cameras and sensors to create a global interactive laboratory. Their hope is that an explosion of "big data" from the oceans will provide a better understand how they function. The network could also form the basis to monitor and control a variety of environmental stresses and illegal activities like overfishing and dumping.

Dalaney recently gave a presentation on the effort to 'wire an interactive ocean'.

These are 2 positive ocean efforts. Many more will be needed to reverse the negative trends and restore the health of marine environments everywhere.



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