Astronomy

Biology

Chemistry

Computer Science

Earth Science

Engineering

Math

Medical

Microbiology

Neuroscience

Optics

Social Science

Physics

*****

Español

Sign-up for FTK Bulletin

Earth Science
  

Killing Our Oceans

MOSS LANDING, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Seventy-one percent of the earth's surface is covered with water. Fifty percent of all of life on earth is found in the ocean. But their home may be in danger. Dead zones are appearing and spreading around the globe.

You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player. Click here to download and install it.

A deserted marina and fishing boats tied up with no place to go … fishermen who no longer catch enough to make ends meet.

"All the time, things are changing, " fisherman Todd Fraser told Ivanhoe.

"You don't have to live by the coast to worry about what's happening to the ocean," environmentalist Sean Van Sommeran said.

Louie Morelli has worked on the water for as long as he can remember.

"I love being on the water," Morelli said. "I love everything about it."

Morelli says things are changing.

"It's slowly depleting, especially salmon," Morelli said.

One reason: ocean dead zones.

"Where you used to see abundant marine life, today you don't," Peter Brewer, an ocean chemist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif., explained. "It's typically regions of the ocean with too little oxygen or too much carbon dioxide."

This anoxic water with little or no oxygen forces marine life to move to oxygen-rich waters to survive. There is a dead zone off the coast of Oregon and another off of Louisiana. They represent two of 400 dead zones around the world. Brewer believes these zones will expand.

"When you combine temp, oxygen and CO2 you get a messy pick," Brewer said.

But what is the cause of these dead zones? On the ocean surface, phytoplankton take in CO2 and give off oxygen. When they die, they sink to the ocean bottom where bacteria breaks them down by taking in oxygen and giving off CO2. Increasing areas of phytoplankton from fertilizers that have run off into the ocean is also creating more CO2.

"It's going to take thousands of years to reverse that," Brewer said. "Those changes are largely irreversible."

That makes earning a living from the ocean harder and harder each year and there seems to be little help on the way.

One-third of the carbon dioxide that humans produce by burning fossil fuels is being absorbed by the world's oceans. Even if we reverse those trends now, the dead zones off the northwest coast may be impossible to reverse because of the changing climate and increase in pollution.

The American Geophysical Union contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.

Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:

Peter Brewer
Senior Scientist
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Moss Landing, CA 95039
(831) 775-1706
brpe@mbari.edu

Peter Weiss
American Geophysical Union
Washington, DC 20009-1277
(800) 966-2481
http://www.agu.org

pweiss@agu.org


This Month's TV Reports
Preventing Deaths on the Playing Field

One in 500 athletes have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy -- a heart problem that can end in tragedy. Most people don't even know they have it. Now, one college is changing the way testing is done in the hopes of saving young lives.

 

Detecting Bombs, Saving Lives

As witnessed in the Oscar-winning film the hurt locker, they can be hidden anywhere and made out of just about anything. Improvised explosive devices or IEDs are hard to find, but a student competition found a new way to detect danger before it's too late.

 

Phantom Traffic Jams

Small disturbances like hitting the brakes too hard or tailgating can lead to phantom traffic jams, but now mathematicians are using their skills to try to understand and solve the problem.

 

Killing Our Oceans

Seventy-one percent of the earth's surface is covered with water. Fifty percent of all of life on earth is found in the ocean. But their home may be in danger. Dead zones are appearing and spreading around the globe.

 

Trash Your Running Shoes: Go Barefoot!

It's time to trash those sneakers. Running barefoot is the new fitness fad!

 

Making Melanoma Self-Destruct

For the thousands every year who need more than surgery to battle melanoma, a new drug begin developed by a research facility in Spain could be the answer.

 

Parents Preventing Asthma Attacks

Asthma is the most common chronic illness children face. It affects over five million kids in the U.S. It's not a curable disease, but the symptoms can be eased with a few simple routines at home.

 

Doctors Playing Doctor

Every year 36,000 U.S. children are born with heart defects -- abnormalities that keep their hearts from functioning properly, putting their lives at risk. Now, a virtual tool is giving surgeons a new way to predict and improve the outcome for these tiny patients, before they ever get to the OR.

 

Two Blindness Breakthroughs

Every five seconds, someone in the world goes blind. Six million people in the United States are losing or have lost their sight to eye disease. By 2020, that number is expected to double. But researchers may be on the trail to a cure for blindness.

 

Taking Math to the Streets

Hours spent in school or doing homework with word problems, algebra and geometry can create a math phobia for many students, who end up frightened by math as adults. But looking at mathematics in a different way can help people learn to love it.

 

Creating Science Masterpieces

As engineering students at Georgia Tech were trying to develop a new material to clean emissions from engines, they also discovered something beautiful: works of art.

 

Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies

For many parents, getting kids to eat their vegetables is a battle. It often requires patience, persistence, and maybe a little pleading on the side. Researchers say the reason some kids have a tougher time than others may be in their genes.

 

Prior Reports
A joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics.
  Ivanhoe Broadcast News
2745 West Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 740-0789
http://www.ivanhoe.com

American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 19740-3843
(301) 209-3100
http://www.aip.org/dbis
  P.O. Box 865
Orlando, Florida 32802
scitech@ivanhoe.com
 
  © 2010 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.  
DBIS