Science! Salmon boom after underwater volcano boom

I love science, because it makes sense. here’s a story that makes science sense:

CBC:  Volcanic eruption led to B.C. salmon boom: scientist

A volcanic eruption might have helped produce B.C.’s largest sockeye salmon run since 1913.

The 34 million salmon that returned to B.C.’s Fraser River this year were “adolescents” in the Gulf of Alaska when the underwater Kasatochi volcano erupted there in 2008, said Tim Parsons, a research scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C.

The ash from that eruption fertilized the ocean, leading to a massive bloom of special phytoplankton called diatoms — an unusually rich source of food for the growing salmon.

Read more:

The funnest thing about this story is that it makes such total sense if you have an understanding of the fundamentals of oceanography. One of the limiting factors in phytoplankton growth in all oceans (where there is sufficient oxygen – O is the ultimate limiting factor with life on earth (except when it’s not)) is iron and other nutrients that are found in great grand quantity in volcanic ash.

Sun on the Water
This way lies the ocean.

The 9th foot

Another human foot washed up on the beaches in the Pacifc Northwest, this time on Whitdbey Island in Washington State. Police say that based on the size of the foot, it’s likely from a woman or a young adult.

This is number nine (since 2007)

The Globe has the best article with backstory, including quotes. If you want your news more bite-sized, the CTV story and the CBC story. As an aside, reading comments on the CBC site make my IQ drop.

See more on the feet on this blog.

Caribbean Coral Reefs Flattened

Caribbean Coral Reefs Flattened

Coral reefs throughout the Caribbean have been comprehensively ‘flattened’ over the last 40 years…There have been two major periods of reef flattening. The first occurred when a widespread disease killed about 90 per cent of the Elkhorn and Staghorn corals in the late 1970s. The second period has been underway more recently and is thought to have been caused by an increase in the intensity and frequency of coral bleaching events, as a consequence of human-induced climate change increasing sea surface temperatures.

Read more…

Next threat to the oceans: Mining the Seabed

Christian Science Monitor: Mining the ocean floor: It’s not yet a gold rush to the ocean floor, but seabed prospecting is raising concerns

Pompeii worms, clams, and snails with iron scales armoring their feet are not exactly the cuddly icons that open checkbooks during environmental fundraisers.

But these denizens of the very, very deep are emerging as poster children for concerns about the environmental effects of mining minerals on the deep-sea floor – in particular, around hydrothermal vents that appear in vent fields dotting the length of the globe’s mid-ocean ridges.

For decades, the prospect that companies would seek fortunes on the seafloor has seemed remote, says Porter Hoagland, a marine-policy specialist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass.

From the 1950s through the ’90s, the dawn of the age of deep-sea mining was always considered to be 10, 15, or 20 years away, he says. “It was kind of a receding horizon.” But, he adds, conditions have changed.

Rest of the story at

bye fish

‘Sobering’ Decline Of Caribbean’s Big Fish, Fisheries: Overfishing Deemed Most Likely Cause

Sharks, barracuda and other large predatory fishes disappear on Caribbean coral reefs as human populations rise, endangering the region’s marine food web and ultimately its reefs and fisheries, according to a sweeping study by researcher Chris Stallings of The Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. More…

Dead zones and poisonous octopods

All Octopuses Are Venomous: Could Lead To Drug Discovery

Once thought to be only the realm of the blue-ringed octopus, researchers have now shown that all octopuses and cuttlefish, and some squid are venomous. The work indicates that they all share a common, ancient venomous ancestor and highlights new avenues for drug discovery.

Ocean Dead Zones Likely To Expand: Increasing Carbon Dioxide And Decreasing Oxygen Make It Harder For Deep-sea Animals To Breath

New calculations made by marine chemists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) suggest that low-oxygen “dead zones” in the ocean could expand significantly over the next century. These predictions are based on the fact that, as more and more carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the ocean, marine animals will need more oxygen to survive.

Oil and Water

Hundreds Of Identical Species Thrive In Both Arctic And Antarctic
Earth’s unique, forbidding ice oceans of the Arctic and Antarctic have revealed a trove of secrets to Census of Marine Life explorers, who were especially surprised to find at least 235 species live in both polar seas despite a distance of more than 13,000-kilometer distance in between.

‘Frozen Smoke:’ Ultimate Sponge For Cleaning Up Oil Spills
Scientists in Arizona and New Jersey are reporting that aerogels, a super-lightweight solid sometimes called “frozen smoke,” may serve as the ultimate sponge for capturing oil from wastewater and effectively soaking up environmental oil spills.

Narwhales versus farmed fish – fight!

BBC: ‘Arctic unicorns’ in icy display
Remarkable footage of elusive narwhal has been captured. A BBC team used aerial cameras to film the creatures during their epic summer migration, as they navigated through cracks in the melting Arctic sea ice.

Vancouver Sun: B.C. loses salmon farm jurisdiction
Provincial supreme court rules the province has been improperly regulating industry.