Tag Archives: Ecosystem Destruction

Alligators on the beach? Killer whales in rivers? Get used to it

Pongara beach, Gabon, West Africa. Photo courtesy of: © Andrew Cooper


Sightings of alligators and other large predators in places where conventional wisdom says they ‘shouldn’t be’ have increased in recent years, in large part because local populations, once hunted to near-extinction, are rebounding.

A new article finds that far from being outliers, these sightings signify the return of highly adaptable predators to prime hunting grounds they occupied long ago — a trend that opens new opportunities for future conservation…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (05-07-2018)

Growing ‘dead zone’ confirmed by underwater robots in the Gulf of Oman

Oman. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


New research reveals a growing ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Oman. Little data has been collected in the area for almost 50 years because of piracy and geopolitical tensions. The area devoid of oxygen was confirmed by underwater robots. Reasearchers found an area larger than Scotland with almost no oxygen left.

The environmental disaster is worse than expected with dire consequences for fish and marine plants, plus humans who rely on the oceans for food and employment…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (04-27-2018)

County Starts Dumping-Related Clean-up Work at Goleta, Carpinteria Beaches; CA

As of January 12th, 2018, approximately 800 cubic yards has been transported to Goleta Beach, California. Photo courtesy of: © Adam Hogue, Shani Asayag & Vanessa Lytle, Santa Barbara High School Seniors, MAD Academy.


Truckloads of mud from debris flow removal was transported to local beaches following Montecito debris flow.

Two months after trucks stopped dumping loads of Montecito mud onto the shore at Goleta Beach County Park, the ocean waters remain closed because testing shows bacteria levels significantly exceed standards.

Ocean waters are closed if they have been contaminated by fecal bacteria or raw sewage, and they will stay closed until sampling results show the water meets state health standards, according to the county Public Health Department.

There are red warning signs posted along the beach, and Public Health also advises people to avoid eating raw fish and shellfish caught close to ocean waters with elevated bacteria levels…

Read Full Article; Noozhawk (04-24-2018)

Mapping Beach Changes After Devastating Montecito Debris Flows, USGS (03-26-2018)
During the week of March 26, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey carried out four days of mapping selected beaches and the adjacent seafloor in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Results will be compared to surveys from last fall to highlight changes due to winter waves, and to sediment inputs from area streams…

Emergency permits allowing dumping of Montecito mud on Goleta and Carpinteria Beaches expired; Heal The Ocean (02-2018)
Emergency permits that have allowed for the dumping of Montecito mud on Goleta Beach, as well as the deposition of debris basin material on Carpinteria Beach, expired February 20, 2018…

Montecito Cleanup Efforts Require Transport of Mud to Santa Barbara County Beaches, Noozhawk (01-12-2018)
The Santa Barbara County Flood Control District obtained emergency permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Coastal Commission to place sediment on local beaches…

Trucking Mud to the Beaches Means More Sand but Dirtier Waters, CA; Santa Barbara Independent (02-08-2018)
When Santa Barbara County dumps tons of mud from the catastrophic debris flow of January 9 on the shores of Goleta and Carpinteria, this wasn’t like anything that’s happened before. So residents are asking, “Will there be long-term effects? Might there be other locations that can share the impacts..?”

Emergency permits allowing dumping of Montecito mud on Goleta and Carpinteria Beaches expired; Heal The Ocean (02-2018)
Emergency permits that have allowed for the dumping of Montecito mud on Goleta Beach, as well as the deposition of debris basin material on Carpinteria Beach, expired February 20, 2018…

Deadly Debris Flows in Montecito, CA; NASA / Earth Observatory (01-10-2018)
First there was fire. Then rain. And now deadly debris flows are devastating Montecito, California…

Estuaries may experience accelerated impacts of human-caused CO2

Elwha river estuary, Washington State. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Rising anthropogenic, or human-caused, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may have up to twice the impact on coastal estuaries as it does in the oceans because the human-caused CO2 lowers the ecosystem’s ability to absorb natural fluctuations of the greenhouse gas, a new study suggests…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (04-02-2018)

Dolphins tear up nets as fish numbers fall

“As the super trawler Margiris steams towards Australia’s shores, a series of concerns have been raised. One is the impact on marine life, like dolphins and seals, that invariably are caught in the vessel’s enormous nets. These pix were taken by researchers on board Dutch super trawlers while conducting peer-reviewed studies.” August, 2012. Captions and Photo source: © Greenpeace


University of Exeter researchers studied the impact of bottlenose dolphins on fisheries off northern Cyprus and said Mediterranean overfishing had created a “vicious cycle” of dolphins and fishers competing for dwindling stocks.

The researchers estimate that about ten dolphins are accidentally caught in the study area each year, but under-reporting by fishermen and possible deaths due to swallowing plastic from nets may mean this is an under-estimate…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (03-29-2018)

Large-scale commercial fishing covers more than half of the oceans, study finds; CBS News (02-23-2018)

Official fish trade ‘hugely underestimates’ global catches; Science Daily (10-09-2017)
Conservation of dwindling fish stocks is being severely hampered by poor controls on global trade, according to new research…

Overfishing is as big a threat to humanity as it is to our oceans; Guardian UK (02-16-2016)

As global per-capita fish consumption hits all-time high, UN warns on over harvesting; UN (07-07-2016)
A new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows that while growth in aquaculture has helped drive global per capita fish consumption above 20 kilograms a year for the first time, almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now overharvested at biologically unsustainable levels…

The World’s Tuna and Mackerel Populations Are in a “Catastrophic” Decline, Quartz (09-17-2015)

Chinese Foreign Fisheries Catch 12 Times More Than Reported, Study Shows; Science Daily (04-03-2013)

Nearly Half of U.S. Seafood Supply is Wasted, Study Shows, Science Daily (09-25-2015)
As much as 47 percent of the edible US seafood supply is lost each year, mainly from consumer waste, new research suggests…

Larger marine animals at higher risk of extinction, and humans are to blame; Science Daily (09-14-2016)
In today’s oceans, larger-bodied marine animals are more likely to become extinct than smaller creatures. It’s a pattern that is unprecedented in the history of life on Earth…

Key Biological Mechanism is Disrupted by Ocean Acidification

Assorted diatoms -one of the most common types of phytoplankton- living between crystals of annual sea ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Image digitized from original 35mm Ektachrome slide. Photo source: NSF Polar Programs / NOAA


Inability of phytoplankton to acquire iron imperils marine ecosystems.

A team led by scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) has demonstrated that the excess carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels interferes with the health of phytoplankton which form the base of marine food webs…

Phytoplankton are microscopic plants whose growth in ocean surface waters supports ocean food webs and global marine fisheries. They are also key agents in the long-term removal of carbon dioxide (CO2)…

Read Full Article, Scripps UCSD (03-15-2018)

Trump official under fire after granting broad access to mining and oil firms

Oil platform. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


A key Trump administration official scheduled roughly twice as many meetings with mining and fossil-fuel representatives as with environmental groups, public records requests have revealed…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK (03-09-2018)

Federal penalties against polluters at lowest level in a decade under Trump; Guardian UK (02-09-2018)
Figures released by the EPA show that 115 crime cases were opened in 2017, down from a peak of nearly 400 in 2009…

EPA Fines Declined More than 70 Percent in 2017; Yale E360 (02-09-2018)
The Environmental Protection Agency fined polluters $1.6 billion in penalties for breaking emissions rules in fiscal year 2017 — one-fifth of the $5.7 billion that the Obama-era EPA fined companies and municipalities the year before…

Top US firms including Walmart and Ford oppose Trump on climate change; Guardian UK (12-01-2017)

Global Climate Meeting Will Forge Ahead, Despite Trump’s Contempt; Scientific American (11-03-2017)

Top US firms including Walmart and Ford oppose Trump on climate change; Guardian UK (12-01-2017))
The big businesses Donald Trump claims to champion are increasingly choosing to ignore the US president’s sceptical stance on climate change and press ahead towards their own environmental goals without him.

As Trump Retreats, States Are Joining Forces on Climate Action; Yale E360 (10-09-2017)

The fight against climate change: four cities leading the way in the Trump era; Guardian UK (06-12-2017)

Storm Emma: Scenes of devastation on British beach as millions of creatures washed onto shore

Starfish, close-up. Photo source: ©© Ironchefbalara


Millions of sea creatures including seals,fish and lobsters were washed up along the east coast of Yorkshire.

Big tides and gale force winds from Storm Emma are believed to have caused the huge dump on Fraisthorpe beach near Bridlington…

Read Full Article, Independent (03-06-2018)