Aquarius — World’s Last Undersea Lab — Loses Funding, Faces Decommisioning

Aquarius Reef Base

Aquarius Reef Base (Photo: NOAA)

For 25 years, the Aquarius Reef Base, an undersea laboratory that sleeps six?off of Key Largo, has served as host to numerous marine biologists and NASA astronauts. Even the Ocean Doctor has paid a visit to Aquarius. But after years of declining budgets, the Obama administration has eliminated the base’s funding, and the world’s last remaining undersea lab is faced with decommissioning — or finding its own funding. NPR reports that Dr. Sylvia Earle and other researchers are now conducting a mission of outreach and education in Aquarius to help save it.

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Sea Level Rise Now Believed Impossible to Prevent

Caloosahatchee River at Gulf of Mexico, Southwest Florida (Photo by Whitney Gray, Florida Sea Grant)

Caloosahatchee River at Gulf of Mexico, Southwest Florida (Photo by Whitney Gray, Florida Sea Grant)

The Journal Nature reports that, despite our best efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions, sea level rise associated with climate change is unstoppable, even under the most aggressive actions on greenhouse gas mitigation. According to the study, the question now is not if sea level rise will continue but to what degree. And that’s the good news. Without concerted mitigation strategies, scientists predict that future sea level rise would be substantial and continue to rise for centuries to come.


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Emperor Penguins Disappearing Due to Climate Change

Emperor penguins enter the water in Antarctica (Image by StormPetrel1 via Flickr)

ScienceDaily reports that a study led by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, published in the June 20th, 2012 edition of the journal Global Change Biology, predicts that as global temperatures continue to rise, penguins in Terre Adelie, in East Antarctica, may eventually disappear. Emperor penguins are perhaps the best-known and most iconic of the Antarctic region and were featured in the popular film, March of the Penguins.

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Seagrass Protects Coral Reefs from Ocean Acidification

turtle grasses near Munson Rocks

The BBC reports on research pointing to the importance of seagrasses to protecting coral reefs against the impacts of ocean acidification, caused by carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions dissolving in seawater, causing unprecedented increases in the ocean’s acidity.

Dr. Richard Unsworth of Swansea University, along with a team of scientists from Oxford University and James Cook University in Australia, found several types of seagrass which may reduce the acidity of water around reefs, protecting them from erosion from acidifying seas. [Read more...]

Infographic: Oceans of Garbage

This infographic from MastersDegree.net lays it out there for all to see: Our oceans are getting more and more polluted, and most of the pollution originates from land, like plastics. These pollutants have a wide range of impacts on marine life, including getting caught up in the food chain, even at a microbial level. Scary stuff. Please share!

Ocean of Garbage

With DEEPEST Gratitude to Jacques Piccard, National Geographic Bestows its Highest Honor

After their successful nine-hour dive in January 1960 to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean??'s Mariana Trench, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard emerge from the bathyscaphe Trieste. Walsh and Piccard were the first to reach the trench??'s lowest point, Challenger Deep, some 35,800 feet below the ocean surface.  Piccard, who died in 2008, was posthumously awarded the Hubbard Medal, the National Geographic highest honor, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 14, 2012. (Photo: Thomas J. Abercrombie)

After their successful nine-hour dive in January 1960 to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard emerge from the bathyscaphe Trieste. Walsh and Piccard were the first to reach the trench’s lowest point, Challenger Deep, some 35,800 feet below the ocean surface. Piccard, who died in 2008, was posthumously awarded the Hubbard Medal, the National Geographic highest honor, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 14, 2012. (Photo: Thomas J. Abercrombie)

Only three men have ever reached the ocean’s deepest point. Capt. Don Walsh and the late Jacques Piccard in 1960 and earlier this year, James Cameron. On June 14th, 2012, National Geographic bestowed its highest honor, the Hubbard Medal, posthumously to Jacques Piccard for his record-breaking dive to the Mariana Trench with Don Walsh in the bathyscaphe Trieste to a depth of nearly seven miles. Many of his efforts greatly contributed to the fields of oceanography and conservation.

Piccard comes from a family of explorers. His father, Auguste, was a physicist and the first man to take a balloon into the stratosphere. In 1999, Jacques Piccard’s son, Bertrand Piccard, together with Brian Jones, completed the first ever nonstop circumnavigation of the globe in a balloon.

Presenting the Piccard family with the Medal was Don Walsh, who received the Hubbard Medal in 2010 and James Cameron, the last and only other man to reach this depth.

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VIDEO: Future of the Oceans Panel | Ocean Inspiration | Jacques Cousteau’s 100th Anniversary

Ocean Inspiration: A Tribute to Jacques CousteauJacques Cousteau’s 100th anniversary is an opportunity to come together and reflect on the future of Planet Ocean. Ocean Inspiration is a time to reconnect with our creative and intellectual capacity, and together move forward to positively impact our future.

Explorers, dancers, scientists, artists, musicians, filmmakers, family and friends will come together in this once in a lifetime event. Through spirited discussions and live performances, the audience will be encouraged to create their own form of ocean advocacy. May 18 & 20, 2011: New York, NY / Washington, DC [Read more...]

VIDEO: Is it Getting Hot in Here? Considering Social Media’s Impact on Climate Change (Social Media Week 2012)

VIDEO: Ocean Checkup – Ocean Doctor on Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour

Dr. Kirsten “Kiki” Sanford is joined by The Ocean Doctor, David E. Guggenheim on Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour for a checkup on the oceans’ health.

This show originally aired on the TWiT Netcast Network on December 23, 2011. Visit the show page at TWiT.tv.

VIDEO: 60 Minutes – Anderson Cooper and David E. Guggenheim Explore Cuba’s Coral Reefs

(CBS News) 60 Minutes cameras take you on an underwater adventure off the Cuban coast to one of the world’s most pristine and vibrant coral reefs, known as the Gardens of the Queen. Anderson Cooper scuba dives with marine biologist David Guggenheim, dodging giant groupers and sharks, to explore this increasingly rare oasis. Scientists estimate that 25 percent of the world’s reefs have died off and much of what’s left is at risk.

Watch on YouTube

 


 

Learn About Our Work in Cuba
 Cuba Conservancy - an Ocean Doctor Program
Green Speaker, Dr. David E. Guggenheim

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