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In this perspective view of the shallow megathrust fault, looking seaward towards the trench, the frontal prism has been cut away. The color scales indicate depth below seafloor, and grey denotes the seafloor. Image credit: Edwards et al., Nature Geoscience, Feb-2018.

Science

Geophysicists have obtained detailed three-dimensional images of a dangerous megathrust fault west of Costa Rica where two plates of the Earth's crust collide. The images reveal features of the fault surface, including long grooves or corrugations, that may determine how the fault will slip in an earthquake.

Last July, a sailboat with two people onboard caught on fire several hundred miles off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Luckily for the crew, a NOAA satellite picked up the distress signal from their emergency beacon, enabling the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard to rescue them.

A pod of narwhals in Melville Bay, Greenland. Photo credit: Kristin Laidre/University of Washington.

Science

Narwhals are some of the most elusive creatures in the ocean, spending most of their lives in deep water far from shore. But new research shows narwhals may prefer to congregate near unique glacier fjords with thick ice fronts and low to moderate calving activity, where icebergs break off infrequently. It appears narwhals prefer the freshwater coming off still, serene glaciers over the silt-filled runoff discharged from very active glaciers.

Group of pink sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus fragilis, Photo credit: Kirk Sato.

Science

Sea urchin is a delicacy in Asia, South America, Europe, and increasingly in California, where the uniquely flavored roe, or uni, is used in sushi, gourmet cuisine, and products such as sauces and flavorings. But the large red sea urchin (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) caught off the coast of Southern California—the primary urchin fishery in the U.S.—is vulnerable to increased water temperatures and ocean acidification.

Cali Turner Tomaszewicz inspects a green sea turtle bone. Photo courtesy of UC San Diego.

Science

Populations of green sea turtles living in the eastern region of the Pacific Ocean have rebounded in recent years, but their numbers remain dangerously depleted. Research by led by biologists at the University of California San Diego and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service is offering previously unknown information about where these turtles live and how they use their habitats, key data that will aid future conservation efforts.

This artist’s impression compares the seven planets orbiting the ultra-cool red dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 to the Earth at the same scale. New observations, when combined with very sophisticated analysis, have now yielded good estimates of the densities of all seven of the Earth-sized planets and suggest that they are rich in volatile materials, probably water. They are shown to the same scale but not in the correct relative positions. Photo credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.

Science

A new study has found that the seven planets orbiting the nearby ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 are all made mostly of rock, and some could potentially hold more water than Earth. The planets' densities, now known much more precisely than before, suggest that some of them could have up to 5 percent of their mass in the form of water — about 250 times more than Earth's oceans.

In an exclusive interview with KSNV of Las Vegas, Chief Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt discusses climate change, the Paris Climate Accord, and the role of government regulation.

Microplastics were present in all 13 samples taken from Scapa Flow in Orkney, off the northeastern coast of Scotland, despite its remoteness and Orkney’s small population. In fact, the samples had similar microplastic levels to some of the UK’s most industrialized waterways. Photo credit: Heriot-Watt University.

Regulation

A Scottish academic is calling on government officials to do more to address the occurrence of microplastics around beaches and shores. Dr. Mark Hartl, associate professor of marine biology at Heriot-Watt University says that although he supports plastic bag tax and deposit return schemes - more should be done to protect natural marine habitats.

The Northern Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale is the only year-round resident baleen whale in the northern Gulf of Mexico. They are found primarily off Florida, in an area known as De Soto Canyon. Map courtesy of the Marine Mammal Commission, an Independent Agency of the U.S. Government (map adapted from LaBrecque et al. 2015).

Regulation

The latest Critically Endangered list from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) includes the Gulf of Mexico whale, a subspecies of Balaenoptera edeni. According to IUCN, this mammal is at risk of being the first baleen whale to go extinct since the Atlantic grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) three centuries ago.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has announced that the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act violations will increase from $42,704 to $43,576 a day for each violation. This legislatively mandated increase is contained in a final rule which came into effect on 18 January 2018.

In response to increased Arctic shipping traffic, the United States and Russian Federation have proposed a system of two-way routes for vessels to follow in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea.

On 31 January, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy an Executive Order directing the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) and begin the process of moving the state toward a goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy generation by the year 2030.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Pacific Coastal & Marine, Santa Cruz, California has a requirement for Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) bottom video services.

Arctic Ocean and Climate System Research Unit, Institute of Arctic Climate and Environment Research (IACE) at JAMSTEC is soliciting applications for a tenure-track Scientist or Technical Scientist who will take part in the medium-term plan and to engage in the following research and development activities.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has published its request for proposals for beneficial use of dredged material pilot projects pursuant to Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, Beneficial Use of Dredged Material.

The Asahiko Taira International Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize (The Taira Prize) is given annually to one early-middle career honoree in recognition of “outstanding transdisciplinary research accomplishment in ocean drilling.”

In 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will partner with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) for the FWS Directorate Resource Assistant Fellows Program (DFP). DFP provides undergraduate rising seniors and graduate students who are interested in conservation or other related careers with a full-time, 11-week opportunity that supports FWS conservation priorities.

Radiolaria are major exporters of organic carbon to the deep ocean and are studied as part of Earth’s sedimentary record.

Opportunity

The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) is issuing a special call for experienced biostratigraphers with particular focus on radiolaria of the Antarctic region or Southern Ocean to apply for Expedition 379 aboard the JOIDES Resolution.

The first complete D7 nacelle built by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy in their new production facility in Cuxhaven, was rolled out of the manufacturing plant on the 15 February 2018.

Biogeochemical profiling floats developed by researchers (shown being deployed above) at Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer (LOV) and outfitted with biogeochemical sensors from Sea-Bird Scientific have helped characterize the true start of seasonal North Atlantic phytoplankton blooms. Once limited by infrequent field sampling and spotty satellite data, researchers were unclear whether phytoplankton productivity would ramp up in the winter (implied by previously observed jumps in productivity), or later in the spring.

Unabara has completed a seafloor geotechnical and bathymetric demonstration survey for various federal and state agencies on the US Gulf Coast. The area of study was the Gulfport, Mississippi Ship Navigation Channel; in particular, areas where “fluid mud” presents potential problems for safe ship passage.

Technician performs a quality check in a reverse osmosis water purification plant.

Products

The world has very little fresh water and it is running out. At tens of billions of tonnes yearly, the fresh water of the ice caps is falling into the salty sea which is already 97% of the world’s water. Rising sea levels will cause mayhem with the supplies of most of the world’s cities because they sit low down near the sea. Much of India’s water table drops around 0.3 meters a year. Why? Growing population.

The SKYF drone, designed by Russian company ARDN technology, has a maximum flight speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43.5 miles per hour) at a maximum height of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet).

Products

SKYF is an unmanned aerial carrier platform for vertical take-off and landing. Designed by the Russian company ARDN technology, it can be modified for various tasks – from cargo logistics to fire extinguishing. Currently, the carrying capacity of the platform is up to 250 kg, its flight range is up to 350 km (with a carrying capacity of 50 kg) and its flight duration is up to 8 hours (with a carrying capacity of 50 kg).

Photographs from the GIWW Shoreline Restoration Project from 2015 and 2017. The project has stabilized the shoreline and grown healthy vegetation over the recycled plastics matrix.

Products

In what may offer lasting promise for wetland restoration projects across the Gulf Coast, an assessment by the America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF) at the two-year mark of a project to secure the shoreline embankment along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) near LaRose, Louisiana, provides a snapshot into future opportunities for private sector restoration of wetlands.

Exxon Mobil is suing the lawyers who are suing it over climate change, in what Bloomberg calls “a bare-knuckle approach rarely seen in legal disputes.”

More than $100 trillion dollars in global assets are endangered by extreme weather and climate change, yet there is no commonly accepted method for quantifying that risk and its potential economic impact. On 12 February, Jupiter launched a transformative cloud-based technology platform to address that gap.

The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch non-profit developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans from floating plastic, has awarded subsea technology company Seatools a contract for the development and delivery of a remote offshore monitoring system.

DNV GL, the world’s largest independent energy advisory and certification body, is providing due diligence for investments in multiple offshore wind projects.

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA), known for its integrated approach to science, operations, and safety in the global offshore environment, announces the addition of an experienced and versatile team member Eirik Kydland, who will serve a dual position of Diving Safety Officer (DSO) and Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) Manager at the Stuart, Florida headquarters.

On 5 February 2018, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) sold its majority ownership interest to EOM Offshore’s management team and investors, while continuing to receive royalties under the exclusive licensing of its stretch hose technology. Rockland Trust Bank provided a line of credit to assist the change in ownership and help assure EOM Offshore’s continued financial strength.

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