津波: The Story of the Wave

If you’re lucky, there are five minutes between when a tsunami alarm sounds and when the wave hits. Too often those five minutes are not enough, and the fate of a coastline is at the tsunami’s mercy. Understanding tsunami cause and occurrence is vital for coastal communities. Read on to learn more about tsunami records and how they play a role in shaping natural disaster planning.

Read more

Sinking Rails

Coastlines and estuaries are often densely populated with a wide diversity of birds. Many species have adapted to the salty coast and thrive in its waves, beaches and marshes. However, sea-level rise is changing the coast. Researchers, representatives from both universities and governmental agencies of southern California collaborated to predict what habitat for the Ridgway’s rail may look like in the next ten, twenty, thirty years all the way until the year 2110 with several predicted rates of sea-level rise. As sea levels increase, more habitat may become available; but too much flooding could destroy habitat as well.

Read more

What’s driving changes in cod spawning grounds: climate or fishing?

Northeast Arctic Cod perform seasonal migrations from their feeding grounds to their spawning grounds. Recent evidence suggests that the distribution of cod between spawning grounds is changing. Two hypotheses have been proposed to explain why fish spawning grounds are changing: climate and fishing pressure. In order to determine which of these hypotheses may be the driving force in changing Northeast Arctic Cod populations, a team of scientist from Europe investigated fishery data from 2008-2016. Their results suggests that climate is driving changes in the distribution of Northeast Arctic cod spawning grounds.

Read more

Seagrass Spill the Beans on Ecosystem Health

The rocky shoreline of the West Coast is a beautiful, yet perilous place. Humans can add to stress to the ecosystem through overfishing, pollution, and development. A research team assessed the health of this environment by studying seagrass beds along the coast. Seagrasses are critical in this habitat, as they provide shoreline protection for humans, and food and shelter for marine critters. Their results showed that highly developed areas are contributing nitrogen pollution and causing a decline in the seagrass population. Luckily, action can be taken to help reduce these impacts and restore the health of this ecosystem.

Read more

Autonomous vehicle helps measure gases in coastal ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems play an important role in the cycling of carbon, an element essential for life. However, coastal ecosystems are complex making it difficult to determine their exact contribution to carbon cycling with single point measurements. In the study highlighted here, David Nicholson and his colleagues introduce an autonomous (driver-less) surface vehicle that will allow for a better understanding of carbon cycling in coastal ecosystems.

Read more

Is climate change increasing the number of hurricanes we get and will we continue seeing more hurricane damage?

Recent climate change science has shown that since 500 AD the current levels of storm activity are the most active. The increased activity combined with rising sea levels has the potential to cause more damage than ever before. Although Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest ever recorded storm, stronger than Sandy and Katrina combined, occurred in the Pacific, the Atlantic can see events similar in the future.

Read more

Making Amends with Wetland Soils

Wetlands provide ecosystem services, which are services that are free to humans and extremely valuable to the environment. In particular, wetlands can improve water quality through denitrification. Denitrification eliminates nitrate, a nitrogenous compound often found in pollutants, by converting it into gaseous forms of nitrogen and emitting these gases into the atmosphere. Because of the wetland losses happening largely due to human activity, efforts are being made to restore wetlands in an attempt to recapture the ecosystem services they provide. Recent research has investigated the capacity of restored wetland soils to perform denitrification compared to that of natural wetland soils.

Read more