Article by Matt Miller. Listen to the audio of a large iceberg in Antarctica scraping against the ocean floor or another iceberg and read the full article here.
Excerpt from the article:
“Last year, glaciologist Jason Amundson of the University of Alaska Southeast actually flew out to investigate one of the bigger ice quakes near Wright Glacier and Mount Ogden on the United States-Canada border.
“The glaciers in that area are pretty small,” Amundson said. “To produce an earthquake like that, that could be detected regionally, you would need to have a pretty big event.””
“New research by scientists at the University of Iceland’s Research Centre of the Westfjords and their colleagues has revealed that the trophic niche of the Atlantic cod in Icelandic coastal regions remained stable for centuries, but changed in the 19th century alongside intensified fishing. It is likely that this reflects changes to both the age and size of the cod stocks, but also changes to marine food webs as populations fall due to extensive fishing and food chains shorten. The research was reported in Scientific Reports, a respected journal from the publishers of Nature. According to the authors of the study, the results underline the importance of conserving different migratory cod in Icelandic coastal regions, for example to boost the population’s resilience to environmental changes.
The research team included Guðbjörg Ásta Ólafsdóttir, biologist and director of the UI Research Centre of the Westfjords, and Ragnar Edvardsson, archaeologist at the Research Centre, along with their colleagues in Canada and Norway.
Guðbjörg Ásta and Ragnar have worked together for many years on interdisciplinary research into fish bones, particularly cod, that they have excavated from ancient fishing stations in the Westfjords. The oldest bones are 1000 years old. “The main aim of the research is to understand how changes in fishing and the marine environment have affected fish populations over the centuries. Using a data series spanning several centuries, we can establish a kind of baseline and try to estimate how extensive human exploitation could have affected marine ecosystems,” explains Guðbjörg Ásta. “
” The same way we might hear a specific song and experience a range of emotions, underwater speakers surprise researchers as unhealthy corals positively respond to their study. They placed underwater speakers to emit sound frequencies resembling what a healthy coral reef would sound like. Not only did this influence the unhealthy coral reefs to regenerate, but it also attracted a variety of fish to help reestablish degradation.
“We use loudspeakers to broadcast healthy soundscapes on experimental coral-rubble patch reefs for 40 days during a natural recruitment season (November–December 2017) on Australia’s northern Great Barrier Reef. We compare the developing fish communities on these acoustically enriched reefs with those on two categories of acoustically unmanipulated control reefs (with and without dummy loudspeaker rigs). We find that acoustic enrichment enhances fish community development within an important reef fish family, across a range of specific trophic guilds and at the level of the whole community,“ researcher Timothy A. C. Gordon mentions. ”
This was so incredibly beautiful, and it definitely brought tears to my eyes.
“The Ozernaya River winds serpentine-like through a remote corner of Kamchatka in Far East Russia. In one of the most intact eco-systems left in the Northern Pacific, rainbow trout eat mice for breakfast, and the salmon run in the hundred of thousands. This bounty attracts two kinds of people; those who want to protect, and those who want to exploit. Rampant salmon poaching is big business on Kamchatka, and once the salmon are gone, entire eco-systems collapse. “Fly Fishing in the Anthropocene” explores how fly fishing can help protect the wilderness, and celebrates the beauty and wonder of one of the most vibrant places on earth.”
Officially beginning my journey of writing and photographing the Baltic, Balkan and circumpolar regions of the world where I will focus on their native cultures, environmental issues, folk history, art, etc. No more jobs that make me want to die. If anything I’d rather continue thriving in survival mode among beautiful places where I meet the people of the world. Welcome to my blog, where I will try to document my journey.
“Around 500 tonnes of salmon have died recently in Arnarlax’s open-net fish farms in the Westfjords. The company’s board chairman told RÚV that number is within the limits projected by the company. The chairman of the Federation of Icelandic River Owners expressed concern about the deaths and the impact Arnarlax’s operations could have on wild salmon.
Though salmon regularly die in open-net fish farms, 500 tonnes is more than is usual for this time of year. Kjartan Ólafsson, the chairman of Arnarlax’s board says recent extreme weather has led to casualties. According to Kjartan, cool sea temperatures cause salmon to move further down in the nets and rub up against them. The rubbing can cause wounds that eventually lead to the fish’s death.
It is currently slaughter season for Arnarlax’s fish farms, and several ships are docked in the Westfjords to assist with the process. One of them is the Norwegian Gannet: equipped with 14 gutting machines, it is the world’s largest floating salmon processor. Arnarlax expects to harvest 10,000 tonnes of salmon this year, and Kjartan says the 500 tonnes of casualties were within the company’s projections.
Jón Helgi Björnsson, chairman of the Federation of Icelandic River Owners (Landssamband veiðifélaga), said the farmed salmon deaths were concerning. “Basically, it just can’t be normal for 500 tonnes of fish to die in a short period of time. If that’s natural, then of course people have to start wondering if this is an industry people can justify being engaged in. That’s a huge amount of fish that’s dying there.”
Jón Helgi also expressed worry that foreign ships like the Norwegian Gannet could transmit infections to Icelandic fish farms which could then affect wild stocks. “How are these ships disinfected? How does one disinfect an entire ship that is working at salmon farms abroad? We are very concerned that infections from abroad can be transmitted via these ships because of course they are used when similar situations occur elsewhere.””
” Embryonic learning—things birds pick up from their parents while still in the egg—may play a bigger role than imagined. ”
” Birds feeling the heat from warming weather may be able give their offspring an early weather advisory right through the eggshell—which could in turn help baby birds prepare for the forecast.
A new study shows that the songs zebra finches sing to their eggs late in development may give the young a head start in dealing with warm weather once they hatch.
Researchers have long known that birds like chickens or quails, which hatch fully capable of fending for themselves, can hear through their eggs—allowing them to imprint things like who their mother is. But or around 50 years, nobody believed anything happened inside the egg with birds that hatch dependent on their parents.
A new study published today in Science upends that wisdom, showing that certain zebra finch calls can change their young’s growth and behavior in adulthood.
MISSING ICE Cameras, like this one, set up in the Chukchi and Bering seas, record how much light reaches through the melt ponds that sit atop sea ice. More light means more algal blooms grow below the surface. K. FREY
‘Record low sea ice in 2018 sent ripples through the entire Arctic ecosystem’
“There were early signs that conditions in 2017 and 2018 were going to be different. By November 2017, the sea ice was already late. The air above the waves wasn’t especially warm. In fact, the air temperature was typical for that time of year, Phyllis Stabeno, a physical oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, reported at the December meeting. But an unusually persistent wind was blowing from the south, she said, preventing the ice from drifting down from the Chukchi Sea as it would normally.
The wind tapered off by December and January, but by then air temperatures were higher than normal. The Chukchi Sea, normally at least 80 percent covered by thick, tough, icebreaker-testing pack ice by January, still had large open swaths of water. That meant less ice was available to migrate southward through the Bering Strait.” – Carolyn Gramling, 2014. Read the full article here.
“Down on the dock I say, “Gunalchéesh,” as my friend hands me a five-gallon bucket filled with herring eggs on hemlock branches. I take the bucket home and start a small pot of water boiling. I blanch a small batch of eggs and then eat them with soy sauce. It tastes like home. I am home when I eat herring eggs. Later, I take the herring eggs around to friends and elders. Sharing is an important Tlingit value and sharing herring eggs is a ritual connecting me to my people and place. This ritual is in danger of being lost.
Sadly, we are running out of time to save the herring. The herring fishery in Southeast Alaska is one of our “canaries in the cave,” meaning the herring decline is an early indicator of problems throughout our food web. One after another, 11 herring management areas in Southeast Alaska have been over-fished to near extinction. Extinction is a serious word. Historical herring fisheries once thrived at Kah Shakes/Cat Island, West Behm Canal, Ernest Sound, Hobart Bay, Seymour Canal, Chatham Strait, Hoonah Sound, Tenakee Inlet, Auke Bay, Lynn Canal, Icy Strait and Yakutat Bay. The Sitka Sac Roe Fishery is the last population of herring in Alaska to provide a significant commercial harvest and subsistence herring egg harvest. Despite these losses, Alaska Department of Fish and Game has ignored the traditional ecological science and testimonials of the Tlingit who’ve harvested in a sustainable way here for more than 10,000 years. Mismanagement has resulted in the decline of our herring population. This frightens me. Our elders tell us that life in Southeast is not possible without the herring. Why is this so hard for the state of Alaska to understand?”
Top: Herring eggs hang from a hemlock branch in Sitka. (Courtesy Photo | Vivian Prescott), Bottom: In this photo from the William L. Paul Sr. Archives, herring eggs dry on the beach in Sitka circa 1900 (Courtesy Photo | Sealaska Heritage Institute).
Replenishing Major Food Sources of Native Alaskan Tribes: Managing Yukon River Chinook Salmon Populations
Megan Lorino, UAF Wildlife Biology and Conservation Studies
Populations of Chinook Salmon have been dwindling in the Yukon River for many years and have been monitored closely by scientists with the goal of bringing healthy populations back. Native Alaskan tribes have always relied heavily on these salmon populations as a major food source. The United States and Canada came to an agreement in 2016 known as the Yukon River Salmon Agreement; the goal of this agreement was to begin working on restoring healthy salmon populations which end up being harvested in both Canada and the United States. Climate Central reported that in 2014 Chinook Salmon populations in the Yukon River dropped so low that there was a hold put on subsistence fishing. Native Alaskans rely heavily on these salmon populations for subsistence in their tribes. “Subsistence salmon fishing is at the core of many residents’ livelihood; integrating fish wheels, dip netting and fish smoking into many Alaskans’ everyday life. Salmon are more than food or just fish – they are a way of life to many Alaskans (Beutler, 2016).” I examine possible solutions for preserving and rebuilding salmon populations in the Yukon River with the goal of replenishing this important food source for Native Alaskan tribes which still rely on harvesting wild resources in order to survive. Environmental factors such as sea ice temperature and salt concentrations will need to continue being monitored to determine where fisheries management can assist in spawning and abundance of this critical food source.