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Environmental Monitoring


October 2016 Issue

Monitoring Noise
Levels in the Sea

A pioneering project to find out how increasing levels of man-made noise in the sea is affecting marine life has begun in Plymouth, England. Plymouth University Marine Institute scientists are working with AutoNaut and its 5-m wave-propelled USV, which tows a Seiche Ltd. passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) array.

Human noise in the sea has potential negative impacts on marine life. Increasing levels of shipping and marine development raise noise levels and can make it more difficult for animals to communicate, and can displace animals from important feeding or nursing grounds and cause physical injury.

AutoNaut enables monitoring of noise levels, as well as the sounds produced by marine life, such as the whistles and clicks of dolphins and porpoises over very large areas and long periods of time.

Climate Change Could
Cause Decline in Krill

Antarctic krill, small crustaceans key to the Antarctic marine food web, could lose most of their current habitat by the year 2100, according to a new study. Researchers combined climate simulations with a krill growth model to find that changes in water temperature and sea ice in Antarctic waters could shrink krill habitat by as much as 80 percent by the end of the century, potentially causing a decline in krill that could ripple throughout the entire marine food chain.

Adult krill populations have dropped by 80 to 90 percent since the 1970s. There is an ongoing scientific debate about what is causing the drop, from changes in the environment to an increase in whale populations. The new study seeks to understand the additional pressures krill could face in the coming decades as the climate warms. The life cycle of Antarctic krill is closely tied to many factors, including water temperature and the availability of sea ice. The new study examines the effects of a warmer ocean and a decline in sea ice on krill, which could help scientists understand what might be in store for the entire Antarctic marine food web.

Tracking pH in Cabrillo,
Channel Islands

The rocky intertidal zone, or the band of rocky coastline flooded by high tides and exposed during low tides, is home to colorful seaweeds and uniquely adapted invertebrates. In southern California, Cabrillo National Monument (NM) and Channel Islands National Park (NP) are concerned about the impact that ocean acidification will have on their intertidal communities and the ability of visitors to enjoy a seascape rich in marine life. They already monitor populations of several key rocky intertidal species to better understand and protect the ecosystem long term as part of the U.S. National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring Program.

Cabrillo NM recently initiated an ocean acidification monitoring program to detect long-term trends in ocean pH within the park’s intertidal zone, installing Sea-Bird Scientific SeaFET pH sensors that continuously measure the pH of the ocean. Channel Islands NP began monitoring pH this summer, in Santa Cruz Island’s rocky intertidal zone.

Tracking pH will help park management understand how climate change affects park resources now and in the future so that targeted protection and restoration action can be applied.

Statoil to Play Major
Role in Carbon Cuts

The petroleum industry, under the direction of the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, announced its ambition to implement carbon dioxide reduction measures corresponding to 2.5 million tonnes on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) by 2030. Statoil will account for 2 million of the tonnes.

“In Statoil’s road map for the NCS towards 2030 our goal is to maintain profitable production at the 2015 level,” said Arne Sigve Nylund, executive vice president for Development and Production Norway (DPN). “In order to succeed as an oil and gas producer in a future low-carbon society we must maintain our leading position as a carbon-efficient producer.”

The carbon dioxide emitted from oil and gas production on the NCS is about half the average in the global oil and gas industry. Norway is leading the industry when it comes to climate change solutions and technologies for oil and gas production and has the most stringent framework conditions for climate change.

Datawell Wave Buoy
Deployed Offshore Virginia

A new Datawell Directional Waverider (Mk III) wave buoy has been deployed 9 mi. offshore of Wallops Island, Virginia. The buoy was funded by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for stability studies of an engineered beach. The beach was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District in 2012 to protect NASA’s Wallops Island Launch facilities.

It was partially renourished in 2014 to restore its protective capabilities following extra-tropical storm Sandy.

The Waverider has solar panels for power by day and charge super-capacitors for power at night. The buoy hull comprises Cunifer-10, a copper/nickel/iron alloy that is a natural biocide and requires no anti-foulant coating. Full spectral data are transmitted via Iridium satellite telemetry every half hour. The buoy is purpose-built for wave observations.

Seabin Designers Look
To Start Production

The automated Seabin marine waste collector is a new rubbish bin designed to float in marinas, inland waterways, residential lakes and harbors, catching floating debris and liquids by sucking water from the surface and letting it flow out through the bottom of the structure, trapping waste in a catch bag. The catch bag is made from natural fiber, with an option of installing an oil and water separator.

The designers seek to bring the prototype into production through an Indiegogo campaign at www.indiegogo.com/projects/cleaning-the-oceans-one-marina-at-a-time.


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Sea Technology is read worldwide in more than 110 countries by management, engineers, scientists and technical personnel working in industry, government and educational research institutions. Readers are involved with oceanographic research, fisheries management, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, undersea defense including antisubmarine warfare, ocean mining and commercial diving.