The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Tag: noaa

The Blob: How A Long, Strange Influx of Warm Water is Changing West Coast Ecosystems

sandiego bluefin

Recreational fishing has had a gangbuster season in San Diego, thanks to the presence of tropical fish not normally found in those waters, like the bluefin tuna shown here. Photo by Point Loma Sportfishing.

Over the last few years, the waters off the West coast have been warming to about 4 to 5 degrees fahrenheit above average. This might seem like a small change, but it can cause major changes in the coastal ecosystems. The warm water, which scientists have nicknamed “the Blob,” formed two years ago near Alaska and has spread down the West Coast and is especially evident in Southern California. With the warmer waters, tiger sharks, hammerheads and even tropical sea snakes have moved northward.

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The map of the West coast “Blob’ shows how much above (red) or below (blue) water temperatures were in 2015 compared to the long-term average from 2003 to 2012. Photo by Nasa. 

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How a Sneaky Senator from Mississippi Is Undermining The US’ National SeaGrant Program to Defund Public Healthcare (and How You Can Stop Him)


Graphic: Sea Grant UMN.

The Sea Grant Reauthorization Act which supports marine science, fisheries and conservation agencies along with the National SeaGrant program, is one of the most widely supported funding bills in United States history.

Unfortunately, the act as written leaves a very big loophole, of which, in light of the GOP’s failed anti-heathcare bill, Mississippi Senator Roger F. Wicker has taken grave and subversive advantage.

Sen. Wicker has just proposed an amendment to congressional act S. 764, originally stated, specifically–and not so specifically–as “An Act to reauthorize and amend the National Sea Grant College Program Act, and for other purposes.”

Those “other purposes,” Senator Wicker urges, should include the defunding of Planned Parenthood, a critical government-aided healthcare service for the United States’ substantial number of medically underserved citizens.

The National Sea Grant College Program Act, or, as Sen. Wicker would now have it, “The Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015,” has historically been uniquely and unanimously bipartisan; now, it will be one more subject of heated debate, and likely lead to a stalemate, leaving national marine science program funding out on a limb for the foreseeable future.

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The US Navy Agrees to Reduce Deadly Sonar for Cetaceans off California and Hawaii


Photo: John C. Bruckman/Flickr.

Mankind is a blaring bunch, yet it’s only with the help of machines that we’ve been able to disrupt the so-called ‘Silent World’ below. And even with the advantage of technology, hardly any noise we create reaches a decibel as high as that of the blue whale, the loudest animal on earth, whose unmuffled songs would do more damage to year eardrums than the roar of a jet plane.

A couple of sounds we produce–namely sonar and seismic testing–more than make up for whatever shortcomings our clamoring may have in comparison the blue whale’s seemingly woeful melodies.

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Join the E/V Nautilus Team on August 18, as They Survey the Wreckage of The Macon, The United States’ Last Great Airship


The U.S.S. Macon (ZRS-5), a 785-foot dirigible seen flying over lower Manhattan. The Macon served as an aircraft carrier for the US Navy before falling into the Pacific after being damaged in a storm off Big Sur, California. Photo: US Naval Historical Center.

This week, over 80 years after the world’s largest helium-powered “flying aircraft carrier” the U.S.S. Macon sank beneath the waves, E/V Nautilus will be conducting a new archaeological survey of the wreck site, and you can watch video footage in real time on August 18th by tuning in to Nautilus Live.


Above: The USS Macon begins construction in the Goodyear-Zeppelin hangar at Akron, Ohio. Photo: US Naval Historical Center.

The U.S.S. Macon and sister ship Akron (ZRS-4) were two of the world’s largest flying ships–only about 20 feet shorter than the similarly ill-fated Hindenburg–and today, remain the world’s largest helium-buoyed airships ever built.


The Macon berthed a squadron of five Sparrowhawk scout planes which, using a “skyhook” (see image above) could launch and retrieve the aircraft in midair. Photo: Public Domain.

Sadly, neither the Akron nor the Macon lived through their first two years of service. The Akron was first to go, destroyed in a thunderstorm off New Jersey in 1933. (The Akron also holds the gloomy distinction of being involved in the greatest loss of human life aboard an airship. Only 3 of the 76 passengers aboard survived the crash.)

Two years later on the United States’ west coast, the Macon followed her sister ship’s fate.

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The Shark-Tagging Pageant Queen: How A Former Miss Maine, USA Contestant Is Helping NOAA Tag Sharks


Butler travels between Florida and Nantucket catching and tagging sharks. She only learned to fish in 2014, she says, but she’s already caught 30 sharks this year. Photo: Caters News Agency.

21-year-old Marisa Butler, a former Miss Maine, USA contestant has given up the glitz and glam of beauty queen life (whatever that may constitute in Maine), and is now working with NOAA in hopes of contributing to the tagging of 100 sharks by the end of the year. How? By hooking them in the surf and bringing them up the beach with her hands, of course, the only way a woman from Maine would. Mon dieu.

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Black Coral Discovered off Hawaii May Be Earth’s Longest Living Species, NOAA’s Carbon Dating Suggests


Above: This Hawaiian black coral (Leiopathes annosa) can live for over 4,000 years. Image: Chris Kelley/HURL/NOAA.

If this deep sea black coral (Leiopathes annosa) discovered off Hawaii isn’t the longest living organism on earth known to science, that is), then it is at least the oldest specimen ever discovered at sea.

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Welcome to Hurricane Season: NOAA Releases a Graphic of Every Tropical Storm from 1950 to 2005

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Notice how concentrated eastern Pacific storms are in comparison with those in the expanse of the warmer Gulf of Mexico and North Atlantic. Image: NOAA. (Video Below.)

This week marks the beginning of hurricane season, and NOAA has decided to welcome us with this infographic map of every tropical storm on record going back to 1950.

While it may come as a disappointment to surfers, sailors and fishermen will be pleased to read that NOAA is predicting a “below-normal Atlantic hurricane season” this year.

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The First Warm-Blooded Fish Ever Discovered May Be a Fish People Have Been Eating for Centuries (or More)

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A red, tropical, or Hawaiian, moonfish. Image: Zazzle.

They’ve been adorning plates for ages, but the Hawaiian moonfish (Lampris guttatus) has only recently been discovered to be the first fully warm-blooded fish ever studied, according to a recent report in the journal Science.

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