The Scanner - Oceana USA
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October 23, 2009

The Scanner

Happy fall Friday, everyone! Here’s your weekly ocean news roundup…

…The House of Representatives’ vote of 29-14 moved the Mercury Pollution Reduction Act out of committee and brings the U.S. closer to reducing mercury pollution. We’ve been working tirelessly, lobbying on the Hill and asking our Wavemakers to contact their Representatives. There is more work ahead but this is a solid step forward.

…Climate change remains a hot topic, but a lot of Americans are cooling off. According to a recent study, only 57 percent believe there is solid evidence that the Earth is getting hotter. This is a drop from 77 percent in 2006. And only a third believe global warming is tied to human activities. Perhaps a milder summer has people thinking we aren’t warming up, but don’t mix up weather with climate – snow falls on a warming planet.

…As the lowest lying nation, the Maldives have vested interest in rising sea levels due to climate change. Maldivian government officials figured they should get used to a watery world and held a meeting underwater, asking all countries to reduce their carbon emissions.

…You may not think of your goldfish as the smartest creature and you are probably right. But don’t think that lack of smarts extends to his wild brethren. Researchers have found that wild fish can recognize shapes and colors, useful skills when avoiding predators and stalking prey. Perhaps your betta just needs more stimulation than a fake treasure chest.

…Carbon emissions are creating more acidic oceans. But in some isolated areas, “death zones” naturally occur where underwater vents release acidic gas. Do the answers to ocean acidification lie in these murky, lifeless pockets?

…The links between predator, prey, and overfishing play out on the Delaware shore. Red knots need to fatten up on horseshoe crab eggs before their migration to the Arctic, but overfishing of the crabs for bait greatly reduced their numbers, threatening the survival of the shore bird. As the number of crabs and birds flocking to the shores increases, a third group joins them: orthonlogists.