Archive for 09/18/2011

MNN – 

Champion diver and environmental activist Scott Cassell is attempting to swim 30 miles today to help raise awareness about the need to protect sharks. The kicker? He’s doing it entirely underwater.

Scott’s dive is being made (with sponsorship by Luminox) to bring attention to the decline in shark populations in the waters where he’s making his dive.

Scott is actually bringing an acoustic shark attractor to maximize the number he comes across.

Twenty-five years ago, the shark population in the Catalina Channel was thriving, and Scott estimates that he would have seen 40 to 100 blue sharks had he made a similar trip back then. He thinks he’ll be lucky to come across more than a couple on his swim today. Let’s hope he’s wrong.

You can learn more about his attempt over at Luminox and the Undersea Voyager Project site.

Scott kindly agreed to take some time out of his pre-swim preparations earlier this week to answer some questions for us. Enjoy !  And good luck today, Scott !

Full story…

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MSNBC – 

The warming of the world’s oceans can cause serious illness and may cost millions of euros (dollars) in health care.

That is the alarm sounded in a paper released online Tuesday on the eve of a two-day conference in Brussels.

The 200-page paper is a synthesis of the findings of more than 100 projects funded by the European Union since 1998. It was produced by Project CLAMER, a collaboration of 17 European marine institutes.

The paper says the rising temperature of ocean water is causing a proliferation of the Vibrio genus of bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, serious gastroenteritis, septicemia and cholera.

“Millions of euros in health costs may result from human consumption of contaminated seafood, ingestion of waterborne pathogens, and, to a lesser degree, though direct occupational or recreational exposure to marine disease,” says the paper. “Climatic conditions are playing an increasingly important role in the transmission of these diseases.”

The paper also describes a host of other effects of ocean warming, both documented and forecast, including melting ice, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, increased storm intensity and frequency, along with chemical changes in the sea itself, including acidification and deoxygenation.

“What was striking to me was the enormous pile of evidence that things are already happening,” Katja Philippart, a marine scientist at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research who was involved in putting the study together, told The Associated Press. “There is so much happening already. We are just in the midst of it.”

It is not only the range of changes that has scientists concerned, but the speed of them.

Full story…