Coral-killing chemical still appears in many sunscreen formulas

Coral reefs the world over are increasingly under threat. Scientists say rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, and even a chemical commonly found in sunscreen are contributing to the decline in reef health. How are our reefs holding up? An abundance of sunshine draws vacationers to Cayman’s shores like moths to a flame, and to protect themselves from the sweltering Cayman sun. Many slather themselves with a product that could contain a chemical proven deadly to corals – oxybenzone. “If it does have oxybenzone, then it is confirmed to have an impact on the coral reef creatures, and yeah, literally it does kill them at very very low levels,” said DOE Deputy Director Tim Austin. He said research published almost a decade ago first identified oxybenzone as a coral killer. “The awareness that has come up as a result of the scientific research has sunk in to the industry, a lot of...
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Ocean acidification

Present ocean acidity change is unprecedented in magnitude, occurring at a rate approximately ten times faster than anything experienced during the last 300 million years. This rapid timeline is jeopardising the ability of ocean systems to adapt to changes in CO2 – a process that naturally occurs over millennia. Changes in ocean pH levels will persist as long as concentrations of atmospheric CO2 continue to rise. To avoid significant harm, atmospheric concentrations of CO2 need to get back to at least the 320-350 ppm range of CO2 in the atmosphere. Compared to other similar events in Earth's history, ocean acidification, over hundreds of years, has been happening very fast. However, its recovery has been very slow due to the inherent time lags in the carbon and ocean cycles.  Ocean acidification has the potential to change marine ecosystems and impact many ocean-related benefits to society such as coastal protection or provision...
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For the U.S., a New Challenge: Keeping Poachers Out of Newly Expanded Marine Reserve in the Pacific

Gray reef sharks and red snappers swim over table coral on Kingman Reef, an area that has been protected as a national marine monument since 2009. That monument was expanded to additional waters this week. Photograph by Brian Skerry, National Geographic PUBLISHED September 25, 2014 NEW YORK—The Obama administration's creation of a vast protected area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, announced Thursday, raises the question of how to police such a large and remote body of water. The area to be protected is enormous: three times the size of California. And the protections are extensive, including bans on commercial fishing, dumping, and mining. Enforcing the fishing ban alone will mean tracking down illegal "pirate fishing" by individual boats across nearly 490,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometers), already a huge challenge for the U.S. Coast Guard and others patrolling the waters. The U.S. is "committed to protecting more...
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To Save the Whales, You Must First Save the Sardines

Menhaden are one of the most important fish you've probably never heard of. They are a keystone species, a vital link in the ocean's food chain. Four years ago, they were in serious trouble. Overfishing and pollution in the Atlantic Ocean had caused the menhaden population to collapse to its lowest level in 40 years, an alarming fact that reverberated across the entire food chain. Menhaden are small fish, about 6 to 8 inches in length. They consume algae and serve as a rich, oily food source for bigger fish, including bluefish, striped bass, flounder, swordfish, tuna and whales. The ongoing population decline meant these large predator fish and sea mammals, along with birds that also feast on menhaden, were in trouble, too. Earthjustice attorneys worked with a coalition of recreational-fishing and ocean-conservation groups and others to help convince the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that action needed to be...
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Feast your eyes on this amazing #underwater #video. "Slow" marine animals show their secret life under high magnification. #slowlife #corals #slowmotion #reef #theoceanroamer