I'm feeling the need for good news this week, so this week is going to be intentionally light on gloom and doom with the exception of one follow up from last week.
I really like this description of how much better our knowledge of global climate change and climate models have gotten in the 25 years since the IPCC formed. The video at the bottom sums it up very well visually. While there is rarely good news in climate change, I love seeing effective communication about how scientists know what we know.
So ocean goodies from this week...
1) The Shed Aquarium in Chicago held a celebration to mark 80 years of residence for one Australian Lungfish. They even made him a fish-friendly cake, the description of which is worth a read in itself! Check it out. Thanks to my dad for emailing me this story.
2) Government agencies in Costa Rica are attempting to regulate their tuna fishery by reining in international fishing. Read more here.
3) An exciting fossil discovery (described here) of the oldest known organism with a face (a 419 million year fish) offers new insights into how animal life may have evolved in the oceans by placing the appearance of jaws earlier than previously thought. Even more interestingly, this fossil shows, for the first time, one animal with skull features from a group of fish thought to have gone extinct along with other features from a lineage of fish that are still around today. This new knowledge may change how scientists reconstruct the history of fish evolution. You can't read the article without a subscription, but you can see a video showing a 3D reconstruction of the skull here.
4) A paper published in PNAS this week tells the story of a Blue Whales life through chemical analyses done to a 10 inch ear wax plug! This sentence from the abstract subs it up pretty well " These unprecedented lifetime proﬁles (i.e., birth to death) were reconstructed with a 6-mo resolution for a wide range of analytes including cortisol (stress hormone), testosterone (developmental hormone), organic contaminants (e.g., pesticides and ﬂame retardants), and mercury." Read the actual paper here or a decent summary here. This maybe isn't warm and fuzzy good news, but its pretty cool that researchers figured out how to do this, and it opens up a new line of research that can be done on deceased whales. They mention that this tool can be applied to ear plugs that were collected in the 1950s, which would provide context of how toxin exposure may have changed for these animals over time.
5) This one isn't explicitly marine, but I couldn't help sharing. It hopefully comes as no surprise that nature, and parks in particular, are good for us. But, this has been confirmed with science. Apparently a walk in the woods (or presumably by the ocean) has positive effects on emotional well being that can be measured by EEG in real time. You can learn more here. So, do your self a favor and get out into Nature some time soon.