Friday Smorgasbord: Oyster restoration, testing seabirds and more
The first May edition of the Friday Smorgasbord has some choice cuts to finish your workweek. First off we have this interesting report about reef restoration — oyster reef restoration that is. Like many of our waterways, the Chesapeake Bay is facing increased nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizers, wastewater treatment plants and other sources that impairs water quality. However, a new report shows a restored oyster reef can remove up to 10 times more nitrogen from bay than an unrestored area nearby proving reef-restoration can improve water quality in the nation’s largest estuary.
[via Virginia Gazette]
Scientists looking to study how well laws and policies aimed at pollution reduction are working are finding seabirds to be one of the best tools at tracking change. It seems that since seabirds — including pelicans, gulls and terns — are at the top of the food chain they absorb the toxins and pollutants contained in the fish they eat. Because the birds forage over wide areas of oceans but come back to one spot each year to breed, they provide scientists with a one-stop-shop to sample from a broad geographic region. “They essentially go out much of the year onto the ocean, and they sample for you,” said John Elliott, of Environment Canada, who who co-wrote the research with Kyle Elliott of the University of Manitoba. Don’t worry, the birds aren’t killed as toxins can be measured by collecting feathers, blood, oils and small tissue samples.
[via NBC News Science]
Due to several serious ship groundings on the Tubbataha Reefs in the Philippines, the country is celebrating the richness of it’s coral reefs by observing this month as the “Month of the Ocean.” The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will lead this year’s celebration with the theme: “’Coral reefs are the forest of the seas, let’s protect them!” With the two major incidents with a US Warship and a Chinese cargo ship, the country is hoping to bring more recognition to the fragile reefs surrounding the nation.
Divers in Mexico were stunned when a pod of 17 to 20 killer whales jumped, weaved and took turns surfing. A married couple, Rich and Laura Howard both scuba divers and photographers, were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary on a dive trip off the coast of La Paz, Mexico, when they were amazed by the killer whales that they were able to catch on camera much to our delight, enjoy! f