I have exciting news about ScienceOnline Oceans to share! General registration will start in a little over two weeks. As this is a little different from traditional scientific conferences, I’d like to explain the process in some detail.
Registration will take place in four stages.
1) Session moderators and workshop leaders. If your proposal for a session or workshop at ScienceOnline Oceans has been accepted (more information on that soon), a spot is automatically reserved for you, and registration will be a separate process. Please DO NOT register through the regular process.
2) Open registration. Open registration will take place on Wednesday, May 8th. To accommodate people in different time zones, there will be two registration times: 9:00 a.m. EST and 2:00 P.M. EST. There are 50 available spots during each timeslot, and they are first come, first served. In the past, ScienceOnline open registration spots have filled up in as little as 5 minutes, so please be sure to be prompt!
3) Lottery. The remaining spots will be filled by lottery. If you do not get a spot during open registration, sign up for the lottery and we’ll get back to you soon to let you know if you got a spot! Please note that the lottery is for the opportunity to register, not for a free spot.
4) Waitlist. There is also a waitlist for those who don’t get a spot during open registration or the lottery. As additional spots become available due to cancellations, people will be accepted off the waitlist.
Continue reading ScienceOnline Oceans update: Registration information and costs
One week of sea level rise recorded by the Sea Leveler.
Now that most of the bugs are out of the system, here is what a one week readout looks like on the Sea Leveler.
A few observations:
- The Sea Leveler is driven by twitter’s own search API, which is not perfect. The rapid dramatic drops are due to twitter updating its search parameters to exclude tweets more than a week old. Thus, the Sea Leveler records increased activity in real time and decreased activity less frequently, but in larger steps.
- I didn’t line the paper up very well, so the dates and times aren’t perfectly calibrated.
- The massive drop on 9 April is slightly more than a week after Boing Boing picked up the Sea Leveler, thus reflecting the tweets resulting from the coverage being purged from the search.
- The vertical lines that drop and return quickly are errors in the search function. The Sea Leveler is programmed not to move if the search function returns 0 tweets (which would indicate a connectivity problem).
- I don’t know what was going on on 12 April, but @johnvanderhoef and @lindsaycthomas were tweeting up a storm from what sounds like a very interesting series of talks.
I’ve currently set the Sea Leveler to record a full month on one roll, so be sure to check back in May to see how it’s going. Until then, keep talking about #sealevelrise!
Earlier this week I launched the Sea Leveler, and open-source, arduino-powered, water level meter that measure the activity of tweets about #sealevelrise on twitter. Not surprisingly, the first full week of trial revealed a few bugs in the machine.
Sea Leveler read-out. Click to embiggen.
The first thing you’ll notice is that, in addition to recording tweets about sea level rise, the Sea Leveler also provides a nice documentation of power surges. Every time the power flickers, the arduino resets and the arm thinks it’s back at zero, causing a dramatic rise. This happened once due to an actual power surge and twice due to our marvelous dishwasher, which happened to be on the same circuit as the Sea Leveler. Easy fixes, both.
The second problem is that, thanks to our very cheap step motor (you get what you pay for) after a few power cycles, the unit starts rotating in the opposite direction. Wonderful. Obviously the permanent fix is to get a slightly higher quality motor, but for now, isolating the circuit to reduce power surges will have to do.
Last fall, we invited you to support ocean science education in classrooms around the country as part of the DonorsChoose Science Bloggers for Students Challenge. In total, 347 donors to the 2012 Science Bloggers for Students Challenge raised over $29,711 and helped 26,955 students! Team Ocean and Geobloggers, which Southern Fried Science was proudly a part of, raised the most money: $6,894! Team Scientopia Bloggers was a close second with $6,876 raised, and no other team raised over $4,000.
Within Team Ocean and Geobloggers, Southern Fried Science readers raised the 2nd most money, $1,603, and helped 1,903 students! 15 of the projects we supported were fully funded. I’ve been receiving thank-you notes from teachers, along with photos of students utilizing the completed projects. I’d like to share some of them with you.
Continue reading Thank you notes from DonorsChoose Science Bloggers Challenge teachers
We interrupt our regularly scheduled marine science and conservation discussions and frequent Aquaman adulation to bring you this important announcement:
“My legs creak as I climb the stairs to our meeting room. I lean against the wall to steady myself. I could have taken the elevator, saved myself the pain, but I need to heal. I am lucky. I can still walk after the disease ravaged my body, but my legs are weak, my arms emaciated, my face scarred and hollow. I keep my body moving, to help it heal. That’s why we are all here: to heal.
I don’t know why I still come, though. I don’t get much from these meetings. They used to be comforting, but now they’re just tedious. The survivors, overcome with grief or anger or disgust, are more likely to descend into fits of rage than to open up to any of us about their experiences. They are fighters, they had to be. You didn’t survive, uninfected, by being soft. They internalized everything. Many were so consumed with guilt that they couldn’t continue. Survivor suicides are an almost daily occurrence now.”
Head over to Nature (yes, that Nature) to continue reading my freshly minted short story “The Lucky Ones” in their Futures section.
I have a few important updates to share about ScienceOnline Oceans! For those of you who haven’t yet heard, ScienceOnline Oceans is a conference (affiliated with the NC-based ScienceOnline) that will explore how marine scientists and conservationists can use the internet for collaboration, education and outreach. The meeting will take place October 11-13th at the University of Miami (Miami, FL), and will include an expert panel discussion on current ocean conservation issues, a day of conference-style programming, and a day of field trips allowing attendees to explore south Florida’s marine environment. Scientists who want to learn more about collaboration and outreach applications of the internet are welcome, as are science communicators who want to learn more about ocean issues.
1) The Planning Wiki is now online, and will be until April 1st! If you have an idea for a session, now is the time to submit it! For those of you new to the ScienceOnline community, theplanning wiki can be thought of as similar to a traditional conference submission page, but there are three important differences:1) everyone can see what everyone else has submitted, 2) anyone can add to what anyone else has written (including questions, suggestions, etc.), and 3) the person who proposes a session can, but does not have to, actually run that session- you can simply suggest a topic that you’d like to see discussed and ask people to volunteer to run it (and you can also volunteer to help run sessions that others have suggested).
We are offering four kinds of sessions at ScienceOnline Oceans. Skills workshops (taught by a hands-on leader to help people learn a skill), panel discussions (3-4 experts on a topic sharing their expertise, possibly including time for audience questions at the end), directed discussions (led by 1 or 2 discussions leaders, primarily consisting of the audience asking questions of the discussion leaders), and facilitated conversations (unconference-style discussions, essentially discussions between audience members facilitated by 1 or 2 moderators, which can be a follow-up to a panel discussion or directed discussion). Here is the link to the planning wiki.
Continue reading ScienceOnline Oceans: The planning wiki is now open, and other important updates.
I’m Iris, and I used to blog over at From Alevin to Adult. An alevin is a newly-hatched salmon and, as you might guess, my current research is fairly salmon-centric. I’m studying factors that influence estuarine and early marine growth of salmon, and how growth links to overall survival.
Salmon are anadromous, meaning that they move between freshwater and saltwater at different stages of their lifecycle and, as such, they depend on a variety of habitats. Furthermore, salmon are often subject to intense size-selective mortality – meaning that a fish’s growth can determine whether or not it survives. Several studies have shown that the time spent and size gained in estuarine and early marine environments affect overall survival for salmon. Growth is largely determined by feeding success, and faster early marine growth has been associated with higher marine survival for salmon.
So, what could influence salmon feeding in these early life stages? Surely what they’re eating might play a role – where is their food, and how much food is there?
Most juvenile salmon eat primarily zooplankton in these early life stages and switch to a fish-based diet as they grow.
Environmental stressors may affect feeding. High temperature and low-oxygen waters can be inhospitable to salmon. This can physiologically affect the fish so that it does not get as much net energy from its prey, or it can prevent the fish from reaching its prey altogether.
Continue reading Inaugural post: issues facing Puget Sound Chinook salmon
I am thrilled to officially announce Science Online: Oceans, which will take place in Miami this October! ScienceOnline: Oceans is affiliated with the North Carolina based ScienceOnline organization and meeting, and we hope to incorporate much of what makes those meetings so special, but there is one key difference that regular ScienceOnline attendees should be aware of. ScienceOnline: Oceans will focus exclusively on ocean science and conservation (and, of course, how these topics relate to the internet and social media).
Who can attend? Anyone! Any interested scientist, journalist, student, blogger, communicator, activist, or member of the public is welcome. Due to logistical limits, we will have to cap total attendance at 200 (previously it was 150), including organizers, presenters, and attendees. Registration will open in March, stay tuned!
Continue reading Introducing ScienceOnline: Oceans!
I am thrilled beyond measure to announce that, after 3 years blogging as a trio, we are welcoming four new authors to the ranks of Southern Fried Science. You will, know doubt recognize these familiar faces from around our humble corner of the ocean blogosphere. The incredible Southern Fried Science Class of 2013 includes:
Chuck is a former Rhode Islander attending graduate school in North Carolina. He combines his dual interests in sharks and seafood by researching the interactions between marine apex predators and fisheries, with a focus on U.S. fisheries management. Chuck’s field misadventures and older posts on fisheries science can be found at Ya Like Dags?, and he can be followed on Twitter (@SpinyDag) and Google+.
Lyndell comes to us from People, Policy, Planet and Save Our Sharks. She is currently finishing her M.Sc. in Biology, using genetic techniques to investigate the feeding ecology of cownose rays in North Carolina and Chesapeake Bay. You can follow her on twitter at @lyndellmbade and on Google+.
Iris joins us from Alevin to Adult, where she blogs about salmon. She is currently finishing her MS in Aquatic & Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle where she studies causes of variable growth and survival of Puget Sound salmon. You can follow Iris via twitter and LinkedIn.
Michael is finishing up his PhD in Biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He works on the visual ecology of the mantis shrimp, a specious order of marine crustaceans that boast the fastest strike, worst disposition, and most complex (convoluted) visual system in the world. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.
The least-impacted places in the ocean are mainly in the deep sea, but as fishing technology has improved, even seamounts, sponge gardens and deep-sea coral beds are no longer out of reach of our appetites for seafood. Bottom trawling, which involves dragging a heavy weighted net along the seabed, is so destructive to benthic habitats that it has been compared to clear-cutting a forest. Bottom gillnetting catches almost anything that swims into them (and isn’t smaller than the mesh size), resulting in enormous levels of bycatch.
A (simplified) schematic of a bottom trawl. This one (on the NOAA vessel Henry Bigelow) is used for scientific sampling, not fishing, but it’s the same principle on a smaller scale. Image via Wikimedia Commons
The deep-sea fishing fleet of the European Union is one of the largest in the world, which is why it was so heartening to see the European Commission call for a phase-out of trawls and bottom gillnets recently. The Marine Conservation Institute, a longtime leader in marine protected areas, has obtained over 100 signatures (including mine) from marine scientists supporting a phase-out of bottom trawls and bottom gillnets by the EU fishing fleet. If you are a scientist who supports this measure, please consider adding your signature. This can be done by e-mailing [email protected] and including your name, institutional affiliation, degree, title, and full mailing address. Please note that MCI is primarily interested in signatures from the scientific community, and that simply posting a comment on this blog post is not equivalent to signing the petition.However, feel free to post a comment letting us know that you contacted MCI!
The full text of the petition can be seen after the jump:
Continue reading More than 100 marine scientists call for protecting the deep sea from trawling. Will you join us?