Applications now open for the 2018 YPRF diversity in elasmobranch science scholarship

UncategorizedOctober 24, 2017

The American Elasmobranch Society is the world’s oldest and largest professional association of shark and ray scientists

The American Elasmobranch Society, the world’s oldest and largest professional society focusing on the scientific study and management of sharks and their relatives, is now welcoming applications for the 2nd year of our Young Professional Recruitment Fund diversity initiative. Awardees will be given one year of Society membership, in addition to specialized professional development training, mentorship, and networking opportunities specific to their needs as scientists and professionals from developing nations or historically underrepresented minority groups.  (more…)

Fun Science FRIEDay – Life After Death

Challenging the Conventional Narrative, Fun Science Friday, Life Sciences, Natural ScienceOctober 20, 2017

That ominous specter of death. The one certainty in life that we are all careening towards. But how much do we really understand about death? Medically death is defined as the moment the heart stops beating and cuts off blood to the brain. Within seconds after heart failure the brain’s cerebral cortex — the “thinking part” of the brain — slows down instantly and flatlines (meaning no brainwaves are visible on an electric monitor). This initiates a chain reaction of cellular processes that eventually results in the death of brain cells; as a result the brain’s functions also stop and can no longer keep the body alive. The big question is after the heart stops beating, and both heart and brain activity flatlines, how quickly does cognition or awareness fade? A relatively recent study  suggests that consciousness continues even after death.

(Photo credit: Getty)

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Long live sharks and rays!

fisheries, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharksOctober 9, 2017

Alastair Harry is a fisheries science practitioner based in Perth, Australia. He assists in implementing ecosystem based fisheries management to support the sustainable use of wild-capture fish resources. He is a generalist and works across multiple areas including stock assessment, bycatch, and threatened species. He also holds an adjunct position at James Cook University and has a specific interest in the conservation and sustainable management of sharks and rays. 

In August I published a review paper entitled Evidence for systemic age underestimation in shark and ray ageing studies. In it I suggest that many sharks and rays live considerably longer than is currently recognised. This increased life expectancy isn’t due to medical advancements or a more nutritious diet (or even better fisheries management), but rather the result of ageing error.

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Lessons from Puerto Rico, mutant starfish, pictures of ships, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: October 9, 2017.

Monday Morning Salvage

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo

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Documentation is the beating heart of open-science hardware: Help make ours better!

Oceanography for EveryoneOctober 6, 2017

Four generations of OpenCTD.

The OpenCTD and Oceanography for Everyone has been a five year journey from inception to first field-ready model and we’re just getting started. Building a community-driven project like this requires not just expertise (that we didn’t have when we started), passion, resources, it requires documentation. Extensive, detailed, thorough documentation. Documentation is what sets an open-science hardware project apart from just another lab hack. It allows other users to replicate and validate your design. It’s the key ingredient that makes a project like the OpenCTD actually Open.

As we’ve expanded the OpenCTD, we’ve maintained comprehensive instructions for construction and operation. We’ve included notes from critical field deployments, raw data for comparisons, hardware tests, and support software.

In a lot of ways, documentation is the peer-review of open-science hardware projects.

We need your help! We are in the midst of preparing our first hardware manuscript for the OpenCTD. This paper will be a benchmark for the project and provide a citable resource for CTD users. As part of the manuscript, we will archive a static version of the OpenCTD documentation in a permanent repository for reference. Here’s what we need from you:


Hey Team Ocean! Southern Fried Science and Oceanography for Everyone is supported by contributions from our readers. Head over to Patreon to help keep our servers running an fund new and novel ocean outreach projects. Even a dollar or two a month will go a long way towards keeping our website online and producing the high-quality marine science and conservation content you love.

The most shocking, insightful ocean conservation solutions, as presented by a poorly-built Twitter bot.

#OceanOptimismOctober 4, 2017

We made a bot. It’s not a very good bot but it does prognosticate on novel ocean conservation solutions. @OceanCon_Bot has been running for almost a month and it’s produced some real gems. Solid, salt-of-the-earth, diamond-in-the-rough, gabbro-in-your-lab, bro, solutions. And these are among my favorites.

We definitely need to stop presenting those condescending academics, but why so down on transparency, @OceanCon_Bot?

Catalyze lionfish and address Caribbean extinction? I guess you can’t really do both.

Ok, it’s possible we created an evil ocean bot.

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Deep-sea mining, octopus cities, a world without ozone, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: October 2, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageOctober 2, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The first successful mining tool.

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Japan becomes the first nation to mine a deep-sea hydrothermal vent

deep seaSeptember 27, 2017

Sixteen hundred meters deep, off the coast of Okinawa, a new kind of mining just cut it’s teeth.

Earlier today, the Japan Times reported that a mining tool has successfully extracted zinc and other metals from a hydrothermal vent on the seafloor. There’s not much to go on yet. We don’t know if these were active or dormant vents (though dormant doesn’t mean biologically dead). We don’t know the specific location of the experimental mine site. And we don’t know the footprint of the ore prospect. But we do know that Japan has identified at least 6 potential mining sites within its exclusive economic zone and that plans are moving forward for a commercial mining venture in mid-2020. I’ve only found one report in English and from the look of things, there’s only a press release circulating right now, but I’m certain we’ll be hearing much more about this in the coming weeks.

Japan Agency for Natural resources and Energy

We’re still watching to see what Nautilus Minerals does at Solwara 1 and how manganese nodule mining proposals in the Clarion Clipperton fracture zone are progressing but Japan’s mining efforts present a sea change in how to anticipate future deep-sea mining efforts. Private commercial ventures are dependent on the whims of the global commodities market and subject to national and international regulation. National efforts are driven by the need for resource independence. I was aware of Japan’s efforts, but didn’t realize that they were as close as they are to being ready for production.

For the last 10 years, we’ve been saying that deep-sea mining of hydrothermal vents is imminent. Well, it’s here.

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How to help our island colleagues in the wake of total devastation.

Blogging

After three brutal hurricanes, the islands of the Caribbean are hurting. It can be hard, in the wake of catastrophe, to know where your donations can be best spent. We’ve contacted several of our colleagues on the ground to find out who’s doing the work and which aid organizations and groups need help now.

Puerto Rico

Hi, my name is [your name], resident of District [your disctrict], zip code [your zip code] and I don’t need a response.

I’m calling to ask the [Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman] to join the efforts of some of his colleagues in Congress–like Congressman José Serrano, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Senator Marco Rubio, Resident Commissioner Jennifer González, and others–to put pressure on the federal government to provide more assistance to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after being hit by Hurricane Maria, and on Congress to allocate the necessary funds/resources to do so. Also, to please join some of these representatives on calling for at least one year exemption from the Jones Act or US Cabotage laws to Puerto Rico.

Thank you!

source.

US Virgin Islands

Antigua and Barbuda

Dominica

Turks and Caicos

British Virgin Islands

Feel free to recommend your favorite organizations providing aid on the ground in the comments below. We would prefer to focus on ground efforts driven by affected communities, rather than large, international aid organizations.

The many, many ways I screwed up my first science crowdfunding campaign.

Blogging, funding, Personal StoriesSeptember 26, 2017

Four generations of field hardened OpenCTDs.

It’s been over five years since Kersey Sturdivant and I launched Oceanography for Everyone – The OpenCTD, my first attempt at crowdfunding science. Over the years, that initial effort has grown into Oceanography for Everyone, a community of researchers, educators, and citizen scientists, and has created new open-source tools for open-source, open-science hardware. The OpenCTD is the finest oceanographic instrument that you can build in your own home for less than $300.

The crowdfunding campaign was a total disaster.

Since then, I’ve written several articles on how scientists can launch and managed crowdfunding campaigns:

…but I’ve never written explicitly about what we did wrong during that campaign and how it impacted our success. Now that the final reward from that campaign has been delivered (yes, five years later, talk about the eternally delayed crowdfunding campaign), it’s the right moment to look back and think about how everything went so wrong.

went with lesser-known platforms. We launched the OpenCTD on RocketHub. At the time, RocketHub was hosting the #SciFund Challenge, a campaign to encourage scientists to launch science crowdfunding campaigns. Both the #SciFundChallenge and RocketHub were relatively small players in the nascent crowdfunding world. RocketHub doesn’t even appear to do crowdfunding anymore, they’ve pivoted to a “social network for entrepreneurs”. The old OpenCTD campaign page is long deprecated. #SciFund Challenge’s website hasn’t been updated in almost half a year.

Here’s the thing with crowdfunding, and especially crowdfunding in the early days: There are two dominant communities that you can rely on. There’s the community of people who want to support what you’re doing and there’s the community of people enamored with the idea of crowdfunding. Being a crowdfunding “investor” is a hobby in and of itself and many of the biggest donors are people who support dozens of different campaigns. So the larger and more popular the platform, the more crowdfunding enthusiasts you’ll attract. Heck, since backing the very first OpenROV, I’ve backed 23 other projects on Kickstarter, most recently Public Lab’s Balloon Mapping kits.

By going with RocketHub, I committed our campaign to a smaller potential audience. Considering Kickstarter was garnering huge press at the time, this was a near-fatal mistake.

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Staff: Andrew David Thaler (1183), David Shiffman (544), Amy Freitag (238), Guest Writer (81), Kersey Sturdivant (57), Chris Parsons (56), Michelle Jewell (21), Chuck Bangley (19), Administrator (2), Solomon David (1), Iris (1), Sarah Keartes (1), David Lang (1), Michael Bok (0), Lyndell M. Bade (0)
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