Snot Bots for whale health, critical dolphins, lobster considerations, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: January 15, 2018.

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Screen cap of linked tweet.

Ice balls and slush waves.

Paul May via Storyful.

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Southern Fried Science year-in-review, Palau’s Giant, a new challenge for deep-sea mining, Porgs are Puffins, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: December 25, 2017.

Happy Holidays from the Southern Fried Science Team!

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Do-it-yourself science is taking off. A growing movement seeks to make the tools of science available to everyone (including you). I love that The Economist now has a “Punk Science” heading.
  • Palau now requires all tourists to sign an environmental pledge when they enter the country. All flights in now feature this delightful short film.

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

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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Asian carp, airguns, and cod recoveries: Thursday Afternoon Dredging: June 29th, 2017

 

Cuttings (short and sweet):

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What does your sandwich cost, rare species in the deep, dong worms, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: June 26, 2017

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • NPR did a great breakdown on the full carbon cost of one sandwich.

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No, there isn’t a UFO sitting in Antarctica.

One of my favorite things to do is browse through google maps looking for weird formations and places of historical curiosity. Apparently I’m not alone, as there are hordes of map hunters searching for the bizarre on this increasingly bizarre world. That’s right! It’s time for yet another installment of “this thing on Google maps is not a sea-monster/alien/UFO/ancient pyramid”.

The Object on Google Earth.

This newest discovery comes from Antarctica, where monster hunters have found what looks like a perfect disc sitting on the ice. Could it be a UFO? The image is surprisingly compelling.

It’s very round for one, and it looks like it’s sitting on top of a glacier, partially covered by rock. The 60-foot-wide object looks remarkably like a classic flying saucer.

SPOILERS: It’s not a UFO.

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Did monster hunters find a 120 meter long giant squid on google maps?

oopsNo. No they did not.

I awoke this morning to a delightful flood of emails in my inbox pointing to this article: Has a KRAKEN been spotted on Google Earth? Monster hunters claim to have found 120m long giant squid-like creatureIn short, while exploring the area around Deception Island on Google Earth, some well-known anomaly hunters found a weird thing.

Google maps is full of weird things. The planet is full of weird things. Weird things are awesome.

Rather than dig just a little bit deeper, they went on to wax poetic about giant squids, busted out some measurement tools to determine that it was 120m long, and promptly alerted the press. Also, another anomaly hunter says it’s a UFO.

If, however, they had pulled up a nautical chart, they would have realized that this is Sail Rock, a well mapped outcropping that, from the sea, looks a bit like a ship under sail.

Sail Rock (http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0718-71062013000100001&script=sci_arttext)

Sail Rock (http://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0718-71062013000100001&script=sci_arttext)

Update: Since I can’t find an easily-accessible nautical chart of the island online, here’s a high resolution scan showing the rock and its relation to Deception Island. 

Deception Island to King George Island

Sorry, folks, it ain’t a 120 meter long Kraken or an Underwater UFO. It’s a rock.

Beneath the Broken Ice: Playing with Mud

Megumi Shimizu is a graduate student aboard the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer to collect sediment samples near Antarctic Peninsula as a part of the LARISSA project. She is interested in microorganisms and biogeochemistry of marine sediments; how the metabolism of microorganisms interact with the surrounding environment and the chemical components in sediments. See her first update here.


Are you playing with mud on the research vessel?

Some people on the ship joked when they saw me processing my sediment core. Yes, I’m playing with mud in Antarctica. Sampling sediments can tell us a lot, not only what happened across geologic time scales, but also what kind of organisms are living in the sediment, microbiology, and the geochemical conditions. We are serious about collecting mud and playing with mud.

upper panel: the entire view of glove box, lower panel: Liz Bucceri working on sediment sample processing in glove box. Photo by Megumi Shimizu

upper panel: the entire view of glove box, lower panel: Liz Bucceri working on sediment sample processing in glove box. Photo by Megumi Shimizu

Nathaniel B. Palmer has three pieces of equipment to collect sediment; the megacore, kasten core, and jumbo piston core. The length you can reach below seafloor is different, 40cm, 1.5 to 6m and 24m respectively. Megacore is more suitable for biological studies since it preserves the sediment-water interface better than kasten core and jumbo piston core. Geological studies prefer Kasten core and jumbo piston core so that they can get older data from the sediment.

For my microbial lipid biomarker study, I’m taking samples from the megacore and kasten core. Along with microbial lipid and DNA, our team is collecting sediment and porewater (the water in pore spaces of sediments) to analyze geochemical properties of sediments, such as methane, sulfate, sulfide, and dissolved inorganic carbon. To maintain the condition of the sediments as close as the real environment, the sediment cores are processed under the condition of cold (~0C degree) and anoxic (no oxygen). How to make that condition? We have a special room called “The Little Antarctica”, on the ship, which is a big refrigerator containing glove box. A glove box is the transparent container with two pairs of gloves. The inside of the box is kept practically anoxic (less than 1% of oxygen. Atmospheric oxygen is ~20%).

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Beneath the Broken Ice: Megumi Shimizu on the 2012 LARISSA Campaign to the Antarctic Peninsula

Megumi Shimizu is a graduate student studying microorganisms in marine sediment. She is currently on board the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer exploring seafloor communities in a once ice-covered region beneath the Larsen Ice Shelf. Over the next month, she will be updating us from the field.


The RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer. photo by Megumi Shimizu

The RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer. photo by Megumi Shimizu

I’m a PhD student interested in microorganisms and biogeochemistry of marine sediments; how the metabolisms of microorganisms interacting with the surrounding environment, the chemical components in sediments. Microorganisms in subseafloor are universally important because of its large biomass. It is said 50% of prokaryotes are living under the seafloor. This biomass makes large carbon and nutrients reservoir, which are important in biogeochemical cycle. For example, microorganisms play the role of organic carbon decomposition in sediments, as a result, carbon dioxide and methane are produced. In contrast, carbon dioxide and methane are also consumed by microorganisms called chemolithotrophs and methanotrophs in sediments. Therefore, understanding microorganisms in sediments; who they are, what are they doing, is important to reveal the details of global biogeochemical cycle and accurate estimate of budgets (amount of elements converted to different forms of chemicals for example, amount of carbon dioxide converted into organic carbon by carbon fixation). In addition, how microbial community response to environmental changes such as climate warming is also important in terms of the influence of global elemental cycles.

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