Ocean Conservation Priorities for 2041

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


Another year, another set of ocean conservation priorities. As with the last 5 years, there will be some new ones, and some repeats. The biggest issues shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, plastics have been an issue forever and global norming is rapidly taking over the broader ocean conversation. For a refresher, check out our priorities for 2036, 2037, 2038, 2039, and 2040.

Sea Level Rise Induced Habitat Loss: This has been a big one on the docket the last few years. As the ocean rises many species are experiencing dramatic loss of habitat, especially sensitive coastal nursery grounds. Although we’ve known about this for a while, we haven’t even begun to quantify the extent of damage to marine populations. Salt inundation is also compromising coast terrestrial habitats, driving essential species further inland. Read More

Founder effects in a deep-sea invasive: Easter Limpets

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


Global Norming marches into the deep sea. We’ve been watching with concern the gradual shift towards the normalization of species distribution due to the widespread introduction of marine invasives. Thanks to a general lack human habitation on the seafloor, the deep sea has remained largely exempt from this phenomenon. It takes a lot of technanthropic migration to normalize an ecosystem.

In the past, scientists have observed small numbers of deep-sea species transported into new biogeographic regions on the backs of research submersibles and industrial equipment, hinting at the potential for deep-sea invasion. Thankfully proactive mitigation measures have mostly prevented large scale deep-sea invasions. Range expansion due to climate change is generally considered to be the greater threat to deep-sea ecosystem stability.

In a recent paper, Plough and friends (2040) identify a large-scale species invasion at hydrothermal vents in the Caribbean. Lepetodrilus johnsonii, a limpet species common at hydrothermal vents around the equatorial extent of the East Pacific Rise have established themselves at vent fields around the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center, just south of the Cayman Islands. As the Pacific and Caribbean are separated by continents, it is unlikely that this invasion happened without human assistance.

Using next-generation Yotta+ environmental holome sequencing, Plough and friends were able to trace the invasion to a relatively small founder population, at most 23 individuals, which we’re likely transported sometime in the last 6 years. Read More