Thursday Afternoon Dredging: December 29th, 2016

Cuttings (short and sweet):

Taken from a NOAA Okeanos Explorer video

Taken from a NOAA Okeanos Explorer video

Spoils (long reads and deep dives):

Feel free to share your own cuttings and spoils in the comments below!

Here’s what top science news stories of the year listicles said are the top marine science news stories of the year

Year-in-review news roundups are one of my favorite parts of December. I really enjoy remembering all of the interesting and inspiring things that happened over the past year, especially after a rough year like this one. I especially enjoy “top science news of the year” roundups, and I was pleased to see marine science stories make the cut on many of them. For your “but why is this considered a top story but that isn’t” debating pleasure, here are the marine science news stories that made top science news stories of the year listicles!

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What can be done to protect the incredibly long-lived Greenland shark?

Sonja Fordham President, Shark Advocates International

Sonja Fordham
President, Shark Advocates International

Sonja Fordham founded Shark Advocates International as a project of The Ocean Foundation in 2010 based on her two decades of shark conservation experience at  Ocean Conservancy.  She is Deputy Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Conservation Committee Chair for the American Elasmobranch Society, has co-authored numerous publications on shark fisheries management, and serves on most of the U.S. federal and state government advisory panels relevant to sharks and rays.  Her awards include the U.S. Department of Commerce Environmental Hero Award, the Peter Benchley Shark Conservation Award, and the IUCN Harry Messel Award for Conservation Leadership.

1A new study confirming the mysterious deepsea Greenland Shark as the world’s longest lived vertebrate has made huge news in the last few days – from Science News and BBC to People magazine and the Wall Street Journal. While some scientists are questioning whether these sharks live quite as long as estimated (392 years ± 120), most agree they could well live for a century or two and – as a result —  are particularly vulnerable to overfishing. Experts also warn that risks to Greenland sharks may be increasing as melting sea ice changes Arctic ecosystems and makes fishing in the region more feasible. Study authors are among those urging a precautionary approach to the species’ conservation. In other words, an incomplete picture of status and threats should not be used as an excuse for inaction. So what might be threatening Greenland sharks today, and which upcoming policy opportunities might warrant consideration, given worldwide interest in these jaw-dropping findings?  To come up with some ideas, I first took a look back.

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How not to save the environment: sharks as biofuel

Successfully switching the global economy from oil and coal based energy to clean energy is one of the major goals of the modern environmental movement. No single idea will accomplish this -to succeed, we’re going to need a combination of technologies.

Many proposed solutions involve a trade-off. Reasonable people can disagree over whether the environmental benefits of wind turbines or nuclear power plants outweigh the risks, for example. Every once in a while, however, a completely ridiculous idea comes along.

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