Monday Morning Salvage: February 20, 2017

For all our US-based Readers: Happy President’s Day! For everyone else, this is the reason none of you USian colleagues are answering e-mails. Unless they are, in which case, *grumble grumble grumble* *something about work-life balance*

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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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. Continue reading

Ocean Kickstarter of the Month: Control ocean plastic with BioBooms

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.


“Two thirds of “collected” ocean plastic end up back in the ocean. Why scoop it when microbes can poop it?”

BioBooms: Eat the plastic out of our oceans, one trawl at a time.

broken

We’ve seen nearly 3 decades of ill-conceived ocean cleanup projects, and we’re still dealing with many of the same issues that arose when the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was first discovered. Adding insult to injury, a recent study revealed that almost 70% of all garbage collected during these ocean cleanup operation has ended up back in the ocean thanks to poor downstream control and a limited understanding of the plastic lifecycle on the part of these programs. Indeed, without longitudinal support, these plastic sucking boondoggles tend to be all flash and no pan. The point-source operations, like Waterwheel Global, have fared much better, but still do nothing for the plastic that is already out there. 

BioBooms has the potential to change that. Using a proprietary plastic consuming microbe, the BioBooms team hopes to break down ocean plastic in situ, converting photodegraded plastics into fuel that will then be used to power their ships. Continue reading

Why I keep returning to the Baltimore Water Wheel

Last month, I returned to Baltimore for the National Ocean Exploration Forum. While there, I paid a visit to my old friend, Mr. Trashwheel.

The Inner Harbor Water Wheel is in its second year of operation, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay to the tune of up to 50,000 pounds of trash per day. I have written about this cool piece of engineering and ingenuity several times.

Charm in the fall.

Charm in the fall.

So why do I keep writing and revisiting this project?

It’s working.

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Ocean Kickstarter of the Month: Cleaning our oceans one marina at a time.

Update 2: Seabin has moved to Indiegogo. Find them here.

Update: Due to issues with the platform, Seabin has suspended its Kickstarter campaign. We will update if there is a relaunch. 

Seabin Project. An automated rubbish bin that lives in the water of marinas and collects floating rubbish, oil, fuel & detergents 24/7

Seabin Project. Cleaning our oceans one marina at a time.

The accumulation of trash in our oceans is a big deal, and while there are some very good systems designed to remove garbage from local waterways, there is also a plethora of questionable projects as well. Seabin, an automated trash collector that catches floating waste, oil, fuel and detergents from marines and other confined, high traffic waterways, fits squarely in that first group. A small, shore-powered, suction driven system draws floating trash into a container, separates oil, fuel, and detergents, and returns clean seawater back to the marina.

This Mallorca-based team has been developing Seabin for several years, and, by all accounts, have poured their time and savings into validating a functional prototype. They’ve been working with marinas and other ocean-tech groups to develop a system that is simple to use and easy to service by a single operator. While the Seabin currently draws high voltage shore power, they have visions of a future alternative-energy system.

Onward to the Ocean Kickstarter criteria! Continue reading