Deep-sea gator falls covered in isopods, more struggles for the Ocean Cleanup, a robot lost in the cold (but not the one you’re thinking of), and more! Monday Morning Salvage: February 18, 2019

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

What do you do if you find yourself at the helm of a major Louisiana marine science institution? If you’re Dr. Craig McClain, you plant the first experimental Alligator falls in the deep Gulf of Mexico!

Photos courtesy Dr. Craig McClain via Deep Sea News.

On the other hand, if you find yourself at the helm of a US Navy destroyer, you might want to review this incredible and exhaustive accounting of the USS Fitzgerald disaster and how training deficits, exhaustion, and poor decision making compounded to create a deadly situation.

USS Fitzgerald. Public domain photo.
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Hagfish, hagfish, hagfish, hagfish, the social value of a hydrothermal vent, more ways plastic booms could kill the ocean, and hagfish. Monday Morning Salvage: January 28, 2019.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

It’s all hagfish today, baby!


Hagfish appear to use slime to avoid predators like sharks (top) and large fish (bottom). The images above are from videos showing fish eating a hagfish, which then produces slime and is able to escape (Images from wikimediacommons).
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Booms that go boom, a deep-sea mining spiral, dying to go green, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: January 7, 2019

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

  • The US Government enters it’s third week of shutdown over Trump’s Border Wall. Democrats in the House passing funding bills identical to the one unanimously passed by the Senate. Despite that, McConnell won’t let those funding bills come to a vote in his Senate. The Republicans own this travesty.
  • ‘Appalling’ toilets and rule-breaking as US shutdown hits national parks.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Eat hagfish, work at LUMCON, clone Vaquita, question floating trash collectors, and more! Monday Morning Mega-Salvage: August 13, 2018

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Hagfish (just Hagfish)

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HAGFISH! Also deep-sea mining, climate change, The Ocean Cleanup, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: July 17, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Bony-eared assfish, shark swarms, ocean plastics, and more! The Monday Morning Salvage: May 15, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Three facts (and a lot of questions) about The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup is back in the news, with their first test deployment happening imminently off the coast of Japan. From reviews of their current material, it seems clear that they have not taken the critical assessment of their feasibility study, graciously provided pro-bono by Drs. Martini and Goldstein, to heart. This is unfortunate. As the project has progressed, many in the ocean science and conservation community have not only grown more skeptical of its effectiveness, but are increasingly wary of the potential this project has to cause significant environmental harm. As of yet, The Ocean Cleanup has presented no formal Environmental Impact Assessment, a critical document which would provide the data necessary to properly gauge the potential for environmental harm from large-scale engineering projects.

Image produced by The Ocean Cleanup.

Image produced by The Ocean Cleanup.

Goldstein and Martini’s technical review is essential reading for anyone tracking the progress of The Ocean Cleanup, but there are many additional issues that the Ocean Cleanup has not yet addressed. Here, I present three issues related to the construction and operation of The Ocean Cleanup and the necessary information that, were I in charge of regulating the high seas, would need to know before such a project could be approved.

1. The Ocean Cleanup will be the largest offshore structure ever assembled. 

When completed, The Ocean Cleanup will span 100 km of open sea with a massive array of booms and moored platforms. If successfully constructed in the proposed region, the mooring used will be the deepest ever constructed. The booms will stretch across a major oceanic current, interacting with plankton transport and pelagic migrations.

What I want to know: How will The Ocean Cleanup monitor changes in ocean-wide population structure? What community baselines have been established from which ecosystem impact can be assessed? What contingency are in place should catastrophic failure occur? Ultimately, what chronic threshold will be used to trigger a shutdown of the Ocean Cleanup, should major environmental impacts be detected as a result of standard operation, who will access to the data necessary to monitor those impacts, and who will have authority to trigger a shutdown? Read More