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Week in Review: December 22, 2017: Rising Sea Levels May Force Pacific Islanders From Their Homes, Krill Could Sequester Atmospheric Carbon to the Ocean Depths and More

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1. Rising Sea Levels May Force Pacific Islanders From Their Homes


Fiji beach, Fiji ocean, Fiji climate change
“The Prime Minister of New Zealand , Ms. Jacinda Ardern, plans to create a special refugee visa for Pacific Island residents who are forced to migrate because of rising sea levels.” This a turnaround for New Zealand, which in 2015 rejected a Kiribati man’s status of first climate change refugee. Fiji has a government-run plan to relocate residents considered at risk and has promised Kiribati to relocate its residents due to rising sea levels.

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2. Krill Could Sequester Atmospheric Carbon to the Ocean Depths


krill, marine food chain, Antarctic krill, Antarctica, krill swarm
Scientists studying krill swarms in Antarctica have found that their behavior could sequester atmospheric carbon to the ocean depths. The shrimp-like krill are near the bottom of the food chain and provide food for animals such as whales and penguins.  Found in large swarms, the krill near the surface are part of the feeding layer. The krill that aren’t eaten sink to the bottom of the group and produce their carbon-rich fecal pellets (which are likely to reach the ocean depths). Thus krill help take out carbon from the atmosphere and deposit it in the deep ocean.

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3. Conservation Study Uses Tiny Treadmills to Test Sea Turtle Hatchling Stamina

sea turtle hatchling


To study the stamina of sea turtle hatchlings, scientists used tiny treadmills and specially designed swimsuits to measure things such as oxygen consumption and stroke rate.  Hatchlings crawl toward the brightest light, which is usually the ocean’s horizon, but light pollution can confuse them. This study wanted to find out how much extra energy the hatchlings extend after being disoriented. It found that they still had sufficient energy to swim even after crawling off course for hours.

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4.  A Solution to Straw Pollution: Edible Straws

edible straws, colorful straws


Americans use up to 500 million straws a day–enough to circle the earth seven times!  Many end up in the ocean, where they harm wildlife such as sea turtles and seabirds.  Lolistraws has an idea to combat this pollution: edible straws. Made from seaweed, the straws are “marine-degradable, compostable and edible” and break down 24 hours after use.

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5.   Largest Coral Sperm Bank Located in Australia

coral spawning, coral sperm

Scientists collected 171 billion coral sperm representing eight species from the Great Barrier Reef this spawning season. Eventually scientists want to bank all 400 species of coral found on the Great Barrier Reef in an attempt to ensure coral’s future in the face of mass die-offs. “The problem for us,” says marine biologist Mary Hagedorn, who pioneered the technique of freezing coral sperm, “is we can’t train enough people or move fast enough.”



6. Floating Solar Cells Turn Ocean Water and Sunlight into Clean Energy

solar fuel rigs

New solar fuel rigs, which produce hydrogen fuel from seawater and sunlight, may help curb the greenhouse gas emissions created by traditional hydrogen fuel processing. The solar fuel rigs do not take up space on land and do not use freshwater like regular hydrogen fuel synthesis. “Electricity generated from sunlight, hence the solar cells, tips off the process of electrolysis, which then separates hydrogen and oxygen from each other in water molecules. The oxygen is released into the atmosphere while hydrogen is captured for creating fuel.”
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Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.