Articles on Marine life

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A US Coast Guard icebreaker cuts a swathe through the icy the Southern Ocean earlier this year, on its way to rendezvous with a stricken fishing vessel. Allyson Conroy/US Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons

35 years on, is the deal to protect Antarctica’s oceans working?

On the eve of a summit in Chile to discuss the protection of marine life in Antarctic waters, much still needs to be done to guard against overfishing, climate change and other threats.
Kelp covered landscape in Western Australia. Dan Smale

Marine heatwaves threaten the future of underwater forests

Western Australia’s marine environment is unique. Two world heritage areas, the largest fringing coral reef in Australia, and more than a thousand kilometres of underwater forests, supporting incredible…
Phytoplankton are responsible for half the world’s productivity. Here, a phytoplankton bloom in the northern Pacific. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

Tiny marine plants face a mixed bag thanks to climate change

You may not have heard of them or given them much thought, but phytoplankton — the microscopic plants that grow throughout the world’s oceans — are the foundation of oceanic food webs. Although tiny, they…
Young Steller sea lions in Prince William Sound, Alaska. NMFS Permit 14336. Markus Horning

Autopsies from space: who killed the sea lions?

A decade ago, we set out to unravel deep ocean crime scenes we weren’t even sure existed. The crime? Endangered Steller sea lions were rapidly disappearing in parts of Alaska. Their numbers dropped by…
Apollo Bay in Victoria. Australia’s coastal towns are vulnerable to changes in the surrounding seas. ccdoh1/Flickr

Your coastal town’s climate score? There’s a website for that

Australia’s coastal towns, many built around fisheries and tourism, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. South east and south west Australia are marine hotspots — they are warming much faster…
Australia’s Commonwealth marine parks were designed to protect marine life, including important foraging areas for sea birds.

Marine park review looks set to repeat past mistakes

In June 2012 the Labor government announced the “world’s largest” system of marine parks, adding 2.3 million square kilometres and taking the overall size of Australia’s Commonwealth marine reserves to…
The United Nations is concerned about port expansions and dredging disposal in the Great Barrier Reef – but that bigger picture is ignored in new ‘Reef Facts’ commercials. Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team

Great Barrier Reef ‘facts’ TV ads ignore dredge dumping risks

New “Reef Facts” commercials are currently airing during prime-time television shows in Australia, purporting to tell the “facts” about the environmental health of the Great Barrier Reef. It comes amid…
No matter how well a country like New Zealand protects its borders, introduced species will sneak in. Queensland University of Technology

A hitchhiker’s ride to New Zealand: alien voyages by sea and air

Historically, geographically, culturally – there are many points of comparison between Australia and its neighbour to the east, New Zealand. But there are notable differences. This week, The Conversation…
The effects of Deepwater Horizon spill continue after the smoke has cleared. US Coast Guard

The coast is clear, but seabed still contaminated by Gulf spill

The catastrophic explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform allowed five million barrels of oil to gush into the Gulf of Mexico between April and July 2010. Since then, remediation and restoration…

Abnormal hydro-heatwave explained

A number of factors contributed to the marine heatwave that affected ecology off the WA coast in 2011. A team of oceanographers…

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