Changes in marine biodiversity—the variety and variability of life in the ocean—can be an early indicator of change, provided it’s noticed. The U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) aims to ensure that scientists not only notice changes in biodiversity at locations around the nation, but also have the tools in place to better understand what these changes tell us about ocean health over time. But marine life doesn’t know borders. That’s why the U.S. network also supports international cooperation with other marine biodiversity networks, research institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations and stakeholders around the world towards development of a truly global MBON.
One of the best ways to understand how our ocean is changing is to closely monitor the health and diversity of marine life. Armed with this knowledge, researchers and resource managers can better track the health of ocean ecosystems. This, in turn, helps us make better decisions to protect marine resources and support the people and businesses who depend upon the ocean for their lives and livelihood. But monitoring marine life is no easy task. Through the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, NOAA, NASA, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Office of Naval Research are developing a marine observation network for the United States to create a better long-term system to monitor changes in marine life.
U.S. MBON project managers are hard at work across the country integrating historical and current biodiversity data with new observations, and expanding application of modern approaches with traditional environmental research tools and coordinated experiments. Together, these efforts are helping us understand the impact of a changing environment on marine and human life. U.S. MBON also works to standardize methods and best practices to quantify relationships between climate, the ocean environment and marine food web — from microbes to top predators — to help us predict how a marine ecosystem might respond to environmental change.
At the same time, U.S. MBON researchers are growing relationships with marine biodiversity networks around the world. Why? The ocean doesn’t recognize borders. While NOAA and partners are working to strengthen local and regional networks in the U.S., researchers are also looking past our nation’s borders to help ensure marine life data is shared around the globe.
In 2016, MBON was officially declared a thematic node within the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observing Network (GEO BON). The first major undertaking of this group was to establish MBON Pole-to-Pole, an initiative to link regional observing networks in the Atlantic and Pacific to create an integrated picture of ocean status from the Arctic to the Antarctic. MBON Pole-to-Pole is now beginning work in the Americas region, with representation from U.S. MBON and participants from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Canada.
Case Study: MBON in the Gulf of Mexico
When an unprecedented coral mortality event hit Flower Garden Banks in the summer of 2016, MBON took action to help unlock the mystery. Once the dying coral was spotted, Frank Muller-Karger, MBON Principal Investigator and Director of the Institute for Marine Remote Sensing (IMaRS) at the University of South Florida, analyzed historical satellite data of the region and researchers identified unusually high levels of chlorophyll in the water around the affected coral.
This, in turn, indicated unusually high runoff from the Mississippi Delta — which makes sense in the wake of higher-than-normal summer rains in the southern U.S. The runoff extended all the way to sections of the reef, and may have brought with it organic deposits and decreased light penetration that may have triggered a number of deadly consequences such as bacteria or pathogen growth. While scientists continue to work to identify the coral killer, biological observations provided the first lead.
Case Study: MBON in the Arctic
Intensive field studies conducted by the Arctic MBON (AMBON) team in 2017 provided essential data for a study to understand accelerations in warming starting that year and associated ecosystem effects. The work was published in the journal Nature Climate Change by the AMBON team in collaboration with other research programs in the Chukchi Sea. The study establishes that these recent changes can result in major reorganization of the Arctic ecosystem and may indeed represent a “new normal” for Arctic shelf systems to now function more like sub-arctic systems.
In addition to dramatic increases in bottom-water temperatures as well as changes in sea phenology, the study found altered timing and magnitude of spring-ice-associated phytoplankton and zooplankton blooms and higher frequency of toxic algae blooms (HABs). Key zooplankton species that play vital roles in energy transfer in the Chukchi Sea decreased dramatically in abundance in 2017, as did epibenthic invertebrate biomass, which dropped by an order of magnitude in 2017.
Some sub-arctic species, such as pink salmon, expanded northwards and experienced strong increases in these past years, changing predator-prey and interspecific competition patterns in the region. Some seabird species experienced unprecedented reproductive failures and die-offs, [presumably from malnutrition. Northward expansion of wintering grounds and earlier reproduction has also been observed in 2017 in bowhead whales.
All these changes also have strong human repercussions for Arctic peoples. Winter ice is no longer safe for travel and traditional subsistence hunting times and species are changing. It is possible that the entire social-ecological system has passed a threshold that substantially reconfigured ecosystem functioning from which it may not easily return due to positive climate feedback mechanisms.
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]
Qatar Airways Cargo transported 56 SkyCell containers with vaccines from one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide on its scheduled freighter and belly-hold cargo flights for its customer, CEVA Logistics. The 54-tonne shipment consisting of pneumococcal and varicella vaccines were flown from Brussels to Mumbai via the carrier’s hub in Doha on two separate flights. […]