oceans | KUOW News and Information

oceans

The lion's mane jelly taken by KUOW reporter and diver Ann Dornfeld in 2010.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Little fish are disappearing from much of Puget Sound, according to a new study.

These are the fish that orcas and salmon depend on, and they’re being replaced by ballooning populations of jellyfish, which most fish and seabirds don't eat.

Oregon Scientists Lead Underwater Research

May 5, 2015

Last month Ed Dever helped to put four special, giant buoys off the coast of Oregon.

“I like to think of them as floating laboratories,” said Dever, who is an Oceanography professor at Oregon State University.

Each bouy is tethered to the ocean floor, weighs over 10,000 pounds, and is loaded with scientific instruments which will soon be measuring oxygen levels, acidity, and other biological and chemical data.

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

SEATTLE -- As the waters of the Pacific warm, methane that was trapped in crystalline form beneath the seabed is being released. And fast.

New modeling suggests that 4 million tons of this potent greenhouse gas have escaped since 1970 from the ocean depths off Washington's coast.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are calling for a national strategy to respond to ocean acidification and protect the nation's fishing industry.

On Monday, the senators called for federal funding for a national network of ocean-going devices — from high-tech buoys to aquatic drones that resemble small yellow missiles — to track just how fast the world’s oceans are turning sour.

How Ocean Chemistry Threatens The NW Oyster Industry

Aug 12, 2014

NETARTS BAY, Ore. -- Mark Wiegardt steps slowly through knee-high water, pausing over some jagged lumps of brown-gray shells with a bent flat-head screwdriver.

He picks up a clumps of oysters and rests it on his thigh, stabbing and wrenching until the shellfish crack apart.

The creatures inside are more valuable than ever, so Wiegardt tries his best to make them look nice by bashing off the sharp edges.

What's Killing Clams? Solve This Low Tide Mystery

Jul 14, 2014
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

One of the lowest tides of the year this weekend revealed a "crime scene" at the beach at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

Combating Algae One Dollar At A Time

Jun 23, 2014

Millions of dollars in new funding to help combat harmful algae in Oregon and throughout the country are just a presidential pen stroke away.

Toxic algae blooms contributed to closing some of Oregon’s lake, ponds and reservoirs for a combined total of more than 700 days in 2013 alone.

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

Science teachers may have to add a whole new layer to the water cycle.

Scientists have discovered evidence of a vast reservoir of water hiding up to 400 miles beneath the surface.

The discovery could transform our understanding of how the planet was formed, suggesting that Earth's water may have come from within, rather than from collisions with large, icy comets.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Scientists seeking the answer to why starfish are dying off along parts of the west coast are almost certain that they can cross radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster off the list of causes.

Courtesy Vancouver Aquarium

Scientists in two nations are on the lookout for an underwater epidemic that is killing starfish. 

In September, divers in Vancouver Harbour and Howe Sound near Vancouver, British Columbia, noticed the pizza-sized starfish known as sunflower stars wasting away and dying in large numbers.

flotsametrics.com photo

In 1990, a cargo container dropped 80,000 Nike sneakers overboard. The shoes washed ashore for the next decade.

Two years later, in 1992, another container in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean accidentally released 29,000 bathtub toys. They continue to float to land.

The Seattle Times Photo/Steve Ringman

Rising levels of carbon dioxide are corroding the world's seas. It’s called ocean acidification, and it’s already threatening Northwest oyster beds.

Scientists think the impact of ocean acidification is happening much more rapidly than previously thought.

The Seattle Times has published a major print and online series on its impacts called "Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn" by reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman. Craig Welch talks with Ross Reynolds.

Bugs, Bill Nye And Flotsam

Aug 21, 2013
Flickr Photo/Efrafan Days

Sue Hubbell: Author, Beekeeper And Bug Lover

Sue Hubbell is the author of many books on entomology, including “A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them.” She wrote for The New Yorker, Smithsonian and Time. Steve Scher talked with Hubbell back in 1993 about the many reasons to appreciate bugs.

Bill Nye On Getting People Interested In Science

Bill Nye, forever dubbed The Science Guy, is an author, comedian, scientist and former television host. Though his Disney/PBS show, "Bill Nye The Science Guy," is long off air, his legacy as a science educator lives on. Many people can still remember this tune "Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill!" Dave Beck talked with Nye in 1993, the first year his television show aired.

Flotsam With Curtis Ebbesmeyer: The Secret Life Of Ocean Debris

Oceans are full of many mysterious things, some of which make their way to shore. Oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer tracks the debris that makes its way around the world. Steve Scher talked with Ebbesmeyer back in 2003 about the many objects — plastic ducks, glass balls, tires — that show up on our beaches and what that tells us about our oceans.

EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

On Monday scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will begin a one-month US West Coast expedition to investigate ocean acidification, an issue that poses a serious threat to the Pacific Northwest’s shellfish industry.

“We will for the first time not only study the chemistry of acidification, but also study the biological impacts on the marine ecosystems in the open ocean,” says Richard A. Feely, a scientist from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Research Laboratory in Seattle. Feely is co-chief of the mission.

Read the full story at KUOW's EarthFix.

This week a research ship is retrieving dozens of seismometers that have spent the last year on the ocean floor off the Northwest coast. Earthquake scientists hope the data they're about to get will shed more light on the structure of the offshore Cascadia fault zone. That plate boundary will be the source of the Big One whenever it rips.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

Scientists believe that lack of food, underwater noise and pollution have contributed to the decline of Puget Sound’s iconic killer whales. One man is taking the latest orca research into classrooms around the Northwest.

Behind The Scenes With SPD's Bomb Unit

Apr 18, 2013
Bomb Squad
Flickr Photo/Settsu

Investigators are trying to piece together this week's bombings at the Boston Marathon. What clues are they looking for? How are bombs detected and disarmed? Seattle Police Department explosives experts Randy Curtis and Craig Williamson join us with an inside look. Call with your questions to 206.543.5869.


VIDEO: Watch Dennis the SPD Bomb Dog In Action

Ashley Ahearn

Want to see a volcano explode hundreds of meters below the surface of the Pacific Ocean? How about in real-time streaming video, online, from the comfort of your own iPad? Well, there’s a massive scientific project underway that could help you with that and more.

Four Rowers Survive Boat Capsize In The Atlantic

Apr 8, 2013
Jordan Hanssen
Photo Credit/Erinn J Hale of OAR Northwest

Four men were attempting to set a world record by rowing across the Atlantic Ocean this weekend. Their plans were thwarted when their boat capsized. Seventy-two days of journey culminated in hours and hours of trying to right their capsized boat. 

Can We Bring Back The Oceans Of The Past?

Jan 15, 2013
Diving
Flickr photo/Malcolm Browne

Think you’ve seen a healthy ocean in your lifetime? You probably haven’t. National Geographic's explorer-in-residence Dr. Enric Sala studies marine ecosystems to understand the past and present ocean, and to plan for the future. He also works to protect pristine seas that still exist. How are the world's oceans doing? And what can be done to reverse the damage? We’ll find out what’s missing from the ocean landscape.

Conlangs: The Art Of Fake Languages

Nov 26, 2012

Constructed languages, or "conlangs," are the made-up tongues that bring the worlds of "Avatar,"  "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Trek" to life. We talk with linguist David J. Peterson, creator of the Dothraki language for HBO's "Game of Thrones," about what goes into creating a language from scratch.

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