Escalating Ocean Heat Might Affect Future Ecosystems

ecosystems

In a recent study published in Scientific Reports, it records that baby sharks will find it difficult to survive on the Great Barrier Reef, at least by the end of the century. This surfaced as climate change and warmer oceans led the creatures to be born smaller, exhausted and undernourished.

The latest study from James Cook University’s (JCU) ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has put the focus on epaulette sharks, which is an egg-laying shark found only on the Great Barrier Reef.

According to the study co-author Jodie Rummer, the epaulette shark was a species that was “really tolerant” even to very challenging and changing conditions, including ocean acidification.

“We started investigating the effects of rising temperatures … and what’s particularly alarming is that temperatures seem to be its kryptonite. Warmer temperatures are really having a negative effect on at least the early development of this particular shark species.” Dr Rummer said.

Along with the JCU team, Dr Rummer, including lead author and PhD candidate Carolyn Wheeler, extensively studied the shark eggs and hatchlings in controlled environments, simulating current reef temperatures and predictions for the middle and the end of the century.

And as per the doctor, temperatures were expected to rise from 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Dr Rummer added, “We could control conditions tightly in the laboratory and isolate the effects we were seeing and associate them just with that elevated temperature effect.”

Meanwhile, Ms Wheeler said researchers found the warmer the conditions the faster the embryos developed. “The embryos grew faster and used their yolk sac quicker, which is their only source of food as they develop in the egg cast. This led to them hatching earlier than usual. This meant hatchlings were not only smaller, they needed to feed almost straight away — while lacking significant energy.”

This was a concern for the future of all species of sharks.

As what Dr Rummer asserted “If this shark is having trouble coping with ocean warming conditions, that’s going to be a really big problem for other shark species that are less tolerant and not as robust to changes in their environment.”

Thus, should one species in an ecosystem be impacted; it could cause effects for the flow-on to an entire ecosystem’s health. This emphasizes that our future ecosystems hugely rely on taking urgent actions to mitigate climate change.

Dr Rummer even cited that if ocean warming did not stop, sharks would have to find new cooler habitats to live in or adapt over generations.

“But sharks are at a particular disadvantage for adaption as they can’t change their DNA over generations fast enough to keep up with the changing planet.”

(Image source: ABC News)

Fears that K’gari-Fraser Island bushfire has ‘massively impacted’ unique ecosystems


A local conservation action group fears a massive fire that has burned through more than half of K’gari-Fraser Island will devastate its heritage-listed landscape and wildlife.

Threat levels were eased to watch and act and an emergency declaration was revoked on Tuesday morning after much-needed rain overnight, with the settlement of Happy Valley narrowly escaping the flames.

But Peter Shooter, president of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation – a community-based organisation that seeks to protect the island’s natural resources – warned the consequences of the fire, which has been burning since 14 October, would be considerable.

“K’gari is an island with vegetation types that traditionally do burn and recover from burning,” he said on Tuesday.

“But this fire has been of such a magnitude and duration that the impact is really concerning. There has never been a recorded fire of this type on K’gari.”

Peter Shooter, president of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation (FIDO).

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Located off Queensland’s south-east coast, K’gari-Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, at 123 kilometres long, and listed as a World Heritage Area due to its unique ecosystems.

Among them are significant rainforests, which Mr Shooter said were of significant concern for the group as they do not respond well to bushfires.

He also warned that the island’s large populations of small marsupials, reptiles, birds, and insects would have been “massively impacted”.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ordered a full review into the preparedness and response to the blaze, which is believed to have been caused by an illegal campfire, following criticism from the opposition and local business owners.

Opposition spokesperson for fire and emergency services Dale Last told ABC the fires had caused “shocking damage” and accused the government of failing to act sooner to protect the island.

“This is a World Heritage-listed site that has been treated appallingly from a weak minister who is failing to take any responsibility for this unfolding disaster,” he told the ABC.

However, Ms Palaszczuk defended the initial handling of the blaze, which was taken over by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in late November.

“This one just completely got away,” Mr Shooter said.

Manager of the Cathedrals on Fraser campground Jack Worcester

Manager of the Cathedrals on Fraser campground Jack Worcester and his daughter, Maggie.

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Manager of the Cathedrals on Fraser campground Jack Worcester praised Queensland Parks and Wildlife for their efforts on the fire front, which he estimated came up to 100 metres from the property.

“I don’t think they could have done any more, to be honest,” he said.

“Earlier on, when the fire was still a long way up north … I guess it would have been easier to put out, but if they had thrown the amount of resources at it that they are throwing at it now, sure it may have gone out but then we would be investigating why they spent so much money on a small fire.”

He said the remote terrain of the island meant it was difficult for firefighters to access the front.

“We’ve got one sand track, there’s no exit, you can’t really put crews on there to fire fight. It’s just too dangerous,” he said.

QFES co-ordinator Brian Cox said about 50 residents, many of them volunteer firefighters, had remained to defend their properties.

“Firefighters, with the assistance of water-bombing aircraft, will continue working to contain the fire today but firefighters might not be able to protect every property,” the QFES said.

On Tuesday afternoon, residents of The Oaks and Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village on the eastern side of the island were told to prepare to leave if conditions worsen.

Mr Cox told Seven’s Today a combination of the rain, fire crews on the ground, and back-burning had allowed authorities to “save” the township of Happy Valley on Monday morning.

“Last reports are that the fire front is now around about 400 metres away from … The Oaks, about a kilometre south of Happy Valley,” he said.

About 90 firefighters and 24 water-bombing aircraft were working to contain the fire on Monday.





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The Versatile Bag Line Upcycled from Plastic Bottles in Ocean Ecosystems


It’s all too easy to think of summer travel that could’ve been: that rafting trip planned with your crew, the yearly pilgrimage to Chicago’s Riot Fest, flying across the country to surf, the list goes on. Someday we’ll be there again, whining about overbooked flights and mishandled luggage along the way. Until then, we need to make the most of the end of summer and fall with the adventures reachable in a day’s drive. Because with limited ability to fly to someplace warmer, it could be a long winter ahead.

Once you’ve got the road trip planned, you’ll need to pack. This is where Nixon comes in with its new line of bags. And this isn’t just another collection for a new season—every piece in this line is made with REPREVE Our Ocean performance fibers.

On top of being extremely functional bags that we will one day tote through foreign cities and toss into pangas, this is the first full line to be made completely of this upcycled plastic bottle fabric, which is relatively new itself. And this is key: The material doesn’t come from a recycled-goods processing plant. These bottles are removed from ecosystems within 50 yards of the oceans in developing nations that don’t have proper recycling facilities. Essentially, each bag redirects about 20 bottles that would have wound up in waterways, choking the very ecosystem that we can’t wait to travel to and experience again in the first place.

In short, this is the kind of technology that can change manufacturing for the better.

First in the lineup is the most obvious pick, the Hauler, ideal for distance or your daily driver pack in 25 L ($100, pictured below) and 35 L ($130) options. The Hauler is all about access.

courtesy Nixon

Even the best of packs are limited with single access points, leaving you fishing down into the dark, past your rain shell and solar charger to find the sunblock. The Hauler has a 270-degree opening that allows you to see everything at once. (Or that the sunblock isn’t actually in there.) Then there’s the unlimited utility of the exterior. The back features two external straps for a skateboard, yoga mat or ground pad. The exterior also has a loop for your keys, helmet, etc., a water bottle sleeve and external media pocket. The 35 L version additionally features a zippered shoe compartment to keep such things away from your cleaner clothes, and a side-entry laptop sleeve. And REPREVE is water resistant.

Nixon Hauler backpack
courtesy Nixon

The other pack option is the Ransack, something of a little brother. It shares many of the features of the Hauler, just a lighter style day/campus pack, but still holding its own and everything you have to carry in 24 L. Plus, it’s a damn good price considering the innovation of REPREVE ($65).

For a longer road trip, either pack pairs well with the Escape Duffel in 45 L ($110) and 60 L ($120), which, by the by, can be carried on your back with easy stash-and-go straps. Like the Hauler, it has a pair of bottom-facing exterior straps and can be cinched where needed. Consider this the gym bag for the guy who gets his fitness anywhere by the gym.

Possibly the most unique piece in the line is the Bandit Chest Bag ($35). If you aren’t aware of a chest bag, imagine a fanny pack, but far, far less lame, that goes across your chest.

Nixon Bandit chest bag
courtesy Nixon

We know fanny packs became ironically cool 10 years ago, but they still seem like they’d be for the type of people who check into a flight in their pajamas. The Bandit is a tri-strap design that wears more like a messenger bag, but far smaller, for when you don’t want to be carrying a bag on foot or skateboard. It has interior and exterior pockets, ideal for a music festival or a day on your local slopes, capable of holding a few essentials: phone, charger, speaker, wallet, passport, small tools or a GoPro.

The line is rounded out by a Stash Bag, which is a more traditional carrier, more like a camera bag ($30); the Side Kick Hip Pack ($25), even though I just dissed fanny packs; the larger “throw-and-go” shoulder style Heist Bag ($65); and the Wizard Stick Beverage Sling ($25), which is sure to be the life of the party, keeping six bevvies cold as you head to the swimming hole or the fireworks.

A duffel bag isn’t going to change human consumption; not even a whole line of bags. But when innovative brands like Nixon and their influencers make commitments to true sustainability, entire industries take notice.

It’s something to think about on that long flight…when we’re allowed into Europe again.

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