Sea Technology‘s August 2017 issue is now available. If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up for free here to access this issue and archives.
Nearly every coastal country has the potential to meet its own domestic seafood needs through aquaculture, according to a study led by scientists from UC Santa Barbara that includes researchers from the Nature Conservancy, UCLA and NOAA. In fact, each country could do so using a tiny fraction of its ocean territory.
The research, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, demonstrates the oceans’ potential to support aquaculture, which is the fastest-growing food sector and is poised to address increasing issues of food insecurity around the world.
“There is a lot of space that is suitable for aquaculture, and that is not what’s going to limit its development,” said lead author Rebecca Gentry. “It’s going to be other things, such as governance and economics.”
Caption: Salmon aquaculture in Norway along the coast. (Photo Credit: Brataffe/Wikimedia Commons)
The U.S. Research Platform FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform) is a large ship literally flipped at 90° by submerging 300 ft. of its hull and leaving just 55 ft. of bow above the water. The result is a quiet, stable platform for precise scientific measurements at sea. Check out Atlas Obscura’s feature on FLIP here.
Tommy Riparetti hopes to captivate Web viewers with lively commentary from a media control room on the EV Nautilus research ship as the ROVs Hercules and Argus explore new ocean depths of the Cordell Bank, a marine sanctuary off the coast of San Francisco.
A science communication fellow for the Nautilus Exploration Program, Riparetti will be sitting next to scientists and ROV pilots as they conduct research and exploration. Riparetti’s job is to follow the deep-sea footage, ask the team questions and explain what’s happening to people watching live-streaming video on the Nautilus Live website.
A sponge bearing the compound leiodermatolide was collected off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 401 m via manned submersible several years ago, and the compound is now being studied for its cancer-fighting properties.
Dr. Esther A. Guzmán, an associate research professor of marine biomedical and biotechnology research at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at FAU, is part of the team examining leiodermatolide as a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer. Sea Technology spoke with her about her research.
When did you start this research?
For many years, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) had a ship and a submersible that allowed us to collect deep-sea organisms. Back in the ’80s, J. Seaward Johnson Jr.—the director of HBOI at the time—thought we should investigate the marine creatures collected for their cancer-fighting properties.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers for which we don’t currently have effective treatments. The fiver-year survival rate is about eight percent. We have been testing to see if marine compounds can fight pancreatic cancer. Leiodermatolide is one of the many marine natural compounds that we have identified with anti-cancer properties. This particular compound is highly toxic to cancer cells. It also shows selectivity, meaning it kills more cancer cells than normal cells. In chemotherapy, people lose normal cells. We’re trying to get chemo with selectivity to minimize side effects.
When did you start researching this particular sponge?
We’ve been working on it for a few years. We first found that the compound could kill cancer cells using very little of the compound, meaning it is very potent. This compound causes cell-cycle arrest, or stops cancer cells from dividing. This is the mechanism that many approved drugs such as taxol use to treat cancers. We were trying to figure out how it did it. Leiodermatolide does it through a unique mechanism.
We are very excited about this particular compound. In animals with pancreatic tumors, this compound reduced the size of those tumors.
When did you start isolating the compound?
The compound was isolated by our chemistry group, Dr. Amy Wright and her team. Around 2011, we [Guzmán’s group at Harbor Branch] got the compound itself. We tested it on cancer cells first. It was only recently we put it in an animal study.
What are the next steps?
We would like to do a little more testing. We showed a reduction of the tumor, but we didn’t get the prolongation of life we wanted. We only used a single dose of treatment. We want to set up more treatment, more steady, to see if we can reduce the amount of treatment and prolong life. Then, we are hoping we can partner with a pharmaceutical company for clinical trials. Finding a partner and starting clinical trials could take a few years, and the whole process to go from where we are to the clinic may take anywhere from ten to twenty years.
Right now we’re trying to secure the funding for the next steps in the lab. Once we get the funding, we will do further testing in tumor to optimize the dose at which the treatment confers the most benefits.
Could this apply to other types of cancer?
This could apply to other types of cancer—colon, breast cancers. We do wish to explore it more. We’re trying to get the funding.
Legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. House and the Senate to reauthorize the Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System Act (ICOOS) of 2009. The act established the framework for the IOOS (U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System) program: the 17 federal agencies and the national network of 11 Regional Associations.
Representative Donald Young (R-Alaska) introduced H.R. 237, the “Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act Amendment of 2017.” Click here for House legislation.
Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced S. 1425, “A bill to reauthorize the Integrated Ocean Observing System Act of 2017. The Senate is expected to mark up its bill in early August. Click here for Senate legislation.
A 1 trillion-tonne iceberg–one of the biggest ever recorded–calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica earlier this month. Its volume is twice that of Lake Erie.
It was already floating before it calved away, so it has no immediate impact on sea level. Although the remaining ice shelf will continue to regrow naturally, Swansea researchers have previously shown that the new configuration is potentially less stable. There is a risk that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbor, Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event in 1995.
If the shelf loses much more of its area, it could result in land-based glaciers speeding up their passage toward the ocean. This nonfloating ice would have an eventual impact on sea levels at a modest rate.
Caption: Map of Larsen C, overlaid with NASA MODIS thermal image from July 12, 2017, showing the iceberg has calved.
Invasive plant species aren’t all that bad, according to a new study by scientists at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. They can be a source of valuable ecosystem functions where native coastal habitats such as salt marshes and oyster reefs have severely declined.
The study focused on an invasive Japanese seaweed in North Carolina. The seaweed was found to perform functions such as soil stabilization and erosion control; storm surge and flood protection; biodiversity; food production; and the provision of nursery habitat for economically important seafood species, including shrimp, crab and fish.
Photo Credit: Aaron Ramus/Duke University
If you’re going to be in Norfolk, Virginia, July 19 to 21, check out the MTS TechSurge on Marine Propulsion and Design: Inspirations from Nature. It will be a workshop with breakout sessions.
For more info, contact Kevyan Ann Sly at 202-827-7171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.