Sea Technology

SEP 2017

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54 st / September 2017 www.sea-technology.com Invasive Plant Species Can Be Beneficial Invasive plant species can be a source of valuable ecosystem func- tions where native coastal habitats such as salt marshes and oyster reefs have severely declined, a new study by scientists at Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Wilming- ton found. On otherwise barren mud- flats, habitat-forming invasive species such as non-native seaweed can offset the loss of foundation species and pro- vide vital ecosystem services, such as storm protection and food production, on which nearly half the human popu- lation depends. The study focused on Gracilaria vermiculophylla, an invasive Japanese seaweed affecting lagoons and estuaries in the North Atlantic coastlines. The seaweed was found to help with the functions of: soil stabili- zation and erosion control; storm surge and flood protection; biodiversity; food production; and the provision of nurs- ery habitat for economically important seafood species. fastCTD Supports Biological Research in Pacific Valeport's latest CTD profiler, the fastCTD, is integral to the research kit that will accompany marine biologist Dr. Sonia Rowley's latest expedition to the island of Pohnpei, in the western Pacific Ocean, from August 2 until September 13. The CTD profiler data will aid under- standing of biological processes, such as an invasive algal bloom that was found at the reefs of Pohnpei during the previous projects. Benthic Landers to Monitor Deepwater Environments FAU Harbor Branch researchers have successfully deployed and re- trieved a new benthic lander on Oc- ulina coral reefs, 20 mi. offshore Ft. Pierce, Florida. The novel lander plat- form was designed and deployed by the FAU Engineering and Technology Core and built at Harbor Branch. The initiative aims to develop and deploy several small, low-cost ben- thic landers for monitoring deepwa- ter environments. The landers can be outfitted with oceanographic sensors for measuring parameters important to benthic habitats like mesophotic and deep coral reefs. Parameters include temperature, currents, turbulent mix- ing, food availability and pH. The team is planning a one-year deployment with additional sensors at a deeper coral reef site in the Florida Straits in 2017. Biofouling Legislation Should Take Hull Protection into Account A study into the extent to which bio- fouling on ships' hulls is contributing to the spread of invasive aquatic spe- cies in the Mediterranean Sea has been welcomed by Belgium-based marine coatings supplier Subsea Industries. According to research by Tel Aviv University's School of Zoology, half the ships passing along the Mediterranean coast of Israel are carrying invasive ascidians, presenting a threat to eco- systems around the world. These or- ganisms are passing through the Suez Canal, latching onto ropes and the bot- tom of ships. They create a lot of drag for the ship and damage marine bio- ocean research

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