Friday, October 21, 2011

Oceanology International 2012, London

Call for Papers

Oceanology International is the global forum where industry, academia and government share knowledge and connect with marine technology and ocean science, improving their strategies for measuring, exploiting, protecting and operating in the world's oceans. As the premier event of its type, Oceanology International attracts more engineers, technical specialists and senior industry figures than any other marine science and ocean technology event in the world.
The conference will comprise 6 one day sessions running throughout the event (two per day) 
Conference Chairman: Professor Ralph Rayner
Session Chairs:
Marine Survey: Andy Hill, BP
Maritime Security: Rob Balloch, Sonardyne
Navigation and Positioning: Ed Danson, C & C Technologies
Ocean Observation and Forecasting: Zdenka Willis, NOAA
Oil and Gas: Colin Grant, BP
Offshore Renewables session is organised in association with Renewables UK 
Absracts are invited on the following topic areas:
More information here

Explanation for glowing seas suggested

Proposed bioluminescence mechanism: When a dinoflagellate is mechanically agitated, an electrical impulse travels around its vacuole membrane. This impulse opens up proton channels that allow protons to flow from the vacuole into the scintillons, where they activate light-emitting luciferase proteins. The result: A flash of light. Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation
It has long been known that distinctive blue flashes -- a type of bioluminescence -- that are visible at night in some marine environments are caused by tiny, unicellular plankton known as dinoflagellates. However, a new study has, for the first time, detailed the potential mechanism for this bioluminesence.

The study, which was partially funded by the National Science Foundation, is reported by Susan Smith of Emery School of Medicine, Thomas DeCoursey of Harvard University and colleagues in the Oct. 17, 2011 issue of the (PNAS).
A key aspect of the potential mechanism for in dinoflagellates proposed in the PNAS study involves voltage-gated proton channels--channels in membranes that can be opened or closed by chemical or electrical events.
J. Woodland Hastings, a member of the Smith and DeCoursey research team and an author of the PNAS article, suggested the presence of voltage-gated proton channels in dinoflagellates almost forty years ago. But the Smith and Decoursey team only recently confirmed them by the identification and subsequent testing of dinoflagellate genes that are similar to genes for voltage-gated proton channels that had previously been identified in humans, mice and .
According to the study, here is how the light-generating process in dinoflagellates may work: As dinoflagellates float, generated by the movement of surrounding water sends around an internal compartment within the organism, called a vacuole--which holds an abundance of protons. (See accompanying illustration.) These electrical impulses open so-called voltage-sensitive proton channels that connect the vacuole to tiny pockets dotting the vacuole membrane, known as scintillons.
Once opened, the voltage-sensitive proton channels may funnel protons from the vacuole into the scintillons. entering the scintillons then activate luciferase--a protein, which produces flashes of light, that is stored in scintillons. Flashes of light produced by resulting luciferase activation would be most visible during blooms of dinoflagellates.
This research illuminates the novel mechanisms underlying a beautiful natural phenomenon in our oceans, and enhances our understanding of dinoflagellates--some of which can produce toxins that are harmful to the environment.
Provided by National Science Foundation (news : web)

No simultaneous warming of Northern and Southern hemispheres as a result of climate change for 20,000 years

Svante Björck's study thus goes 14 000 years further back in time than previous studies have done.
"What is happening today is unique from a historical geological perspective", he says.
Svante Björck has gone through the global climate archives, which are presented in a large number of research publications, and looked for evidence that any of the climate events that have occurred since the end of the last Ice Age 20 000 years ago could have generated similar effects on both the northern and southern hemispheres simultaneously.
It has not, however, been possible to verify this. Instead, he has found that when, for example, the temperature rises in one hemisphere, it falls or remains unchanged in the other.
"My study shows that, apart from the larger-scale developments, such as the general change into warm periods and ice ages, climate change has previously only produced similar effects on local or regional level", says Svante Björck.
As an example, let us take the last clear , which took place between the years 1600 and 1900 and which many know as the Little Ice Age. Europe experienced some of its coldest centuries. While the extreme cold had serious consequences for agriculture, state economies and transport in the north, there is no evidence of corresponding simultaneous temperature changes and effects in the southern hemisphere.
The climate archives, in the form of core samples taken from marine and lake sediments and glacier ice, serve as a record of how temperature, precipitation and concentration of atmospheric gases and particles have varied over the course of history, and are full of similar examples.
Instead it is during 'calmer' climatic periods, when the climate system is influenced by external processes, that the researchers can see that the climate signals in the archives show similar trends in both the northern and southern hemispheres.
"This could be, for example, at the time of a meteorite crash, when an asteroid hits the earth or after a violent volcanic eruption when ash is spread across the globe. In these cases we can see similar effects around the world simultaneously", says Svante Björck.
Professor Björck draws parallels to today's situation. The levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are currently changing very rapidly. At the same time, global warming is occurring.
"As long as we don't find any evidence for earlier changes leading to similar simultaneous effects on a global scale, we must see today's as an exception caused by human influence on the earth's carbon cycle", says Svante Björck, continuing:
"this is a good example of how geological knowledge can be used to understand our world. It offers perspectives on how the earth functions without our direct influence and thus how and to what extent human activity affects the system."
Svante Björck's results were published this summer in the scientific journal Climate Research.
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