How sea turtles migrate, new research


This 20212 video says about itself:

An educational video by SEE Turtles about sea turtle migrations including leatherbacks and loggerheads. Learn how these amazing animals swim thousands of miles to find food and nesting beaches.

From ScienceDaily:

Sea turtles’ impressive navigation feats rely on surprisingly crude ‘map’

July 16, 2020

Since the time of Charles Darwin, scientists have marveled at sea turtles’ impressive ability to make their way — often over thousands of kilometers — through the open ocean and back to the very places where they themselves hatched years before. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on July 16 have evidence that the turtles pull off these impressive feats of navigation with only a crude map to guide them on their way, sometimes going far off course before correcting their direction.

“By satellite tracking turtles travelling to small, isolated oceanic islands, we show that turtles do not arrive at their targets with pinpoint accuracy,” says Graeme Hays of Australia’s Deakin University. “While their navigation is not perfect, we showed that turtles can make course corrections in the open ocean when they are heading off-route. These findings support the suggestion, from previous laboratory work, that turtles use a crude true navigation system in the open ocean, possibly using the earth’s geomagnetic field.”

Despite much study of sea turtle navigation, many details were lacking. Hays’ team realized that was in part because most sea turtles return to spots along the mainland coast, which are also the easiest places to find.

For the new study, his team had attached satellite tags to nesting green turtles (Chelonia mydas) out of an interest in learning about the extent of the turtles’ movements and to identify key areas for conservation. In the process, they realized that, by serendipity, many of the tracked turtles travelled to foraging sites on isolated islands or submerged banks. It allowed them to explore in more detail how turtles make their way to such small and harder-to-find islands.

In total, the researchers recorded the tracks of 33 green sea turtles migrating across the open ocean from their nesting beaches on the island of Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean) to their foraging grounds across the western Indian Ocean, many of which were isolated island targets. Using individual-based models that incorporated ocean currents, they then compared actual migration tracks against candidate navigational models to show that 28 of the 33 turtles didn’t re-orient themselves daily or at fine-scales.

As a result, the turtles sometimes travelled well out of their way — several hundred kilometers off the direct routes to their goal — before correcting their direction, often in the open ocean. Frequently, they report, turtles did not reach their small island destinations with pinpoint accuracy. Instead, they often overshot and or spent time searching for the target in the final stages of migration.

“We were surprised that turtles had such difficulties in finding their way to small targets,” Hays says. “Often they swam well off course and sometimes they spent many weeks searching for isolated islands.

“We were also surprised at the distance that some turtles migrated. Six tracked turtles travelled more than 4,000 kilometers to the east African coast, from Mozambique in the south, to as far north as Somalia. So, these turtles complete round-trip migrations of more than 8,000 kilometers to and from their nesting beaches in the Chagos Archipelago.”

The findings lend support to the notion that migrating sea turtles use a true navigation system in the open ocean. They also provide some of the best evidence to date that migrating sea turtles have an ability to re-orient themselves in deep waters in the open ocean, the researchers say. This implies that they have and rely on a map sense. But the results also show that their map lacks fine details, allowing them to operate only at a crude level.

As a result of this imperfect navigation system, the turtles reach their destination only imperfectly. In the process, the turtles spend extra energy and time searching for small islands.

The findings also have implications for the turtles’ conservation, Hays says. Turtles travel broadly across the open ocean once nesting season has finished. As a result, he says, “conservation measures need to apply across these spatial scales and across many countries.”

The researchers say that they hope the next generation of tag technology will allow them to directly measure the compass heading of migrating turtles as well as their location. “Then we can directly assess how ocean currents carry turtles off-course and gain further insight into the mechanisms that allow turtles to complete such prodigious feats of navigation,” Hays says.

United States, free speech only for Trump?


This 21 July 2020 video says about itself:

Trump Sends Thugs To Arrest Portland Protesters, Threatens Chicago And New York May Be Next

President Trump is doubling down on his strategy of using unidentified government operatives to intimidate, assault and violate the civil rights of peaceful protesters, warning from the Oval Office on Monday that Chicago and New York may be targeted next.

Trump Has Unleashed Authoritarian Violence In Portland. What City Is Next? The moms shuffled into position on Sunday night, arms linked, backs to the fence in front of Portland’s federal courthouse. The sky had darkened. Behind the fence, anonymous federal agents in fatigues leveled their weapons at the women’s backs. The human shield was in place, a barrier against the secret police. The “Wall of Moms”: here.

‘CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS’ BREWING IN PORTLAND Federal law enforcement officers’ actions against protests in Oregon’s largest city, done without local or state consent, are raising the prospect of a constitutional crisis — one that could escalate as weeks of demonstrations find renewed focus in clashes with camouflaged, unidentified agents outside Portland’s U.S. courthouse. State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit saying that masked federal officers have arrested people off the street, far from the courthouse, with no probable cause — and whisked them away in unmarked cars. [AP]

From Senator Bernie Sanders in the USA today:

We are in a very dangerous moment in American history.

Last month, as you’ll recall, Trump had peaceful protestors outside of the White House in Washington, D.C. viciously attacked by federal agents who wore no identification.

As we speak, in Portland, Oregon, federal agents in combat gear and unmarked vehicles are pulling protesters off the streets and jailing them without charges, despite opposition from local and state officials.

What Trump and his allies are now doing is “normalizing” the use of federal troops to patrol and make arrests of American citizens in communities throughout the country. Today it is Portland, Oregon. Tomorrow, Trump is suggesting it could be New York City, Chicago or Philadelphia. Next, your hometown.

This is what a police state is all about.

Make no mistake about it: Donald Trump does not believe in democracy, our Constitution or the rule of law.

He is working aggressively to suppress the vote and, in the midst of this terrible pandemic, is vigorously opposing the right of citizens to vote by mail. He has ignored decisions of Congress, which is why he was impeached. He has contempt for a free press and has called the media “an enemy of the people“. He has used his office for blatant personal and political gain, running the most corrupt administration in modern American history. He has ruptured our relationships with long-time democratic allies around the world while he embraces right-wing authoritarian leaders in Russia, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, the Philippines and elsewhere.

Yes. We must all come together to defeat Trump in November, but we must also act right NOW to stop the movement toward authoritarianism and a police state.

That is why I am introducing legislation with Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon which would greatly curtail the activities of federal military forces in our communities. This bill would limit their ability to conduct crowd control to properties immediately surrounding federal buildings without the invitation of the Governor and Mayor, require federal agents to wear visible IDs, and ban them from making arrests or detentions in unmarked vehicles.

Now we need you to make your voice heard — to send a message to Congress that you are paying attention to this issue and will do everything possible to defend our Constitution, the separation of powers and the right of Americans to peacefully demonstrate.

Please add your name as a citizen co-sponsor of legislation that would force federal agents to wear visible IDs, ban them from making arrests and detentions from unmarked vehicles, and limit their ability to conduct crowd control without invitation from the Governor or Mayor.

Too many Americans fought and died to defend American democracy to let President Trump move us even further in an authoritarian direction.

And that is why I am asking you to join Senator Jeff Merkley and me in making your voice heard.

Trump’s strategy of hateful rhetoric and using a crisis to seize more power is nothing new. It has been used by authoritarian leaders throughout history.

Our job NOW is to stand together, fight back, and stop the movement toward authoritarianism and a police state.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

DEMOCRATIC MAYORS URGE CONGRESS TO STOP FEDERAL AGENTS’ USE OF FORCE IN PROTESTS Six Democratic mayors urged Congress to stop federal agents from interfering with protests in cities and called on the lawmakers to investigate the Trump administration’s deployment of them. In a letter to congressional Democratic and Republican leaders, the mayors of Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Washington and Portland, Oregon, called the deployment of armed federal agents at protests “unprecedented” and in violation of constitutional rights. President Donald Trump is threatening to deploy the militarized agents to other cities, all led by Democratic mayors, as his reelection campaign struggles. [HuffPost]

TRUMP PREPPING TO DISPATCH FEDERAL SQUADS TO MORE DEM CITIES The Trump administration is preparing to roll out a plan this week to send controversial military-style federal squads already in Portland, Oregon, into other cities, warned White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who only named locations that have Democratic mayors. Attorney General William Barr is “weighing in on that” with acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Meadows said Sunday on Fox News. “You’ll see something rolled out this week, as we start to go in and make sure that the communities — whether it’s Chicago or Portland or Milwaukee,” he added. All three cities named are run by Democrats. [HuffPost]

GUN-WIELDING ST. LOUIS COUPLE HIT WITH FELONY CHARGE St. Louis’ top prosecutor is charging a white husband and wife with felony unlawful use of a weapon for displaying guns during a racial injustice protest outside their mansion. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who are both personal injury attorneys in their 60s. They also face a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree assault. Gardner said that the McCloskeys’ actions risked creating a violent situation during an otherwise nonviolent protest. [AP]

When Trump Feels Threatened, White Supremacy Is His Only Weapon. When his future looks bleak, Trump has one ace up his sleeve that he’s always used: his whiteness. He’s never been afraid to weaponize his status as a white man, and for his fervent supporters, the ploy works. Studies suggest that it was racial resentment, fostered by his mostly white supporters, that fueled Trump’s victory in 2016: here.

Helping fish to survive


This video from the Philippines says about itself:

Shallow Water Reef Dome Deployment – Dumaguete

BPI Bayan Dumaguete headed by Mr. Gary Rosales in collaboration with the Barangay Officials of Bantayan, Dumaguete City deployed 20 reef domes as artificial reefs inside a marine protected area.

June 7, 2014

Video: Mike Alano
Music: www. bensound. com

From the University of New South Wales in Australia:

Fish reef domes a boon for environment, recreational fishing

July 16, 2020

Summary: Humanmade reefs can be used in conjunction with the restoration or protection of natural habitat to increase fish abundance in estuaries, researchers have found.

In a boost for both recreational fishing and the environment, new UNSW research shows that artificial reefs can increase fish abundance in estuaries with little natural reef.

Researchers installed six humanmade reefs per estuary studied and found overall fish abundance increased up to 20 times in each reef across a two-year period.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology recently, was funded by the NSW Recreational Fishing Trust.

The research was a collaboration between UNSW Sydney, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS).

Professor Iain Suthers, of UNSW and SIMS, led the research, while UNSW alumnus Dr Heath Folpp, of NSW DPI Fisheries, was lead author.

Co-author Dr Hayden Schilling, SIMS researcher and Conjoint Associate Lecturer at UNSW, said the study was part of a larger investigation into the use of artificial reefs for recreational fisheries improvement in estuaries along Australia’s southeast coast

“Lake Macquarie, Botany Bay and St Georges Basin were chosen to install the artificial reefs because they had commercial fishing removed in 2002 and are designated specifically as recreational fishing havens,” Dr Schilling said.

“Also, these estuaries don’t have much natural reef because they are created from sand. So, we wanted to find out what would happen to fish abundance if we installed new reef habitat on bare sand.

“Previous research has been inconclusive about whether artificial reefs increased the amount of fish in an area, or if they simply attracted fish from other areas nearby.”

Fish reef domes boost abundance

In each estuary, the scientists installed 180 “Mini-Bay Reef Balls” — commercially made concrete domes with holes — divided into six artificial reefs with 30 units each.

Each unit measures 0.7m in diameter and is 0.5m tall, and rests on top of bare sand.

Professor Suthers said artificial reefs were becoming more common around the world and many were tailored to specific locations.

Since the study was completed, many more larger units — up to 1.5m in diameter — have been installed in NSW estuaries.

“Fish find the reef balls attractive compared to the bare sand: the holes provide protection for fish and help with water flowing around the reefs,” Prof Suthers said.

“We monitored fish populations for about three months before installing the reefs and then we monitored each reef one year and then two years afterwards.

“We also monitored three representative natural reef control sites in each estuary.”

Prof Suthers said the researchers observed a wide variety of fish using the artificial reefs.

“But the ones we were specifically monitoring for were the species popular with recreational fishermen: snapper, bream and tarwhine,” he said.

“These species increased up to five times and, compared to the bare sand habitat before the reefs were installed, we found up to 20 times more fish overall in those locations.

“What was really exciting was to see that on the nearby natural reefs, fish abundance went up two to five times overall.”

Dr Schilling said that importantly, their study found no evidence that fish had been attracted from neighbouring natural reefs to the artificial reefs.

“There was no evidence of declines in abundance at nearby natural reefs. To the contrary, we found abundance increased in the natural reefs and at the reef balls, suggesting that fish numbers were actually increasing in the estuary overall,” he said.

“The artificial reefs create ideal rocky habitat for juveniles — so, the fish reproduce in the ocean and then the juveniles come into the estuaries, where there is now more habitat than there used to be, enabling more fish to survive.”

The researchers acknowledged, however, that while the artificial reefs had an overall positive influence on fish abundance in estuaries with limited natural reef, there might also be species-specific effects.

For example, they cited research on yellowfin bream which showed the species favoured artificial reefs while also foraging in nearby seagrass beds in Lake Macquarie, one of the estuaries in the current study.

NSW DPI Fisheries conducted an impact assessment prior to installation to account for potential issues with using artificial reefs, including the possibility of attracting non-native species or removing soft substrate.

Artificial reef project validated

Dr Schilling said their findings provided strong evidence that purpose-built artificial reefs could be used in conjunction with the restoration or protection of existing natural habitat to increase fish abundance, for the benefit of recreational fishing and estuarine restoration of urbanised estuaries.

“Our results validate NSW Fisheries’ artificial reef program to enhance recreational fishing, which includes artificial reefs in estuarine and offshore locations,” he said.

“The artificial reefs in our study became permanent and NSW Fisheries rolled out many more in the years since we completed the study.

“About 90 per cent of the artificial reefs are still sitting there and we now have an Honours student researching the reefs’ 10-year impact.” Dr Schilling said the artificial reefs were installed between 2005 and 2007, but the research was only peer-reviewed recently.

Coronavirus news from the USA, Europe


This 20 July 2020 video from the USA is called Trump Rejects Universal Masks & Wants To Force Schools To Open.

TRUMP DOUBLES DOWN ON CLAIM CORONAVIRUS WILL DISAPPEAR As coronavirus infections continue to surge nationwide, Trump repeated his unsubstantiated claim that the pathogen will simply “disappear” one day. During an interview with “Fox News Sunday”, host Chris Wallace suggested Trump had made a mistake when he stated in January and February that the virus had largely been contained. On Feb. 10, Trump said the virus would “miraculously” go away by April. “It’s going to disappear,” the president said later that month. “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” [HuffPost]

The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the coronavirus.

COLORADO GOV. CALLS NATIONAL COVID-19 TESTING A “DISGRACE” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) on Sunday called the national COVID-19 testing system a “complete disgrace” that is “practically useless.” The governor levied the harsh criticism toward the president after reports surfaced that Trump is battling increased funding for testing and tracking coronavirus cases. The administration is trying to block billions of dollars in an upcoming coronavirus relief bill to help states carry out testing and tracing — and extra aid for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [HuffPost]

MNUCHIN WANTS TO FORGIVE BILLIONS IN PPP LOANS Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested that taxpayer-funded COVID-19 business loans under a certain amount could be automatically forgiven without compliance checks. That would likely mean an unprecedented $130 billion in loans under the Paycheck Protection Program would turn into grants to private businesses. The PPP loans, which were part of a $2 trillion coronavirus relief act passed in March, were designed to be forgiven once borrowers proved the money was used for certain business expenses, like payroll, rent and utilities. That wouldn’t be necessary if loan forgiveness becomes automatic. [HuffPost]

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HAZARD PAY? Four months into the coronavirus pandemic, the only curve the U.S. has managed to flatten is wage growth for essential workers. Many front-line employees in grocery stores and other essential businesses received hazard pay increases at the start of the crisis. But most of those temporary pay bumps have since been phased out, which effectively amounts to a pay cut for many workers amid a record-setting surge in COVID-19 cases. And most workers in hospitals and other health care facilities never received any additional pay at all, despite being hailed as “heroes” by politicians. [HuffPost]

Europe said it was pandemic-ready Pride was its downfall.

Israeli kindergarten teacher who begged parents to follow quarantine rules dies of COVID-19.

How tiger sharks travel, new research


This 2018 video is called Tiger shark face-off.

From Florida Atlantic University in the USA:

Study first to show tiger sharks’ travels and desired hangouts in the Gulf of Mexico

Using satellite telemetry, FAU Harbor Branch scientist and team document core habitat use

July 15, 2020

Summary: From 2010 to 2018, scientists tagged 56 tiger sharks of varying life stages to track their movements via satellite. Movement patterns varied by life stage, sex, and season. Some of their core habitats overlapped with locations designated by NOAA as Habitat Areas of Particular Concern and also were found near 2,504 oil and gas platforms. Findings may help inform studies into potential climate change, oil spills, and other environmental impacts on tiger shark movement in the Gulf of Mexico.

Like other highly migratory sharks, tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) often traverse regional, national and international boundaries where they encounter various environmental and human-made stressors. Their range and habitat use in the Gulf of Mexico, a complex marine environment significantly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010, has been understudied and remains unknown.

Using sophisticated satellite telemetry, a study is the first to provide unique insights into how tiger sharks move and use habitats in the Gulf of Mexico across life-stages. Data from the study, just published in PLOS ONE, provide an important baseline for comparison against, and/or predicting their vulnerability to future environmental change such as climate variability or oil spills.

For the study, Matt Ajemian, Ph.D., lead author and an assistant research professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and a team of scientists examined size and sex-related movement and distribution patterns of tiger sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. They fitted 56 tiger sharks with Smart Position and temperature transmitting tags between 2010 — following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill — and 2018 — spanning shelf waters from south Texas to south Florida and examined seasonal and spatial distribution patterns across the Gulf of Mexico. The tags transmitted whenever the fin-mounted tags broke the sea surface, with orbiting satellites estimating shark positions based on these transmissions. Ajemian also analyzed overlap of core habitats among individuals relative to large benthic features including oil and gas platforms, natural banks, and bathymetric breaks.

“While all life stages of tiger sharks are known to occur in the Gulf of Mexico, detailed habitat use has never been quantified,” said Ajemian. “This is rather striking as this marine system faces numerous human-madeResults showed significant ontogenetic and seasonal differences in distribution patterns as well as across-shelf stressors, complex tri-national management, and indications of size reductions in recreational landings for large sharks.”

Results showed significant ontogenetic and seasonal differences in distribution patterns as well as across-shelf (i.e., regional) and sex-linked variability in movement rates. Prior studies into tiger shark horizontal movements in the western North Atlantic Ocean have been restricted primarily to males or females separately, in disparate locations. By simultaneously tracking many males and females of varying life stages within the same region, the researchers observed sex and size-specific differences in distribution and movement rates, as well as associations with large-scale habitat features. For example, researchers found evidence of tiger shark core regions encompassing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration designated Habitat Areas of Particular Concern during cooler months, particularly by females. These are specifically bottom features of the Gulf that rise up from the edges of the continental shelf, and include places like the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Additionally, shark core regions intersected with 2,504 oil and gas platforms, where previous researchers have observed them along the bottom.

Results showed significant ontogenetic and seasonal differences in distribution patterns as well as across-shelf (i.e., regional) and sex-linked variability in movement rates. Prior studies into tiger shark horizontal movements in the western North Atlantic Ocean have been restricted primarily to males or females separately, in disparate locations. By simultaneously tracking many males and females of varying life stages within the same region, the researchers observed sex and size-specific differences in distribution and movement rates, as well as associations with large-scale habitat features. For example, researchers found evidence of tiger shark core regions encompassing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration designated Habitat Areas of Particular Concern during cooler months, particularly by females. These are specifically bottom features of the Gulf that rise up from the edges of the continental shelf, and include places like the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Additionally, shark core regions intersected with 2,504 oil and gas platforms, where previous researchers have observed them along the bottom.

The scientists note that future research may benefit from combining alternative tracking tools, such as acoustic telemetry and genetic approaches, which can facilitate long-term assessment of tiger shark movement dynamics and help identify the role of the core habitats identified in this study.

“This research is just a first glimpse into how these iconic predators use the Gulf of Mexico’s large marine ecosystem,” said Ajemian.

United States workers strike against racism


This 20 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

#StrikeforBlackLives | We the People, not we the corporations

In this moment of national reckoning, working people from across the nation and allies in the interconnected fights for justice are standing together to Strike for Black Lives. Led by the SEIU, the Movement for Black Lives and dozens of other labor rights and racial justice organizations, thousands of fast food, ride-share, nursing home and airport workers in cities across the US will walk off the job today for a full-day strike to call attention to systemic racism in the economy and acknowledge that racial justice is impossible without economic justice.

We join in solidarity with the release of a new digital short exposing how corporations wield outsized influence over our society, inhibiting workers, particularly from Black communities and other communities of color, from accessing the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. This unbalanced corporate power is unethical, unfair, and a threat to racial justice everywhere. #FundCommunitiesNotCorporations

Learn more here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 20 July 2020:

Strike for Black Lives demands end to structural racism and inequality

TENS of thousands walked out in US cities today in protest at systemic racism and a deepening structural inequality that has worsened due to the country’s disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Strike for Black Lives saw care staff, cleaners and delivery drivers down tools in a 24-hour stoppage, while others stopped work at noon for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time that a Minnesota cop knelt on George Floyd’s neck, killing him.

Ash-Lee Henderson, the spokeswoman for the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of 150 organisations, said: “We are … building a country where black lives matter in every aspect of society — including in the workplace.”

DEMS URGE PROBE INTO TRUMP’S USE OF FEDERAL OFFICERS TO QUELL PROTESTS House Democrats on Sunday sent a letter to the inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department requesting an investigation into the Trump administration’s use of federal law officers to suppress anti-racism protests. The leaders of three House committees ― Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee; Bennie Thompson of Homeland Security; and Carolyn Maloney of Oversight ― said they were “increasingly alarmed” by the situation. [HuffPost]