Sharks tracked during the Basking Shark Satellite Tagging Project tended to spend most of their summer in the Sea of the Hebrides and returned to the same area the following year, according to the final project report published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) today (Thursday). Between 2012 and 2014, 61 basking sharks were tagged in the project, a partnership between SNH and the University of Exeter (UoE), and the first known to use a variety of satellite tagging technologies and to track the near real-time movements of basking sharks. Tags were attached to the sharks near the islands of Hyskier, Coll and Tiree, where each summer large numbers of basking sharks can be seen feeding near the surface. The tagged sharks were particularly drawn to the waters around these islands which are an exciting place for wildlife watchers. Scientists at SNH and UoE believe the sharks return each year to feed in the area's plankton-rich seas. The sharks' behaviour suggests the waters could also be important to the sharks for other reasons and that they could benefit from a proposed marine protected area (MPA) off the west coast. Dr Suzanne Henderson from SNH, who is managing the project said: "It's been really exciting to learn that the same individual basking sharks return in consecutive years to use Scottish waters. It's something we thought happened—but we now have the first proof that this occurs. It really does emphasise that the Sea of the Hebrides is highly important for this migrating species." Protecting highly mobile species, such as basking shark and whales, is difficult due to the large areas they cover. So identifying and managing areas where the animals gather to feed, or for important life-cycle events, such as courtship, can play an important role in their conservation. As part of the Scottish MPA Programme, SNH has recommended that an area of the Sea of the Hebrides from Skye to Mull be designated an MPA to protect the basking sharks, and also minke whales. Scottish Ministers are currently considering the proposal. Suzanne said: "As well as cruising around and feeding at the surface the sharks can be seen showing courtship-like behaviours, such as jumping clear of the water, known as breaching and swimming around nose-to-tail. These social behaviours suggest that the sharks return to the area not just to feed on the plankton bloom but for other reasons too, perhaps even to find a mate." From autumn onwards the tagged sharks dispersed widely, leaving the shallow coastal waters for deep sea. Some were seen to head south as far as the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, some headed west of Ireland and others remained relatively close to Scotland throughout the winter. The Irish and Celtic Seas are also important for the basking sharks, the world's second largest fish after the whale shark. According to the report most of the sharks that headed south in the autumn used these seas as a migration corridor towards the Isle of Man and southwest England. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said: "The world's second largest shark, the basking shark, is an iconic species for marine conservation. Up until now we have not known as much as we would have liked about what they do in our seas and how best to ensure their continued presence alongside us, however this satellite tracking study confirms the Sea of the Hebrides is an essential destination in the migratory cycle of these gentle giants, where large numbers are seasonally sighted. "This partnership between our scientific advisors at SNH and the University of Exeter has succeeded in uncovering more of the basking shark's secrets and furthering our knowledge of their behaviours, such as returning year on year to the same places at the same time. The results of this valuable work will help us along the path of getting the Marine Protected Area network right by ensuring the ecological processes and places basking shark depend upon are afforded the protection they need to endure." Tags which provided information on the sharks' vertical movements suggest that the fish are able to adapt to various habitats and changes in their environment. A variety of behaviour was recorded, although sharks were found generally heading to deeper water at night in the summer months, returning to the surface during the day. Seven of the tagged sharks were found at depths greater than 1000m during winter months. Dr Matthew Witt from UoE said: "We have learnt so much about Scotland's basking sharks through this work. It is the first project to use such a range of the latest tagging technologies and this has allowed us to reveal the horizontal and vertical movements of basking sharks with high levels of accuracy. "We have gathered large amounts of data from the tags, which performed exceptionally well. But to collect much of this information we needed to retrieve the tags after they had detached from the sharks, so we are extremely grateful to the public whose remarkable beach-combing abilities saw more than a quarter of the tags returned to us. "It's been a truly exciting project with many highlights and challenges along the way. It has improved our understanding of the life history of basking sharks and confirmed that the Sea of the Hebrides is a special place for these captivating fish. We hope our combined efforts yield a more secure future for basking sharks in coastal and offshore waters and that the impact of the project reaches far, influencing marine spatial planning policy, public engagement and the global conservation agenda."
News Article | November 1, 2015
Diplomats from 25 countries continue to meet in order to finally set an agreement for the protection of Antarctica's unique marine environment. The proposal includes setting up a large marine sanctuary, which involves sacrificing almost 1.5 million square kilometers. The waters of the Ross Sea is believed to be an important breeding place for the blue whale, which is nearing the brink of extinction. Scientists also believe that the waters play a crucial role in the ecosystem and is home to unique flora and fauna. All five attempts made by the United States and New Zealand for the mutual proposal for a Marine Protection Area (MPA) got a no from Russia. However, during the last day of the 10-day meeting of the 34th Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) held in Hobart, Australia, the two countries got China on board for the first time, leaving Russia the only country in opposition. China's go signal was confirmed though a closed-door meeting. The Ross Sea is a key commercial fishing area for the Antarctic toothfish, a Southern Ocean cod icefish. Russia remains in opposition over concern of how the proposed sanctuary would affect its fishing industry. The U.S.-New Zealand proposal will place the Ross Sea reserve system as a no-fishing zone. "There's also a bit of optimism because now there's just one country left and we're closer than we have ever been before," said U.S. State Department delegate Evan Bloom. The latest version of the MPA proposal is inclusive of a zone dedicated to the research of krill, which forms the basis of the food chain in the Antarctic and other areas of the proposed protected zone. It also allows krill fishing, an area that sparked more interest in China since krill is used in many nutritional supplements and fish food. "China's support for a revised MPA is a major step forward in reaching the consensus required to put workable protections in place for the Ross Sea," said New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully. The Ross Sea has one of the remaining fully functioning marine ecosystems on the planet. The freezing but abundant Southern Ocean, which makes up 10 percent of the planet's surface, is also home to 10,000 marine life which include the colossal squid, penguins and whales.
Kempton H. Roll, founding executive director of the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) died on 4 November 2015, following a short illness. Well-known in the national and international metalworking communities, Roll retired in 1988 after a 40-year career. He joined the Lead Industries Association in 1948 as technical director with responsibilities for the former Metal Powder Association (MPA), forerunner of MPIF. He was named executive director of MPA in 1956 and helped found MPIF in 1957 as the umbrella organization representing different sectors of the metal powder producing and consuming industries. He was also executive director of APMI International, the professional society for powder metallurgy (PM) that he helped found in 1959, and served as publisher of the International Journal of Powder Metallurgy. He attended Carnegie Institute of Technology and graduated from Yale University in 1945 with a degree in metallurgical engineering and served in the Pacific during World War II as a bomb disposal officer with the U.S. Navy. He wrote extensively about the technology of powder metallurgy (PM) and was co-editor of six books in the series Perspectives in Powder Metallurgy, published by Plenum Publishing Corp and MPIF. He received the prestigious Powder Metallurgy Pioneer Award in 1992 and the Distinguished Service to Powder Metallurgy Award in 1988, both from MPIF. In 2007, to honor his lifetime accomplishments, MPIF created the Kempton H. Roll PM Lifetime Achievement Award which is presented every four years. He was named a Fellow of ASM International in 1987 and was a Legion of Honor member of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. This story is reprinted from material from the MPIF with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.
News Article | September 7, 2016
Thirty years ago I worked with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) studying the health consequences of nuclear weapons. Even if they were never used, these weapons–their manufacture and testing–harmed populations. All over the world governments had mined uranium, and assembled and tested nuclear weapons. To create atomic arsenals, every nuclear power had dangerously polluted and contaminated environments where people live and work. And governments usually kept secret from civilians the consequences –cancers, birth defects, and continuing environmental degradation capable of harming future generations. Thermonuclear weapons–bombs and missile warheads–could destroy life on our earth. Everyone on earth used to depend on this ever-present risk of annihilation to deter use. As IPPNW studied the health damage from mining, manufacturing, and testing these weapons, we found ourselves consulting the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Many times since 1947, the Bulletin had reset the hands of the clock to indicate how close the world was to doomsday. The closer the clock moved toward midnight, the more likely that life on the planet was about to come to an end. Bulletin nuclear scientists set the clock at 23h58 in 1953, when the two nuclear powers escalated beyond fission weapons and began testing thermonuclear or fusion weapons. They backed the clock further away from midnight when the Bulletin considered nuclear doomsday less likely, as in 1963, when the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty. Since 2007, the Bulletin has adjusted the Doomsday Clock to reflect the danger to the world of global warming in addition to nuclear weapons. In January of this year, the Bulletin announced its latest decision about where to set the clock. They left the clock at three minutes before midnight, writing: And that was before the United States had picked its candidates for President. Why should the US election affect the Doomsday Clock months before a new President is sworn in? Donald Trump, in suggesting that the US had shown excessive restraint in the past, and that he might use nuclear weapons against ISIS, spelled out a decidedly more aggressive US nuclear weapons policy. And Hillary Clinton, too, used a specific threat to describe how she as President would use nuclear weapons. In 2008 she said that if Iran attacked Israel, she would attack Iran. “…[W]e would be able to totally obliterate them…” Thus both presidential candidates have moved away from Barack Obama’s restraint. Surely, to alert the world that the danger of nuclear war has increased, it is time for the Bulletin to consider moving the hands of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight. Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA is co-Editor of the Journal of Public Health Policy. (Facebook page here.) He directed the Vermont Department of Health, the Colorado Department of Health, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the U.S. National Vaccine Program.
News Article | March 8, 2013
A year after launch, Japan’s second largest operator KDDI says that its au Smart Pass service — an all-you-can-eat buffet selection of Android apps — has passed a cumulative 5 million customers. The service is designed to make finding and using mobile apps easier. KDDI selected 500 top apps which customers enjoy unlimited free user of for 390 yen (around $4.17) per month. That selection includes a broad range of free and premium apps, including popular messaging app Line, mobile-only browser Dolphin, games from top publishers like Gameloft and more. The package also includes discount coupons, a points service, 50 GB of storage for photos and videos, and security programs for their device. Au Smart Pass made a promising start to live when it racked up 400,000 signups within just three weeks of launch, as Japan-based analyst Serkan Toto noted, and it continues to grow. KDDI doesn’t delve into details of its users, instead noting that the service has “great popularity among a diverse range of male and female users from all age groups.” The service — which is rivaled by a similar offering from DoCoMo, Japan’s top operator — has the potential to be hugely disruptive as it offers app makers an alternative avenue to reach users. As Toto pointed out, that’s particularly powerful when it comes to content and games, since it rivals Japanese mobile gaming giants GREE and DeNA, and messaging apps Line and Kakao Talk which recently opened games services. KDDI also offers similar monthly packages for ebooks, music and video. A word on the Android-only support. While the iPhone is now Japan’s most popular smartphone, Android has the widest base, to the point that other companies — such as mobile incentivization startup Metaps — are also singularly focused on the Google-owned platform.