Scripps in the News

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Proto Magazine
Jun 10, 2015

Between 1981 and 2010, almost three out of four new drugs originated from, or were inspired by, naturally occurring compounds. Just a tiny fraction, however, came from the sea, and that puzzles William Fenical. “Most of the world’s biodiversity exists in the ocean,” says Fenical, distinguished professor of oceanography and pharmaceutical science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “A milliliter of seawater holds more than a million microorganisms. And there are a billion microorganisms we know very little about in a cubic centimeter of bottom sediment. And we’re not developing those?” Fenical is widely regarded as the dean of marine pharmacology in the United States. He arrived at the Scripps Institution as a researcher in 1973 with the idea of searching the sea for compounds with medicinal properties—a neglected field of research at the time, even though the FDA had approved cytarabine a few years earlier.

Jun 05, 2015

The Ross Ice Shelf, a thick, floating tongue of solid ice the size of Spain, is the biggest of the many such barriers that ring Antarctica and keep its ice sheets from sliding into the sea. Yet the shape of the sea floor beneath—a critical factor in how fast the shelf might melt—is virtually unknown. The ice keeps sonar-carrying ships out, and the water beneath it blocks radar. Floating ice does not affect global sea levels when it melts. But a thinned—or worse, collapsed—ice shelf could clear the way for more of Antarctica's continent-covering ice sheets to enter the ocean and push up sea levels. “Remove that plug, and the ice starts to flow faster,” says Helen Fricker, a co-principal investigator for the survey and a glaciologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Jun 05, 2015

Experts are looking all over for ways to aid California's drought. One place that could provide help is the sky, more specifically the clouds in the sky. NBC 7's Dagmar Midcap takes a look at cloud seeding, is it a real solution or a funky, fringe science? Featuring Lynn Russell from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Voice of America
Jun 03, 2015

Scientists say the sea levels are rising and will continue to do so indefinitely. Coastal communities around the world are already feeling the impact of the rising waters. Many cities and towns are adapting to this new reality. Their response has been photographed and is being presented at an exhibit called Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change. Meteorologist Dan Cayan with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, said recent trends will continue. “In the last couple of decades it’s risen at a greater rate.  We think very confidently it will accelerate in the next several decades,” said Cayan.

Times of San Diego
Jun 02, 2015

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego opened a key link Tuesday in its growing Coastal Meander Trail overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla.

ABC7 News
Jun 01, 2015

On Monday, the Aquarium of the Pacific hosted a panel of experts to address the problem and predict what we could see in the next 100 years. Dr. Dan Cayan, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, says it may not seem like much, but he says the change could make serious impacts, especially in coastal communities.

Earth Island Journal
Jun 01, 2015

Entrepreneurs are hailing seaweed as a potential “miracle crop.” Could seaweed farming help lift coastal communities out of poverty? The prospect of a sustainable biofuel that can displace fossil fuels without hampering food production has led to millions of dollars in research and development. Scientists from Norway to Chile are on the hunt for the most productive, cost-effective ways to turn seaweed into energy. Dominick Mendola, a marine biotechnology engineer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, calls it “the biomass of the future.” He predicts that in five years the seaweed industry will be large enough to compete with corn and sugarcane biofuels. The key to getting there is to gradually expand production by selling products such as seaweed crop fertilizer.

Discovery News
May 29, 2015

New islands are usually formed by volcanoes erupting from the seafloor, but China is on an island-building spree on a group of low-lying coral atolls and reefs called the Spratly Islands between the Philippines and Vietnam. Marine experts worry about the effect on marine life. The report in the journal Conservation Biology found that coral abundance has declined from 20 percent within the Spratly archipelago the past 10 to 15 years. Greg Mitchell, professor of marine ecology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, has studied Pacific reef ecosystems. He says the dredging and concrete piers are probably destroying what’s left of the local ecology.


Los Angeles Times
May 28, 2015

El Niños have been responsible for two of California's wettest and most destructive rainy seasons: the winters of 1982-83 and 1997-98. Now, experts say, a potentially powerful El Niño this winter could be the beginning of the end of the drought. This month's weather suggests how El Niño's building strength is already affecting the United States. It's giving weather scientists reason to be cautiously optimistic that it has the stamina to see it through California's rainy season, which typically begins in October and ends in April. Whether California gets another epic El Niño by winter is "the $64,000 question," said Dan Cayan, climate researcher for Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the U.S. Geological Survey. "There are a number of models, some of which point strongly in that direction."

Associated Press
May 27, 2015

From Galileo to genetics, the Roman Catholic Church has danced with science, sometimes in a high-tension tango but more often in a supportive waltz. Pope Francis is about to introduce a new twist: global warming. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego climate scientist, briefed the pope on climate change. He said scientists felt they were failing in getting the world to understand the moral hazard that man-made warming presents. Now, he said, scientists who don't often turn to religion are looking forward to the pope's statement. "Science and religion doesn't mix, but environment is an exception where science and religion say the same thing," Ramanathan said. "I think we have found a common ground."