Scripps in the News

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Los Angeles Times
Mar 31, 2016
As climate change has heightened concerns about the global decline of mangroves, a study released this week found that such ecosystems along the desert coast of Baja California may be more important than previously thought for keeping heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Researchers at UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography discovered that despite their short and stunted appearance, mangroves in these desert locations had surprisingly high rates of sequestering carbon underground. In some cases, the ability was several times greater than that of lush mangroves in tropical locations. "Desert mangroves specifically in Mexico, which are much smaller and cover a very small total land area, sequester comparable amounts of carbon to tropical mangroves in tropical rainforests," said Paula Ezcurra, lead author of the report.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Mar 29, 2016
As climate change has heightened concerns about the global decline of mangroves, a new study found that such ecosystems along the desert coast of Baja California may be more important than previously thought for keeping heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography discovered that despite their short and stunted appearance, mangroves in these desert locations had surprisingly high rates of sequestering carbon underground.

Climate Central
Mar 28, 2016
Squat mangrove forests that seem at first blush to simply eke by along the coasts of Baja California are sitting on a big secret — one with sweeping implications in an era of accelerating climate change. Despite their diminutive appearance, scientists discovered that these mucky coastal ecosystems store huge amounts of carbon, helping to slow global warming. The peninsula’s low-growing mangrove forests harbor at least as much carbon as towering mangrove forests found elsewhere, scientists led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — and more carbon for every acre than many of the world’s forests. "These forests have been growing on top of themselves for more than 2,000 years,” said Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, an assistant professor at Scripps whose lab led the research.

The Washington Post
Mar 25, 2016
As ocean warming continues to trigger widespread destruction of coral reefs, a decade-long study of remote islands in the Central Pacific suggests these biodiversity hot spots may nonetheless be able to thrive. A new report from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego provides reason for optimism by highlighting the potential for preservation efforts. In a massive project spanning 56 islands, researchers documented 450 coral reef locations from Hawaii to American Samoa.

KPBS
Mar 25, 2016
Despite the "Godzilla" El Niño, California’s statewide precipitation has been just about average this wet season. As of Friday morning, the KPBS Drought Tracker pegs statewide rainfall at 108 percent of what normally falls by April 1. But Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego climate researcher Dan Cayan, who helps compile data for the KPBS Drought Tracker, said rain and snow have been unevenly distributed throughout the state.

Motherboard
Mar 23, 2016
On Tuesday, a meeting of scientists from around the world—including Canada, the US, and France—kicked off in Yokohama, Japan to discuss Argo, a global array of roughly 3,000 free-floating ocean probes that measure changes in temperature and salinity. These battery-powered devices can dip down 2,000 meters (1.25 miles), and versions of them have been drifting through the oceans for over a decade, gathering data. Now, scientists hope to deploy a heftier version of the probe, Deep Argo, that could reach an astonishing 6,000m down. A researcher works on Deep SOLO, part of the Deep Argo program. Image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

Los Angeles Times
Mar 23, 2016
With many parts of the globe in the grip of a nearly two-year coral reef bleaching event — fueled in part by El Niño-driven ocean warming — scientists and marine conservation advocates have feared many reefs could suffer irreparable damage and fade from existence in coming decades. A new report from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego provides reason for optimism. In a massive project spanning 56 islands, researchers examined 450 coral reef locations from Hawaii to American Samoa, with stops in the remote Line and Phoenix islands as well as the Mariana Archipelago. Their results — published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B — show that coral reefs surrounding remote islands were dramatically healthier than those in populated areas that were subject to a variety of human influences. "There are still coral reefs on this planet that are incredibly healthy and probably look the way they did 1,000 years ago," said study leader Jennifer Smith, a professor at Scripps' Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. "The scientists were practically in tears when we saw some of these reefs," she added.

KPBS
Mar 22, 2016
Monarch butterflies east of the Rocky Mountains have a pretty significant chance of going extinct in the next two decades, said a San Diego researcher on Tuesday. The eastern population of the iconic orange and black butterfly fell precipitously from 1996 to 2015. The monarchs lost about 84 percent of their population during that span, and that decline greatly increases chances of the migratory eastern butterflies going extinct. The butterflies are suffering because milkweed is getting scarce. "Recovery for the population really depends on the amount of breeding habitat," said Brice Semmens, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "And breeding habitat means the amount of milkweed that's available for reproduction. Monarchs rely exclusively on milkweed to reproduce.

American Council on Science and Health
Mar 22, 2016
Among antibiotics, most we use now were discovered by scientists in the mid-20th century, but as the threat of drug resistant infections increases, the race is on to find new ones. Here are just a few of the places that researchers have looked for new drug-making microbes - Marine sediment: In 1989, researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego identified a new species of bacteria living in marine sediment, just off the coast of the Bahamas. Later to be known as Salinispora, strains of this genus have been found in tropical and subtropical seas around the world and have been found at depths of over 5,000 metres. Salinispora bacteria produce a compound called Salinosporamide A, which shows anticancer properties and is currently being tested in phase I clinical trials to test its effectiveness against two types of cancer cells.

The San Diego Union-Tribune
Mar 20, 2016
A new report from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography provides reason for optimism by highlighting the potential for preservation efforts. In a massive project spanning 56 islands, researchers documented 450 coral reef locations from Hawaii to American Samoa, with stops in the remote Line and Phoenix islands as well as the Mariana Archipelago.