Scripps in the News

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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.

Los Angeles Times
Mar 15, 2016
As many as 13.1 million people living along U.S. coastlines could face flooding by the end of the century because of rising sea levels, according to a new study that warns that large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate to higher ground. The estimated number of coastal dwellers affected by rising sea level is three times higher than previously projected, according to the study published Monday in the science journal Nature Climate Change. As many as 1 million California residents could be affected. Timu Gallien, a postdoctoral scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, said the study was significant in that “it calls attention to a very slow-moving but real crisis to our coastal regions.” But the report was not completely comprehensive, Gallien said. “There are significant limitations to the model they use,” Gallien said. “Neither mitigation or migration are incorporated in the study. They used a one-size-fits-all model.”

NBC 7 San Diego
Mar 14, 2016
Local scientists say this year’s El Nino is having a big impact on San Diego’s coastline, and they need the public’s help keeping track of it. Although there hasn't been a massive amount of rain, local researchers say people have to think about the waves and the impact they're having on the coastline, beaches and estuaries. Researchers with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System say that amid El Nino conditions the waves have been bigger than usual and may even be affecting human health. “Citizens can take photographs of the coastline and we're actually asking for photos from both low tide and high tide because we want to get those flooding events,” Sarah Giddings, assistant professor of oceanography at Scripps told NBC 7.

Alaska Public Media
Mar 14, 2016
Scientists are increasingly worried about the possibility of more die-offs and other adverse effects on marine mammals and seabirds if the suspected cause, a huge anomaly of warm water in the northeast Pacific Ocean, persists into this summer. Biologists and ecologists reported on their latest observations at a two-day workshop held in January on the University of Washington campus. The conference was a follow-up to a similar gathering held last May near San Diego that primarily featured oceanographers, marine researchers and climatologists. After hearing the presentation, Art Miller, research oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, had this observation: “Warm anomalies have persisted for more than two years, and it looks like the real killer was the second year,” Miller said. “So, perhaps animals could be resilient to one bad year. But if you start stacking them up, things could start to get precipitously worse.”

International New York Times
Mar 13, 2016
Created by a company called BioPop, my Dino Pet contains lots of itty bitty dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates are usually ocean-dwelling, single-celled organisms also known as marine plankton. The ones that live in my plastic dinosaur (a Christmas gift) are the latter kind. Shake them just a bit and the transparent creatures become a glow-in-the-dark snow globe.Except that a week after I set my dinosaur up, it still refused to put on its shimmer show. And then upon revisiting the instructions, everything was illuminated: Until now, your dinoflagellates were raised in San Diego, Calif. They’ve been waking up at 5 a.m. and going to bed around 6 p.m. P.S.T. In other words, the dinoflagellates on my night stand in New York had severe jet lag. “They get used to this schedule,” said Dimitri Deheyn, BioPop’s scientific adviser and a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.