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Scientists urge ocean drilling observation

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Southampton, England (UPI) May 12, 2011
U.K. scientists say they want more discussion of independent monitoring of the deep-sea oil and gas drilling industry to judge its ecological impact.

While the hydrocarbon industry increasingly searches for oil and gas at much greater depths and develops drilling technology to exploit them, the risks involved are poorly known, scientists writing in the journal Nature said.

"The Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last year and the subsequent discovery of unexpected hydrocarbon accumulation at mid-water depths underscores the need for independent monitoring of the ecological effects in the deep sea," Henry Ruhl of Britain's National Oceanography Center said.

"In the past, the deep sea has been out of sight and all too often out of mind when it comes to the potentially damaging effects of human activities on the ecosystems that it supports," co-author Monty Priede of the University of Aberdeen said.

"If there is a problem on land, noise, fire, smoke and spills give signals that are obvious anyone in the vicinity; in the deep sea there are no human witnesses."

Advances in underwater monitoring equipment mean images and data from the deep seafloor and the overlying water column can now be uploaded studied in real time and made publicly available, the scientists said.

"Scientists need observations to help differentiate natural and human induced changes. Remote sensing could both facilitate sustainable resource use and provide an early warning of potential impacts," Ruhl said.




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Darkness Stifles Reproduction of Surface-Dwelling Fish
Raleigh NC (SPX) May 12, 2011
Fish accustomed to living near the light of the water's surface become proverbial "fish out of water" when they move to dark environments like those found in caves, according to a study from North Carolina State University. In research published this week in Biology Letters, a Royal Society scientific journal, NC State post-doctoral researcher Rudiger Riesch and colleagues found that Atlan ... read more

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