Marine Newsletter #24 – December 2011

Highlights from the Marine Programme at GRID-Arendal for December 2011

Featured Project

Launch of Benthic Atlas
The pioneering Seafloor Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat: GeoHAB Atlas of Seafloor Geomorphic Features and Benthic Habitats was released in December.

The volume, edited by  Peter Harris from Geoscience Australia and Elaine Baker from GRID-Arendal, examines the relationship between seabed geomorphology and benthic communities. Two hundred and thirty contributors have constructed 57 case studies of different geomorphic environments, from coastal regions to the deep ocean basins. The case studies combine detailed seabed morphology with benthic biodiversity analysis to yield an integrated picture of the benthic communities that are associated with different types of benthic habitat. The habitat mapping approach, which supports ecosystem based management, is based on principles of biogeography and benthic ecology and seabed (geomorphic) classification schemes. This Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat publication is the first product in an international collaborative 5-year project managed by UNEP/GRID Arendal. It aims to provide tools to support sustainable management of the oceans both within and beyond national jurisdiction, with a focus on benthic environments. 
The 900 page book is available both as a hard copy and as an ebook from Elsevier and ScienceDirect.

For more information, please contact Elaine Baker.

Data and Products

Blue Carbon? There's an app for that!
A free iPhone application, named UNEP Carbon Calculator, was launched 13 December at the official opening of the One UN Pavillion at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi. Developed by GRID-Arendal for UNEP, this application allows users to access information on UNEP’s work on Blue Carbon and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). You can learn about coastal and forest ecosystems that are featured in the application, and calculate the carbon dioxide emissions of your air and road travel in terms of equivalent area in hectares of coastal (seagrass, mangroves, saltmarsh) and terrestrial (tropical humid and miombo) ecosystems. The application also provides information on specific actions that you can take to minimise your carbon footprint and conserve carbon sinks.

The application is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Russian and Spanish, and can be downloaded from the Apple store.

For more information, please contact Steven Lutz.


Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences related to the marine environment where representatives from GRID-Arendal have participated:

  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 17, Durban, South Africa, 28 November-09 December – coordinating the Many Strong Voices presence at the COP, and the launch of the exhibition Portraits of Resilience: Putting a Human Face to Climate Change.
  • Think tank meeting: "Europe and the Global Blue Economy: Oceans, New Frontier, Sustainable Use", Brussels, Belgium, 02 December.
  • 2nd Steering Committee meeting of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)/the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) - UNEP Pacific Marine Minerals and Deep Sea Mining Assessment, Nadi, Fiji, 03-04 December.
  • CBD Joint Expert Meeting on addressing biodiversity concerns in sustainable fishery, Bergen, Norway, 07-09 December.
  • Eye on Earth Summit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 12-15 December – participating in a panel discussion on Blue Carbon as well as organising an international Blue Carbon breakout session and a regional Blue Carbon workshop.
  • Meetings at UNEP's Regional Office for North America, the US State Department, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Bank, Washington D.C., USA, 13-16 December – discussing GRID-Arendal's areas of focus, including Blue Carbon and the Green Economy in a Blue World.

Upcoming events

25-27 January
Manila, Philippines: Third Intergovernmental Review Meeting (IGR-3) on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities. Preceding the IGR-3, a Global Conference on Land-Ocean Connections will be organized 23-24 January to discuss emerging issues and science-policy interlinkages, feeding results into the IGR-3. At the meeting, UNEP will launch its publication Green Economy in a Blue World.
For more information, please contact Christian Neumann.


Did you know that…
…communities of species previously unknown to science have been discovered on the seafloor near Antarctica? The discoveries, made by teams led by the University of Oxford, University of Southampton and British Antarctic Survey, include new species of yeti crab, starfish, barnacles, sea anemones, and potentially an octopus.
Source: EurekAlert
…multibeam sonar, a technology commonly used to map the bottom of the deep ocean, can also detect gas seeps in the water column with remarkably high fidelity? This finding, made onboard the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer in the Gulf of Mexico, will lead to more effective mapping of these gas seeps and, ultimately, enhanced understanding of our ocean environments.
Source: EurekAlert

Picture of the monthMr Steven Lutz launches the UNEP Carbon Calculator iPhone app at the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi.
Photo: Rob Barnes

Our favorite website of the month

Dive and Discover

If you would like your website to be featured here, please contact Rannveig Nilsen.

EarthWire Marine

EarthWire Marine is a free online news service provided by GRID-Arendal. You can get marine environment news e-mailed to you every day or sign up to an RSS feed. Registering is simple. We pledge to protect your privacy, and users can at any time unsubscribe from the service. To subscribe, visit the EarthWire Marine website.

For previous editions of this Marine Newsletter, please visit our Marine Programme website.

GRID-Arendal's Marine Programme wishes you a Happy New Year!


Friday 06 Jan 2012