Stanford University
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Stanford Earth Matters

Humpback whales lunge feed in Monterey Bay

Whales eat colossal amounts of microplastics

Analysis of ocean plastic pollution and whale foraging behavior tracked with noninvasive tags shows whales are ingesting tiny specks of plastic in far bigger quantities than previously thought, and nearly all of it comes from the animals they eat – not the water they gulp. (Source: Stanford News)

Aquaculture seen in blue water from above

Managing aquaculture for human and planetary health

With demand for fish on the rise, Stanford food security expert Roz Naylor offers a perspective calling attention to the need for greater oversight of growing antimicrobial use that impacts the health of fish, ecosystems, and humans. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)

Scientists in a boat tag a tiger shark in turquoise water

Scientists take a deep dive into how sharks use the ocean

Researchers compiled the largest set of biologging data revealing how 38 species of sharks, rays, and skates move vertically in oceans around the world. (Source: Stanford News)

Sea turtle

Bioindicators for monitoring plastic pollution in the North Pacific Ocean

Key marine species can serve as bioindicators to measure how much plastic exists in different ocean regions. (Source: Stanford News)

Aerial view of coastal mobile home park in Pacifica, Calif.

Researchers reveal add-on benefits of natural defenses against sea-level rise

Researchers modeled how investing in environmental conservation and protection can help San Mateo County adapt to rising seas. The findings provide incentives for policymakers to prioritize nature-based approaches when planning for sea-level rise.

Coral with sunlight

Understanding how sunscreens damage coral

Stanford researchers reveal a mechanism by which oxybenzone, a common sunscreen component, may damage reefs. The surprising findings could help guide the development and marketing of effective, coral-safe sunscreens.

Aerial view of fishing vessels at a pier (external link)

Mapping risks of labor abuse and illegal fishing

A new modeling approach combines machine learning and human insights to map the regions and ports most at risk for illicit practices, like forced labor or illegal catch, and identifies opportunities for mitigating such risks. (Source: Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions)

squid being held underwater

Researchers investigate squid found far from home

California market squid are typically found between Baja California and Monterey Bay. New research details how climate change has likely ushered the creatures north.

Antarctica ice - external link

How fast will Antarctica’s ice sheet melt?

Using autonomous drones and machine-learning models, geophysicist Dustin Schroeder and a multidisciplinary team are working to quickly and efficiently collect ice sheet data that can improve our understanding of melt rates. (Source: Stanford HAI)

Orca whale breaching (external link)

'Predation at the largest scale': Understanding orca whales as apex predators

Stanford whale biologist Jeremy Goldbogen discusses recent documentation of orcas teaming up to take down an adult blue whale – “arguably one of the most dramatic and intense predator-prey interactions on the planet.” (Source: Stanford News)

Aerial view of Ile Anglaise reef

Researchers test physics of coral as an indicator of reef health

New research shows that physics measurements of just a small portion of reef can be used to assess the health of an entire reef system. The findings may help scientists grasp how these important ecosystems will respond to a changing climate.

Humpback whales

Researchers find whales eat more than expected

Research on whale feeding highlights how the precipitous decline of large marine mammals has negatively impacted the health and productivity of ocean ecosystems.

Aden port

Oil spill may put Yemeni health at risk

An oil spill from the FSO Safer could increase cardiovascular and respiratory hospitalizations and disrupt access to food and water for millions of people, researchers predict.

Trilobite fossil

Extinction changes rules of body size evolution

A sweeping analysis of marine fossils from most of the past half-billion years shows the usual rules of body size evolution change during mass extinctions and their recoveries. The discovery is an early step toward predicting how evolution will play out on the other side of the current extinction crisis.

Huntington Beach oil rig

California's oil spill and the challenges of regulating off-shore drilling

Environmental law expert Professor Deborah Sivas discusses the spill off the coast of Southern California and regulations surrounding off-shore oil drilling.


Why extinctions ran amok in ancient oceans, and why they slowed down

A new Stanford University study shows rising oxygen levels may explain why global extinction rates slowed down over the past 541 million years. Below 40 percent of present atmospheric oxygen, ocean dead zones rapidly expand, and extinctions ramp up.

Farming seaweed

Blue food revolution

Hunger, malnutrition and obesity affect billions of people. A first-of-its-kind comprehensive review of the so-called blue foods sector reveals challenges and opportunities for creating a healthier, more sustainable, equitable and resilient global food system.

Fish market in Vietnam

Study suggests rising and shifting demand for seafood by 2050

Humanity is likely to consume more fish and shellfish in the coming decades. Preparing for that future requires better data on the types of fish that people eat, sustainable expansion of aquaculture and improved understanding of the local context for the food on our plates.

Fishing boats external link

Mapping conflicts over marine resources

Scientists Elizabeth Selig and Colette Wabnitz discuss their efforts to systematically map the patterns and drivers of marine resource conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa, and how the work may guide more just management and policy solutions. (Source: Center for Ocean Solutions)

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