Inbox and Environment News: Issue 395

March 3 - 9, 2019: Issue 395

Clean Up Australia Day 2019

Business Clean Up Day – Tuesday 26 February 2019
Youth and Schools Clean Up Day – Friday 1 March 2019
Clean Up Australia Day – Sunday 3 March 2019

Local Clean Ups - By Postcode

Coasters Retreat, Pittwater
Sunday 03rd March 15:00
Meeting Point: Fire brigade fire shed
Site Supervisor: Wilma Taylor

Kiddies Corner, Palm Beach
Sunday 03rd March 09:00
Meeting Point: On the beach, southern end of Palm Beach off beach road.
Site Supervisor: Carmen Bolton

William Street, Avalon Beach
Sunday 03rd March 08:30 - 11:30
Meeting Point: Eastern end of William St, near track through mangroves.
Site Supervisor: Julie Bennett

Newport  beach
Sunday 03rd March 10:30 - 12:00
Meeting Point: Bert Payne Park bear the surf club
Site Supervisor: Matt James

Elvina Bay, Pittwater 
Saturday 02nd March 12:00
Meeting Point: Elvina Park
Site Supervisor: Melinda Broughton

Fitzpatrick Avenue, Scotland Island
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 13:00
Meeting Point: Cargo Wharf
Site Supervisor: Cass Gye

Lowanna Street, Scotland Island
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 13:00
Meeting Point: Eastern Wharf
Site Supervisor: Cass Gye

Harold Avenue, Scotland Island
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 13:00
Meeting Point: Carols Wharf
Site Supervisor: Cass Gye

Vivian Street, Scotland Island
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 13:00
Meeting Point: Bell Wharf
Site Supervisor: Cass Gye

Elizabeth Park, Scotland Island
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 13:00
Meeting Point: Cargo Wharf
Site Supervisor: Cass Gye

Pitt View Street, Scotland Island
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 13:00
Meeting Point: Tennis Wharf
Site Supervisor: Cass Gye

Pittwater Road, Church Point
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 13:00
Meeting Point: Church Point Ferry Wharf
Site Supervisor: Cass Gye

Bayview Scout Hall and surrounds
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 11:00
Meeting Point: Bayview Scout Hall - come inside, sign up and collect a bag and gloves.
Site Supervisor: Jenny Hermann

Mona Vale Beach, Mona Vale
Sunday 03rd March 10:00 - 12:00
Meeting Point: Meet at the northern end of The Basin on the grass area next to beach.
Site Supervisor: Tina Mollema

Warriewood Beach
Sunday 03rd March 09:30 - 10:00
Meeting Point: Meet at the small timber platform next to the power pole, on the beach beside the car park.
Site Supervisor: Bruce Kelly

Sanctuary Island, Wimbledon Avenue, North Narrabeen
Sunday 03rd March 09:00 - 12:00
Meeting Point: Park at end of Wimbledon Avenue
Site Supervisor: Rick Shires

Waterbirds Of The Northern Beaches Talk

Saturday, 9 March 2019 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
A presentation by Russell Beardmore, local bird expert, of the waterbirds to be found in the Northern Beaches followed by afternoon tea.

Pricing: FREE - no bookings required
Stony Range Regional Botanic Garden
810 Pittwater Rd
Dee Why NSW 

A Survey On Ticks And Wildlife In The Northern Beaches

The University of Sydney is conducting a study to better understand how residents and their pets are encountering ticks and wildlife in their backyards. We invite all Northern Beaches residents to participate in our survey.

Coastal bushland remnants and other green spaces across the Northern Beaches are home to a variety of native plants and animals. They also provide a place for residents to enjoy their favourite outdoor pastimes. Paralysis ticks (Ixodes holocyclus) are common in the Northern Beaches and feed on a wide range of animal hosts during their life cycle. Understanding the complex relationship between ticks and their host species is an essential part of our research. The information we gain will contribute to our growing knowledge of ticks and will guide future research efforts.

We aim to identify:
  • Areas where people are encountering ticks more than others (tick 'hotspots'),
  • Backyard and landscape features that may influence tick presence, and
  • Wildlife using backyards and how this might or might not influence tick occurrence
To meet these aims, it is important for you to provide a street address. If you would prefer not to, we ask that you provide your street name and nearest cross street. It is important for us to create a map of tick encounters to understand what landscape features might influence tick presence and where to target future research.

All identifying information will be removed from any data presentations.

The survey should only take approximately 10 minutes to complete and is voluntary. 

If you have any questions about the project, please contact PhD candidate Casey Taylor on 02 9351 3189 or This project is being undertaken by the University of Sydney in association with Northern Beaches Council.

Your participation is greatly appreciated.

This research has been approved by the University of Sydney Human Ethics committee. (Approval no: 2018/157)

Avalon Boomerang Bags 2019 

WORKSHOPS are held Tuesdays during the school term
at the Avalon Recreation Centre 11.30 - 3.30pm

Everyone is welcome; come for an hour or come for all 4, we'll even provide a cuppa and guaranteed laughs.  Non-sewers also very useful.

Pop in with your excess fabric donations or spare enviro bag donations. We also sell our very handy Boomerang Bag coffee cups, stainless steel drink bottles and other enviro products and of course, our "Bought to Support"  bags. 

NSW Marine Estate Update

February 28, 2019

The Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028, a statewide Strategy, outlines how we can achieve our vision for a healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest wellbeing of the community, now and into the future.

Implementation of the NSW Government’s Marine Estate Management Strategy is well underway. The Strategy coordinates and streamlines the management of the State’s entire coastline – 1,750 km – including 826 beaches and 185 estuaries. Developed with input from key stakeholders and the community, it outlines how we will care for our marine estate and the range of community benefits it provides over the next ten years. The Strategy will be delivered through 53 actions under nine initiatives.

Over $45.7 million will be spent during the first two years. Since August 2018 staff have been working closely with industries, key stakeholders, and partner government agencies involved in the delivery of actions, to plan their projects. A range of innovative projects are now underway that will help to:

  • reduce water pollution and marine litter
  • improve marine and coastal habitats
  • protect Aboriginal cultural values
  • reduce impacts on marine wildlife
  • enhance the social, cultural and economic benefits that everyone derives from the marine estate.


The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) is supporting local governments throughout NSW, to help deliver positive waterway health outcomes using a riskbased approach. The Risk-based Framework for Considering Waterway Health Outcomes in Strategic Land-use Planning Decisions provides a structured approach for decision-makers to help manage the impact of land-use activities on the health of our waterways.

OEH is working with local government to assist them to apply the framework and to strengthen requirements for protecting water quality and waterway health under their local planning instruments. This includes Local Strategic Planning Statements and the ‘LEP Health Check’. The framework will also be used to identify the barriers to improving stormwater management, such as cost-effective delivery of infrastructure.

OEH is also supporting the wider application of the framework by providing data and preparing tools, guidance and practice notes. OEH will be contacting councils in the coming weeks to ensure that these materials and guidelines are developed to meet local needs and expectations.

A key outcome will be a refresh of the NSW Water Quality and River Flow Objectives, which underpin the NSW Government’s policy on water quality.

Polar Law Symposium Call For Presentations 

February 28, 2019:  Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
The 12th Polar Law Symposium, to be held at IMAS in Hobart this December, is now calling for presentations.

This will be the second time the event has been held in Tasmania, following the successful 7th Symposium held in 2014. 

Academics, students and legal practitioners from around the world are expected to attend the symposium, with a wide range of topics for discussion to include: developments in polar law, polar marine resources, climate law, the Antarctic Treaty system, and Asian interests in polar affairs.

IMAS Senior Lecturer Dr Julia Jabour is helping to organise the Symposium in collaboration with the Polar Law Institute (University of Akureyri, Iceland), the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law – Arctic Centre (University of Lapland, Finland), and the University of the Arctic and its Arctic Law Thematic Network(Finland).

Dr Jabour said the Polar Law Symposium is rich with case material from the Arctic and Antarctic that has universal application, particularly for Australia as the Antarctic is a polar region located in our neighbourhood and is a high political responsibility.

“Polar law and policy are becoming increasingly significant as more countries build their research presence in and around the Antarctic to understand climate change, and there's increasing global pressure to access resources like fisheries and minerals in areas like the Poles,” Dr Jabour said.

“To be held from 1 to 4 December, the 2019 event will be just the second time the symposium has been held outside the Northern Hemisphere, both times at IMAS.

“It promotes a healthy exchange of information and ideas, along with valuable networking experiences for a diverse group of people who have few opportunities to meet in person.”

Potential contributors are invited to submit abstracts for oral presentations on one of the nominated symposium themes or a topic of their own choice via the Symposium website.

Indigenous Knowledge Key To A Successful Ecosystem Restoration

February 26, 2019: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Ecological restoration projects actively involving indigenous peoples and local communities are more successful. This is the result of a study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), which places value on indigenous and local knowledge contribution in the restoring of degraded ecosystems, and highlights the need to engage them in these projects for ensuring a long-term maintenance of restored areas.

Indigenous peoples and local communities are affected by global environmental change because they directly rely on their immediate environment to meet basic livelihood needs. Therefore, safeguarding and restoring ecosystem resilience is critical to ensuring their food and health sovereignty and overall well-being. Their vested interest in restoring ecosystems from which they directly benefit and their intimate knowledge of their lands, resources and the dynamics affecting them, position them as key elements in the attainment of the ecological restoration projects goals.

However, the contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities continue to be largely absent in international environmental policy fora, in which biological importance and restoration feasibility are prioritised over local concern.

The study, led by ICREA researcher at ICTA-UAB Victoria Reyes-García, reviews hundreds of instances in which, through traditional practices, indigenous peoples have contributed to managing, adapting and restoring the land, sometimes creating new types of highly biodiverse ecosystems. "There are many examples in which indigenous peoples have taken leadership roles in restoring forests, lakes and rivers, grasslands and drylands, mangroves and reefs, and wetlands degraded by outsiders or climate change, successfully coupling the goals of restoration and increasing participation of local population," explains Victoria Reyes-García.

Traditional practices include anthropogenic burning purposively altering spatial and temporal aspects of habitat heterogeneity to create diversity, waste deposition practices resulting in soil carbon enrichment, rotational swidden cultivation systems able to maintain forest cover and plant diversity, interplanting useful plants in native forests thereby increasing forest diversity, and scattering species-rich hayseed and cleaning meadows to maintain grassland productivity and resilience.

However, the research stresses that not all restoration initiatives engaging indigenous peoples and local communities have been beneficial or successful. "Some campaigns have not successfully involved local communities or impacted afforestation outcomes given the lack of clarity of the policies designed at the central level or the neglect of local interests," says Reyes-García. She highlights that positive outcomes are normally associated with projects in which local communities have been actively involved in co-designing activities, customary institutions have been recognised, and both short-term direct benefits to local population and long-term support of the maintenance of restored areas have been ensured.

Therefore, Victoria Reyes-García advocates that "in order to meet Aichi Target 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity on restoring 15% of globally degraded ecosystems there is a need to increase the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in ecological restoration activities."

Victoria Reyes-García, Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares, Pamela McElwee, Zsolt Molnár, Kinga Öllerer, Sarah J. Wilson, Eduardo S. Brondizio. The contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology, 2019; 27 (1): 3 DOI: 10.1111/rec.12894

Smart Energy Conference & Exhibition 2019

Starts: 8:30am Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Ends: 5:30pm Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Location: International Convention Centre Sydney
14 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, New South Wales 2000

The Smart Energy Conference and Exhibition is one of Australia’s biggest solar, storage and smart energy conference and exhibition.

Powered by the Smart Energy Council – incorporating the Australian Solar Council and Energy Storage Council, this is our 57th annual FREE-TO-ATTEND conference and exhibition.

  • Over 6,000 delegates, 120 exhibitors and partners
  • A showcase of the latest technology, demonstration of new business models and innovation
  • Outstanding knowledge sharing and networking
  • 3 Conference and information sessions with over 100 presenters
  • CPD points for installers

Careel Bay mangrove forest at high tide, rich habitat for fish, crabs and many other invertebrates, and the tiny Mangrove Warbler bird. Grey Mangroves, Avicennia marina, breathe through special roots at low tide, tolerate salt and secrete it on their leaves. Photo by and courtesy PNHA


This May, Pittwater YHA opens its doors to green-hearted and green-thumbed guests who'll save the gorgeous Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park from imminent asparagus fern invasion. Yes, seriously.

Bush Regeneration sees eco-conscious, kind hearted humans restore and rehabilitate the gorgeous, sprawling Aussie bush from its weed-infested, degraded state into a healthy, thriving plant community, which will prosper and delight forevermore. Far from just weed removal; Regenerators focus on habitat, drainage, weed sources and establishing native communities. These are big words which probably don’t make much sense – but we have an interactive learning opportunity for you!

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Sydney’s protected north coast, is home to rock engravings, red ochre rock paintings, the fuzziest wildlife you ever did see and the most breathtaking views a Sydneysider or visitor could comprehend; and is currently under threat from invasive asparagus fern; which needs removing. Who knew your Aunty’s fave veggie could be so aggressive?

The blissed-out, babbling-brooked, spectacular-viewed, fresh-aired oasis that is our Pittwater YHA, alongside the Northern Beaches Council, are offering you fine green-thumbed and hearted folk the opportunity to volunteer alongside professional Regenerators for a weekend of Pittwater Restoration from May 3 - 5, 2019. Spend two mornings of tending to the gorgeous surrounds and you’ll be rewarded with two nights’ accommodation, two days of meals (morning teas, BBQ lunches and evening dinners) and kayak use throughout your stay. Plus, you’ll be chuffed with yourself for doing your bit for the planet and our futures.  

Along with your towels, two sheets, a pillowcase and, sturdy shoes, sunscreen and your breakfasts; you’ll need a $20 contribution for the weekend. For all the T&Cs; head to Pittwater YHA, shoot them an email (Subject: 'Bush Regeneration Weekend') or give them a ring on (02 9999-5748) – the only thing those guys love more than a regenerated bushland is chatting to ladies and gentleman who are keen on the idea!  

Antarctic Researcher's Rare View Of An Ice Shelf Calving  

February 2019
Antarctic researchers from the University of Tasmania this month enjoyed a front row seat as a segment of the Sørsdal Glacier ice shelf - six kilometres long and up to a kilometre wide - broke off into the Southern Ocean.

Known as calving, the event was monitored by researchers from the Australian Research Council funded Antarctic Gateway Partnership (AGP), who were in the East Antarctic area for test deployments of the University’s world-leading polar Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), built by International Submarine Engineering and named nupiri muka.

nupiri muka had explored underneath the ice shelf before the calving, which was a first for Australian Antarctic research.

AGP marine glaciologist Dr David Gwyther, who witnessed the event, said the observation of the calving was significant for research into the impact of Antarctic ice mass loss on sea-level rise. 

Image: the widening crack on the southern edge of the glacier as it calves. Credit: David Gwyther

“This event was unique because we were able to use the AUV to map the under-ice environment before the calving event,” Dr Gwyther said.

“We were also able to extensively document the ice shelf region pre- and post-calving with both aerial and on-water photography, and to correlate the images with satellite imagery.

“While this particular event was not large compared to other recent ice shelf calving in West Antarctica, the detailed observations we’ve collected on this calving event will help us to better understand future changes to ice shelves.
“Ice shelf calving itself is a natural phenomenon, however the frequency of these events is predicted to increase with climate change.

“As such, this event will provide an invaluable baseline against which we can assess future changes,” Dr Gwyther said.

Back in Hobart, IMAS PhD student Eleri Evans had been using satellite images to monitor a trough at the tip of the Sørsdal Glacier ice shelf since December last year as it appeared a likely site for a calving event. 

Landsat satellite image, shows a crack parallel with the left edge of the ice shelf prior to calving. Credit: Eleri Evans

“The data from the photographic images taken at the site will be critical to improving our understanding of how the Sørsdal Glacier produces icebergs,” Ms Evans said.

“It’s uncommon for this level of observation to be made of an Antarctic calving event.

“In Greenland, videos of calving are commonplace because the mechanisms are different and icebergs may break off multiple times a day from the outlet glaciers there.

“But in Antarctica different mechanisms are involved, reducing the production of the larger tabular-style icebergs, and the remoteness of these ice shelves means there are very few cases where this level of observation has been possible.

“It was just perfect timing that the researchers were there to capture the lead up to the calving event as well as its aftermath,” Ms Evans said. 

Image: flat topped icebergs created by the calving. Credit: David Gwyther.

Associate Professor Guy Williams from the Australian Maritime College’s Autonomous Maritime Systems Laboratory said the AUV had been deployed to the Sørsdal Glacier to develop its under-ice capability for future scientific missions to larger, globally significant ice shelves.

“The ease of access of the Sørsdal from the Australian Antarctic Division’s Davis research station provided a valuable test bed for nupiri muka’s first polar missions, in particular its first time beneath an ice shelf.

“nupiri muka collects a range of data that allows scientists to map the seafloor and under-ice topography while at the same time recording water temperature, salinity and currents, exploring the oceanography driving ice sheet change.

“This campaign has successfully demonstrated the unique capabilities that nupiri muka provides and provided an important proving ground for the methodologies that will drive many years of future scientific AUV exploration,” Associate Professor Williams said. 

The AUV team at Davis research station.

New Clue In Jade Iceberg Mystery

February 27, 2918: Australian Antarctic Division
Antarctic researchers have a new hypothesis that could solve the century-old mystery of why some icebergs are green.

Icebergs are normally white or blue, but sailors and explorers to Antarctica since the early 1900s have reported sightings of lustrous jade and emerald green icebergs in parts of the Southern Ocean.

Tests on ice samples collected from underneath the Amery Ice Shelf suggest that iron oxides in seawater are the likely the explanation for these rare, frozen curiosities.

The research, led by Professor Steve Warren from the University of Washington, has been published in the journal JGR Oceans, and includes Australian Antarctic Division Glaciologist, Dr Mark Curran, as a co-author.

Dr Curran said the study suggests that the unique colour of the icebergs is the result of yellow-tinted iron oxide in seawater combining with the crystalline blue of the ice, to produce the distinctive jade green.

A striped jade iceberg sculpted by wind and wave action. (Photo: Steve Nicol)

“I first saw one of these intriguing icebergs from the deck of the Aurora Australis in Prydz Bay in 1992, and no one could tell me what caused the colour,” Dr Curran said.

“It's a question that has intrigued many seagoing Antarctic scientists and explorers over the years, and so it was a real honour to play a part in this fascinating piece of research.”

The most commonly sighted Antarctic icebergs are made from glacial ice, which is fresh water from the snow that falls on the Antarctic plateau and becomes compacted over thousands of years.

Jade icebergs are formed under very different conditions, when mineral-rich seawater freezes to the underside of an ice shelf in layers, then eventually breaks off and floats away.

These jade bergs contain layers of the pure blue-white ice from the glacier and greener ice below, formed from frozen seawater. Some icebergs of blue glacial ice contain green stripes of marine ice, formed by seawater freezing up into basal crevasses.

A number of theories have previously been put forward about why frozen seawater turns such a remarkable shade of green, including the presence of dead phytoplankton or dissolved organic carbon. The researchers found that these materials were not present in large enough amounts to explain the colour.

The scientists also believe that these mineral-rich ice blocks could play a role in promoting biological activity in the Southern Ocean, by transporting nutrients to areas where iron is in short supply.

Iron is an essential trace nutrient for the growth of marine phytoplankton, which are the tiny plants at the base of the Antarctic food web.

The research is based on iron measurements published in 2016 by Laura Herraiz-Borreguero of CSIRO, Professor Delphine Lannuzel of the University of Tasmania's Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and their colleagues.  

A grounded jade iceberg surrounded by sea ice (Photo: Doug McVeigh)

More information

Climate Link Between Krill And Whale Populations Uncovered

February 27, 2019: CSIRO
The abundance of krill could influence future whale populations in the Southern Hemisphere such as Blue, Southern Right and Fin whales, according to new research from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and the University of Queensland.

The impact of whaling from last century pushed many whale species almost to extinction, with some species still below their pre-whaling numbers.

The findings highlight the importance of krill populations to assist recovery of whale populations.

Scientist Dr Viv Tulloch, who led the study, said this was the first time scientists had been able to link climate change to the future abundance of krill and how this could influence whale populations in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Krill is the main food source for whales, so we linked possible changes to krill levels in our southern oceans based on high carbon emissions predictions to whale populations in these areas," Dr Tulloch said. 

"We found that the impacts on whale species could differ, depending on the region and where they feed.

"Whale populations in the Pacific Ocean, particularly Blue, Southern Right and Fin whales, could have less krill to feed on than those found in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans."

CSIRO's Model of Intermediate Complexity for Ecosystem Assessment, known as MICE, was used to predict these future scenarios using data on ocean temperature, primary productivity and sea-ice.

CSIRO senior scientist and co-author of the paper Dr Éva Plagányi said the research highlighted how a changing marine environment such as increases in ocean temperatures could affect krill, and its importance for ongoing whale recovery.

"Our modelling took into consideration the slow population growth rates of whales, the connection between life history and water temperatures, and dependency on prey to highlight the need for ongoing protection of already depleted whale populations," Dr Plagányi said

View the Global Change Biology paper, Future recovery of baleen whales is imperilled by climate change

This paper builds on a previous paper, Ecosystem modelling to quantify the impact of historical whaling on Southern Hemisphere baleen whales, published in Fish and Fisheries, to provide more information on Southern Hemisphere whale recovery.

For the first time, scientists have linked climate change to krill levels and how this will affect whale populations across the Southern Hemisphere, including humpbacks, blue and minke whales.  © Humberto Braojos

Archie's Pittwater Clean Up

My name is Archie Mandin 
I am a Seabin Ambassador, I started this campaign because I want to take a stand against ocean plastics!

My goal is to raise enough money to bring a minimum of 20 Seabins to Pittwater NSW as I want to give The Northern Beaches the opportunity to reduce its plastic pollution impact on the ocean. Its amazing how much accidental rubbish comes down our creeks and into our waterways 

I need your help to raise money to buy the Seabins a revolutionary ocean cleaning technology which is essentially a floating rubbish bin that operates 24/7 catching all floating debris in the water.

The Seabin helps clean the ocean of floating debris which in turn creates cleaner oceans and we all benefit from this in one way or another. I mean, who really wants to swim in pollution? Not me that’s for sure!

Did you know that 300 million tons of plastic are produced in the world every year, half of which is for single use products, from this more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. We need to do something about it and now with the purchase of a Seabin we can all participate and make a difference! 

Join me and my campaign to help ensure cleaner oceans!

What’s a Seabin? 
The Seabin is a floating rubbish bin that is located in the water at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports.

The Seabin can catch an average of 3.9kgs of floating debris per day which adds up to 1.4 tons per year. (depending on weather conditions and debris volumes) The Seabins is catching large plastic bags, bottles, plastic straws, coffee cups, food wrappers, surface oils and micro plastics down to 2 mm small. 

How can a Seabin contribute to cleaner oceans?
The Seabin contributes to cleaner oceans by removing 1.4 tons of floating debris per unit per year. The location of the Seabin in marinas is ideal and where it matters most, close to the source of entry for floating debris. Ports and Marinas are perfect locations to stop floating debris from entering the open ocean and ocean plastics are also brought in by wind and currents.

Are the Seabins a danger to marine life?
The fish According to the team at Seabin, stay away from the surface of the water where the Seabin sucks in the water. They are deterred by the force of the water current. If there are swarms of jellyfish or bait fish it is recommended that the Seabins are turned off until the swarms pass. If a fish was to accidentally go into the Seabin, it would be caught in the Seabin and stay submerged in water until the marina staff retrieve the filter and throw the fish still alive back into the water.

How does it work? 
Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin, with a submersible water pump capable of displacing 25.000 LPH (liters per hour). The water is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag to be disposed of properly.

Who is responsible for the Seabin?
This is the best part of it all, the marina will be the one responsible for the upkeep of the Seabins and also they will be paying for the energy consumption of the Seabin which is around $2 - $3 a day.

The marina enjoys a cleaner marina and the rest of us and the marine life enjoy cleaner oceans with less floating debris polluting our oceans!

Seabins part of a whole solution
Seabins whole solution is Technology, Education, Science, Research and Community. The reason for this is that Technology alone is not the solution to stopping ocean plastics, education is the real solution.

Great! Can our local community be involved also?
Yes! The team at Seabin have interactive programs and lessons designed for schools, community and youth to interact with the Seabins and have over 2000 school students engaged around the world, this is something that we can do locally also with support from the team at Seabin Project.

What will we be doing if we participate in these programs?
You would be joining an international community contributing important data and feedback on ocean plastics to the Seabin central data base. Renowned scientists, universities and environmental agencies are all a part of the programs also.

The lessons range from identifying ocean plastics to data collection of what the Seabins are catching weekly. The data collection is a very easy activity and where we can all see the measurable impact of debris the Seabins are taking out of the water in all weather conditions.

It’s as simple as counting how many plastic bags, plastic particles, food wrappers and then noting it down on a spreadsheet or app. Weather conditions and location information is also entered into the data base.

How can you help our campaign and make a difference in the world?
Every contribution to this crowdfunding campaign helps, be it $1 or $50 dollars, it all adds up and bring us closer to our goal.

Even if you cannot afford a donation, please help by sharing this campaign with your friends and family on social media. The more people that know about the campaign the better!

Thanks everyone for taking the time to check out our campaign!



Seabin Project FAQs

Q: Can someone pay out the crowdfunding campaign goal?
A: Yes! We need help! The more money we can raise, the more Seabins we can buy. 

Q: Why crowdfund a Seabin?
A: Until now, the Seabins were not for the everyday person to purchase because marinas ports and yacht clubs are the target market for Seabin Group. This is a way where everyday people can give something back to the oceans.  

Q: How do Seabins work in tidal areas?
A: Seabins at present are designed for floating docks and pontoons. The Seabins move up and down with the tide on the floating dock.

 Q. How are the pumps run? 
A. The pumps are currently electric, and around $2-$3 a day to run.

Q: When are the Seabins available?
A: Depending on your countries location, Seabins will be available Feb 2019.

Q: Do any fish get sucked into the Seabins? What about smaller marine life?
A: There is a possibility of fish to enter the Seabins, however in the last 2 years of development, the Seabins have only caught a handful of small bait fish. Most of which have been thrown back into the water alive. The fish simply stay away from the flow of water entering the Seabin and with the current fine tuning of the Seabin, the risk is now minimal.

Q: I don’t have any money to donate, how can I help?
A: Don’t worry! Your amazing anyways and thanks for even contacting us. We need help to share this project around with any media we can. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, websites, bloggers. Also with newspapers, magazines, tv, radio and journalists. Also friends and family!
Crosswaves - Newport Reef

New Microfluidics Device Can Detect Cancer Cells In Blood

February 25, 2019
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Queensland University of Technology of Australia, have developed a device that can isolate individual cancer cells from patient blood samples. The microfluidic device works by separating the various cell types found in blood by their size. The device may one day enable rapid, cheap liquid biopsies to help detect cancer and develop targeted treatment plans. The findings are reported in the journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering.

"This new microfluidics chip lets us separate cancer cells from whole blood or minimally-diluted blood," said Ian Papautsky, the Richard and Loan Hill Professor of Bioengineering in the UIC College of Engineering and corresponding author on the paper. "While devices for detecting cancer cells circulating in the blood are becoming available, most are relatively expensive and are out of reach of many research labs or hospitals. Our device is cheap, and doesn't require much specimen preparation or dilution, making it fast and easy to use."

The ability to successfully isolate cancer cells is a crucial step in enabling liquid biopsy where cancer could be detected through a simple blood draw. This would eliminate the discomfort and cost of tissue biopsies which use needles or surgical procedures as part of cancer diagnosis. Liquid biopsy could also be useful in tracking the efficacy of chemotherapy over the course of time, and for detecting cancer in organs difficult to access through traditional biopsy techniques, including the brain and lungs.

However, isolating circulating tumor cells from the blood is no easy task, since they are present in extremely small quantities. For many cancers, circulating cells are present at levels close to one per 1 billion blood cells. "A 7.5-milliliter tube of blood, which is a typical volume for a blood draw, might have ten cancer cells and 35-40 billion blood cells," said Papautsky. "So we are really looking for a needle in a haystack."

Microfluidic technologies present an alternative to traditional methods of cell detection in fluids. These devices either use markers to capture targeted cells as they float by, or they take advantage of the physical properties of targeted cells -- mainly size -- to separate them from other cells present in fluids.

Papautsky and his colleagues developed a device that uses size to separate tumor cells from blood. "Using size differences to separate cell types within a fluid is much easier than affinity separation which uses 'sticky' tags that capture the right cell type as it goes by," said Papautsky. "Affinity separation also requires a lot of advanced purification work which size separation techniques don't need."

The device Papautsky and his colleagues developed capitalizes on the phenomena of inertial migration and shear-induced diffusion to separate cancer cells from blood as it passes through 'microchannels' formed in plastic. "We are still investigating the physics behind these phenomena and their interplay in the device, but it separates cells based on tiny differences in size which dictate the cell's attraction to various locations within a column of liquid as it moves."

Papautsky and his colleagues 'spiked' 5-milliliter samples of healthy blood with 10 small-cell-lung cancer cells and then ran the blood through their device. They were able to recover 93 percent of the cancer cells using the microfluidic device. Previously-developed microfluidics devices designed to separate circulating tumor cells from blood had recovery rates between 50 percent and 80 percent.

When they ran eight samples of blood taken from patients diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer, they were able to separate cancer cells from six of the samples using the microfluidic device.

In addition to the high efficiency and reliability of the devices, Papautsky said the fact that little dilution is needed is another plus. "Without having to dilute, the time to run samples is shorter and so is preparation time." They used whole blood in their experiments as well as blood diluted just three times, which is low compared to other protocols for cell separation using devices based on inertial migration.

Papautsky and colleague Dr. Alicia Hubert, assistant professor of surgery in the UIC College of Medicine, recently received a $125,000, one-year grant from the University of Illinois Cancer Center to develop a microfluidics device that can separate out circulating tumor cells as well as detect DNA from cancer cells in blood from lung cancer patients. They will use blood from patients being seen at the University of Illinois Cancer Center to test the efficacy of their prototype device.

Jian Zhou, Arutha Kulasinghe, Amanda Bogseth, Ken O’Byrne, Chamindie Punyadeera, Ian Papautsky. Isolation of circulating tumor cells in non-small-cell-lung-cancer patients using a multi-flow microfluidic channel. Microsystems & Nanoengineering, 2019; 5 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41378-019-0045-6

Diagram shows how the microfluidics device separates cancer cells from blood. The green circles represent cancer cells. Credit: Ian Papautsky

Improved Treatment After Pregnancy Complicated By High Blood Pressure: World-First Study Launched

A new study launched last month at St George Hospital will trial the best follow-up and lifestyle behaviour change strategies for women and their babies after experiencing a hypertensive disorder (high blood pressure) during pregnancy.

About one in 10 women in Australia have a hypertensive pregnancy, which equates to approximately 30,000 women affected annually.

Hypertensive disorders include preeclampsia, gestational hypertension or chronic hypertension.

The world-first study is aiming to recruit 500 women, and will be performed at five hospitals across Sydney including St George Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Women, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Liverpool Hospital and Campbelltown Hospital.

Study Chief Investigator, Dr Amanda Henry, Obstetrician, St George Hospital and Senior Lecturer, School of Women’s and Children’s Health, UNSW Sydney, said women who experience a hypertensive pregnancy were at increased risk of long-term health problems.

“Many studies have demonstrated that although blood pressure will return to normal for most women after a hypertensive pregnancy, they have at least double the long-term risk of heart attack, stroke and developing diabetes, and triple the risk of chronic high blood pressure, compared to women who had an uncomplicated pregnancy,” Dr Henry said.

“However, it is unknown whether monitoring or treatments in the first few years after a hypertensive pregnancy can improve health risks or outcomes for either a mother or her baby.

“The Blood Pressure Postpartum Study – or BP2 – is aiming to answer that question by trialling different methods of follow up and encouraging a healthy lifestyle after a hypertensive pregnancy,” Dr Henry said.

Study participants will be assigned one of three pathways for ongoing care, including follow up with a GP, attending a postpartum clinic or participating in a lifestyle program.

Women and their babies will return to the hospital where they gave birth for further follow up and assessment six months after birth, and then at annual intervals from when their baby turns one.

“The study methods being investigated differ from the standard treatment offered after a woman has a hypertensive pregnancy because they include structured, consistent information packages, education tools and a specific hospital postpartum clinic for women,” Dr Henry said.

“Currently, few women receive appropriate follow-up, counselling or tools to support their long-term health. 

“Because pregnancy identifies a group of relatively young women at higher risk of heart disease, our team of researchers are hopeful the study will identify effective interventions that can improve the future health of thousands of Australian women,” Dr Henry said.

BP2 is funded by the NSW Health Translational Research Grants Scheme, and is supported by the NSW Health Get Healthy Service.

Study partners include the Heart Foundation and patient advocacy group Australian Action on Preeclampsia (AAPEC).

This study is supported by the NSW Health Translational Research Grants Scheme which has provided funding of $632,843 over two years, starting in July 2018.

For further information about BP2, please contact Lynne Roberts, Study Coordinator, on: 02 9113 2117 or email

THC Found More Important For Therapeutic Effects In Cannabis Than Originally Thought

February 26, 2019: University of New Mexico
Researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) recently solved a major gap in scientific literature by using mobile software technology to measure the real-time effects of actual cannabis-based products used by millions of people every day.

Contrary to popular media-reports and scientific dogma, the psychoactive chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol or "THC," showed the strongest correlation with therapeutic relief and far less evidence for the benefits of relying on the more socially acceptable chemical, cannabidiol or "CBD."

In a new study titled, "The Association between Cannabis Product Characteristics and Symptom Relief," published in the journal Scientific Reports, UNM researchers Sarah See Stith, assistant professor in the Department of Economics, and Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, found that THC and CBD contents were the most important factor for optimizing symptom relief for a wide variety of health conditions.

The findings were based on the largest database of real-time measurements of the effects of cannabis in the United States, collected with the ReleafApp, developed by co-authors Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling and Branden Hall.

Since its release in 2016, the commercially developed ReleafApp has been the only publicly available, incentive-free app for educating patients on how their type of product (e.g., flower or concentrate), combustion method, cannabis subspecies (indica, sativa, and hybrid), and major cannabinoid contents (THC and CBD) affect their symptom severity levels, essentially providing invaluable user feedback on their health status, medication choices, and the clinical outcomes of those choices as measured by symptom relief and side effects.

The study aimed to address the practical questions of knowing how fundamental characteristics of currently available and frequently used cannabis products, characteristics that often influence consumer choices, affect health symptom intensity levels. The average patient, across the roughly 20,000 measured user sessions and 27 measured symptom categories ranging from depression to seizure activity, showed an immediate symptom improvement of 3.5 points on a 0-10 scale. Dried flower was the most commonly used product and generally associated with greater symptom improvement than other types of products.

Cannabis is rapidly gaining popularity as a mid-level analgesic and promising substitute for prescription opioids and other classes of medications, which often carry undesirable side effects, dangerous drug interactions and risk of death. Presently, federal barriers restrict researchers from conducting cannabis administration studies in the U.S.

"We were able to fill the most significant absence in the previous medical literature, understanding the 'efficacy, dose, routes of administration, or side effects of commonly used and commercially available cannabis products in the United States,'" said Vigil, quoting from the recently released report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana.

By studying products containing both THC and CBD, the authors were able to analyze the relative importance of these cannabinoids for symptom relief and side effect prevalence, advancing previous research examining either chemical in the absence of the other. One of the most striking patterns in the current results was that THC was generally associated with a more intense user experience, as measured by symptom relief and the prevalence of both positive and negative side effects.

"Despite the conventional wisdom, both in the popular press and much of the scientific community that only CBD has medical benefits while THC merely makes one high, our results suggest that THC may be more important than CBD in generating therapeutic benefits. In our study, CBD appears to have little effect at all, while THC generates measurable improvements in symptom relief. These findings justify the immediate de-scheduling of all types of cannabis, in addition to hemp, so that cannabis with THC can be more widely accessible for pharmaceutical use by the general public," said Vigil.

"More broadly understanding the relationship between product characteristics and patient outcomes is particularly important given the lack of medical guidance received by medical cannabis patients," said Stith. "Most receive only a referral for cannabis treatment from their healthcare provider with all other treatment advice coming from prior recreational experience, the internet, social interactions, and/or often minimally trained personnel working in dispensaries.

"This is very different from how patients receive treatment using conventional pharmaceuticals that come with clear dosing instructions and a standardized, uniform product," she added.

The authors caution that cannabis use does carry the risks of addiction and short-term impairments in cognitive and behavioral functioning, and may not be effective for everyone.

"However, I have seen many people use it as a primary medication for a full spectrum of health conditions as part of their broader desire to gain more control over their healthcare treatment," says Vigil, a perspective that seems to gaining momentum as cannabis appears to be re-emerging as one of the most widely used medications in the U.S.

This investigation was supported in part by public donations to the University of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Research.

Sarah S. Stith, Jacob M. Vigil, Franco Brockelman, Keenan Keeling, Branden Hall. The Association between Cannabis Product Characteristics and Symptom Relief. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39462-1

Death Rates In People On The Autism Spectrum Twice Those Of The General Population: New Research

February 26, 2019: Isabelle Dubach, UNSW
People on the autism spectrum have elevated mortality across the lifespan – their overall comparative mortality rate is about twice that of the general population, a new study reveals.

The comparative mortality of people with autism spectrum disorder is twice that of the general population, an Australian-first study by a UNSW PhD student and her supervisors has found. The researchers call for a whole of health and disability systems response to this issue to improve outcomes for this group.

In the big data study, the researchers analysed large linked datasets on death rates, risk factors and cause of death of 36,000 people on the autism spectrum in NSW. The results are published today in a leading academic journal in the field, Autism Research. The study was funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC).

“Our key finding is that people on the autism spectrum have elevated mortality across the lifespan – their overall comparative mortality rate is about twice that of the general population,” says Professor Julian Trollor from UNSW Medicine and Chair, Intellectual Disability Mental Health.

“This is, of course, of great concern. While we only looked at NSW data, we’d expect to find the same patterns nationally.

"It’s important to note the results do not point to elevated mortality for autistic people as a result of their being on the spectrum. Rather, the results indicate there needs to be a greater understanding of autism and co-occuring conditions within the health services sector, and that more equitable access to health services needs to be a priority for government and health service providers.”

The study also identified factors that influence mortality risk.

“Risk of death was associated with autistic people’s health needs – people with co-occuring conditions such as chronic physical illness, epilepsy and mental health conditions were at a higher risk of death. People who also had an intellectual disability had a higher risk, too.

“These insights are helpful because targeted strategies can be developed for those at higher risk.

“Unexpectedly, and different to the general population, we didn’t find demographic factors such as gender and socioeconomic status to be predictors of risk of death.”

The team also found that the top causes of death were different for people on the autism spectrum.

“While the top causes of death in the general population were cancer and circulatory diseases, for people on the spectrum we found that injury and poisoning – which includes accidents, suicide and deaths related to self-harm – was the single biggest cause of death, with nervous system and sense disorders (such as epilepsy) a close second,” Professor Trollor says.

“Combined with the information about mental health being a risk factor for death, the higher proportion of deaths from injury and poisoning may point to unmet mental health needs that this group is experiencing. Overall the high risk of death in people on the autism spectrum is a troubling indicator of the range of health inequalities experienced by this population.”

Andrew Davis, Autism CRC CEO, says the data will be invaluable in helping create strategies to improve health services and outcomes for people on the autism spectrum.

“We generally don’t have a lot of data on mortality rates, risk factors and cause of death in people on the autism spectrum – this piece of work is the first known use of large linked datasets to investigate mortality and cause of death for people on the autism spectrum in Australia,” Andrew Davis says.

“This is an issue, as understanding the drivers of excess mortality is important for those on the spectrum – and for those who support them, such as family members, health professionals and policymakers. This is particularly important where the deaths may be preventable,” he says.

Autistic health advocate Kathy Isaacs says this study highlights that Australia needs to take immediate action to address the health inequalities experienced by autistic Australians.

“The results of this study should serve as a call to action for government and health service providers. Every single Australian deserves health care that is both readily accessible and accommodating of their individual needs, but this study confirms the sense within the autistic community that this is not what is happening – for this group in NSW, and for autistic Australians,” Ms Isaacs says.

The findings highlight the urgent need for better management of physical and mental health conditions, for health promotion that is responsive to the needs of those on the autism spectrum – and the importance of implementing better assessment, diagnosis and documentation of the needs of older adults on the autism spectrum, Ms Isaacs says.

“We need a comprehensive health and disability service response to this issue – a national autism strategy implemented at a high level and involving the entire system. We must train health practitioners right from an undergraduate level, and support a cultural shift which will ensure that autistic people are enabled to access health care more safely and effectively.

“From a broader perspective, we need to ensure that all of our system-level health promotion and preventative health programs are accessible, that the bare minimum goal of autism awareness is met for all staff, and finally, that people on the spectrum are consulted and involved at all stages of health policy development,” Ms Isaacs says.

The team members say they now want to take the analysis of the data further.

“We'd like to be able to take this data and work back to understand the broader health requirements and unmet needs of this group. More resources would allow us to analyse health service use, health conditions and outcomes of people on the autism spectrum – not just focusing on death but also on overall health and pathways,” Professor Trollor concludes.

Anyone seeking support and information about mental health can contact beyondblue on 1300 22 46 36. If you are experiencing distress and need crisis support, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or the Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

Boost For Australian Grain Industry

February 25, 2019: La Trobe University
New findings from research by La Trobe University and CSIRO made possible with GRDC investment could lead to a significant increase in the Australian wheat crop yield -- adding potentially around $1.8 billion to the national economy and improving global food security.

Published today in Nature Climate Change, the research has found that Australian wheat crop yields could be substantially increased by early sowing of winter wheats -- despite recent declines in autumn rainfall caused by climate change.

The time at which grain crops flower is critical to yield and lead La Trobe researcher Dr James Hunt said that a sharp decline in autumn rainfall in south eastern Australia since the 1990s has led to a significant reduction in wheat crop yields, in part because the crops are being established and flowering too late.

"A combination of less reliable season opening rains and hot and dry springs has led to a stagnation in national wheat crop yields," Dr Hunt said.

"The approach Australian growers have used for more than a century -- of sowing spring wheats sometime in late May or June following autumn rains is no longer reliable. Growers have been able to increase yields by pushing sowing into a narrow window in early May -- but this is getting harder to achieve."

For the past seven years, the research team has been investigating alternatives to the sowing of spring wheats in May and has discovered that sowing winter wheats from March increases the window of opportunity for sowing because it potentially uses stored soil water from summer rains, which haven't declined and have increased in some areas.

"We needed to find a genotype of wheat in which development is slowed so that sowing could be moved earlier but flowering still occur during the optimal window," Dr Hunt said.

"This needed to be slowed either by slower flowering caused by short days (photoperiod) or through the need to experience cold winter weather (vernalisation)."

The research team used almost genetically identical (near-isogenic) lines of wheat developed by Dr Ben Trevaskis at CSIRO that varied in vernalisation and photoperiod sensitivity to evaluate the yield performance at sowing times much earlier than previously researched.

They discovered that one of the wheat lines, never widely used or tested before in Australia, has a novel 'fast' winter development pattern.

"Winter wheats are mostly grown in high latitude environments with very cold winters such as northern Europe and are too slow for Australian conditions," Dr Hunt said.

"However, we found that in the Mediterranean environments of the southern and western wheat belt, where most of the wheat in Australia is grown, the fast winter line sown early (up to 40 days earlier than traditional sowing times) could yield as well as or better than the fast spring sown at its optimal time.

"And in the temperate regions of south eastern Australia, a mid-winter line (development slowed by both vernalisation and photoperiod) sown up to 40 days earlier yielded as well as the fast spring sown at its optimal time."

The research team then used crop simulation to estimate what growers adopting one of these lines might mean for farm yields.

"We found that national yields could increase by 0.54 tonnes per hectare, which is about 20 per cent of the current national yield," Dr Hunt said.

"This would produce an additional 7.1 million tonnes of wheat worth up to $1.8 billion to the national economy.

"If appropriate winter cultivars can be bred for Australian growers, farm yields will be increased with little additional investment by growers required.

CSIRO Chief Research Scientist Dr John Kirkegaard said the research by Dr Hunt and the CSIRO team is a remarkable example of multidisciplinary crop genetics and agronomy teams working together to drive productivity gains on-farm in the face of a changing climate.

"Further gains are likely as ongoing research optimises the approach regionally, and it moves into other crops," Dr Kirkegaard said.

The next step is in breeding appropriate winter cultivars and making them available to growers. As a result of this research, a number of cultivars have been developed by commercial breeding companies and are under evaluation in trials across lower rainfall areas of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

Andrew Etherton, GRDC Manager, Farming Systems and Agronomy -- Southern Region can see the agronomic advantages of incorporating these optimised cultivars in to current systems.

"The outcomes from this research conducted in the lower rainfall zones will deliver new wheat varieties to growers in these regions, providing different phenology options, allowing timely seeding and matching of plant flowering times to maximise yield potentials."

James R. Hunt, Julianne M. Lilley, Ben Trevaskis, Bonnie M. Flohr, Allan Peake, Andrew Fletcher, Alexander B. Zwart, David Gobbett, John A. Kirkegaard. Early sowing systems can boost Australian wheat yields despite recent climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2019; 9 (3): 244 DOI: 10.1038/s41558-019-0417-9

Ancient Rocks Provide Clues To Earth's Early History

February 25, 2019
Oxygen in the form of the oxygen molecule (O2), produced by plants and vital for animals, is thankfully abundant in Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Researchers studying the history of O2 on Earth, however, know that it was relatively scarce for much of our planet's 4.6 billion-year existence.

So when and where did O2 begin to build up on Earth?

By studying ancient rocks, researchers have determined that sometime between 2.5 and 2.3 billion years ago, Earth underwent what scientists call the "Great Oxidation Event" or "GOE" for short. O2 first accumulated in Earth's atmosphere at this time and has been present ever since.

Through numerous studies in this field of research, however, evidence has emerged that there were minor amounts of O2 in small areas of Earth's ancient shallow oceans before the GOE. And in a study published recently in the journal Nature Geoscience, a research team led by scientists at Arizona State University (ASU) has provided compelling evidence for significant ocean oxygenation before the GOE, on a larger scale and to greater depths than previously recognized.

For this study, the team targeted a set of 2.5 billion-year-old marine sedimentary rocks from Western Australia known as the Mt. McRae Shale. "These rocks were perfect for our study because they were shown previously to have been deposited during an anomalous oxygenation episode before the Great Oxidation Event," says lead author Chadlin Ostrander of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Shales are sedimentary rocks that were, at some time in Earth's past, deposited on the sea floor of ancient oceans. In some cases, these shales contain the chemical fingerprints of the ancient oceans they were deposited in.

For this research, Ostrander dissolved shale samples and separated elements of interest in a clean lab, then measured isotopic compositions on a mass spectrometer. This process was completed with the help of co-authors Sune Nielsen at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Massachusetts); Jeremy Owens at Florida State University; Brian Kendall at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada); scientists Gwyneth Gordon and Stephen Romaniello of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration; and Ariel Anbar of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Molecular Sciences. Data collection took over a year and utilized facilities at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Florida State University, and ASU.

Using mass spectrometers, the team measured the thallium and molybdenum isotope compositions of the Mt. McRae Shale. This was the first time both isotope systems had been measured in the same set of shale samples. As hypothesized, a predictable thallium and molybdenum isotope pattern emerged, indicating that manganese oxide minerals were being buried in the sea floor over large regions of the ancient ocean. For this burial to occur, O2 needed to have been present all the way down to the sea floor 2.5 billion-years-ago.

These findings improve scientists' understanding of Earth's ocean oxygenation history. Accumulation of O2 was probably not restricted to small portions of the surface ocean prior to the GOE. More likely, O2 accumulation extended over large regions of the ocean and extended far into the ocean's depths. In some of these areas, O2 accumulation seems to have even extended all the way down to the sea floor.

"Our discovery forces us to re-think the initial oxygenation of Earth," states Ostrander. "Many lines of evidence suggest that O2 started to accumulate in Earth's atmosphere after about 2.5 billion years ago during the GOE. However, it is now apparent that Earth's initial oxygenation is a story rooted in the ocean. O2 probably accumulated in Earth's oceans -- to significant levels, according to our data -- well before doing so in the atmosphere."

"Now that we know when and where O2 began to build up, the next question is why" says ASU President's Professor and co-author Anbar. "We think that bacteria that produce O2 were thriving in the oceans long before O2 began to build up in the atmosphere. What changed to cause that build-up? That's what we're working on next."
Chadlin M. Ostrander, Sune G. Nielsen, Jeremy D. Owens, Brian Kendall, Gwyneth W. Gordon, Stephen J. Romaniello, Ariel D. Anbar. Fully oxygenated water columns over continental shelves before the Great Oxidation Event. Nature Geoscience, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0309-7

The 2.5 billion-year-old Mt. McRae Shale from Western Australia was analyzed for thallium and molybdenum isotope compositions, revealing a pattern that indicates manganese oxide minerals were being buried over large regions of the ancient sea floor. For this burial to occur, O2 needed to have been present all the way down to the sea floor 2.5 billion-years-ago. Credit: Chad Ostrander, ASU

Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.