The 21-year-old Dutch is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, an ambitious operation involving a massive static platform that passively corrals plastics with wind and ocean currents. The array features a floating V-shaped boom so that fish and other marine life can swim underneath.
Further trials will take place off the coasts of Japan and the Netherlands, and if all goes to plan, the project will officially launch in 2020 and be the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean.
In a windowless conference room in Anchorage, a dozen Royal Dutch Shell employees report on the highest-profile oil project in the multinational’s vast global portfolio. Warmed by mid-July temperatures, Arctic ice in the Chukchi Sea, northwest of the Alaskan mainland, is receding. Storms are easing; helicopter flights will soon resume. Underwater volcanoes—yes, volcanoes—are dormant. “That’s good news for us,” Ann Pickard, Shell’s top executive for the Arctic, whispers to a visitor.
Overhead, a bank of video monitors displays blinking green radar images of an armada of Shell vessels converging on a prospect called Burger J. Company geologists believe that beneath Burger J—70 miles offshore and 800 miles from the Anchorage command center—lie up to 15 billion barrels of oil. An additional 11 billion barrels are thought to be buried due east under the Beaufort Sea. All told, Arctic waters cover about 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered petroleum, or enough to supply the U.S. for more than a decade, according to government estimates.
Barrios is one of about 250 Chilean fishermen who have signed on with Shellcatch, a San Francisco startup seeking to profit from the growing demand for sustainable seafood. The company hopes its technology will combat the overfishing and fraud that threaten the international seafood trade. The Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that one out of five fish taken from the ocean is caught illegally, depleting stocks of certain species to levels that imperil their survival. Whether it’s to avoid fines for fishing without permits or going over their quota or simply to boost profits, fishermen often try to pass off one type of fish as another. Oceana, a U.S. nonprofit, ran DNA tests on 1,200 fish samples and found that one-third had been mislabeled, according to a 2013 report. “We think technology in the seafood space can disrupt the way business is being done, which currently involves large amounts of species fraud and illegality,” says Shellcatch founder Alfredo Sfeir. “Technology allows you to know the people behind your fish. That’s how it used to be.”
GoPro's small point-of-view shooters are best known for stunt footage taken on (and high above) the Earth's surface. But these video cameras also excel in the depths, thanks to great lowlight performance and an ultra-wide-angle fixed lens. (If you have an hour, hop on YouTube and search "GoPro underwater.") The latest model, the Hero3+ Black Edition, includes a separate housing that's waterproof to 131 feet, and records video in up to 4K resolution (or a burst of still shots at 30 frames per second) via a 12-megapixel sensor. Screw it onto a hand-held pole mount and you'll be able to grab up-close imagery of fish you're stalking. Or turn the camera back toward you to snap the ultimate underwater selfie
Last summer, NASA’s Global Hawk drones flew over two storms at 60,000
feet and dropped parachute-equipped devices that collected temperature,
humidity and wind measurements. Ferek says that when this information
was integrated into the model, intensity forecasts improved by about 25
to 40 percent. “Only by flying over with Global Hawks and getting data
from 65,000 feet to the surface,” says Ferek, “did we begin to
understand these missing physics.”
Seaweb nodes are capable of exchanging information through dozens of
kilometres of water. Such long ranges, however, require the use of
low-frequency sound waves, which reduces the data rate. Joseph Rice, the
project’s leader, says a Seaweb node can send a low-resolution photo to
another one 5km away in five seconds—two seconds to emit the sound
waves, and another three for them to travel that far. In seawater
acoustic waves carry only a few thousand bits of data per second, but
they travel at 5,600kph (3,500mph)—five times the speed of sound in air.
It is hardly broadband, but it can be used to connect submarines and
warships to sensors and roving subsea drones, also known as unmanned
underwater vehicles (UUVs). Mr Rice imagines that UUVs might deploy
sensor nodes and could visit them when required to download the data
they have collected in large quantities. Sensors could also alert UUVs
of any unusual readings that require investigation.
Instead of digitizing existing nautical charts, the team incorporated detailed data from water-depth sounding instruments aboard research ships and mathematical models to interpolate three-dimensional geographic data points on the seafloor. Multibeam bathymetric survey techniques provide a rapid means of
determining the morphology and nature of the seafloor. The recent
Hydrosweep DS-2 System onboard RV Polarstern provides 59 individual
soundings of the water depth and echo strength for each ping.
“Although very little sunlight penetrates to the deep sea, many deep dwellers produce a bioluminescent light…Widder and her colleagues therefore fitted Medusa with an electronic device that mimicked the bioluminescence that jellyfish produce when attacked to serve as a lure. It worked: Medusa first encountered a squid during its second deployment, igniting jubilation on the ship. “I just was blown away,” says Widder,” I couldn’t have been happier.”
Medusa ended up encountering a squid five times, culminating with a full view of one apparently attacking the camera system in a manner consistent with the alarm hypothesis. The squid was about 4 meters long, although giant squid can grow as large as 10 meters or more.
During a dive about a week after the first Medusa success in their Triton submersible, Kubodera and pilot Jim Harris had a face-to-face encounter. Once they had taken enough low-light footage, they turned on the sub’s bright main lights, expecting to spook the squid. Instead, the animal continued to feed on bait tied to the sub. For 18 mesmerizing minutes the pair watched as the huge animal’s skin shifted between unexpected gold and silver metallic hues.”