Thursday, October 14, 2010

Melting Icebergs - Time Release Fertilizers or - What are you doing up at 1 am in the morning?

Melting icebergs have some interesting effects other than just changing sea level. Among them are their impacts as fertilizers of the ocean. They pick up minerals (such as iron) and nutrients as they scrape along the land in their glacial phase and then release these into the ocean when they become icebergs. Because of this, icebergs can have a "halo effect", becoming surrounded by a riot of fish, seabirds, plankton and sea life as they drift along (for a great article on this, see the Audubon article from last year:

I was reminded of this recently by the announcement of a series of webinars (see below) where you can listen or call in questions to scientists about various topics. Unfortunately, they are at 1 am Hawai'i time, but hey - for those of us who wake up (or just don't sleep) worrying about the state of the world (or whether we have matching socks for the meeting tomorrow), sign in to one these seminars.
Let me know how it goes.



Webinar: October 20 at 7pm ET: Measuring Melts & Metals : Implications for Marine Ecosystems

Featuring : Dr. Ben Twining (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences) and Annette deCharon (COSEE-Ocean Systems)

Think melting icebergs only affect sea level or ocean salinity? Dr. Twining will discuss his recent research in the Arctic focusing on the role of icebergs in the ocean's nutrient cycles and carbon uptake as they act as a source of chemicals (such as iron) that enrich the biological communities around them - with potential global-scale implications. Using a suite of technologies (including remotely operated vehicles and planes) Dr. Twining has been collecting data to reveal what's going on in the ocean - even under the surface of the ice. The second portion of the presentation will feature COSEE-OS director Annette deCharon describing different concept mapping activities that encourage team building, reflection on personal and career pathways, and exploring diverse individual perspectives. [sign up here]

About the webinars:
What do the carbon cycle, ocean technologies, aerosols, coastal pollutants and climate change models have in common? You can learn about all of them from world-class researchers -- and get customizable versions of these scientists' interactive concept maps -- from the comfort of your living room! Free and easy to attend, ROLE Model webinars offer direct access to scientists as well as take-home resources that can be used immediately. All you'll need in order to participate are a telephone and an Internet connection!

"Excellent evening with exciting information and wonderful Q & A. It is just a delight to be able to listen, to watch, and to ask questions of active scientists and get immediate feedback." -- Participant in 10-Aug-10 ROLE Model Webinar

Webinars are held every other Wednesday at 7PM ET/4PM PT. Registering allows you to contribute your own questions for scientists to answer during the webinar. Details on all upcoming webinars are available at

Medea H. Steinman, Marine Education Associate
COSEE-Ocean Systems
Darling Marine Center

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