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Marine Science in Cyprus 
We have established ourselves as one of the leading developers of new diving technology in our arena. We continue to push the boundaries of diving  technology developing exciting and innovative products for the global market. We have a culture of innovation where our Members can make a difference and we are looking for like minded, dynamic individuals to come and join our rapidly expanding team. Nonetheless the more we study results to better understanding, ocean sciences its the mother of all sciences, as it includes, geophysics, ocean astrophysics, Marine Biology, satellite oceanography, super-computers  data analysis, Statistics, underwater exploration methodologies, earth sciences and living matter, inorganic matter,  ocean chemistry, atmospheric studies, mathematical equations, and a lot of imagination!!!    





  • Scientific Diving Methods and Applications
     

    Marine science education and research are the most exciting fields sought after by many people today. Training and experience in scientific diving methods and understanding its applications are considered to be the most important component of marine scientist’s skill.

    Importance of Learning Scientific Diving Methods

    Scientific diving methods help the scientist to observe marine organisms, their habitats and lifestyle and also to operate experimental underwater equipment. Some habitats like coral reef drop offs and overhanging submarine cliffs that are 50m deep can be studied effectively if the scientist has the necessary skills and training in diving, because remote equipment alone cannot access these habitats.

    Marine scientists who have experience in scientific diving can view and assimilate a lot of information from the structure and/or behavior of the organism and its habitat more effectively than by observing them from a remote camera. Scientific diving methods provide him/her with the capability to measure and interpret the marine environment clearly.

    There are many advanced scientific diving equipment available now that include reliable rebreathers, acoustic communications, dive computers, portable compressor and emergency air supply devices that ensure the safety and comfort of the diver. Underwater marine apparatus like LED illumination sources, underwater cameras and diving pulsed amplitude modulated flourometer help enhance the process of data acquisition underwater. 

    Scientific Diving Methods

    Scuba Diving

    Scuba diving is the most common scientific diving methods used by marine scientists. It requires the diver to use a scuba set to breathe underwater and carry a source of gas to breathe that is generally compressed air. Scuba diving allows the diver to stay underwater for longer hours than any other methods like free diving and breath holding. Open circuit regulator is linked to one high pressure gas cylinder and this is the most commonly used scuba set these days. The regulator has two stages. One stage is attached to the cylinder valve and the next stage is connected to the mouth piece.

    Water has a refractive index than air. Only the crystalline lens of the eyes can focus light underwater and this contributes to hypermetropia. Individuals suffering from severe myopia can get better view without using a mask than a normal sighted individual. This problem can be solved by using masks and helmet.

    Scientific scuba diving is performed exclusively as a part of scientific research or educational activity. Scuba diving requires the scientists to go in pairs.

    Tethered Scuba Diving

    Tethered scuba diving is a less commonly used scientific diving method. It involves the operation of one scuba diver that is tended by others from the surface by using a safety line. In scientific diving applications, tethered scuba diving often involves attaching a rope to the traditional mouthpiece style scuba regulator. The diver is required to perform a range of underwater tasks, including scientific tasks and research studies.

    Tethered scuba diving method requires specific equipment and protocol. The equipment usually includes standard diver dress like wetsuit, weight belt and fins. Other items like a full face mask along with voice communications and safety methods are also included. A cutting device like EMT shears can be included within the easy reach of the diver.

    Full face mask that allows for hardwired communication, dry suit and dry gloves will give protection to the diver against polluted water. If it is unpolluted water, wetsuit can be used. However, mask with voice communication like micro phonic should be worn. The diver should be in hard-line communication with the surface constantly.

    Any type of line can be used along with line signal. Generally a communication rope is used to allow the surface to communicate with the diver constantly. While tending the diver, care should be taken to make sure the line is not hung up and tussled with any sharp underwater objects. The tether should be fitted with a snap shackle that can be released quickly, so that the diver can make his way out to the surface.

    The communication unit used by the tender to tend the diver’s line needs to maintain verbal communication with the diver constantly. Hence, the communication unit should allow the tender to talk with the diver through a headset and belt clip unit. Harness of the diver is essential to connect him to the tether line. The harness should provide the tender with the ability to pull the diver from the water, in case of emergencies.

    Emergency gas supply is essential for scientific tethered scuba diving operations. The gas supply is controlled via a manifold block that has a one way valve. It has an overpressure relief valve that lets pressure escape in the event of malfunction.

    The diver will be diving alone in tethered scuba diving, so he needs to understand various things like how to check his air supply and how to report to topside support in the event of emergencies. Depending on the task to be performed, the dive is controlled from the surface. The diver needs to adjust to the instructions and does not have primary control over his diving.

    Tethered scuba diving operations typically involve three or more divers. This allows safe and effective diving by rotating the divers.  Before undertaking a dive, the diver needs to practice how to disconnect from the tether, free an entangled line and clear a flooded situation.

    Tethered scuba diving offers plenty of advantages for any scientific dive program that requires collecting data underwater. In underwater that have low to zero visibility, there is a need of clear and constant voice communications to make comprehensive scientific observations.

    Tethered scuba diving method allows the personnel on the surface to pass the tools to the diver without requiring bounce dive. This method has been slowly embraced by the scientific diving community, especially in ice diving and overhead diving environment. Tethered scuba diving can be used for a wide range of tasks, like standby diver deployment and ship husbandry. However, some people believe that scuba diving without a buddy may not be safe. Tethered scuba diving can be used for only specific underwater activities. Modern equipment and practices have made diving easier and safer.




  • Global Ocean and planet Earth is responding back as we have altered the Natural process cycles. We are Unreceptive to  planet earth. Gaia principle. Human individual's actions, and policy makers, decisions and actions due to thirst for funds and or self-image via exploitation we have altered the equilibrium of nature.  Which is a consequent to devastating phenomena.        



     

    Global Temperature Rise

    Many research studies show that average global temperature has increased by more than 1 °F. Human activities have been releasing tons of heat trapping gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and ozone that impact the natural greenhouse effect and thereby alters the climate of the earth. Climate is influenced by numerous factors that include natural and human induced factors. Pollution is one of the major man made problems that cause global warming. The increase in carbon dioxide concentration has been the major reason for rise in global temperature over the past 50 years. Human activities like deforestation and burning of fossil fuel use in producing electricity, household and industrial uses and transportation cause increased concentration of carbon dioxide, which in turn alter the earth’s cycles substantially.

    Global temperature rise is evident in many studies. Sea level rise, changes in precipitation amount and pattern, earlier timing of spring events and extensive melting of ice sheets and snow are some of the evidences of global warming.

    Sea Level Rise

    Scientific research studies show that sea levels worldwide have been increasing at a rate of 3.5mm per year since 1990s. Satellite measurements and tide gauge reading show that the global mean sea level has increased by 4 to 8 inches. The main reason for rise in sea level is the release of enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and other heat trapping gases into the atmosphere. These emissions have caused the temperature of earth to rise. Oceans absorb around 80% of this high temperature.

    Three major factors are linked to sea level rise and global climate change:

    1. Thermal Expansion
    2. Melting of Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps
    3. Melting of Ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica

    1.       Thermal Expansion

    Water expands when heated. As ocean water warms, it expands. Over the past 50 years, the rise in sea level is caused due to warmer oceans occupying more space.

    2.       Melting of Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps

    Glaciers and polar ice caps are large ice formations that melt a bit every summer, but balance out when it comes to melting in winter. However, in the recent years, global warming has caused persistently higher temperature that has led to greater level of melting in summer and reduced snowfall in winter. This imbalance causes sea levels to rise significantly.

    3.       Melting of Ice Sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica

    Huge sheets of ice covering Greenland and West Antarctica have started melting at a faster pace due to global warming. Scientists believe that the water that melts above these ice sheets and sea water below them lubricate ice streams that ooze beneath the ice sheets, causing them to move fast into the sea. Higher sea temperatures lead to huge ice shelves in Antarctica to melt from underneath, deteriorate and split off.

    Outcomes of Sea Level Rise

    Increasing level of sea water can cause devastating effects. This includes destructive erosion and flooding of wetlands apart from demolishing the habitats for fish, birds and plants. Higher sea levels can make bigger and more powerful hurricanes to surge anything that can strip away in its path. Higher ocean temperatures can lead to stronger storms with heavy rainfall and higher wind speed.

    Scientists predict that global warming will continue and will possibly accelerate. Oceans will therefore continue to rise. A recent study states that the oceans will rise between 2.5 and 6.5 feet by the end of this century. This will be enough to submerge many cities along the east coast of the United States. Some other studies estimate that a complete meltdown of ice sheet in Greenland would increase the sea level by 23 feet that is good enough to swamp Los Angeles and London.

    Ocean Acidification

    Ahmed Djoghlaf, the executive secretary of convention on biological diversity has stated recently that climate change has become one of the most important causes of biodiversity loss. If average global temperature rise 1.5 to 2.5° C, 40 to 70% species could become extinct. A large portion of such species would be the inhabitants of the oceans of the world. This would include fish, plankton, marine mammals and coral reefs.

    Many research studies on oceanic climate have focused on the potential impacts of rising temperatures on ocean ecosystems as an outcome of increasing levels anthropogenically produced carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide. However, there are evidences that the most important danger for ocean ecosystem may be created by acidification of the oceans which is the outcome of the invasion of carbon dioxide generated by human activities.

    What Causes Ocean Acidification?

    • Human Fossil Fuel Use and Deforestation
      Ocean acidification occurs when the pH level of the ocean is reduced by the absorption of anthropogenic carbon dioxide pumped by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil for energy into the atmosphere. Cement production and deforestation also release CO2 into surface ocean waters. It is estimated that atmospheric carbon dioxide is almost 40% more than that of pre-industrial periods. Global oceans comprise a sink for Co2. They absorb one third of carbon dioxide generated by human activities. This increases the hydrogen ion concentration of the ocean waters and reduces the pH level. Studies show that the concentration of hydrogen ions in ocean waters is 30% more than that of pre-industrial periods. It is predicted that the pH level will be increased by 150% by the end of this century.
    • Eutrophication
      The release of nitrogen and phosphorous based chemicals like fertilizers into the rivers and lakes promote excessive growth of algae and water plants. They die and decompose in the water; the organic matter and decaying organism reduce the availability of oxygen in water. This causes death of other organisms like fish. Eutrophication causes undesirable effects and so it is considered as a form of pollution.  Lake and river waters affected by eutrophication cause the acidity of ocean waters, especially in the East China Sea and Gulf of Mexico that receive waters from two largest rivers in the world- Mississippi and Changjiang.

     

    Impact of Ocean Acidification on Ecosystems

    More than 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by the oceans. Oceans are the habitats of a wide range of diverse flora and fauna that play a significant role in regulating climate conditions and the level of carbon dioxide. Since the beginning of industrial revolution (that is for the last two centuries), oceans have absorbed around 120 billion tons of carbon dioxide generated by human activities. If oceans have not absorbed this much amount of CO2, its effects on the climate would be significantly higher.

    More than 25 million tons of carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater every day. Ocean acidification caused by this process is now happening at a faster rate. Increased level of Co2 in ocean waters causes the following major ecological changes

    • Ocean acidification dissolves the shells of corals, snails and urchins
    • Higher level of carbon dioxide in water is favorable for the production of sea grass.
    • High CO2 levels are favorable to invasive alien species that cause damage to ecosystems all over the world.
    • As the acidity of oceans increases, climatic changes happen. It makes the earth to become warmer.

    Ocean Acidification Studies in Vulcano Island, Sicily

    Ocean acidification studies made in Vulcano Island, Sicily by scientists reveal that around 10 tons of invisible carbon dioxide, which is the output of volcanoes is released to the ocean, making the coastal water more and more acidic. Apart from volcanic sources, industrial plants, cars, planes and power stations also play a vital role in pumping out increasing amount of carbon dioxide. This leads to many problems. Millions of marine species are in the danger of becoming extinct, Reefs that protect the coastal areas are starting to erode and fisheries also face eradication.

    Dr. Jason Hall Spencer, a Marine Biologist at Plymouth University stated that billions of tons of CO2 we generate each year remain in the atmosphere, causing it to heat up and driving global warming.

    Global Warming Could Trigger Huge and Devastating Tsunamis and Earthquakes

    A new study shows that huge and devastating tsunamis are more likely to occur during warmer times. Scientists believe that global temperature rise could trigger mega tsunamis. Tsunamis are huge waves racing across the ocean and grow to threatening proportions when they reach land. They are so strong and powerful that they can reach the height of a multi storey building. They are generated by earthquake beneath the sea surface. Though there are many other causes like landslides crashing into the sea, tsunamis generated by earthquakes are more dangerous.

    Scientists also found out that increased of earthquakes around the globe in the past few years related to climate change in many forms. Warming oceans and warming atmosphere are the major drivers of climate change. This would have an impact on the slow process of plate tectonics, in which one plate moves over or below another, causing larger earthquakes, like the devastated ones occurred in Japan, South America, Indonesia and New Zealand.

    Scientists have found out that human activities have altered the climate significantly and probably they have a role in the movement of tectonic plates worldwide. The research study shows that our surface climate would have a great impact in shifting large crystal plates that cause the continents to drift and cause earthquakes.

    Global Warming Reduces Ocean Life and Increases Atmospheric Carbon dioxide

    The food chain of ocean depends on the growth of millions of microscopic plants. Recent satellite studies show that ocean warming is reducing the growth of these plants and putting fisheries and marine life at risk. Marine scientists believe that the growth of plants called phytoplankton has strong links with ocean warming.

    Phytoplankton grows fast in a cool ocean and grows slow in Warm Ocean. The threatening part is that oceans are warming now due to the emission of carbon dioxide. If the oceans continue to warm, the growth of these plants will become even slower. This in turn will reduce the availability of food and other marine organisms, including marine mammals and birds. Phytoplankton also plays a significant role in producing similar amount of photosynthesis by all the plants on land. Reduced growth of phytoplankton disturbs the atmosphere by reducing the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Reduced growth of phytoplankton also leads the ocean to take up less carbon dioxide, which in turn could accelerate global warming, causing the ferocious cycle of global temperature increase.

    Michael Behrenfeld of Oregon State University stated that the phytoplankton growth rates reduce as the climate warms. Along with this, the amount of carbon dioxide consumed by these plants also reduces. This allows carbon dioxide to accumulate faster in the atmosphere and generate more warming.

    Marine Pollution

    Disposal of wastes, carelessness and accidents lead many pollutants to enter the ocean. Oceans absorb some types of pollutants in some quantities, but the pollutants are in large quantities. The ocean’s capacity to take up and recycle pollution can become plagued. Human activities pollute the ocean in many ways. Waste products like plastic litter, sewage and industrial wastes dump into the ocean and oil enter the ocean accidentally. The wastes that contain organic matter decay and reduce the level of oxygen in the water.

    Plastic litter can cause severe pollution, as it does not get decomposed easily, Marine animals like seals, turtles, whales and sea birds can get tangled in plastic things. Many animals mistake these items for food and die, if the plastic blocks their digestive system. Oil spills entering the ocean coat fish, mammals and birds and kills many of them. 

    Human activities reduce the levels of oxygen in the ocean and increase the amount of carbon dioxide released into the ocean. Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide raise temperatures on earth significantly and affect marine and the overall ecosystem. Climate change disturbs life in the oceans and cause many other problems.

    Summary report written and review by DR. Stavros Kaniklides Ocean Scientist

    Copyright © 2013 CMAS Cyprus all rights reserved





 
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