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Hakai Magazine is all about the coast, but other outlets sometimes share our fascination. Every week on Strand we round up our favorite coastal stories from around the web.
Salmon approval heralds rethink of transgenic animals
by Heidi Ledford for Nature
“The FDA decision comes at a time when the US government is re-evaluating how it regulates genetically engineered crops and animals. On 2 July, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said that it will update those regulations — for the first time since 1992 — over the next year. And at a meeting on 18 November, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) discussed preliminary plans to revise its guidelines for genetically engineered crops.
A key driving force for these discussions is the recognition that current regulations may not cover crops and animals engineered using cutting-edge techniques, such as the CRISPR–Cas9 system, that allow researchers to make targeted changes to the genome. The USDA has already determined that its regulations do not apply to several genome-edited crops. Van Eenennaam says that it is still unclear how the FDA will regulate animals that have been engineered using that technology.”
Is farmed salmon really salmon?
by Matthew Berger for Nautilus
“[T]he salmon is an icon of the wild, braving thousand-mile treks through rivers and oceans, leaping up waterfalls to spawn or be caught in the clutches of a grizzly bear. The name ‘salmon’ is likely derived from the Latin word, ‘salire,’ to leap. But it’s a long way from a leaping wild salmon to schools of fish swimming in circles in dockside pens. Most of the salmon we eat today don’t leap and don’t migrate.”
337 whales beached in largest stranding ever
by Brian Clark Howard for National Geographic
“The scientists are still trying to figure out what caused the die-off, and the Chilean government has launched an investigation since whales are protected there. Gutstein did not want to speculate on the cause of death but in the past red tides (blooms of toxic microorganisms) have been blamed for whale deaths in the region. Red tides can be caused or exacerbated by nutrients from sewage and fertilizer, although it’s often ‘very difficult to find one person or corporation culpable,’ says Gutstein.”
Stunning drone video shows beluga whales in Arctic
by Sima Sahar Zerehi for CBC News
“‘You can clearly see all the mothers and calves. You can see rubbing. They’re just having a huge party.’
For Weber the video is an opportunity to show people, particularly those who live outside the Arctic, the wildlife in this remote region.”
Plankton’s unique ability to be both creepy and adorable
by Taylor Glascock for Wired
“Most of Nomiyama’s subjects are plankton and other tiny creatures, things like krill (holoplankton) and larval fish and crustaceans (meroplankton). Tiny as they may be, Nomiyama finds them fascinating. ‘I respect all oceanic creatures,’ he says. ‘Even if they’re small plankton, I can feel their strong life force.’”
Volcanic island in the Pacific turns two
by Mike Carlowicz for NASA Earth Observatory
“Two years ago, a new island, or ‘nijima,’ rose above the water line in the western Pacific, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) south of Tokyo. It grew out of the sea just 500 meters from Nishinoshima, another volcanic island. Over the past two years, that new island swallowed up its neighbor, and the merged island is now twelve times the size of the old island.”