How a 30-Second Video Could Land You a 5 Gyres Expedition Seat
The 5 Gyres Institute is searching for some help with a June expedition to Iceland, and a 30-to-45-second video could land you a spot on its Sea Dragon sailing vessel.
Three years ago, the nonprofit organization found evidence of plastic in all five oceanic current systems as part of the world's first global survey of plastic marine pollution. Now, the group is heading to the Atlantic North from June 7 to June 29 to understand the density and distribution of microplastic pollution across the subtropical and subpolar gyres. The winning contestant will receive airfare to Bermuda and back from Iceland, in addition to an expedition spot. The organization says that prize is worth $10,000.
The winer will be decided by an online vote at 5gyres.org—the same site where people can enter the contest.
"5 Gyres expeditions are like an activist factory," said Stiv J. Wilson, who joined 5 Gyres after quitting another sea job. "Several other people from our expeditions have gone on to start organizations focused on plastics issues. We empower people with knowledge and an authentic vantage from gyre central to make a difference. And they do."
Video submissions should include an explanation of what the entrant would do with the acquired knowledge and why they should be selected. Anybody can vote online by viewing 5 Gyres' video gallery. The organization is accepting submissions through April 22.
Wilson admits that the price tag on most exhibitions can be cost-prohibitive, which is why the organization wanted to help an individual with the drive and desire to research plastic pollution.
"It's always been our practice on expeditions try to subsidize one of the seats ourselves and invite someone for free," he said. "This time around, we decided to let our community decide who that is."
Sustainable companies and organizations like Packaging 2.0, Klean Kanteen, Manduka, Ocean Care, Zeal Optics, Rainbow Light, Osprey Packs, PLUSfoam and Indosole
As 5 Gyres recruits entries for the contest, it reminds people that the expedition won't be the least bit glamorous. In fact, it's "hardcore."
"This isn’t a pleasure cruise, this is a hardcore sailing adventure aboard a working ship where crew will be expected to participate in every aspect of the expedition," according to the institute. "This is includes participating in plastic research, ship navigation and handling and sharing all onboard duties with the other crew."
The growing Texas solar industry is offering a safe harbor to unemployed oil and gas professionals amidst the latest oil and gas industry bust, this one brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Houston Chronicle reports.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>