Dr. Roberta Hamme from the University of Victoria explained different techniques for understanding the biggest outer layer of our planet: the ocean. For this presentation I certainly can highlight two aspects: the technology improvement and the data retrieved.
Regarding the equipment employed, I was delighted to know how accesible and widespread portable devices are becoming. On this case the devices are called Argo floats and can help to characterize the ocean in terms of dissolved oxygen concentration and nitrate concentration, pH to name a few. Is a pretty clever device since it can it has a fluctuating density to move across the water column on purpose, which allows the device to make measurements at different depths of the ocean. Not only they are getting popular in the world but they often can be combined with ship measurements to make the ocean characterization more accurate and wide. In fact, the aim is that the number of Argo floats around the world increases as time goes by. Is really impressive how much investment is being placed on the ocean.
The results, however, are not as shiny as the technology employed. The global trends points out that the ocean oxygen level is slowly depleting. As far as I remember on my geology background I could say that on the stratigraphic record having hypoxia/anoxia does not mean exactly good news. The chemical reduction that is happening in the ocean must be at least a) a result of anomalous atmospheric behaviour and b) pushing species to create and to force new migration patterns, to name a couple of examples that came to my mind. This is another evidence of a slow change into the whole world into a very different one, most likely one less habitable for us and species alike (you know those of us weirdos that actually like oxygen). And the fact that is happening massively on the ocean really gives a perspective of how things are at the moment.
As for the means to deliver the message I would say that as much as the message must be spread, most of the audience found hard to follow the presentation as a) little to no background was provided and b) the slides were generally hard to follow. I’m no expert in terms of communication, but in my understanding a message as huge as this one should reach masses as huge as the responsible ones.
Thank you for reading,