The vast majority of the deep seafloor isunseen, and completely remote from human experience. But it is not immune to the impacts of humanactivities. Around the world, coastal and internationalcargo ships make hundreds of thousands of trips annually. Each ship may transport thousandsof standard shipping containers, resulting in hundreds of millions of container tripsper year. These numbers are only growing with increased global population. Most of this cargo arrives at its destinationsafely as scheduled. However, the routes traveled by cargo ships can be treacherous, and containerloss is difficult to prevent.
ItÃ•s estimated that thousands of containersare lost each year as they are transported along international shipping routes. Whilethis is a small percentage of the containers being transported, the impact on the healthof our ocean is uncertain. During a remotely operated vehicle dive inJune 2004, MBARI scientists came upon one of these lost containers. The tracking information printed on the containerwas used to determine that it was lost just four months prior, from the cargo vessel MedTaipei. Because the container was found within the boundaries of Monterey Bay National MarineSanctuary, there was particular interest in
determining the circumstances of its loss.The Med Taipei, sailing from the Port of Oakland, reported that fifteen containers were lostwithin the sanctuary boundaries during a strong winter storm, and another nine were lost beforereaching port in Long Beach. Coming across a shipping container in thedeep sea is akin to finding a needle in a haystack. A partnership between MBARI andthe Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has taken advantage of this unique opportunityto learn more about the presumed effects of a single container on deepsea ecosystems.Scientists returned to the site seven years later to investigate the communities of animalson and around the container.
The seafloor near the found shipping containeris dominated by relatively longlived soft coralsÃ‘sea pens, sea whips, and anemonesÃ‘anda sea cucumber, called the sea pig. However, the container was found to be wellcolonized by animals typically found on rock outcrops in the region, as if it were an islandof hard substrate in a sea of soft sediment. The most abundant animals on the containerwere tubebuilding worms. Numerous young scallops were also present. The container seemed toprovide a useful hard surface for a marine snail to lay its egg cases on. While all of these animals are found on hardsurfaces in nearby areas, the abundance and
diversity of animal species on the containerÃ‘andthe seafloor up to 10 meters awayÃ‘was lower than that typically encountered in the area. This reduced biodiversity may be due in partto the absence of some animals found in rocky habitats in the region including longlivedsponges, corals, and feather stars none of which were observed during our survey of thecontainer. The absence of sponges and corals suggeststhat either, seven years is a relatively short timeframe for colonization by some deepseaanimals, or, the potential toxicity of the containerÃ•s zincbased paint could determore sensitive animals from settling on its
surface. We are just beginning to look intothe potential toxicity associated with this container. The lower number of animals close to the containermay be related to several processes, including changes in nearbottom currents around thecontainer, its role as a refuge for some species, and changes in the influence of predatorsand scavengers near the container. The presence of lost shipping containers ondeep seafloor ecosystems is a consequence of human activities that is rarely seen oreven considered. This study sheds light on the importance of basic research to understandthe structure and function of deepsea habitats.
Young Entrepreneur Living OffGrid in a SelfBuilt Shipping Container Home
Twoandahalf years ago I decided tomove out of the city and build myself a shipping container cabin. I drew itup on the computer first and then once I saw this site it just came together reallyquickly. The cabin is made of three standard20foot shipping containers. I’ve done some modifications to them so you can walk through all three containers. This is my washroom. I had a roughed in toilet that I never used. I used the outhouse instead. This was my bedroom. Living room, kitchen, and then I guess second living room. This is where I primarily spent all my time. Either infront of the fire during winter or most
likely outside enjoying the sun in the summertime. All of these doors arestandard issue shipping container doors. They’re actually sealed when they’re locked and I initially designedthe cabin around containers on the premise that once the doors are sealedand locked you can walk away for several weeks at a time. If you go traveling you can close up your house and you don’t have to worry about it it’s just my utilityroom basically it was a a propane fired hot water tank that that the infloorradiant heat system and also provided pod domestic water there’s 17.4 millioncontainers in the world and
threequarters of them are sitting emptyand so they’re readily available and they’re relatively inexpensive and alsothey provide a great deal of structural properties the largest challenge was toinsulate the cabin I was hoping to stay here for fourseasons I came up with insulating the interior walls with spray foam and thenthe openings where the steel doors are insulated with bats i was able to get anrvalue about r22 for all the walls and which makes surviving the winter more iguess more enjoyable water sources were an issue my neighbors were kind enoughto let me fill up my water tote so i
would either drive my tractor over andpick up the water or make arrangements and travel into the closest countingfill up my water so I truck all my water in the energy side i designed a twokilowatt solar system I use the outhouse as my primary washer after watching manypeople before me make tiny houses I I really like the idea of downsizing andsimplifying your life by moving to a smaller space it forced me to selectwhat mattered in my life I grew up around offgrid systems my grandfatherbuilt his first hydro site one in the forties to power his house and hisbusiness and my father did the same and
i wanted to do something similar so Iguess it’s been in my family for three generations so it felt natural I enjoyed simple wellthoughtout thingsand this incorporates a lot of my interests into just a smaller spot ifeel that being responsible and sustainable goes handinhand withwelldesigned systems my passion is design and being having a holisticlifestyle is also passion of mine and they just they marry very well I justgraduated from school so I am starting my own business in the solar renewableenergy field trying to I guess empower
people to to do similar things that I’vebeen doing I lived in the house for twoandahalfyears fulltime the cabin is 355 square feet most people would consider that smallertiny to be honest i didn’t spend that much time inside the cabin where Iprepared ate food and slept and then read most evenings but when i was home iI’d be outside where I prefer to be in nature living here by myself fortwoandahalf years was just just me and my dog