You may have seen this story reported out on Twitter or on some other newsfeed. If you have, and you already know what an ocean slick is, then skip the next paragraph while we get the rest of the readers caught up. But don’t miss out on the Storymap!
If this is a new concept to you, here’s the scoop: Slicks are “meandering lines” of smooth water on the ocean surface. They can be created by many different ocean mechanisms, including the ripple-effect of internal waves hitting the seafloor and changing the surface pattern. When this happens, there can also be a build-up of organic material. The material subsequently further modifies the surface tension and can create an “oily” or slick appearance, hence the name “ocean slicks.”
A team of researchers from the University of Hawai’i and NOAA found substantially greater fish abundance in these slicks for every stage of their early lives. The ocean slicks, it seems, are veritable fish nurseries.
Check out the original journal article here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-81407-0
There is also a separate, extensive set of illustrations created with the ArcGIS Storymaps tools. The artwork is captivating and the narrative text is informative.
Link to that here: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/011265358e924da3bb8497d9a78d46ac
The Storymap tool kit is a powerful enhancement to making these types of stories accessible to a wider audience. I hope more scientists use this in the future to supplement the standard academic journal reporting.