MarineBio Expeditions


We’re starting to think about scheduling expeditions again to gather data, photos, video, etc. of marine life and issues for marinebio.org. Check out MarineBio’s Expedition home page for the possibilities and contact us if you’re interested in joining us.

What’s it like to be an aquanaut?

Find out October 12-21!

Aquarius 2010: If Reefs Could Talk
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live underwater? Well, from October 12-21 you can find out by tuning in to daily broadcasts shot live from an undersea research lab, the only one of its kind in the world. The Aquarius lab is located off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, 60 feet below the surface at the base of one of the many beautiful coral reefs comprising the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The scientific researchers or “aquanauts” that live in Aquarius, as well as scientists operating from the surface, are sharing their experience and intimate knowledge of the ocean while performing their latest mission, Aquarius 2010: If Reefs Could Talk. In addition to the live shows, the aquanaut team will keep followers continually updated on the mission’s progress through their expedition blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Oysters Vanishing

Oysters are disappearing from coastlines around the world because of overharvesting and disease, researchers said.

An estimated 85 percent of global wild oyster reefs and beds vanished in the past 20 to 130 years, according to a study led by Michael Beck, lead marine scientist at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His team examined oyster reefs in 144 bays across the world, historical records and national catch statistics in a study published in the February issue of the journal BioScience. The condition of oysters was rated as “poor” overall.

See Oysters Vanishing on Overharvesting, Disease, Researchers Say – Bloomberg.
Oysters at Risk: Gastronomes’ Delight Disappearing Globally

Seven new fish species

Starksia blenniesScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2011) – Things are not always what they seem when it comes to fish — something scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and the Ocean Science Foundation are finding out. Using modern genetic analysis, combined with traditional examination of morphology, the scientists discovered that what were once thought to be three species of blenny in the genus Starksia are actually 10 distinct species. Continue reading

Mass die-offs and the ongoing extinction crisis?

SeahorsesI thought I’d share the latest post by David Suzuki and Faisal Moola at the David Suzuki Foundation concerning the recent news about birds dropping dead from the sky and mass fish kills, etc.:

Aflockalypse Now: Mass animal die-offs and the ongoing extinction crisis

On New Year’s Eve, 5,000 red-winged blackbirds dropped out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. Necropsies revealed no evidence of poisoning but did indicate the birds had suffered massive internal trauma. Days later, fisherman observed schools of fish floating belly up on Chesapeake Bay. In England, tens of thousands of dead crabs washed up on local beaches, and reports come in almost daily of penguins, turtles, and even dolphins dying unexpectedly in the wild. Are these events signs of the “aflockalypse”, as the media have dubbed the recent die-offs? The answer is yes. And no. Read on >>

10 year study reveals new marine species!


» View a slideshow at the Washington Post site of wonderful photos of marine life, including some bizarre new species involved in the COML Project.

» Find out more about The Census of Marine Life (don’t miss their image and video galleries) | Download the “First Census of Marine Life 2010: Highlights of a Decade of Discovery 64-page report that describes some of the scientific highlights of ten years of exploration, research and analysis undertaken by Census of Marine Life scientists.”

Well done! Here’s to another 10 years, so much to do, so little time!

Newly discovered deep sea lobster

Discovered by an international trio of scientists, the lobster, Dinochelus ausubeli, lives in the deep ocean water  near the Phillipines.

The new lobster has movable, well-developed eyestalks and an inverted T-plate in front of its mouth.

But its most striking feature is a mighty claw with a short, bulbous palm and extremely long, spiny fingers for capturing prey.

Dinochelus is derived from the Greek words dino, meaning terrible and fearful, and chelus, meaning claw.

All told, the Census of Marine Life sponsored 540 expeditions over 10 years, carried out by 2,700 researchers from more than 80 countries. It was, Ausubel says, the biggest project in the history of marine biology.

via Newly discovered deep sea lobster.

Massive Coral Mortality & Bleaching

This is one of the most important reasons why we need to fight harder to stop climate change. The loss of these precious ecosystems is a tragedy.

The Wildlife Conservation Society has released initial field observations that indicate that a dramatic rise in the surface temperature in Indonesian waters has resulted in a large-scale bleaching event that has devastated coral populations.

WCS’s Indonesia Program “Rapid Response Unit” of marine biologists was dispatched to investigate coral bleaching reported in May in Aceh — a province of Indonesia located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. The initial survey carried out by the team revealed that over 60 percent of corals were bleached. Continue reading

Shark week 2010

So I mosey on over to the Shark Week homepage and the first thing I see is the word ATTACK. Sigh. I guess to draw people into watching shark week they have to plaster the word ATTACK everywhere to get people’s attention. The good news is, they are making an effort toward shark conservation on the website: http://dsc.discovery.com/sharks/shark-facts-tab-04.html. There’s lots of information on sharks and shark conservation there. In between reading, you can go watch “Into the Shark Bite!” and “Shark Attack Survival Guide!” and “Shark Bite Beach!” Continue reading

Check out the TEDx Oil Spill conference

TEDx oil spill conferenceIf you haven’t already, check out the TEDx Oil Spill conference. It was held/streamed live on June 28 from Washington DC and featured an impressive number of speakers including Sylvia Earle, Carl Safina, Philippe Cousteau, David Gallo (Woods Hole), Andrew Sharpless (Oceana) and many others on the oil spill, the future of energy, and what this event means for our blue planet. The oil spill is a call to action for all oceans. Topics include mitigation of the spill and the impending cleanup efforts; energy alternatives; policy and economics; as well as new technology that can help us build a self-reliant culture.

There’s no such thing as too many volunteers…

…unless the cause is toxic. I came across this image on Facebook and it really hit close to home. It was posted by one of my BFF’s from high school (hi Michelle!). A BFF whom I’d spent a week on this very coast during Spring Break ’84 in Panama City! I wish I could share fond memories from that trip, but all I remember is eating the worm. And driving Sabrina’s Oldsmobile because she was too sunburned…. Continue reading

The whales are saved!?

From commercial whaling at least, for now…

From the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society:

WDCS Press Statement:

Moratorium remains intact: Pro-whaling advocates fail to get commercial whaling condoned

Agadir 23rd June 2010 – After two days of closed-door discussions delegates to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) were unable to reach consensus on a proposal (the ‘deal’) that would see the legitimization of commercial whaling. Continue reading

Jeremy Jackson: How we wrecked the ocean

I’m an ecologist, mostly a coral reef ecologist. I started out in Chesapeake Bay and went diving in the winter and became a tropical ecologist overnight. And it was really a lot of fun for about 10 years. I mean, somebody pays you to go around and travel and look at some of the most beautiful places on the planet. And that was what I did.
Continue reading