marine mammals Marine Biology Oceanography 

Marine Mammals Need a Voice in the Fishing Industry

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) You might feel satisfied with your consumer choice after buying fish with a “dolphin-friendly” label. But you might want to look closer. It is likely that your tuna fishery is not actually friendly to dolphins, because most “sustainable” fishing labels do not consider the welfare of marine mammals, an issue that has long been neglected from fishing policies. The well-being of marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, and porpoises—considered highly sentient animals—concerns more than how many are killed as a result of being caught accidentally in…

Read More
mass extinction events Environment Oceanography Paleontology 

The Forgotten Mass Extinction

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Yes, we are in a mass extinction event Recent research has spotted a new major mass extinction, termed the “end-Guadalupian (259.8 Ma),” according to a scientific paper in the journal Historical Biology. Previously, scientists knew of only five mass extinctions in the history of Earth: the end-Ordovician (443.8 Ma), the Late Devonian (372.2 Ma), the end-Permian (251.9 Ma), the end-Triassic (201.4 Ma), and the end-Cretaceous (66 Ma). Our current biodiversity crisis has been called the sixth mass extinction, but with these new findings it will probably…

Read More
Citizen Science Connected Blog Oceanography 

Diving into Citizen Science with Ocean Sanctuaries

by Michael Bear Since 2000, I’ve been an avid scuba diver in Southern California. When the Yukon, a 366 ft. long Canadian warship, sunk off the coast of San Diego in July of 2000, it became an artificial reef for divers to explore, piquing my interest in and igniting a lifelong passion for diving. In late 2006, my dive buddy, Barbara Lloyd, and I found ourselves at a crossroads. Both of us had earned various diving certifications, up to and including Rescue Diver and Master Diver. We had logged over…

Read More
Biology Citizen Science Connected Blog Oceanography 

Ocean Conservation and Citizen Science at the Long Beach Scuba Show

by Kristin Butler Each year, the Long Beach Scuba Show brings together divers from around the world for seminars and exhibits on all things scuba, with topics ranging from dive gear to scuba vacations. Though the show mostly showcases the business side of diving, visitors can also learn about nonprofits that use diving to fight cancer, promote ocean conservation, and collect citizen science data. Two of the nonprofits that attended this year’s show in May developed and currently run citizen science projects I wrote about in 2017: Reef Check and…

Read More
Biology Citizen Science Connected Blog Oceanography 

Why Citizen Scientists Study Phytoplankton in Antarctica

By Allison Cusick and Verena Meraldi Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are working with Antarctic tour operators like Hurtigurten to enable vacationers to serve as citizen scientists with the FjordPhyto citizen science project. Travelers collect samples of phytoplankton from Antarctic fjords in an effort to understand the base of the food web, helping scientists learn how one of the most fertile ocean regions in the world may be changing. Human Impact in Remote Areas You would think that the most remote continent on Earth, Antarctica, would be the least…

Read More
Environment Oceanography Science Policy 

The US Needs a Federal Ban on Marine Plastic Pollution

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) Plastics may be convenient and cheap, but they are littering every part of the Earth, even once-pristine areas. The sheer scale of marine plastic pollution is staggering: over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are estimated to engulf the oceans. And the amount of plastic entering the oceans is expected to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025. In the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” located between California and Hawaii, almost half of the waste by size comes from fishing nets. Marine plastic waste is not just…

Read More
Book Reviews Citizen Science Connected Blog Ecology Oceanography 

Book Review: a World Without Fish and Unraveling Ocean Life

by Patricia Balbon Day-to-day encounters of fish—at the grocery store, visiting an aquarium—passively reinforce a notion of triviality about aquatic life until we are prompted to take a pause and spare a thought for a breathtaking world beyond the shore. This month’s selection in our ongoing book review series, World Without Fish, prompts such reflection; however, as the pages turn, we witness the marine world’s vulnerability alongside its majesty.  Through Mark Kurlansky’s words and Frank Stockton’s art, we are challenged by the crisis of disappearing biodiversity in our oceans.  This…

Read More
Do Humans Influence Jellyfish Populations along Coasts? Animals Environment Oceanography 

Do Humans Influence Jellyfish Coastal Populations?

By Laura Treible @aqua_belle Jellyfish are a common nuisance to beachgoers in the summertime, but why certain years have massive jellyfish blooms while others do not is often a mystery. In recent years, some areas appear to have larger and more frequent blooms, so it is important to determine the causes of blooms in general, as well as whether jellyfish blooms are increasing. How humans impact jellyfish Human activities such as changing our global climate, fishing, and increasing pollution or nutrients entering waterways influence the oceans in many ways. Some…

Read More
How Can Caribbean Corals Cope with Climate Change? Animals Environment Oceanography 

How Can Caribbean Corals Cope with Climate Change?

By Justin Baumann @jbaumann3  The planet is warming. This is a fact we should all be comfortable with by now. As a result of this warming (and other human-caused stressors such as overfishing and nutrient pollution coupled with disease), coral reefs are in decline globally. Corals are animals that live in a symbiotic relationship with algae from the genus Symbiodinium. These symbionts are photosynthetic and transfer sugars to the coral host. While corals can also capture prey using their stinging cells and tentacles, most reef-building corals rely heavily on the…

Read More
Ocean Floor Warming Affects Antarctic Seabed Life Biology Environment Oceanography 

Ocean Floor Warming Affects Antarctic Seabed Life

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore A rise in ocean temperatures by 1°C may not seem like a lot. But researchers were surprised to find nearly doubled growth of some species with just one-degree rise in ocean warming and varied growth responses of assemblages with two degrees of warming, in the most realistic marine warming study conducted in Antarctica to date. These drastic changes in community structure may have huge consequences for the entire ecosystem, as they affect the food chain. “I was not expecting such a visible difference,” said Gail Ashton,…

Read More