Animals Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Manatee Chat: Uncovering Manatee Secrets

It has long been believed that the manatee is a solitary animal with a very simple communication system that primarily serves one purpose: to keep mom and a calf in contact. However, in recent years, these assumptions have been questioned, based on new research indicating that manatees may not be that solitary after all and that their communication system might be more complex than we previously realized.  Manatees clearly cannot compete with other marine mammals in terms of vocal complexity—such as dolphins, for example—yet we still know surprisingly little about…

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A stranded humpback whale carcass in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Humpback whales were among the Alaska marine mammals that showed exposure to algal toxins, according to new research. Photo credit: Kathy Burek-Huntington, Alaska Veterinary and Pathology Services. Animals Biology Environment 

Algal Toxins Found in Alaskan Marine Mammals

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Harmful algal blooms produce toxins that can be deadly to marine mammals. In the US, such toxins—unheard of 20 years ago—have caused almost half of all unusual marine mammal deaths in the last two decades, particularly among California sea lions. Now, for the first time scientists have discovered algal toxins farther north in Alaskan marine mammals; the mammals’ health can be jeopardized by these toxins. “What really surprised us was finding these toxins so widespread in Alaska, far north of where they have been previously documented…

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A grey whale with scars on its tail flukes, possibly the result of a collision with a marine vessel. Image credit: Ricardo Antunes. Animals Environment Oceanography 

Marine Wildlife Protection Meets Maritime Tracking

When marine mammals surface for air, they are frequently struck by seagoing vessels. In addition, with maritime transport accounting for approximately 90 percent of world trade, the noise made by all those ships may disrupt the navigation of whales and other marine mammals. Besides noise disturbance and fatal strikes, shipping impacts on marine wildlife include introduction of pathogens, fuel spills, and invasive species into the water; habitat destruction through anchoring, especially on coral reefs; and pollution of the air. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), working with researchers and practitioners from public…

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Animals Photos 

Swimming with the Sea Lions

Max Goldberg continues his tale of photographing whales, sea lions, and other wildlife in Cabo Hardly anyone got any sleep the night before our fourth day on the National Geographic trip to the coast of Mexico, because we were too excited about the next day’s activities. Before we went to bed, we were briefed on what we were going to do: swim with sea lions. We woke up, had breakfast, and got in the boats for a little tour around the sea lion colony. The first thing I noticed was…

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Green sea turtles swimming near North Stradbroke Island, Australia (Photos by Kathy Townsend) Animals Environment Oceanography 

Sea Turtles Poisoned by Plastic

By Kate Stone Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Benjamin: Yes, sir. Mr. McGuire: Are you listening? Benjamin: Yes, I am. Mr. McGuire: Plastics. Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean? Mr. McGuire: There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it? (The Graduate, 1967) An international study led by the University of Queensland has revealed that more than half the world’s sea turtles have ingested plastic and other rubbish. The study, led by Dr. Qamar Schuyler from UQ’s…

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