Category: Marine Science

Deep Sea Discoveries!

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | July 22, 2010 10:26 am

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More adorable, breathtaking, and wondrous photos from deep in the North Atlantic at CNN

MORE ABOUT: oceans, octopus

The Oil Spill's Smallest Survivors Released into Atlantic

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | July 14, 2010 9:56 am

large_24630The first sea turtle eggs rescued from the Gulf have hatched! From the Associated Press:

About 700 sea turtle nests — each containing about 100 eggs — are being trucked from oiled shores along the Gulf to Cape Canaveral, where they’re kept at a climate-controlled facility. The turtles are being released into the Atlantic as they hatch.

Scientists feared that a generation of the imperiled species would die if they hatched and swam into the oil.

One small step toward restoration. One giant leap for the oil spill’s tiniest refugees. They face a tough road ahead.

Godspeed and good luck little dudes!

(Photo: The Ocean Conservancy)
CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Marine Science

The Forecasted Collapse of a Fishery

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | July 11, 2010 11:34 am

It could be the dams, fertilizers, pesticides, and related reduced food availability. It might have to do with the amount of water in the region, climate change, and poor regulation. Most likely, it’s some combination of these factors compounded by widespread apathy about a population of chinook salmon off the coasts of Northern California–until it was too late. The Press Democrat quoted fisherman Al Vail:

“I never caught a fish,” he said. “I’ve never seen a year like this, and I’ve been fishing for 45 years.”

Sad, but is anyone surprised? Those with an eye to the fishery knew this news would come. The farmers, the environmentalists, the scientists, the fishermen, and much of the public observed and waited. Tragedy of the commons? Perhaps. Tragedy for the fishery and those involved in industry? Obviously. Next up… Blue Fin Tuna?

I’m reminded of Kurt on the fate of the planet in Man Without A Country: “We could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy.”


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Marine Science

This IS the Worst-Case Scenario

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | July 9, 2010 6:54 am


via xkcd. Sounds about right.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Marine Science, Media and Science

"There's always a bigger fish." [or whale]

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 30, 2010 7:36 pm

~ Qui-Gon Jinn

123195279(Image by C.Letenneur)

New discovery, ancient whale: Meet Leviathan melvillei (Is that a great name or what?!)  Ed’s got the details and you can read the full article in Nature. Spectacular!


Another Growing Algal Bloom in China

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 24, 2010 5:37 pm

Here we go again… From the AFP:

BEIJING — A floating expanse of green algae floating off China’s eastern seaboard is growing and spreading further along the coast, state-run media has reported.

* * * * *

Algae blooms are typically caused by pollution in China and suck up huge amounts of oxygen needed by marine wildlife to survive and leave a foul stench when they wash up on beaches.

* * * * *

According to a 2008 State Oceanic Administration report, raw sewage and pollution from agricultural run-off has polluted 83 percent of China’s coastal waters, leading to algae and other problems.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Marine Science

The Florida Panhandle

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 23, 2010 1:03 pm

As the 2006 Sea Grant Fellow for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), I spent much of the year working hard to keep oil drilling away from the state’s coast. I am completely devastated to see photos of the Panhandle taken this morning by The Ocean Conservany.


The full set is here, but be warned, these images are hard to see…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Conservation, Marine Science

A Gulf Coast Relief tee

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 16, 2010 8:22 am

I’ve long been a big fan of Threadless shirts. The creative images and phrases always spark interesting conversations, especially when meeting strangers while traveling. Now they have a new “Gulf Coast relief tee” called “peliCAN” and are:

donating all proceeds from the sale of this tee to the Gulf Restoration Network, a 15 year old environmental non-profit organization committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf Region for future generations. They’re the only environmental organization working Gulf-wide, and since the first days of BP’s oil drilling disaster, they’ve provided independent monitoring and advocacy focused on holding BP accountable and ensuring an effective and transparent response to the crisis. Take action, stay informed, and donate to these efforts here.

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It’s great to see a company get involved in local efforts to restore the Gulf. I’m not sure how I feel about the graphic, but it definitely succeeds in capturing the symbol of the oil spill. What do you think?

You can read more about peliCAN here and visit the Gulf Restoration Network for other ways to help.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Environment, Marine Science

Mr. Hayward Goes To Washington

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 14, 2010 10:28 pm

220px-Tony_Hayward_-_World_Economic_Forum_on_the_Middle_East_2008The Oil Drum has posted and linked (pdf) to the letter sent by the Energy and Commerce Committee to BP CEO Tony Hayward in preparation for his upcoming testimony regarding concerns over risky practices related to the oil spill. It begins:

Dear Mr. Hayward:

We are looking forward to your testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Thursday, June 17, 2010, about the causes of the blowout ofthe Macondo well and the ongoing oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. As you prepare for this testimony, we want to share with you some of the results of the Committee’s investigation and advise you of issues you should be prepared to address.

The Committee’s investigation is raising serious questions about the decisions made by BP in the days and hours before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon. On April 15, five days before the explosion, BP’s drilling engineer called Macondo a “nightmare well.” In spite of the well’s difficulties, BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure. In several instances, these decisions appear to violate industry guidelines and were made despite warnings from BP’s own personnel and its contractors. In effect, it appears that BP repeatedly chose risky procedures in order to reduce costs and save time and made minimal efforts to contain the added risk.

The full letter is here.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Energy, Marine Science

Oil In The Water

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 10, 2010 12:01 pm

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Click on the map to watch CNN’s time-lapse video

Now go read Nicholas Kristof’s related Op-Ed in the NYTimes:

The national campaign to get President Obama to emote, throw crockery at oil executives and jump up and down in fury has failed. But here’s a long-term solution: Let’s anoint a king and queen.


[It] would give President Obama time to devise actual clean-up policies. He might then also be able to concentrate on eliminating absurd government policies that make these disasters more likely (such as the $75 million cap on economic damages when an oil rig is responsible for a spill).

Our president is stuck with too many ceremonial duties as head of state, such as greeting ambassadors and holding tedious state dinners, that divert attention from solving problems. You can preside over America or you can address its problems, but it’s difficult to find time to do both.


* Update: You can now vote for king and queen of America at Vanity Fair. *


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