Friday, October 31, 2014

Week In Review: Surprising New Data on Ocean Warming, Divers Haul Trash out of Paradise, and More

1. Oceans Warmed More Than Previously Thought

Due to a lack of temperature data, scientists have potentially underestimated the extent of ocean warming around the world. Before a new global temperature measuring system called Argo was implemented in 2004, few measurements existed from the Southern Hemisphere, home to three-fifths of the world's oceans. Researchers now believe that the amount of heat the oceans absorbed between 1970 and the mid-2000s may actually be 58% higher than previously thought. Read more...


2. The Shark You've Never Heard Of

Which shark is big as a great white, but as happy eating a rotting carcass as a live seal? The Greenland shark is the shark you've never heard of, but is thought to commonly exist in the dark depths of the world's ocean. While its primary habitat is believed to be the Arctic Ocean, the species has thus far been spotted on the coasts of Canada, Portugal, Finland, Scotland, and Scandinavia. Read more...


3. Extinction of Ancient Predator Shaped Modern-Day Whales 

A giant species of shark, known as Megalodon, went extinct around an estimated 2.6 million years ago. It was greater than today's Great White, and believed to have fed on whales. Scientists are now identifying its extinction as the triggering event of the evolution of growing sizes in whales, leading to the enormous whales we see today. Read more...


4. Life's Good For the Little Guys of the Ocean

As humans continue to overfish the seas, changes to the marine community are becoming ever more noticeable. As predatory species such as the swordfish, grouper, North Atlantic cod and salmon drop dramatically in number, the smaller fish in the sea are benefitting from this disturbance in the food chain. Smaller fish populations have increased, and as expected, those not popular with humans, such as sticklebacks and gobies, have experienced the highest increase. Read more...


5. Tidal Lagoon Project to Harness the Power of the Sea

Renewable energy from wind and solar is widely used around the world, but sea-based energy technologies are still in their infancy. A proposed project off the coast of Wales will use the movement of water in tidal lagoons to produce power. A similar, larger project proposed for the mouth of a nearby river was scrapped because of environmental concerns. Read more...


6. Divers Remove Tons of Trash from Protected Waters in Hawaii 

During a month-long mission, a team of NOAA divers collected approximately 57 tons of marine debris, including derelict fishing nets and plastic litter, from the sensitive coral reefs and atolls of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii. This World Heritage Site, which is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world, is home to more than 7,000 marine species, such as endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles. An estimated 52 tons of fishing gear alone accumulates in the monument every year. Read more...

Be sure to "LIKE" to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Thursday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week In Review: The Costs of Ocean Acidification, Disney's New Ocean Explorer Princess, and More

1."Scientific American" Discusses Financial Implications of Ocean Acidification

The oceans are becoming acidic as they absorb carbon dioxide produced by humans, and this acidification will have serious effects on the world economy, according to a report by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity. The costs of lost ecosystem protections alone - such as those provided by coral reefs - could be $1 trillion annually. Read more...


2. Disney's Next Princess: An Ocean Explorer from the South Pacific 

Disney's newest animated film will follow the adventures of a Polynesian girl exploring our oceans. Sounds like great inspiration for the entire family!   Read more...


3. Sleeper Sharks Suspected in Sea Lion Deaths

The Steller sea lion population in the West has dropped by 20% since 1975. One possible culprit? Researchers are pointing to Pacific sleeper sharks, which previously were thought of as scavengers and fish eaters. Evidence for this conclusion is based off data from implanted transmitters tracking three juvenile sea lions. Read more...


4. Jellyfish Blooms Feeding the Deep Seas

In recent years, jellyfish blooms have increased due to human-induced climate change and nutrient leaching. While it was previously thought that the jellyfish carcasses were left to rot on the ocean floor, current studies now show that they are a valuable part of the deep sea food chain. Underwater cameras that recorded the fate of jellyfish carcasses showed large numbers of scavengers arriving at unexpected speeds. Read more...


5. Coral-Inhabiting Sharks Escape Ocean Acidification

As the ocean acidifies at an unprecedented rate, a reef-inhabiting species of shark may prove it is able to tolerate these changing marine conditions. Researchers exposed the epaulette shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum, to different levels of elevated CO2 and measured the sharks' physiological response. The species showed remarkable levels of tolerance, giving hope for its survival into the future.


6. Island Crowdfunds for Marine Protected Areas

Palau, an island in the Pacific, is creating a national marine sanctuary the size of France. In order to cover the costs of establishing and maintaining this marine protected area, Palau has turned to the public for their Stand for Palau campaign. As the first nation to ever create a marine conservation crowdfunding campaign, Palau has raised $53,000 dollars from over 400 donors. Read more...

Be sure to "LIKE" to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Thursday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week In Review: Monk Seal Recovery, Airlines Cut SeaWorld Ties, and More

1. An Optimistic Outlook for the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal 

The critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal is making a recovery! The species, which has a population of 1,200, can only be found at the Hawaiian Islands. This year, scientists recorded 121 monk seal pups, a significant increase from 103 last year. The Hawaiian monk seal faces many challenges, including shark attacks, getting caught in fishing nets, and not finding enough fish to eat. Read more here...


2. Half of Earth's Wildlife Lost

According to new research, wildlife numbers have dropped by half since the 1970s. The disappearance has occurred across land and oceans, and most significantly in Latin America, where the overall wildlife population has fallen by 83%. Habitat destruction, commercial fishing and hunting, and climate change are the culprits. Read more here...


3. The Largest Sea Level Rise in 6,000 Years

Scientists have reconstructed thousands of years of sea level fluctuations and have concluded that the oceans are experiencing a greater sea level rise than at any time in the past 6,000 years. The research study's lead author, Kurt Lambeck, concludes, "I think that [the sea level rise] is clearly the impact of climate change." Read more here...


4. Airlines Cut SeaWorld Ties

Virgin America has dropped SeaWorld from their rewards program after facing pressure from animal-rights activists. This news comes after Southwest Airlines, which once had SeaWorld animals painted on its planes, ended its relationship with the marine theme park in July. Alaska Air has also stopped selling tickets to SeaWorld through a third-party vendor.
Read more here...


Be sure to "LIKE" to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Thursday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Week in Review: Walrus Gathering Sign of Climate Change, Secret Lives of Sharks Revealed, and more

1. Largest Walrus Gathering Blamed on Shrinking Sea Ice 

As the sea ice shrinks due to climate change, walruses must come on shore to rest. On a beach in northern Alaska, the largest walrus gathering in history is occurring. An estimated 35,000 walruses are currently resting on shore and are predicted to remain for another two to four weeks until winter sea ice begins to form. Read more here...

2. The Secret Lives of Sharks

Some species of sharks are known to be mellow. Others are more aggressive. But did you know that shark personalities can vary widely within a species? Researchers examining the spotted catshark have found distinct social behavior traits between individual sharks. This was the first scientific study to show that sharks have unique personalities. Read more here... 


3. Polluted Hawaiian Waters Leading to Sick, Dying Sea Turtles

Sea turtles living in Hawaiian waters have disproportionately high rates of fibropapillomatosis, a tumor causing disease that is a leading cause of death for sea turtles. Scientists have uncovered nitrogen pollution from cities and agriculture as the tumor-causing agent. Sea turtles with fibropapillomatosis have elevated levels of arginine, an amino acid that is the product of nitrogen. Read more here... 


4. Pledge to Stop the Capture of Wild Marine Mammals Criticized

Virgin Holidays has announced a pledge with theme parks and resorts to stop the capture of cetaceans from the wild. The pledge, which starts on Feb. 14 of next year, has been signed by 27 resorts, including Sea World. While a step in the right direction, the pledge is being criticized by animal welfare groups as not doing enough. Critics argue that the pledge should include an agreement to end shows, halt captive breeding programs, and develop sanctuaries to help already captured animals. Read more here... 

Be sure to "LIKE" to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Thursday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

California "Bags" Disposable Plastic, Oceans Receive D Grade, Kudos to Indonesia and More

1. California First State to Ban Bags

Single-use plastic bags are now officially banned in the state of California! This week, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bag ban legislation, which goes into effect in July 2015 for large grocery stores and in 2016 for smaller businesses. With the ban, the state joins more than 100 California municipalities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, that have already banned plastic bags. The new legislation is being hailed as a win-win for both the environment and job growth. Read more here…


2. Grading Global Ocean Health

On the third annual oceans report card from the Ocean Health Index, the state of the world's oceans has been given a score of 67 out of 100, or an overall "D" grade. Scientists assigned the grade based on a rigorous analysis of the ecological, social, economic, and political factors impacting the oceans. The goal of the index includes raising awareness on marine issues and helping countries make sound policies regarding the oceans. Read more here...


3. Analysis Reveals Shark Attacks Associated With Hand-Feeding

Researchers have analyzed five shark attacks along the beaches of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2010 to gain an understanding of the different factors contributing to these unprovoked attacks. The oceanic whitetip shark was responsible for three of the five attacks, while the short fin mako shark was behind the other two attacks. Analysis of the attacks suggests that the sharks have become habituated to hand-feeding by dive operators, and now associate swimmers with feeding time. Read more here...


4. Indonesia Cracking Down on Endangered Ray Trafficking

Authorities in Indonesia have recently gone on an arresting spree of traffickers attempting to sell endangered manta rays. The high demand for rays stem from their cartilage which is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Now Manta rays, along with reef rays, are protected under Indonesian law as implemented by CITES regulations. The cost of being caught for trafficking rays in Indonesia is a fine of up to $25,000. Read more here...


5. Tiny Marine Creatures Can Produce Large Seawater Currents

The collective movement of small crustaceans could be affecting the mixing of seawater. Scientists believe that when these tiny creatures swim together in a giant mass,  they are contributing to large marine currents that help mix the seawater. Studies are currently being done in the lab using lasers to help guide the crustacean migration in water seeded with glass spheres to visualize fluid flow. Read more here...

Be sure to "like" to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Thursday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Lurks Beneath: 5 Freaky Sharks That Own the Ocean

Today we're counting down the top five freakiest sharks that cruise the seas. Take a peek at some of the incredible creatures that share our planet!

5. Thresher Shark

At a head-on glance, this shark looks pretty average. No funky-shaped head or gigantic mouth with gleaming daggers. But when the sharks turns, you see it: the exceptionally long, whip-like tail.

This shark’s superpower is its immensely strong tail, which can be as long as its body. When hunting prey or fighting predators, it uses this tail to “stun” so it can move in for the kill or make a quick escape.

4. Sawshark

The name of this shark says it all. The sawshark boasts a long, protruding snout packed with razor-sharp teeth. It uses this personal chainsaw, a rostrum that accounts for 30% of its total body length, to slice and dice prey.

Though it was once a threatened species, animal protection laws have allowed the population to recover, and now these creatures are thriving in the depths of the Indian Ocean. While the sawshark looks intimidating, its interactions with humans are very rare.

3. Cookiecutter Shark

This shark earned its name and a spot on our list due to its unusual feeding style. The cookiecutter shark uses its small, razor-sharp teeth to remove chunks of flesh from its victims, similar to the way a cookie cutter cuts shapes out of dough. The shark digs its top row of teeth deep into the victim’s flesh and uses the bottom row as a vibrating mechanism to gouge out a bite. Though it reaches just 22 inches in length, cookiecutter bites have been found on much larger animals, such as whales.

Though this shark's method of feeding might give you the chills, humans need not worry about an encounter. Only a handful of incidents have been recorded. More than anything, the cookiecutter shark is a nuisance to shipping vessels, fishing lines, and trawls.

2. Frilled Shark

Often referred to as a “living fossil,” this shark made our list because of its rarity and unusual appearance. The frilled shark has been seen alive only a handful of times. It dwells in the depths of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and shares traits with extinct sharks from the Jurassic period.
This shark has an elongated body and is thought to attack prey in a striking motion, similar to a snake. Its teeth are fashioned into columns intended to hook or ensnare prey, making it difficult for food to get away. The shark has also been known to simply open its mouth and invite prey in.

1. Goblin Shark

It looks like something you’ve seen in a nightmare, but this creature is indeed very real. Our #1 freakiest shark spot goes to the goblin shark, a deep water shark with the weirdest appearance of them all. 

The goblin shark is pinkish in color, can grow to over 13 feet, and has a long, flat snout with extendable jaws and hundreds of needle-like teeth. This shark waits until prey is within reach before extending snapping jaws almost to the length of its snout to crush and devour prey. It lives at depths of around 1500 feet and is rarely seen by humans.

These sharks may seem freaky to us, but their unusual characteristics have allowed them to survive and thrive. Each one plays a vital role in its underwater ecosystem.

Help us send a message that these and all sharks must be protected from unsustainable fishing by uploading your "Give 'Em the Fin" pic today! To find out more, visit