Saturday, February 28, 2015

Week in Review: Climate Injustice:The Real History of the Maldives, How to Swim Safely with Sharks, and More!

1. Climate Injustice: The Real History of the Maldives


Painted at the entrance to Addu City, Maldives. Credit:  Summer Gray

This week you may have seen some posts on our social media sites about the current activity in the Maldives. After we found out the ocean conservationist and human rights leader, Mohamed Nasheed, was imprisoned and not given the right to an attorney, we sprung to action. We have created a petition here to ask the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to get involved with this situation. Many people do not understand the history or current state of the Maldive Islands and the impact that Mohamed Nasheed has had to the community. We challenge you all to read this article from the Berkeley Journal of Sociology and educate yourselves. It is our hope that this information provides you with a call to action against the current activity. Keep watch on our social media for updates and special reports on Mohamed Nasheed. Help us free Nasheed!

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2. How to Swim Safely with Sharks




We see pictures of humans swimming alongside sharks every day. You may be asking yourself, how do they do this? A photo essay documenting the One Ocean Diving program shows us the details and magnificence of the shark species.. Read more...




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3. Sea Urchins and Sand Dollars Provide Evolution Insight



A study by Melanie Hopkins, an assistant curator in the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Paleontology, and Andrew Smith, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum, London, recently reviewed the evolutionary changes of the echinoid family. Echinoids were ideal to study the progression of evolution on because they have interlocking calcite plates. Generally, a fossil based study like this one would reveal that organisms diversify fastest in early evolutionary history. For this group of organisms, research shows that the rate of evolution has actually increased over time.  Read more...


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4. Sharks Found Dead, Finned in Miami Beach


This week a bull and hammerhead shark were found washed up on the coastline of Miami Beach. Both of these sharks were found with their fins removed. These sharks were likely victims of  a slow, painful death after their fins were removed. Although shark finning is a banned practice in many areas of the world, the illegal activity continues.  Read more...



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5. Sea World to End Public Dolphin Feeding


Image result for seaworld dolphin feeding

Although it has been a popular tourist activity, SeaWorld has announced that they will no longer allow visitors to feed the dolphins. This has been banned because of this risk to dolphins and the untrained public. SeaWorld is the last attraction that has implemented this ban. Read more...




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6. Miami's Choice: Bigger Ships or Coral Reefs?

Biscayne Bay was once home to one of the most vibrant coral reefs in the United States. As a result of the widening of the Panama Canal, both the Port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale have now issued proposals to dredge their ship channels to accommodate for the larger vessels. The dredging could create some irreparable damage on the already ill reefs. The coral reef is Biscayne Bay is part of the 358 miles of coral in South Florida. NOAA has approved the request to dredge Port Everglades under the agreement that 100,000 nursery grown corals will replace the destroyed area. Controversy still exists over the activity in the Port of Miami. Read more...




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7. Whales Can’t Enjoy Their Food!


Last week we reviewed research on the three basic tastes that penguins have lost. It seems that penguins are not the species evolving out of certain senses! A recent study by a group of scientists at Kyoto University reviled that both whales and dolphins have lost certain tastes and smells. It is possible that this is the reason that cetaceans often die from ingesting ocean debris. Read more...

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8. Depth of Plastic Pollution in Oceans Revealed

Although we normally see plastic waste floating in the ocean, what do we know about the pollution below the surface? A study recorded in Biogeosciences recorded that there are actually 10 levels of plastic concentration which total a depth of 5 meters. In the depths of the ocean the plastic pollution are millimeter- sized drops. This information will make scientists reevaluate the cleanup operations that are currently in place.  Read more...


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9. Algal Species Helps Corals Survive in Earth’s Hottest Reefs



One of the many issues that climate change has created is coral bleaching. Although this is happening to a very large number of coral reefs, it is not necessarily affecting all. A new heat tolerate alga was found in the Persian Gulf. Algae and coral have a symbiotic relationship and the algae protects coral from pollution, diseases, and predators.  Read more...

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Be sure to "LIKE" http://facebook.com/SeaSave 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.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Week in Review: Satellite Images Reveal Ocean Acidification, Evolution Favors Bigger Sea Creatures, and More!

1. Satellite Images Reveal Ocean Acidification

According to a new report in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, 25% of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere is absorbed into the ocean. The carbon dioxide increases the acidity of the seawater through a process defined as ocean acidification. Scientists from the University of Exeter, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Institut fran├žais de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (Ifremer), the European Space Agency and a team of international collaborators developed a new way to monitor the progression of ocean acidification. Tracking this phenomenon is critical to maintain our aquatic ecosystem. Read more...

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2. Evolution ‘Favors Bigger Sea Creatures’

Over the past 542 million years, the average size of marine animal has increased by a factor of 150. This observation is in line with Cope’s rule which proposes that an animal will evolve to a larger body size over time. To confirm this hypothesis, a team from Stanford amassed data on more than 17,000 animal genera and analyzed the size trends throughout millions of years. . Read more...


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3. White Sharks Live Longer Than 70 Years and Mature More Slowly Than Previously Thought


Researchers have been able to determine the growth patterns of the great white shark from vertebrae banding patterns. This data revealed that this shark species can live longer than 73 years. Scientists also concluded that males sexually mature around age 26 and females around age 33. It is possible that these sharks may be among the longest-lived fishes.  Read more...

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4. The Kiribati People Battle Sea Level Rise

The human population on the Pacific Island of Kiribati is taking action against the impacts of sea level rise. After years of tragic storms, erosion damage, and salt water damage, the community has selected a few improvements that they will make to their homeland. See the slideshow of their plans here...



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5. How the Humble Sea Snail Produces the Strongest Stuff on Earth


According to a recent study in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, sea snails have microscopic teeth that are comparable to the strength of steel. Although this seems like silly information, scientists have used the details that they have learned about these structures and apply them to create similar material for aircrafts, boats, or even dental fillings. The strength of the snail’s tooth material outperforms the strength of spider silk which is currently considered the strongest natural fiber.  Read more...


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6. New Species, the ‘Ruby Seadragon,’




While reviewing the current data on the two species of sea dragons, the group of scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography discovered a third species of seadragon. Not only did the genetic material from this species differ from the two but, the CT scans of the seadragon showed unique skeletal features. The team now hopes that they can launch an expedition to see this exotic fish.    Read more...





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7. Washington Cetacean Bill Moves to the House



This week the Washington Senate refrained from voting on the bill to ban capture or import of whales, dolphins, and porpoises into the state of Washington. Although the state Senate is on a hold, a companion bill has been submitted to the House to review. Interested in supporting these bills? Read more...



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8. Marine Defaunation: Animal Loss in the Global Ocean



Unfortunately, it is no surprise that human activity has impacted marine wildlife. This process is technically referred to as marine defaunation. Although the loss of marine environment has been a slower process than that above sea level, scientists now believe that there may be a significant increase in the future.  Read more...



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9. A Competition with Real Teeth!


Well, here’s a new one… shark racing. No, this does not involve anyone trying to ride on a shark. The Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University has started a fundraising event to incorporate shark tracking. In this competition, sharks will be tagged and tracked to see which shark swims the most miles. The purpose of this event is the help raise shark awareness of this species. Think you may be interested in participating? Check out the competition details,  Read more...

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10. Experimental Wave-power Buoy Survives Winter in Monterey Bay

After 131 days in Monterey Bay, engineers retrieved the power buoy to check its ability to handle difficult weather. The wave-power converter was anchored to the seafloor throughout the experiment. After six trials, this was the longest  period of the time that the power buoy was able to stay out in the sea. Although there is still a significant amount of development left on this product, eventually the power buoy may serve as an underwater docking and charging station for autonomous underwater vehicles.    Read more...

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11. Fossils Reveal Changes to ‘Immune Adriatic Sea'


A new study reports that there has been a significant shift in bottom-dwelling species in Italy’s Po Basin. Although this area has been known for its diverse shellfish population, it seems that the heavy tourism in this area has diminished the species. To come to this conclusion, researchers observed over 100,000 fossil specimens from geological cores against the data from present-day marine ecosystems.  Read more...


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12. Penguins Lost Ability to Taste Fish

All vertebrates can detect five basic taste: sweet, umami, bitter, sour, and salty.  Researchers recently discovered that, through evolution, penguins have lost their sweet, umami, and bitter tastes. Because penguins swallow fish without chewing, it is possible that their taste loss was a consequence of their eating habits. Another theory that was published in Current Biology notes that those taste receptors may not function at low temperatures. Read more...



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Be sure to "LIKE" http://facebook.com/SeaSave 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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Week in Review: Geoengineering: Friend or Foe?, World's Oceans Clogged by Millions of Tons of Plastic Trash, and More!

1. Geoengineering: Friend or Foe ?

With climate change in its current state,geoengineering research and development  has increased. This week, the National Academies released reports on two geoengineering options- carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management. On Tuesday, a US government-sponsored scientific panel discussed the pros, cons, and feasibility of implementing this technology. The Panel did conclude that geoengineering is not a replacement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read the National Academies' report here ...

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2. World's Oceans Clogged by Millions of Tons of Plastic Trash


Although pollution in our oceans has been widely acknowledged,  a group of researchers was able to published some very shocking numbers to quantify the issue. The team took data on solid waste, population density, economic status, and the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean to help in their analysis. They determined that in 2010 275 million metric tons of plastic waste was generated and around 8 million tons actually entered the ocean. High income countries will need to improve their waste management infrastructure to manage this issue. Read more...

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3. Jail Time for Manta Ray Trader


In 2014, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) in Indonesia officially banned the hunting and trading of manta rays in Indonesia. Since that ban, the MMAF has been able to catch and reprimand the violators. Fines for participating in this illegal trade could amount to $150,000 USD fine and up to 8 years of jail time. Manta rays are profitable because of their gill plates. These plates are a key ingredient in a Chinese health tonic. The manta ray gill plate trade is approximately 30 million dollar a year.,  Read more...

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4. Adapting to Survive? Gray Seals Prey on Porpoises

Continuous observation and research help track the evolution of certain species. Recently biologist Sebastian Fuhrmann witnessed a gray seal seen preying on a porpoise. Scientists believed that the gray seals’ diet consisted mainly of fish but, this event seems to negate that generalization. It is possible that the seals are either returning to old hunting habits or that they have adapted to a new food supply in light of the decreasing fish populations.  Read more...

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5.  U.N. Climate Deal Set to Rely on Persuasion, not Coercion


This week, representatives from 200 countries spent time discussing how to collectively manage climate change at the UN conference in Geneva. Debates have centered around the topic of penalties associated with not complying to the proposed emission cuts. Instead of the traditional reprimanding, the countries of the UN may attempt to use a “non confrontational and non- judicial” method to jointly limit greenhouse gas emissions. These discussions are part of the preparation for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.  Read more...


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6. Turtles on a Plane?

Here’s another item to explicitly add to the TSA banned item list- TURTLES. That’s right, turtles. Last year 211 baby turtles were found stuffed into boots at the Anchorage airport. These turtles were being smuggled to China where they could be sold for turtle soup. This week SoundWaters in Stamford, CT has adopted 22 of those saved diamondback terrapin turtles. Read more...



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7. Endangered Turtles Rescued in Massachusetts Released

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In a previous Week in Review we reported on the large number of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that were found stranded on the beaches of Massachusetts. After treatment and rehabilitation, ten of these sea turtles have been released back into the ocean off the coast of Florida. Read more...



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8. Western Australia's 'Serious Threat' Shark Policy Condemned by Senate


Western Australia has a long standing policy that gave the government approval to kill great white sharks, a protected species, if they posed a risk to public safety. The Senate has recently revoked this stating that the federal environment minister had not carried “out his responsibilities under the [Environment Protection Biodiversity] act, to protect species that’s listed as vulnerable, by allowing the serious threat policy to be used this way.”  Read more...

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9. The Horrors of Fishing With Dynamite


Fisherman in Borneo are taking on some dangerous methods of fishing and trading their fishing nets for dynamite. The underwater explosions are completely destructive to all of the fish and coral reefs in the blast area. The World Wildlife Fund reported that, in a single area study, there were around 19 blasts per day in a small stretch of water in Tanzania. Although many countries have taken action to stop this practice, it continues to exist as a common practice in areas of the world. Read more...

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10. Government of Madagascar Creates Country’s First Shark Sanctuary

A new shark sanctuary was established in Madagascar and will become home to 19 species of sharks. A large percentage of those shark populations have been threatened due to overfishing. The creation of this sanctuary is one of the many actions associated with the new law to safeguard marine ecosystems. This law will also require collaboration between the local fisherman and the government to maintain appropriate fish populations.  Read more...

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11. BP Oil Spill Effects on Bottlenose Dolphins


A new study published in the PLOS One journal reports that the northern Gulf of Mexico saw the highest mortality rate of bottlenose dolphins between 2010 and 2014. Scientist refer to this increase as a multi-year unusual mortality event (UME). This event is defined by the National marine Fisheries Service as a significant pattern of marine mammal death. Although the cause for the UME has not been determined, the time frame and location does correlate with the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Read more...


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Be sure to "LIKE" http://facebook.com/SeaSave 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.