A pod of dolphins just outside New York harbor. Carsten Brandt/Getty
Our thanks to Oliver Milman, Mother Jones and the Climate Desk collaboration for this, and we hope the frolicking continues:
“We’ve come a long way.”
Dolphins have been spotted frolicking in New York City’s Bronx River, an encouraging sign of the improving health of a waterway that was for many years befouled as a sewer for industrial waste. Continue reading
Corals in the waters of the Ras Mohammed National Park in the Red Sea near Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, home to one of the only reefs in the world that can tolerate heat. Sima Diab for The New York Times
Our thanks to Jenny Gross and Vivian Yee reporting from Egypt:
Attendees of the United Nations climate conference took breaks from negotiations to see the corals for themselves.Credit…Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Red Sea’s Coral Reefs Defy the Climate-Change Odds
As warming waters devastate coral around the world, the sea’s stunningly colorful reefs have been remarkably resilient. But pollution, mass tourism and overfishing put them at risk.
SHARM El SHEIKH, Egypt — The vast majority of the world’s coral reefs are likely to be severely damaged in the coming decades if the planet keeps warming at its current rate. Continue reading
Scientists fixed bio-logger tags equipped with cameras on tiger sharks in the Bahamas to map the ocean’s seagrass meadows. Photograph: Diego Camejo/Beneath the Waves
We thank Laura Paddison for this underwater news, published in the Guardian, that has implication for climate change mitigation:
New study, carried out using tiger sharks in the Bahamas, extends total known global seagrass coverage by more than 40%
Tiger sharks are notoriously fierce. The huge animals, which can grow to more than 16ft, are ruthless predators and scared of absolutely nothing – recent research found that while other shark species fled coastal waters during strong storms, tiger sharks “didn’t even flinch”.
But recently they have a new role that could help burnish their reputations: marine scientists. Continue reading
Researchers with a giant sunfish at the marina in Horta in the Azores in December. Atlantic Naturalist
We do not tire of the ocean surprises; this one is of an entirely different magnitude:
Not Just a Big Fish, but Perhaps the Biggest Bony Fish Ever
A sunfish found near the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean weighed as much as an S.U.V. Scientists say it’s a sign that the sea’s largest creatures can live if we let them.
The fish, at more than 6,000 pounds, is about the weight of a Chevrolet Suburban S.U.V. Atlantic Naturalist
It was easy for scientists to have doubts when they were told that the carcass of a colossal fish had been found floating just off the coast of Faial Island in Portugal’s Azores archipelago in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean in December 2021.
People do tend to exaggerate when it comes to the size of fish after all. However, their skepticism lifted the moment they laid eyes on the fish. It was the biggest bony fish they had ever seen. In fact, it might have been the biggest anyone had ever seen. Continue reading
Another type of gummy squirrel found on an expedition in the CCZ called Psychropotes semperiana. DeepCCZ Project
We have linked to articles concerned about mining deep sea locations for the materials needed in electric vehicle batteries, and other articles featuring deep sea creatures we had no previous knowledge of. Now it is time to combine the two topics more explicitly, and we thank Benji Jones at Vox for this article:
Relicanthus daphneae, an anemone-like organism in the CCZ, stuck on top of the stalk of a dead sea sponge. Its tentacles can extend several feet long. Diva Amon and Craig Smith/University of Hawaiʻi
Note: Data for 2020 is from June 2020 through May 2021; for 2021, it is from June 2021 through May 2022.
Overfishing and potential solutions have received lots of attention in our pages over the years. It is not a new problem. And yet, we now have better metrics for how serious the problem is and who is responsible, currently, for making the problem worse. The screenshot to the left does not capture the full value of the dynamic illustration accompanying this article. Click the image to go to the source:
A Chinese ship fishing for squid off the west coast of South America in July 2021. Isaac Haslam/Sea Shepherd via Associated Press
How China Targets the Global Fish Supply
With its own coastal waters depleted, China has built a global fishing operation unmatched by any other country.
Rich and ecologically diverse, the waters around the Galápagos Islands have attracted local fishermen for centuries. Now, these waters face a much larger, more rapacious hunter: China. Continue reading
It has been a long time since our last links to a favorite coffee table book publisher. Next month, it could be yours. And inside we see a page with homage to Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka, old favorites:
About the book
Pre-order now. This title will ship from September 8th, 2022.
Experience the force, mystery, and beauty of the ocean and seas through more than 300 images – featuring underwater photography, oceanographic maps and scientific illustrations, as well as paintings, sculptures and popular films.
Oceanography and art collide in this visual celebration of humans’ relationship with the marine world. Continue reading
A gummy squirrel – Psychropotes longicauda – is a type of sea cucumber. This specimen is 60cm long with red palps, or lips, with which it feeds on sediment on the ocean floor, 5,100m deep
Discoveries still happen, even as the earth burns. Creatures not previously known are being identified 5,000 meters below the surface of the ocean. Some do not even yet have a name:
A spiny sea creature on the ocean floor
Natural History Museum scientists seek to unlock mysteries of deep sea but some fear activity will disturb diversity of the depths
Scientists have found more than 30 potentially new species living at the bottom of the sea. Continue reading
Sylvia Earle. Illustration by João Fazenda
Yesterday’s post got me looking back at our attention to marine science over the years, making me wonder whether we have given that topic its fair share. Yes, probably, but more is needed. I already knew this name because it has appeared in our pages a few times over the years. But just recently I heard her name from two different people who have had the chance to know her personally. One of them, when I mentioned the name, replied with Her Deepness replacing Sylvia Earle’s given name. Thanks to Dana Goodyear, who had me at puma, but who also knows a thing or two about water, now this:
Do you like to breathe?” This is a question that the marine biologist and deep-sea explorer Sylvia Earle asks frequently. The ocean produces half of the oxygen on Earth. If it dies, humanity can’t survive, so humans better pay attention to it. Continue reading
A lionfish caught off Venezuela, where the authorities organise sport fishing competitions to curb the dangerous proliferation of the invasive species. Photograph: Yuri Cortéz/AFP/Getty
Lionfish came to our attention in a series of posts starting in 2014. That year we came to see that fighting this invasive species would require innovative entrepreneurial conservation methods. We published more posts and series about initiatives in the years since then, but the problem continued to grow. For some reason the stories about initiatives started fading from our attention and then stopped with a post in 2018. Now, 22 posts since the first post and four years since the last one, lionfish are back in our thoughts thanks to Inversa’s innovation:
Lionfish leather. Inversa says it is helping to solve an environmental crisis by using an invasive species that eats lots of other fish but has no predators in much of its range. Photograph: Inversa
An avid diver saw how lionfish have devastated populations of Florida’s native tropical fish and resolved to help solve the problem
Aarav Chavda has been diving off the coast of Florida for years. Each time he became increasingly depressed by the ever-growing void, as colourful species of fish and coral reefs continued to disappear. Continue reading
Thanks to Stephanie Pain, Knowable Magazine and Smithsonian for this:
Animals-turned-oceanographers are helping biologists find out what they do when they get to the cold, dark depths
Chilean devil rays swim in the Atlantic Ocean near the Azores. Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild via Getty Images
There’s only one word for it: indescribable. “It’s one of those awesome experiences you can’t put into words,” says fish ecologist Simon Thorrold. Thorrold is trying to explain how it feels to dive into the ocean and attach a tag to a whale shark — the most stupendous fish in the sea. “Every single time I do it, I get this huge adrenaline rush,” he says. “That’s partly about the science and the mad race to get the tags fixed. But part of it is just being human and amazed by nature and huge animals.”
Whale sharks are one of a select group of large marine animals that scientists like Thorrold, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, have signed up as ocean-going research assistants. Continue reading
The commissioner of the panel said: ‘The ocean is under attack … I cannot say in good conscience that this amount of damage is OK.’ Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters
Desalination, which we celebrated multiple times over the years, might not be all as good we thought it was:
Poseidon Water sought to turn seawater into drinking water but activists said plan would devastate ecosystem on Pacific coast
A California coastal panel on Thursday rejected a longstanding proposal to build a $1.4bn seawater desalination plant to turn Pacific Ocean water into drinking water as the state grapples with persistent drought that is expected to worsen in coming years with climate change. Continue reading
Photo: Brandon Cole
We care about octopus for many reasons and there is plenty to learn about why. This article will make you want to know more about these creatures. Sy Montgomery, writing in Orion Magazine, is the best illuminator:
Inside the mind of the octopus
ON AN UNSEASONABLY WARM day in the middle of March, I traveled from New Hampshire to the moist, dim sanctuary of the New England Aquarium, hoping to touch an alternate reality. I came to meet Athena, the aquarium’s forty-pound, five-foot-long, two-and-a-half-year-old giant Pacific octopus. Continue reading
Yesterday’s dramatic photograph at sea shows an interaction between two sea creatures, and combines stark beauty with the occasional terror of pure nature. Man and nature in conflict at sea is not beautiful in any manner. This article below, authored by Nick Rahaim and published in Hakai Magazine, helps put the video above in context. Please click the title to read the story in full at its origin, or listen to it here:
As a commercial fisher, I’ve watched colleagues shoot at whales looting from their lines. Here’s why everyone loses when that happens.
Whale-watching tourism is lucrative for Sri Lanka but even the small boats are at risk from the huge tankers and container ships that use the route. Photograph: IFAW/Christian Loader
It seems a minor request, asking the companies whose ships pass through Sri Lanka’s waters to be considerate of the whales who live in those waters:
Unique colony of blue whales increasingly at risk from tankers and container ships, say marine campaigners
Scientists and conservation groups are calling for one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes to be rerouted in an effort to protect the world’s largest animal. Continue reading
Illustration by João Fazenda
When she publishes an essay, or a longform reported article, it should be clear before you start that you are almost certainly not going to enjoy what you learn:
It’s rare that a tiny country like Nauru gets to determine the course of world events. But, for tangled reasons, this rare event is playing out right now. If Nauru has its way, enormous bulldozers could descend on the largest, still mostly untouched ecosystem in the world—the seafloor—sometime within the next few years. Hundreds of marine scientists have signed a statement warning that this would be an ecological disaster resulting in damage “irreversible on multi-generational timescales.” Continue reading
If you have visited Costa Rica, or been fortunate enough to live here, you might have already become entangled with the country’s many opportunities to support conservation. For many decades foreigners have been welcomed to join in the country’s marine and terrestrial conservation initiatives. Many of those foreigners adopt the country as home after getting entangled in all kinds of good ways.
The first eight minutes of the video above are bliss: several young people are introduced, each of whom has become entangled. Along with those introductions, some stunning photography and videography showcasing Costa Rica’s nature, helping you to understand the entanglement. At 8:14 you see the dictionary definitions of entangled. The next 17 minutes are a case study in industrial fishing’s unintended consequences. Not surprisingly, this has already received lots of awards, but they ask you to share freely, so please do. And if you want to support financially, that will be appreciated as well.
A diver examines bleached coral in French Polynesia in 2019. ALEXIS ROSENFELD / GETTY IMAGES
When someone offers to point out bright spots on anything in the natural world, we are all ears. When the author is Nicola Jones, all the more:
Finding Bright Spots in the Global Coral Reef Catastrophe
The first-ever report on the world’s coral reefs presents a grim picture, as losses mount due to global warming. But there are signs of hope — some regions are having coral growth, and researchers found that corals can recover if given a decade of reprieve from hot water.
When ecological genomicist Christian Voolstra started work on corals in Saudi Arabia in 2009, one of the biggest bonuses to his job was scuba diving on the gorgeous reefs. Things have changed. “I was just back in September and I was shocked,” says Voolstra, now at the University of Konstanz in Germany. “There’s a lot of rubble. The fish are missing. The colors are missing.” Continue reading