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James Cameron could make history in a submarine

The media is buzzing today with news of James Cameron’s upcoming solo journey into the Challenger Deep. At 35,768 ft (more than 6.7 miles!) below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, it’s the deepest spot on Earth. He broke a solo depth record yesterday during a test dive. Jacques Piccard and Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, [...]


Fact checking the 60 Minutes segment on Gardens of the Queen

60 Minutes ran a really great piece on Jardines de la Reina or Gardens of the Queen (GQ), last night.  GQ is a spectacular reef off of Cuba’s south coast with abundant predators including goliath and black grouper and Caribbean reef sharks.   My PhD student Abel Valdivia (seen in the video above) is from Cuba and [...]


Helen Scales’ five ocean books

To continue our new series BOOK HOOK here’s my top five sea reads, which come courtesy of The Browser who recently gave me the delicious task of  picking my top 5 books about the ocean – a perfect challenge to set an ocean fanatic/writer like myself. The only trouble I had was narrowing down to JUST FIVE [...]


Underwater “Paper Parks”?

From this week’s Nature: “The easiest way to create a nature reserve from a car park is simply to declare it as such. The land is then designated as protected, and counts towards the relevant government’s targets to set aside a certain amount of its territory from development. That is a ridiculous example, of course, [...]


Of polar bears and tipping points

This is a guest post by Dr. Gregory Thiemann, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.  Greg is a polar bear expert that I met in Canada recently when we both worked with Polar Bears International on their Tundra Connections project.   As I write this, I’m on a Calm Air flight enroute [...]


Beluga whales 1, Sarah Palin 0

From the Center for Biological Diversity – my new favorite NGO: There’s huge news today out of Alaska: A federal judge just rejected the state’s attempts to deny Endangered Species Act protection for Cook Inlet beluga whales. Today’s ruling is a major victory in our decade-long battle to protect the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, [...]


Warming-induced killer crab invasion threatens Antarctic biodiversity

[Editor's update: One of our observant readers and experts on deep-sea crabs, Dr Thomas Shirley of Texas A&M, points out that the photo above taken from the Mail article is of the tanner crab (Chionoecetes sp.), NOT the the giant king crab Neolithodes yaldwyni that is moving onto the Antarctic shelf. This is correct - [...]


Bluefin land on the Red List: SeaMonster interviews the expert team

Every five or ten years since 1963 a growing number of wild animal and plant species have been assessed for their risk of extinction to provide hard data useful to conservation and management. The unlucky ones found to be slipping go on the “Red List” overseen by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature [...]


Resurrection of a collapsed ecosystem: Cod rebound in North Atlantic

The catastrophic collapse of the mighty cod in the early 1990s was an iconic disaster in the history of humankind’s relationship with the ocean. New research now shows that, after decades of near extinction, cod is rebounding and dragging the collapsed ocean ecosystem back with it — bringing a rare and welcome ray of hope [...]


Anatomy of a shark heist

Below is a guest post by Lindsey Carr, a PhD student in my lab at UNC. Lindsey is doing her dissertation research on the dynamics of shallow subtidal communities across the Galapagos archipelago. Her post is excerpted from a report she wrote for the Galapagos National Park about the catch found on the illegal vessel. [...]


What a marine massacre looks like

Yesterday I led a team of eight scientists and students from UNC, USFQ and the Galapagos Science Center that documented the catch aboard a vessel caught illegally long lining in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. We worked alongside a great team from the Galapagos National Park and were also assisted by the Ecuadorian Coast Guard.  We identified, sexed, and measured every individual (there [...]


Humpback whale speaks, says “Thank you”

Well, maybe not in so many words. Not in English anyway. But to those who believe that animals don’t experience emotions–and I gather they still exist–I challenge you to watch this and tell me you don’t understand how the whale feels [Show starts about 6:30 in] P.S. Don’t try this at home kids.


Cuba journal: Day 7 – The Wall of Mouths

Day 7: Thursday 2 June Done. All over now but the last dregs of clean-up and packing. Five days in the “Gardens of the Queen”, and what a time it’s been. A journey back in time in both the state of society and of the Sea. In the last five days we’ve become accustomed to [...]


WOW – did you see them? they must be scientists!

[This guest post comes from VIMS graduate students Lindsey Kraatz, Sam Lake, Daniel Maxey, and Stephanie Salisbury] Have you ever walked down a street and seen someone so big, so athletic looking that you instantly thought to yourself “WOW, they must be a football player, they’re huge!”? What about a high-class businessman or a runway [...]


Forum on fish, food, and people

Editor’s note: The following discussion, which more than one participant called “extraordinary”, began after  Ray Hilborn of the University of Washington published an op-ed “Let us eat fish” in the New York Times on 14 April 2011, and  John Bruno of the University of North Carolina (and my Co-Editor at SeaMonster) replied here at SeaMonster. [...]


Let us eat (other people’s) fish

Should Americans really eat more fish? In a recent op-ed in the NYT titled “Let Us Eat Fish” Dr. Ray Hilborn, a fisheries scientist at the University of Washington, argued we should. Ray thinks that because some of the hundreds of fish populations harvested in U.S. waters appear to be recovering and approaching levels that [...]


Thieving sperm whale

From Science Friday: For years, longline fishermen in Alaska have complained that whales have been stealing their sablefish catch. A team of researchers, including Aaron Thode, Delphine Mathias and Jan Straley, mounted a video camera to a fishing line and caught a sperm whale stealing.  Footage courtesy of Delphine Mathias, Aaron Thode, Jan Straley, Kendall [...]


Climate Change Impacts on Ocean Ecosystems: the movie!

A talk by Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg from a session on climate change impacts on ocean ecosystems at the NCSE  Our Changing Oceans. You can download some of the papers Ove referrs to here.