Marine Biology News from around the world….Updated weekly send us your marine biology news or see our Facebook group with thousands of members….Click on Logo below for our Facebook page linked to our Twitter feeds too.
- Questioning conventional understanding of antifreeze proteins
- Previously overlooked ‘coral ticks’ weaken degraded reefs
- Fish body shape holds key to make fishery management cheaper, easier
- NE Australian marine heatwave shakes up coral reef animal populations
- Time is running out in the tropics: Researchers warn of global biodiversity collapse
- Satellite tracking reveals Philippine waters are important for endangered whale sharks
- Ocean acidification a challenge for science, governments, and communities
- Elastic slingshot powers snipefish feeding
- Diverse salmon populations enable ‘resource surfing’ bears to eat tons of fish
- Acidic oceans cause fish to lose their sense of smell
- How the quality of red sea urchin roe — uni — influences fishermen’s behavior
- 5,000 percent increase in native trees on rat-free palmyra atoll
- Patenting marine genetic resources: Who owns ocean biodiversity?
- In the ocean’s twilight zone, tiny organisms may have giant effect on Earth’s carbon cycle
- Great Barrier Reef not bouncing back as before, but there is hope
- Glowing bacteria on deep-sea fish shed light on evolution, ‘third type’ of symbiosis
- Origami-inspired device helps marine biologists study octopuses and jellyfish
- Where baby white sharks ‘hang out’ in the North Atlantic
- Global study of world’s beaches shows threat to protected areas
- Sea pickles are adapting to the Pacific Northwest
- Novel approach studies whale shark ages the best way — while they are swimming
- Nutrient pollution makes ocean acidification worse for coral reefsSlimy chemical clues: Changing algae could alter ecosystems
- Newly discovered shark species honors female pioneer
- Mapping species range shifts under recent climatic changes
- Moving fish farms enables seagrass meadows to thrive, study shows
- Light receptors determine the behavior of flashlight fish
- Polyps will let unrelated ‘others’ fuse to them and share tissue, scientists discover
- The secret life of lobster (trade): Could we be in hot water?The ancient armor of fish — scales — provide clues to hair, feather development
- Eradicate rats to bolster coral reefs
- How foreign kelp surfed to AntarcticaAustralia has a new venomous snake — And it may already be threatened
- The first endemic Baltic Sea fish species received its name
- The free diving champions of the dolphin world
- Success of conservation efforts for important Caribbean Reef fish
- hinges on climate change
- Volcanic activity, declining ocean oxygen triggered mass extinction of ancient organisms
- Fueling a deep-sea ecosystem
- Ancient bones reveal 2 whale species lost from the Mediterranean Sea
- Proactive conservation management strategy urged for North Atlantic right whale
- Oil rigs may end their days as valuable artificial reefs
- Releasing our inner jellyfish in the fight against infection
- Fish’s use of electricity might shed light on human illnesses
- Marine reserves are vital — but under pressure
- Increase in storms could have ‘catastrophic impact’ on fishing industry
- ‘The eyes have it’ Photoreceptors in marine plankton form a depth gauge to aid survival
- New results of Deepwater Horizon research to protect marine life against future oil spills
- Biologists show that female seals have consistent personalities
- Increase in storms could have ‘catastrophic impact’ on fishing industry
- How the quality of red sea urchin roe — uni — influences fishermen’s behavior
Take Action For Threatened & Endangered Species
Actions we should all take right now to help threatened and endangered species around the world (know of an action not listed? Email us):
Dolphins & Whales
DOLPHINS DON’T BELONG IN CAPTIVITY!
Save Sperm Whales & Sea Turtles from the Secret Drift Net Massacre Off Our California Coast
Tell The Wa Government To Protect Roebuck Bay ~ Australian Marine Conservation Society
Urgent! Call for Sanctions to Save the Vaquita Porpoise from Illegal Fishing
Petition United Airlines ~ End live cetacean transportation from wild to marine parks
FedEx: Stop transporting live marine mammals for the entertainment industry
Help Stop the Navy’s Attack on Whales!
Navy to deafen 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more
Save the Vaquita Porpoise – the world’s most endangered marine mammal!
Join the Cove Guardians and Help Stop the Senseless Slaughter of Dolphins in Taiji, Japan!
This Porpoise Slaughter Is Seven Times Bigger Than the Cove’s, So Why Haven’t You Heard About It?
Yahoo: Stop Selling Dolphin And Whale Meat
Tell Canada to End Its Shameful Seal Slaughter
URGENT: Help Baja’s Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Sea Turtles Need Protection – Let’s Lead By Example, President Obama
Polar Bears, Fishes, etc.
Stop awarding weight-based world records (where the fish has to be killed to qualify) for fish species threatened with extinction.
Protect Florida Manatees from Deadly Pollution
Take the Pledge: Join the Bluefin Boycott
Take Action Against Global Warming
Actions we should all take right now against global warming around the world (know of an action not listed? Email us):
We’re Ready For Action. Not Words.
Tell Corporations: Stop Funding Climate Change Denial + Stop Heartland’s Climate Denial!
Protect Corals, Fish and Whales From Ocean Acidification
Pledge to be a Clean Air Advocate
Tell the EPA you support carbon pollution standards
Tell President Obama to stop the catastrophic impacts of climate change now!
Stop Offshore Drilling and Demand a Clean Energy Future
Remove David Koch from the Board of Trustees at WGBH
Blow the Whistle on Big Oil Corruption
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Doesn’t Speak For Me – Add your voice, Get Local
Tell Discovery Channel: Self-Censorship Is Unacceptable
Join thousands of Canadians in a movement to guarantee the right to a healthy environment
Canada’s clean energy future doesn’t include the Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline
Joint Review Panel recommendation to support Northern Gateway pipeline ignores strong opposition of First Nations and citizens
Ask Minister Kent “What is next?” in fight against climate change
Take Action Against Overfishing
Actions we should all take right now against overfishing around the world (know of an action not listed? Email us):
Tell the Fisheries Service: Don’t lower our ocean standards
Tell NMFS: Give sperm whales the protections they need
Save The Mediterranean Sea From Overfishing
Protect Your Family From Illegal and Unsafe Seafood
Pledge to eat for healthy oceans
Get Involved @ the US National Marine Sanctuaries
Defending Galapagos: help stop illegal fishing activities in the Marine Reserve
Take Action Against The Loss Of Marine Biodiversity
Actions we should all take right now against the loss of marine biodiversity around the world (know of an action not listed? Email us):
Take Action Against Ocean Pollution
Actions we should all take right now against ocean pollution around the world (know of an action not listed? Email us):
House Bill Risks Mid-Atlantic Oil Spill – Please act now and tell your Senators to oppose increased offshore oil drilling!
Tell Congress to Fight Ocean Plastic! Demand support for the Reauthorization of the Marine Debris Research, Prevention and Reduction Act
Help Stop Killer Algae!
3 Steps to Fund Water Quality Monitoring
Stop Plastic Trash – Take the Pledge
Help prevent an oil spill disaster in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
Hold the Mercury ~ Grocery Stores: Post Mercury Warnings
Take Action Against Habitat Destruction
Actions we should all take right now against habitat destruction around the world (know of an action not listed? Email us):
Keep Shell Out of the Arctic! | Tell Shell: Don’t Destroy the Arctic
Support Ocean Sanctuaries
Declaration of Interdependence
Tell the Prime Minister to protect the Pacific Ocean
Help Save Okinawa Dugong and Coral Reef Ecosystem
Take Action Against Alien/Invasive Species
Lionfish: invasive species threatening W. Atlantic/Caribbean Sea fish, wildlife and habitat
Take The Clean Angling Pledge
What you can do to control invasive aquatic species
Protect Your Waters and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!
Try to keep things in perspective. Be mindful of the big problems, but focus on solving them through the things we can all do everyday to help reduce them.
Develop a positive outlook:
- First, accept that you are only able to control your actions and responses to changing conditions around you.
- Take responsibility for your actions in all things. It sounds simple but being accountable to yourself will help you make the necessary changes.
- Stop to consider the consequences of your actions (if I choose to do this, what will be the result?).
- Lead by example! If you can change, then it just might inspire others.
- Remember that one person can make a difference. Small accomplishments add up quicker then you might think. Remember, no matter what your economic standing, you can help save the environment and money at the same time. You the consumer drive the market; products are made because you buy them. If you buy products that are better for the environment it will become profitable for companies to respond to the demand for environmentally-friendly products. It really is that simple.
- Do you know what the number one thing you can do is to protect the ocean? Learn! Learn all you can about the threats facing the ocean and marine life. First and foremost, Global warming (Climate Change/Abrupt Climate Change) is the number one threat not only to marine life but to all of our ways of life as well. The debate is over. It is happening. Only the magnitude and details, such as whether we’ve reached a tipping point yet, remain. Now is the time to act. To learn all about Global Warming/Climate Change, what it really is, what very likely will happen, and what we can/should really do about it see our Global Warming Section and join us at 350.org to find out what to do next.
- Read other resources on how to protect the ocean such as 50 Ways to Save the Ocean by David Helvarg, an excellent resource filled with information on what you can do to protect the ocean (that we used to add to this page) and Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea’s Biodiversity by Michael E. Soule, Elliott A. Norse, and Larry B. Crowder of MCBI.
- Become a marine biologist—or better yet, a marine conservation biologist. This emerging field of marine biology is an important area of research needed to inform policy makers by providing evidence-based data that shows the ocean is in trouble and the solutions that are needed.
- Don’t buy live saltwater fish caught in the wild for your aquarium. The fishing methods, such as cyaniding and dynamiting, for the live fish trade are horribly degrading to the marine environment. Hundreds of thousands of young and rare tropical reef fish die every year in aquariums in the US alone.
- If you must keep a saltwater tank, buy only Marine Aquarium Council certified fish to ensure your fish are sustainability caught or reared in captivity.
- Never return aquarium fish into the ocean or other body of water. This practice has introduced non-native species to many areas disrupting the balance of marine ecosystems often causing widespread destruction.
- Learn to scuba dive if you want to experience the underwater realm. Diving is safer now than riding a bicycle, and, if you really like what you see when you’re diving you can keep it forever! How? Take a digital camera or even a video camera with you!
- If you learn to dive, learn to dive responsibly. Don’t touch the reefs or marine life, and don’t take souvenirs. Leave only bubbles.
- Only patronize environmentally-conscious dive operators and refuse to dive on “cattle boats” that carry more than 10 divers per boat.
- Choose dive spots at ecotourism destinations where marine resources are protected and marine conservation is a priority.
- Use your dive skills for science and conservation. Participate in “fish counts”, etc. to help census fish populations and other reef species.
- Join an underwater cleanup group like Project Aware.
- Stop eating seafood? OK, well how about stop eating unsustainably-caught seafood (see Can Guilt Save the Oceans? and carry a sustainable seafood wallet guide…). Visit your local farmer’s market, watch The Future Of Food to see why. Only 10% of the big fish that once lived in the ocean remain today (because we ate too many of them, too fast) and they are likely not coming back soon. According to a recent study, if we don’t limit fishing and seafood consumption now, there will be no more fish in the next 50 years. Overfished species are rapidly becoming endangered. Nontargeted species caught as bycatch (caught by accident and usually thrown back dead) are also being depleted. For every pound of shrimp or prawns caught there are around 15 pounds(!) of bycatch thrown back, wasted, dead, worthless, into the ocean. Each year the industrialized fishing fleet catches about 1,000,000,000 pounds of bycatch, equal to 5,000 freight train cars carrying 100 tons each. (Alaska Marine Conservation’s Bulletin, Nov. 1997)
- Carry a sustainable seafood wallet guide available from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- Only purchase seafood from retailers that support sustainable seafood, such as Whole Foods and others that carry the Marine Stewardship Council’s seal of approval.
Fishing gear in the Southeast Pacific Ocean from left to right: a Chilean purse seiner; a tuna purse seiner in tropical waters of the northern part of Area 87; a Peruvian purse seiner; a trawler; and a small purse seiner. Associated helicopters, satellites and scouting vessels not shown.
A wide variety of fish and shellfish species support a mostly small-scale fishery, operating near to the coast. Over 40 types of gear are used in the Mediterranean. Most common type is trawl gear for benthic species; coastal purse seiners for small pelagics; trammel and gill nets for inshore species; and purse seines, long surface gill nets, and longlines are used for large pelagic fish.
- Patronize restaurants that recognize the need to consume seafood sustainably. Visit the Chef’s Collaborative for a list of restaurants in your area.
- Make your voice heard! Complain to the management of restaurants and retailers selling endangered fish.
- Vote! Vote for candidates who support marine conservation and contact your representatives to notify them of your concerns for marine life and the marine environment. We only have one ocean.
- Support Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and support organizations working to establish MPAs such as the Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International, Environmental Defense, and others.
- Take your kids to the beach! A fun day at the beach can inspire years of wonder and provides a perfect opportunity to teach your kids about the ocean.
- Don’t walk on dunes. Dunes provide a barrier to wind and water to prevent beach erosion and often contain native plants vital to local ecosystems.
- Keep beaches clean. Plastics, fishing line, and other debris harm sea life and pollute the ocean. Clean up after yourself. Get involved! Participate in beach cleanups if you live in a coastal area.
- Practice safe and clean boating. Obey no-wake zones, and watch out for marine life. There are at least tens of thousands of recreational boats in the water at any one time. A drop of oil from each is tens of thousands of drops in the ocean each day….
- Don’t dispose of trash or toilet waste in the ocean.
- Use environmentally-friendly cleaning agents and boat paint, etc.
- If you enjoy recreational fishing, please obey regulations and try to enjoy only catch-and-release fishing and use care when releasing fish back into the ocean. Take photos, not fish. Real men catch and release. Save some for your children. There are millions of recreational fishermen, each one of you does make a difference and your impact rivals that of the commercial fishing industry.
- Promote marine conservation in your school or through social activities. Many people are unaware that the ocean is in jeopardy. Take whatever opportunities you can to spread the word. Start a local marine conservation club to promote awareness.
- Refuse to patronize cruise lines that contaminate the ocean with sewage, oils and other dumping.
- Don’t purchase items that exploit marine resources unnecessarily such as coral jewelry, “snake oil” supplements such as coral calcium and shark cartilage. Educate others that these products are ineffective, medically unsound and damaging to our ocean ecosystems. The nutrients these supplements allegedly provide are easily obtained from other food sources such as green leafy vegetables.
Things you can do inside the home
(yes these also protect ocean life)
- If you own your home, install water-saving toilets. You’ll save significant money as well. Everything that flows downhill, flows to the ocean.
- If you’re renting, add a water saver bag (a small bag filled with water) or a brick to your toilet tanks. They raise the water level in the tank, which reduces the amount of water used when you flush.
- Keep your water heater thermostat no higher than 120°F and make sure it is well insulated. Many utility companies will insulate it free of charge.
- Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer.
- Take shorter showers.
- Add water-saving/low-flow showerheads and faucets in your home.
- Turn off the water when brushing teeth, shaving, etc. Leaving it running wastes about a gallon a minute!
- Run the dishwasher only with a full load.
- Use the dishwasher’s energy-saving setting to dry dishes; don’t use heat when drying.
- Use full wash loads set to cold water to wash your clothes whenever possible. Some washing machines use 40 or more gallons for each load!
- Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or other energy efficient light bulbs. Note: Luminescence is the amount of light produced, watts is the amount of power used. Both should be printed on the box. Look for bulbs with low watts and high luminescence. Example: GE Energy Star.
- Buy energy efficient appliances.
- Keep your refrigerator’s temperature set at a medium-cool temperature.
- Get a free energy audit from your utility company.
- Use double-pane windows to better insulate your home.
- Turn off lights when not in use.
- Turn off your computer, television, etc. when not in use.
- Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended.
- Make sure your printer paper is 100% post-consumer recycled paper. The paper industry is the third greatest contributor to global warming emissions.
- Use email instead of snail mail for informal letters.
- Manage your bills and bank accounts online with paperless statements.
- Print or copy on both sides of the paper whenever possible.
- Buy used books, e-books, audio books online or visit your local library.
- Look to yard sales, thrift stores, auctions, craigslist.org and antique shops for used household goods instead of buying new ones. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
- Think twice about buying “disposable” products. (They really aren’t disposable and are extravagant wastes of the world’s resources. You are paying to basically fill up landfills with plastics, etc.)
- Buy paper products instead of plastic if you must buy “disposables.” They break down better in the environment and don’t deplete the ozone layer as much.
- Avoid buying food or household products in plastic or Styrofoam containers. They can’t be recycled, deplete the ozone and are not biodegradable.
- Don’t use electrical appliances for things you can easily do by hand, like opening cans or mowing small lawns.
- Don’t buy wood that isn’t certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and SmartWood.
- Clean out that closet and give away or donate the things you no longer need.
- Recycle everything: newspapers, cell phones, electronics, cans, glass, aluminum, motor oil, scrap metal, etc.
- Encourage/insist on recycling in the workplace.
- Use washable coffee mugs instead of disposable cups.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. You’ll live longer too.
Things you can do outside
(yes these also protect ocean life)
- If you are building your own home look into adding a gray water system, ask the contractor what alternative eco-friendly supplies are available.
- Collect rainwater from your home’s downspouts to use for watering the garden.
- Start a Community Garden!
- If you own your own home and live in a sunny area, add solar panels to your roof. Even though it isn’t as efficient as nuclear power, using solar power can help decrease dependency on electric power.
- Cover Pools and Jacuzzis! An average sized pool loses about 1,000 gallons of water per month to evaporation. A pool cover can cut these losses by 90%!
- Plant trees or other vegetation to offset your carbon footprint.
- Opt for an alternative to a grass lawn (which uses a lot of water, fertilizer, and doesn’t provide shelter for wildlife). Try a non-traditional yard, you can liven up your home and create habitats for animals by planting a variety of native plants.
- Start a compost pile for leaves and yard debris or take them to a yard debris recycler. (Burning them creates air pollution. Throwing them away wastes landfill space.)
- Leftover coffee grounds can be used to increase the soil acidity for growing plants like tomatoes, chili peppers, and blueberries.
- Avoid using pesticides; use natural predators (such as the praying mantis) and insect deterring plants (onions) to deter pests in the garden.
- Pull weeds instead of using herbicides, or better yet let them grow.
- Avoid use of chemical fertilizers (which causes pollution, and helps create excessive algae blooms in the ocean, aka red tides) or peat moss (which comes from ancient bogs that cannot regenerate). Instead, make your own mulch and use organic fertilizers only when needed.
- Take extra plastic and rubber pots back to the nursery for reuse.
- Put up birdfeeders, birdhouses, and birdbaths (precaution: due to bird flu, do not place near or around domesticated birds. Report any dead birds to local health authorities.)
- Keep outside trashcans closed. Use lids that snap shut to prevent wild life from eating hazardous materials and becoming a nuisance.
- Keep your car tuned up, not only will proper upkeep save your pocketbook but it helps prevent oil and other hazardous materials from leaking onto your driveway, into the local water system, and ultimately into lakes and streams, rivers, and the ocean.
- Keep the tires on your car adequately inflated and drive conservatively to get the best gas mileage.
- Keep your wheels properly aligned to save your tires from being replaced frequently. (It’s safer too.)
- Check your car’s air filter monthly and replace frequently for better fuel efficiency.
- Never litter. Keep a small trash bag in your car.
- Buy a fuel-efficient/eco-friendly car.
- Carpool or use public transit whenever possible.
- Ride your bike or walk.
Food for thought
- Take a reusable bag grocery shopping, to the drugstore etc. If you must use plastic bags, recycle them. (Publix and Trader Joes accept used plastic bags.)
- Store food in re-usable containers instead of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Reuse brown paper bags to line your trash can instead of plastic liners.
- Buy locally-grown food and locally-made products when possible. They’ll be fresher and less fuel is used for transport.
- Buy organic coffee and free-trade certified to ensure no pesticides were used and that the grower received a fair price.
Make it a lifestyle
- Learn about conservation issues in your community or state. Write your legislators and let them know where you stand on the issues.
- Teach children to respect nature and the environment. Take them on hikes, or camping. Help them plant a tree or build a birdhouse. Be a good example and role model.
- Encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to save resources.
- Join a conservation organization and volunteer for conservation projects.
“Save Our Seas (SOS)!” “Protect the Ocean…!?”
We’ve all heard the above from various sources and most of us tend to think “Well, I’m not hurting the ocean and it is so big that I can’t possibly be affecting it….” It’s our collective impacts that are causing the problems. In 1930 there were only about 2 billion people on this planet but now, 80 years later, we have almost 7 billion and it’s still rising. Issues like global warming, overfishing and widespread pollution are so big that they will require our governments at both the national and local levels to make the changes needed. Governments are elected by the people and exist to serve you, the people who elected them. Elect those with solutions to global warming, overfishing and pollution and hold them responsible for their promises. That is what Democracy is all about.
What can we really do?
We understand and used to wonder the same thing just a few years ago…. Since then we’ve traveled a bit, read a lot and dove in SE Asia, the Pacific, the Red Sea, the US, and the Caribbean. It turns out that even though the ocean is big, marine life tends to congregate in significant numbers only along the coasts and the shelf edges, areas totaling less than 10% of the ocean. It also happens to be where all runoff from land (rivers, etc.) takes place and where most fishing is also done. Things ARE happening in the ocean, things ARE changing in most places rapidly and in very bad ways, for all of us. Among the reefs of SE Asia we’ve seen the craters and broken dead coral from dynamite fishing, the lack of large or even juvenile fishes, and coral as far as the eye can see covered in green algae mats like bones covered by moss…. In 50 years we might have reefs only on Web sites like this one… unless….
We are all consumed with our busy lives simply trying to make a living and find some pleasure in between while often feeling overwhelmed and helpless from the continuous sad news about diseases, famine, violence, social injustice, natural catastrophes, toxic health risks and the deterioration of the environment around us. So we try to forget, push the issues out of our mind and not address them—at least until a problem becomes a crisis. Our tendency to be reactive instead of proactive is all too common and it can be dangerous, if not downright self-destructive—there is a better way.
In the interest of self-preservation and the preservation of our own species we can all try to make smart choices everyday based on their consequences on our environment. We must change many of our habits, starting with some simple daily decisions, if we’re to protect and restore our shared environment. Surprisingly, most changes will save us money and help create a healthier environment for all of us to live in. Can I get a “Yes We Can!“?
Watching documentaries like The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans we see that some people, some very extraordinary and intelligent people, are keeping an eye on the ocean and reporting back to us all what they are seeing. What they show us is that there is more wonder underwater than we can imagine, that the ocean is barely explored, but when they are, they reward us richly every time. The ocean is talking back to us, too. Fish stocks that are overfished either don’t come back or take years to recover. All over, the world fisheries are struggling, while human world populations continue to rise. We urge each of you to find out for yourselves, take an interest, get involved, for your children and theirs.