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Category archives for Science

The Safina Center celebrates World Oceans Day

Co-authored by Erica Cirino Oceans are essential to life on Earth: They cover more than two-thirds of the planet and contain 97 percent of its water. They absorb carbon from the atmosphere, helping regulate our climate. They provide humans with food and transportation routes for trade and travel. And best of all, they’re filled with…

On World Oceans Day, A View from the Top

A conversation with Bertrand Piccard, the scientist-adventurer currently on the American leg of his global solar flight on the Solar Impulse 2, on the view from 28,000 feet, how we nearly turned our ocean into a dump for nuclear waste and win-win solutions for a healthy planet. We spoke on the eve of World Oceans Day.…

Learning to See the Forest for the Bees at Olympic National Park

“How many species of bees do you think there are?” I realize at this moment that I can only think of about three, which is clearly the wrong answer. JD Herndon and Houston Guy, entomologists who have come up to Washington State from Utah, wait patiently with little grins on their faces. They know most…

What’s up with microbeads? An update on a tiny terror wreaking havoc in our waterways

Co-authored by Erica Cirino In March, I wrote about a new study with a scary conclusion: Experts estimate there are more than 165 million plastic pieces in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary, a region where fresh river water meets seawater close to shore. Many of those plastic pieces are exceedingly small in size—called, “mircoplastics,”…

Rising Sea Threatens Traditional Leadership in Kiribati

Surviving on an isolated, infertile island is tough—but managing the scarce resources needed for thousands of families to survive on that island is an even greater challenge. The people of Kiribati have done so for centuries through the village maneaba, the consensus-based village leadership system. This is where the council of elders, te unimane, meet…

Uncertainties Cloud Forecast For 2016 Hurricane Season

Meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration think as many as 16 named tropical storms could form in the Atlantic Basin—which includes the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean—during the 2016 hurricane season, which begins June 1. A summer that produced 16 named storms would be well above the dozen storms that…

Industrialization of the oceans: Is it time to dive into the “blue economy”?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When I was a kid, I spent most of my summer days exploring my local Long Island beach. I’d watch birds, build sand castles and—ever the entrepreneur—would dig up quahog clams to sell, for a quarter each, to my neighbors who lay sunbathing on their beach blankets on the shore. Little…

Invasive Ants Eradicated from Tiritiri Island

Ants are often an unwelcome pest species, particularly on islands, and so its great news this week that one of the world’s worst invasive ant species – the Argentine ant, has been successfully eradicated from Tiritiri Island.

Something Fishy in Washington, D.C.

By Amy Werner Today is World Fish Migration day, a day best celebrated by raising awareness of the importance of open rivers and migratory fish, exactly what Rock Creek Park did at a 2016 BioBlitz fish identification on May 20.  The urban oasis of Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C., is often viewed as containing only…

Lessons on Fish Migration Crucial for Protecting Communities, Livelihoods and Food

By Giulio Boccaletti, Global Managing Director for Water at The Nature Conservancy and Maria Damanaki, Global Managing Director for Oceans at The Nature Conservancy One day in 2014 a female eel set off from Nova Scotia on a long and hazardous journey to her spawning grounds. This was no ordinary eel.  Scientists had released her with…

Lust for Loot: Collecting Is Driving the Demand for Plunder

Looting in Egypt doubled in 2009-2010, on the heels of global recession, then doubled again following the Arab Spring. It’s a powerful source of income in times of stress, but it only pays because people will buy.

Searching for the Pure Life in Paradise

Costa Rica is one of the world’s most eco-conscious countries, but it still has issues to deal with. How well can it live up to its motto of supporting a “Pura Vida”?

Excuse me, waiter, there’s an invasive species in my soup

Co-authored by Erica Cirino After a full day looking at dinosaur bones, taxidermy birds and hieroglyphs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, I walked through the streets of New Haven in the rain to into a warm, rustic little Japanese restaurant feeling ravenous, excited and slightly nervous. While my official excuse to travel…

Solar Power: A Winter Journey

Solar power has long been touted as an answer to the energy needs of rural communities living off-grid across the developing world. Over recent years the technology has advanced rapidly in terms of efficiency and price, finally making it a genuinely viable option, at household level at least. For the very same reasons – including a…

Journey Into Te Bangabanga: The Sacred Caves of Banaba Island

The morning was still dark when the young men arrived with their machetes and flashlights. We were on one of the most remote islands in the world, about to venture into an underground network of sacred caves known as te bangabanga. The land below the surface of Banaba, a Pacific island nearly 200 miles from…