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On Wildlife Conservation Day, Protect Climate Refuges to Help Corals

By Emily Darling

Protected areas are a hallmark strategy in marine conservation. Yet when they were first created, a growing lethal threat had not yet fully revealed itself. Warming, acidifying, and rising seas have devastated the world’s sensitive coral reefs, widely regarded as “ground zero” for climate change. El Niños and marine heat waves can bleach and destroy vast areas of healthy, biodiverse reefs even where they occur within “protected” parks. If the global impacts of climate change do not stop at park boundaries, what can scientists do? One strategy is to identify and protect climate refuges – habitats with more stable environments where species can survive warming temperatures.

A Massive New Marine Protected Area Network in Gabon

By John Robinson

The first day of the IUCN 2014 World Parks Congress marked a significant win for the oceans. The President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon announced the decision to create a new marine protected area network of ten marine parks covering more than 18,000 square miles (over 46,000 square kilometres). The network – encompassing about 23 percent of Gabon’s territorial waters and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) – will safeguard whales, sea turtles, and other marine species inhabiting the nation’s coastal and offshore ecosystems. As the President noted in his speech, this puts Gabon “near the 20 to 30 percent that marine biologists tell us is needed to maintain biodiversity and restore depleted areas outside parks.” This is a massive increase from the 1 percent of marine area currently protected by Gabon.

The Coral Triangle: Amazon of the Oceans

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow James Morgan. I’ve been fortunate to see most of the world’s oceans the past couple…

Journey of the Sea Lion, Part Two: Totem Poles, New and Old

Jon Waterhouse and Mary Marshall join the voyage of the National Geographic expedition vessel, the Sea Lion, to tour and discover some of the best that the ecosystems and cultures of the Pacific Northwest have to offer. As the journey continues, the Haida people showcase their ongoing way of life and stunning artwork.

Journey of the Sea Lion, Part One: Majesty of the Pacific Northwest

Jon Waterhouse and Mary Marshall join the voyage of the National Geographic expedition vessel, the Sea Lion, to tour and discover some of the best that the ecosystems and cultures of the Pacific Northwest have to offer.

Text Message Saves Trapped Whale Shark

A text message saves a young whale shark that got tangled in a fishing net off the coast of Indonesia in the Java sea.

Giant Deep-Sea Oarfish Found off California Coast

Updated on October 16, 2013 at 11 am. A deep-sea creature that is rarely seen, and was likely the inspiration for sea serpent tales among mariners of yore, has resurfaced. On Sunday, staff of the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) found the body of a dead 18-foot (5.5-meter) long oarfish in Toyon Bay on California’s…

Search & Deploy! Building Trust Through Collaborative Marine Research

By Holly Rindge, California Ocean Science Trust As we sail out of Moss Landing Harbor, there are no familiar sounds of sea lions or crashing waves.  The early morning fog seems to have muted even the seabirds.   The swells are small today, but that is little comfort to my queasy stomach. I’m onboard the F/V Donna…

Gyre Expedition Probes Impact of Plastic Pollution on Remote Beaches

Earlier this summer, a team of scientists and artists set out along coastal Alaska, to document the impact that plastic pollution is having on remote beaches. The project, called the Gyre Expedition, was launched by the Alaska SeaLife Center and the Anchorage Museum. The goal is multimedia reportage and art that will be showcased in Anchorage,…

The Photographic Chain: Five minutes with Philip Plisson

This post is the latest in Kike Calvo´s series The Photographic Chain, which profiles photographers from around the world he meets during his travels. My dream is… Dreams change over the years; Now I dream that one of my grandsons discovers an eye and starts the photographic adventure.   The biggest lesson in my career… To…

iLCP Photo Expedition to Document Cradle of Marine Biodiversity

“Long term and meaningful conservation success really is only possible if NGOs and photographers work together – very often also working with scientists. If you can get those three sectors working together, you’re pretty much a non-stoppable force.” Thomas Peschak, Conservation Photographer and iLCP Fellow The International League of Conservation Photographers has pulled together an…

A Key tool for Saving our Oceans

Over the past 20 years, scientists have been assembling compelling data that show the world’s oceans are in deep trouble. Once-abundant species are disappearing, habitats are being destroyed, and fisheries are collapsing across the globe (Jackson et al. 2001, Lotze et al. 2006). For example, studies estimate that biomass of tunas and billfish have decreased…

Salas y Gómez Expedition: An Exceptional Mission

Comandante Andres Rodrigo, commanding officer of the Comandante Toro, shares his thoughts on the Chilean Navy’s first patrol of the new marine park surrounding Salas y Gómez and on hosting a civilian expedition team aboard his ship. Chilean Navy Comandante Andres Rodrigo scans monitors on the bridge of the OPV Comandante Toro. By Ford Cochran…

Salas y Gómez Expedition: Locating an Island Via Satellite

Marine ecologists use a new satellite image of Salas y Gómez and existing imagery of Easter Island to plan their dives and plot their data–and to correct long-standing cartographic errors in the placement of the former island. Alan Friedlander imports a high-resolution satellite image of Salas y Gómez into the GIS on his laptop and…

Salas y Gómez Expedition: Enric Sala Answers Your Questions

Marine ecologist and National Geographic Fellow Enric Sala takes a break from diving around Salas y Gómez Island to answer your questions. Are you guys taking necessary precautions so as not to affect the marine life in any way? Yes absolutely. Our objective is to study the natural behavior of marine life, so we do…