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No Ice in Sight: Polar Bears Scrabble Onshore to Find Food

On June 4, 1773, English naval officers were dispatched on an expedition to the Arctic. Their goal was to locate a passage from the British Isles to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on ice floes near Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway, they found polar bears. The explorers were the first Europeans to describe the bears as a distinct…

Last Ice Area Expedition Launches

Climate projections forecast the total disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic by 2040, with the exception of one place: the “last ice area,” north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. This area will likely harbor the largest concentration of Arctic wildlife that depends on the sea ice edge for survival, including bowhead…

Diving the Site of JFK’s WWII Shipwreck

While looking for bumphead parrot fish, it was striking to think of the future U.S. president, roughly at our age, brought for a very different reason to this same remote Pacific island.

Americans Compete With Asian Local Markets For Blue Crab

Last week, I traveled to Kien Giang Province in southern Vietnam to learn about the Vietnamese blue swimming crab fishery. Since 2009 a cross-sector partnership of government agencies, exporters, and WWF-Vietnam have been dealing with contentious issues related to the sustainability of this stock. In discussions with this coalition, I was struck by the contrast…

Your plastic is getting to the Caribbean more often than you are, and it’s spoiling your next visit

Who left their trash behind on this remote Caribbean island? Then I realized. It wasn’t left. It arrived. An endless flotilla of refuse heedlessly sent from afar. It’s heartbreaking. The image of a lone bottle washing up on a remote tropical island is the clichéd stuff of literature, movies and New Yorker cartoons. But what…

Supreme Court Reviews EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule; Decision Due in June

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of cost impacts when developing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, (MATS) which are set to go into effect next month. At issue in the case is whether the Clean Air Act requires the EPA…

The Azores: First Witness to Global Marine Plastic Pollution

Having left Bordeaux on March 15, the Race for Water Odyssey arrived in the Azores on Friday afternoon, the location of the expedition’s first scientific analyses. It is estimated that 80% of pollution in the ocean is plastic. This debris has devastating effects on marine ecosystems and, as a consequence, on human beings. Entanglement, lacerations,…

March 22, 2015: Understanding Wild Fires, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Winter and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they hitch hike from Tasmania to London, study sleep’s science, count India’s tigers, protect the world’s oceans, hike the length of the Pacific Crest Trail in winter, cook the world, understand forest fires, study the real ingredients of processed foods.

Communities Leading the Way to Save Madagascar’s Mangroves

“About three years ago I noticed that the high tides were coming up into my rice fields, and taking the soil away with them. I’d never seen that before,” Philippe, a rice farmer from the village of Ambalahonko, tells me from under his wide-brimmed straw hat; something my fair-skinned and fine-haired self, unfortunately, did not…

Tracking a Group of Groupers

Guest post by Kristine Stump, postdoctoral research associate, Shedd Aquarium The beautiful and iconic Nassau Grouper was once one of the most important fishery species in the wider Caribbean, but due to heavy over exploitation is now scarce in many coral reef ecosystems throughout its native region. As mesopredators, groupers play a vital role in maintaining…

First Rules for Arctic Drilling Released

The U.S. Department of the Interior unveiled the first draft rules for offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. The rules would require energy companies to clear a number of safety hurdles before being approved for drilling. “The Arctic has substantial oil and gas potential, and the U.S. has a longstanding interest in the…

Using Science to Empower Communities and Improve Marine Protected Areas in East Africa

By Jennifer O’Leary and Arthur Tuda When you think about East Africa, probably the first images that emerge are of large terrestrial animals like elephants and lions. Many people don’t know that East Africa has vibrant marine fishing communities and hundreds of miles of coral reefs. In a typical morning, you watch the sun rise…

Race for Water Odyssey against Plastic Pollution – The Countdown Begins

Less than one month from the big launch, the R4WO teams are putting the final touches on the expedition’s preparations. Technical details are adjusted, and bonds between team members grow stronger through training sessions in Lorient (France). Everything falls into place under optimal conditions before the trip to Bordeaux, R4WO’s first stop.   Final Tests:…

Fair Trade Writes New Chapter In Story of Tuna

  Tuna is the second most popular seafood in the United States, yet for most Americans, it’s a non-descript protein puck that inevitably gets mixed with mayonnaise and celery. Maybe the tuna in that can came from the Philippines, or Micronesia? Perhaps it was caught by a Japanese vessel and transferred to a processing plant…

Searching for the Fish That Built the Beach

Bumphead parrotfish are few and far between now, but their coral-chomping ancestors helped build the very beaches we sit on today.