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High in the Arctic up-close with a mega-fishing trawler

I’m in the high Arctic in the waters of Svalbard, north of Norway, at 78º North Latitude in early July. For a few days I’m a guest aboard Greenpeace’s ship Arctic Sunrise. Bundled in clothes that I hope will keep me dry and maybe even warm, I’m at a doorway that opens straight to the…

Natural Fluctuations Responsible, in Part, for Antarctica Ice Growth

Natural fluctuations specifically related to the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) are responsible for the increased growth of Antarctic sea ice, according to a new study in the journal Nature Geoscience. A negative shift in the IPO has caused cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Pacific, allowing Antarctic sea ice to expand since 2000. “The…

More ocean acidification, less coral?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino Scientists have known for about 15 years that ocean acidification has made it more difficult for hard corals and shelled marine organisms to survive. To grow, hard corals as well as clams, oysters, and others pull calcium and carbonate molecules out of the water and join them together to create calcium…

Seven ways fishing trawlers aren’t great for the seabed

I’m writing this in the high Arctic at 78º North Latitude in early July, aboard Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise where I’m a guest for a few days, with 24-hour daylight and gleaming glaciers in the valleys of snow-capped coastal mountains. We’re here because shrinking sea ice and warming ocean water is moving fish farther north, and…

Not the last polar bear

We’re up in the high Arctic, in Svalbard. I’m a guest for a few days on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. (It’s a bit of a misnomer at this time of year because the sun never sets, so—to paraphrase Hemingway—the sun also never rises.) As we are slowly leaving Isfjorden (Icy Fjords) 78º N and…

Coral Reef Bleaching Event Forecast to Worsen; NASA Studies Cause in Pacific

Coral in every major reef region across the world has already experienced bleaching, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts that temperatures in much of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans could reach a point at which significant bleaching of corals is present this summer. NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch suggests that the greatest…

It’s Catching, If You’re a Clam: Infectious Cancer Spreading in Soft-Shell Clams, Other Mollusks

It sounds like the plot of a summer horror flick: Malignant cells floating in the sea, ferrying infectious cancer everywhere they go. The story is all too true, say scientists who’ve made a discovery they call “beyond surprising.” Outbreaks of leukemia that have devastated populations of soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria) along the east coast of…

Free at last: National Aquarium’s sea change on dolphin policy

By Erica Cirino and Carl Safina If you’re ever visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore, you must stop by Dolphin Discovery, according to aquarium staff. It’s an exhibit reminiscent of an Olympic swimming stadium: A large pool surrounded by bleacher seating for hundreds of onlookers, located inside a towering glass-walled building. Inside the glass-and-concrete swimming…

From Miami to Australia—Dredging and industrial activities killing coral reefs

Co-authored by Erica Cirino In the Port of Miami, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ recent dredging project has buried as much as 81 percent of the area’s reef in silty sediment with up to 95 percent of the reef area surveyed no longer suitable habitat for corals, leaving its corals vulnerable to death, according…

NOAA Animal Husbandry and Public Education Internship: Woods Hole Science Aquarium

By Jessica Perelman Through the generous support of The Safina Center, I have just begun my summer as an animal husbandry and public education intern at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium (WHSA). I am a 2016 graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in biological sciences, and want to share my experiences…

If payers don’t sway players, what does funding tell you?

Several people have objected to the recent piece here by me and Greenpeace’s John Hocevar, so I am following up with this. That earlier piece explained a complaint by Greenpeace alleging that fisheries scientist Ray Hilborn has often not properly disclosed industry funding in his scientific publications. The people writing in to object to that piece…

Coral Bleaching Linked to Climate Change, Other Factors

The Great Barrier Reef, which last year narrowly avoided being put on the World Heritage endangered list, is experiencing its worst bleaching in recorded history. According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, overall mortality of the reef is 22 percent, but along Lizard Island, off far north Queensland, it’s 93 percent. Coral bleaching is also occurring along…

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.…

Even in fish science, payers may sway players

Co-authored by John Hocevar Please see also the follow-up to this post, responding to some of the criticism and further explaining Carl’s perspective. The people of Seattle enjoy a closer-than-average relationship with the sea, fishing, and ocean science. Of course Seattle is home to a world famous fish market; after all, seafood, fish, and fishing are part of…