Monthly Archives: April 2013

Photo of the Day ~ Zebrafish Larvae

These strange-looking creatures may look like ear-less teddy bears with tails – but this micrograph is actually two-day-old zebrafish larvae, as seen through a scanning electron microscope. The image was captured by Jurgen Berger and Mahendra Sonawane, both employees at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. The zebrafish, or Danio rerio, is a common tropical fresh-water fish. Within three months, the larva turns into an adult (the two holes above the mouth in the picture above show not its eyes but a developing olfactory system.) During the larval stage, the zebrafish has the ability to regenerate fins, skin, heart and brain. Learn more about this fascinating critter here: zebrafish.org…
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The SMART way to view wild dolphins

New Mission Blue partner, Dolphin SMART began when a number of conservation agencies, including NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Fisheries Service, the Dolphin Ecology Project, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation, as well as local businesses and members of the public, teamed up and developed a unique, multifaceted program encouraging responsible viewing of wild dolphins and recognizing businesses that participated. By joining this exciting conservation program, Dolphin SMART recognized businesses to encourage responsible wildlife viewing and to help aid in dolphin conservation. ~ Ed. Here is their story, straight from the team at Dolphin SMART! Dolphins, like many other marine mammals, are beloved by humans around the world. These popular mammals, whose energetic behaviors tend to fascinate us all, conjure lasting positive images of themselves for people.…
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A Shimmering Hope Spot in the Caribbean

Hope Spots are scientifically-identified marine areas of critical importance to our ocean’s health. Working together, we can protect and conserve these areas as Marine Protected Areas to preserve the seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean. Today, let’s take a look at the dazzling Mesoamerican Reef, one of the 18 official Mission Blue Hope Spots. The Mesoamerican Reef region lies within the Caribbean, extending from Isla Contoy on the north of the Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay Islands of Honduras. It is the second longest barrier reef and is home to over 350 species of mollusk and 500 species of fish, including the whale shark — the largest fish in the world. The reef system is packed with protected areas and parks such as the Belize Barrier Reef, Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, Hol Chan Marine Reserve(Belize), Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, and the Cayos Cochinos Marine Park.…
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Photo of the Day ~ World Penguin Day

Emperor penguins mill in the depths as they prepare for their swift ascent to the sea ice. “Once they start to launch,” says Nicklen, “within 30 seconds they’re all standing on the ice.” Why is today the most important Penguin Day ever? In less than three months, two dozen countries and the EU (the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources meets in Germany July 15) will decide whether to create the world’s largest marine reserves. CCAMLR will vote on one proposal from New Zealand and the United States, and another sponsored by Australia, France and the EU. A consensus vote would create reserves in marine areas that are teeming with life, and arguably the best penguin habitat on Earth.…
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Today, It’s All About the Penguins!

Today’s Feature Story for World Penguin Day is from respected Antarctic penguin expert David Ainley ~ Ed. Photo (c) Joan Myers Penguins have been around on Earth for a long time. The first ones appeared in the geologic record 65 million years ago just after the mass extinction of animals (including dinosaurs) that ended the Cretaceous Period. Many reptilian species that had been their competitors had disappeared. Quickly, geologically speaking, penguins radiated into more than 50 different species, ranging in size from ones similar in size to the smallest one present now (Little Penguin, 1/3 m tall, 1200 g) to ones much larger than the largest now (Emperor Penguin, 1 m tall, 35 kg), that is, an ancient penguin that was 1.8 m tall and 80 kg.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man On Ice

Da Vinci’s 500-year-old Vitruvian Man was reinvented on the Arctic Sea Ice in 2011 with the help of Mission Blue Partner Greenpeace and Los Angeles artist John Quigley in an effort to “draw attention to how climate change is causing the rapid melting of sea ice beyond most predictions.” Constructed with copper banding, which was later removed and recycled, a team of Greenpeace activists laid out “Melting Vitruvian Man” on an ice sheet which was the size of four olympic-size swimming pools, following artist Quigley’s specifications. Using Greenpeace’s ice-breaker, the Arctic Sunrise, they travelled to a remote area 500 miles from the North Pole, after scouting for the perfect ice canvas from the air. The installation was created in the Fram Strait between Greenland and Norway’s Svalbard Islands.…
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No Blue, No Green

Earth, the name of our planet, comes from Old English meaning “ground, soil, dry land”. Since humans are terrestrial creatures by nature, it’s no surprise we chose to name our planet by the feature we knew best. Yet, only 29% of the planet surface is the greens, greys, browns, clays of earth; the remaining 71% is our shimmering ocean, representing 139 million square miles of planet surface and billions of tons of biomass. Vital water gives us the blues, azures, cobalts, teals, grays of the ocean. Back to etymology, the word water comes, in part, from Sanskrit meaning “to animate.” Indeed, the dynamism and vitality of all life on Earth owes itself to the ocean. We often hear about how many millions of years ago, the first creatures emerged from the ocean to populate the land.…
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Dr. Earle Visits South Africa to support Sustainable SeasTrust Tour

“No ocean means no life, no blue means no green,” said ocean conservation champion, Dr. Sylvia Earle at a public talk at the Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simonstown held on April 14. Apart from being an esteemed oceanographer, explorer, author, lecturer, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, founder of numerous research foundations and chairperson of the Advisory Council for the Ocean in Google Earth, Dr. Earle is also the patron of Grahamstown based charity, the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST). The SST along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) are currently on the SAMSA SEA Pledge Saldanha to Sodwana Tour. For four weeks the team will be touring South Africa’s coastline and spreading the word of coastal conservation to everyone from young school children to the various mayors and dignitaries along the way.…
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Oceanographer Sylvia Earle’s warnings about Gulf deserve prime-time attention

By now most of us have seen those feel-good television spots featuring a Louisianan, an Alabaman, a Mississippian and a Floridian, all smiling and boasting good-naturedly about the relative advantages of their home state as a tourist destination. With a clear emphasis on the many pleasures of the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico shared by all. The object is to draw visitors to spotless beaches and crystal waters, along with historical attractions, golf courses and, of course, food! Endless buffets of mouth-watering dishes served fresh from the bounty of the Gulf. The message to prospective tourists is that the widely publicized miseries brought by the April 2010 BP spill are a thing of the distant past. A homegrown BP spokesman proclaims that things are better than ever, and urges one and all to come on down!…
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Photo of the Day ~ Deepwater Horizon Disaster 2010

Today’s Photo of the Day serves as a stark reminder of the largest scale environmental disaster that has yet to befall the United States, the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.  Now, at the third anniversary of the disaster, how much have we learned? And how far have we come in terms of avoiding future disasters? Skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, sand-filled barricades along shorelines and dispersants were used in an attempt to protect hundreds of miles of beaches, wetlands, and estuaries from the spreading oil from the Deepwater Horizon. Photo (c) Daniel Beltra Daniel Beltra Photography…
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