Monthly Archives: June 2011

Peter Young on The Last Ocean – The Ross Sea

Peter Young is one of New Zealand’s leading documentary filmmakers and has worked for most of the major players in the documentary field, including National Geographic, Discovery, BBC and Television New Zealand. He has credits in over a hundred documentaries filmed in New Zealand and around the world and has won many awards for both his camera and producing work. He is currently working on a Last Ocean feature documentary.
Peter is also responsible for founding The Last Ocean Charitable Trust in New Zealand, a public and political campaign calling for the entire Ross Sea region to be designated a Marine Protected Area.
The international body managing the Ross Sea fishery (CCAMLR, the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) will meet in 2012 to decide to what extent the waters around Antarctica will be protected.…

Posted in Antarctica, Peter Young, Ross Sea |


Sponge Bob Needs a Break: Conservation of Deep-Sea Sponge Communities

Cloud Sponge off Canada

On the last day of the IMCC2 meeting, an afternoon session was dedicated to discussion of conservation of Deep-Sea Sponge Communities.  This topic has gained attention from the realization they were often habitat for juveniles of commercial fish species, and at considerable risk from human activities, particularly deep-sea trawling.  The discovery of beds of an unusual kind of reef building glass sponge off the west coast of Canada in 1987-1988 brought this issue to broader attention (c.f. Conway, et al., 1991).  These sponges were of a type known only from fossils and believed long extinct.  Much media attention followed the discovery of these “Jurassic reefs” which in places rise to heights as great as 21 meters (Krautter, et al.,…

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Words of Inspiration: Sylvia Earle’s Acceptance Speech at the Royal Geographic Society

Remarks for Royal Geographic Society, June 6, 2011Sylvia A. Earle

I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the Royal Geographical Society’s 2011 Patrons Medal. It is humbling – and exhilarating — to join the company of some of my greatest heroes.
Since my first breath of air under the sea in 1953, I have had the joy of spending thousands of hours diving, living under water, using submersibles, witnessing and sometimes participating in the greatest era of exploration in the history of humankind. As a research scientist and explorer, founder of three engineering companies, Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and as a National Geographic Explorer in Residence, I have experienced the use of new technologies that for the first time have enabled humankind to connect the dots, see patterns, gain access to places, understand processes, and anticipate the future armed with unprecedented new insights.…

Posted in Award winner, Royal Geographic Society, sylvia earle |

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Journey OnEarth: An American Beauty

Referred to as part of America’s hardest working wetlands, Louisiana’s marshes are breathtaking, but it’s a natural treasure that’s disappearing at an alarming rate. In the second episode for Journey OnEarth, Sylvia Earle tells us why the once resilient marshes might be on the verge of extinction. To take a closer look at this unique ecosystem and examine what losing it means for us watch as Sylvia Earle and others share their knowledge about these precious resources in the short documentary below:

Director: Roshini ThinakaranCamera/ Editor: Zakary WenningProducers: Roshini Thinakara, Zakary WenningWriter: Roshini Thinakaran
Journey OnEarth follows correspondent Roshini Thinakaran, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, as she reports about the people most impacted by pollution, oil spills, toxic chemicals, and communities coping with climate change across the country. …

Posted in Journey onEarth, marsh, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Roshini Thinakaran, sylvia earle, wetlands |


Sylvia Speaks at The Aspen Institute Environmental Forum

May 30 – June 2, 2011
By 2050, the world’s human population will probably have risen above nine billion, but it will also be on the verge of stabilizing after two centuries of explosive growth. Before us lies 40 years in the wilderness; beyond 2050 lies what we have to hope is a promised land. Getting there will take not just technical solutions that make life on earth sustainable; it will take a sustaining vision of our place on the planet.
This year’s Aspen Environment Forum, in conjunction with National Geographic, explores the shifts in thinking and imagination that will be required to rise to the awesome challenge, from ways of reorganizing urban ecosystems, to preserving biodiversity and providing a stable climate, clean air, clean water and food for a growing global population.…

Posted in aspen institute, national geographic, sylvia earle |

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Ross Sea, Antarctic Hope Spot

Map of Antarctica

Most people will probably never travel across the Southern Ocean either by ship or plane to the massive southern continent of Antarctica that anchors the South Pole. The Antarctica continent, drifted with tectonic plates into its current position between 30 to 60 million years ago (Ivany, et al., 2008). Once the continent was in place the cold Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) encircled it, and the land cooled and ice accumulated eventually covering most of the land to a depth of several thousand feet. As the continent cooled, so did the surrounding Southern Ocean, to a temperature several degrees colder than any other. The chill waters of the ACC separate the Southern Ocean from the slightly warmer waters to the north.…

Posted in Antarctica, ocean acidification, Richard Aronson, Ross Sea, Southern Ocean, sub-Antarctic king crab, sylvia earle, Sylvia Earle Alliance |


World Oceans Day: June 8, 2011

Today, June 8th, is World Oceans Day. “Wear blue, tell two” is the motto to live by; wear blue clothing and share at least two ocean facts with people around you. Take part in a local event. For a listing near you or to learn more about World Oceans Day, look at Here are just a few examples of the creative activities that thousands of people around the world will join.
England:The department store Selfridges initiated “Project Ocean” on May 11 by sponsoring the creation of a marine reserve in the Philippines. Yesterday, Sylvia Earle joined Queen Noor of Jordan and other women involved in ocean conservation in Selfridges’ forum, “The New Era in Marine Conservation.” Through Project Ocean, Selfridges has raised nearly £90,000 (roughly $150,000 USD) for marine reserves.…

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The Ocean strikes gold in London

Michael Palin giving award to Dr. EarlePhoto by Lis Parham

The rain cleared away, the skies brightened and nearly 300 guests arrived heralding a magical evening at the awards ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Sylvia, a long-time Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, was there to be honoured with the highest award that can be bestowed. It was back in April of this year that Sylvia was made aware that Her Majesty The Queen had approved the award to her of the Patron’s Medal of the Society for the encouragement, development and promotion of ocean science and exploration.

Dr. Earle with Patron’s medalPhoto by Lis Parham

This is one of the Society’s two Gold Medals which are the most prestigious medals awarded and one of the world’s highest accolades in geography.…

Posted in Award winner, Patron's medal, RGS, sylvia earle |

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Edward Harte’s Legacy Will Go On

By the time famed oceanographer Sylvia Earle met philanthropist Edward Harte in 2000, the two had accomplished more than most can dream.
Harte, the former publisher of the Caller-Times and philanthropist, helped grow his family business into a $775 million empire while also becoming well known for his conservation efforts locally and abroad. Mr. Harte was an advocate of habitat protection and offshore drilling regulation for many years. William H. Dietel, chairman of the American Farmland Trust, said, “Ed has been a man of conservation for many years… Ed has the capacity to see critical need.”
Harte died on Wednesday, May 18th. He was 88.
It was not until Harte read one of Earle’s books, “Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans” that their lives crossed.…

Posted in Edward Harte, Harte Research Institute, sylvia earle |

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The Sargasso Sea Hope Spot

The Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean

One of Sylvia Earle’s Hope Spots is the Sargasso Sea. This area in the central North Atlantic Ocean is a clockwise circulating gyre which accumulates material from both sides of the North Atlantic. Maps and charts from the 1730s to 1840s show extensive areas of Sargassum, the free-floating brown macroalgae (Phaeophyte) Sylvia Earle refers to as “the golden rain forest of the sea.” The “floating reefs” of Sargassum give the Sargasso Sea its’ name. For many years Scientists and ocean advocates have been meeting to establish a marine protected area within the Sargasso Sea because of its unique biodiversity.

The endangered Bermuda Petrel

An update on progress toward protecting the Sargasso Sea was provided in an IMCC talk by Sheila McKenna of the SEAlliance (McKenna and Hemphill, 2011).…

Posted in Bermuda Petrel, Garbage patch, high seas MPAs, hope spots, MPA criteria, Sargasso Sea, Shelia McKenna |

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