Monthly Archives: March 2013

Photo of the Day ~ Belize Reef, Mesoamerican Reef Hope Spot

Facebook follower Tony Rath sent us this vision of paradise from a Belize Reef, part of Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Mesoamerican Hope Spot. “Sometimes I come across a photo that makes me look twice. At first I thought ‘this looks like a heck of a low tide, all that coral is exposed.’ But looking closer, I noticed a slight break of waves over the top of some of the coral heads.” “In fact, the water is so clear, that it is an illusion that the coral heads are above water. This photo provides a clear view of what our barrier reef in Belize is – not rubble and dead coral skeletons – but a living, growing, healthy organism.” Credit: Tony Rath Photography / http://www.facebook.com/belizephotography…
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Photo of the Day ~ Water Bears

Is this an alien? No, but of all the animals on Earth, the Tardigrade might be the best candidate. That’s because Tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floor, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiation. The far-ranging survivability of these extremophiles was tested in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. Tardigrades are so durable partly because they can repair their own DNA and reduce their body water content to a few percent. Some of these miniature water-bears almost became extraterrestrials recently when they were launched toward to the Martian moon Phobos onboard a Russian mission but stayed terrestrial when a rocket failed and the capsule remained in Earth orbit.…
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Freediving World Champion Yasemin Dalkilic Visits Aquarius

When World Champion Freediver, Yasemin Dalkilic dove on the Aquarius habitat late last summer, it’s future looked less than bright. But since the video was produced, Aquarius has been able to secure some funding – enough to keep it treading water, at least for now. Last year the US government cut funding for Aquarius from $5 million to zero.  The only underwater habitat in the world performing scientific research, Aquarius has been on Conch Reef off Key Largo Florida for 22 years. And now she is a magnificent living reef in her own right. At only sixty feet deep, the dive is not a stretch for the 9 time World Champion Freediver, Yasmine.  Beginning with a charming little girl’s fantasy of living underwater, Yasemin takes us on a tour of Aquarius. …
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CITES does RIGHT!

Huge news on the shark and manta front! Yesterday, the CITES plenary accepted the committee recommendations to place five species of sharks and two species of mantas on Appendix II of the CITES treaty. Additionally, one species of saw fish was moved to Appendix I. It may sound like a bureaucratic procedure — and it is — but the ramifications are huge. The sharks have been under relentless pressure from the fin and meat trade which is taking a significant toll on their population levels. Now, as species listed under Appendix II, the trade of these shark species will be regulated, marking a first important step to allow these majestic animals to return to healthy population levels. Not all the CITES treaty members were behind the measure.…
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Photo of the Day ~ CITES stands up for sharks and rays!

In a dramatic Plenary session, trade restrictions were adopted today for ALL five species of sharks (Oceanic Whitetip, Porbeagle, Smooth, Scalloped & Great Hammerhead) and two mantas (Giant and Reef Manta Rays) proposed! Success of listing proposals means their international trade must be legal and sustainable in 18 months. Photo: (c) Shark Stanley…
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Young Explorer Series – Yoland Bosiger in the Cocos Islands

My safety stop is complete but something out of the corner of my eye distracts me. Still a couple of meters below me, our dive leader, Jaume Pericas is frantically pointing at something. At first I couldn’t work out what he was seeing. Had Jaume spent too much time underwater? Was he seeing an imaginary ghost of Moby Dick? Or did he simply want to ensure that I missed out on the scrambled eggs that so deliciously followed an early morning dive. It occurred to me that I could see something too but my mind was not registering. A dark silhouette seemed to cover the entire ocean floor as if revealing an ancient underwater city. But this was no fantasy, legend or mythical beast – this shadow was alive!…
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Photo of the Day ~ Blanket Octopus

Normally we might expect males to be larger than females, but when it comes to blanket octopi, females can reach up to six feet while males are at most an inch or two long. The males have a specially modified third right arm which stores sperm, known as a hectocotylus. During mating, this arm detaches itself and crawls into the mantle of the female to fertilize her eggs. Weird but true!  Photo Credit: Unknown…
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Pacific Warriors: We’re not drowning. We are fighting.

There is global war underway. This war is being fought to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. The Carbon War Room was set up by Ocean Elder Sir Richard Branson and was established to harness the power of entrepreneurs to unlock gigaton-scale, market driven solutions to climate change. President José María Figueres has explained that their war effort is necessary because “there is no Planet B.” People are fighting this global war on many fronts and in many ways. Nowhere is the need for lowering our carbon emissions more obvious than in the Pacific island countries where the carbon emissions are tiny, but the impact from carbon driven climate change is most serious and already resulting in climate refugees and climate-driven evacuation plans across the Pacific region.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Major CITES Protections Granted for Sharks and Mantas

CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has approved the protection of oceanic whitetip sharks, porbeagle sharks and hammerheads this morning. A banner day for the blue! Photo: (c) Daniel Botelho…
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San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival features Mission Blue Partners

Now through Sunday, and in it's 10th year, The San Francisco Ocean Film Festival has added 'International' to it's well respected name. With 50 films created from all corners of the globe, the festival has truly raised the bar. Come by Pier 39 this weekend to catch a glimpse of an exciting lineup of ocean-related documentaries. With French explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau in attendance, the SF International Ocean Film Festival hopes to educate and entertain the public in greater numbers than ever before. We're proud that several of the films are by, or about Mission Blue Partners. When Walter Marti called Mission Blue partners, Ocean Defenders Alliance to alert them about a huge derelict net at Isla Coronado in Northern Mexico, Kurt Lieber and his team went into action.…
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