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A Discussion with Dr. Emma Camp, Coral Conservationist and 2019 ROLEX Awards for Enterprise Associate Laureate

  Emma testing out the Flexi-Chamber she designed to measure rates of photosynthesis on coral reefs.   Dr. Emma Camp is an Australian marine biologist on an audacious mission– she’s working to conserve corals in the Great Barrier Reef and ultimately across the globe that are rapidly declining under climate change. Dr. Camp championed a groundbreaking discovery: there are specific species of “Super Corals” that are able to survive in the extreme conditions brought on by global climate change: warm, acidic waters with insufficient oxygen levels. This discovery provides Emma a unique opportunity to uncover what supports coral survival into extremes, and along with her colleagues, she hopes to use this knowledge to aid rehabilitation efforts of the world’s coral reefs.…
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Dr. Earle at the California Seamounts Hope Spot Launch in San Francisco

On May 14th, 2019, the Mission Blue team and the ocean conservation community gathered at the San Francisco Exploratorium to celebrate the launch of the California Seamounts Hope Spot. Dr. Sylvia Earle closed out the evening with her thoughts on protecting the California seamounts from exploitation and of the global state of ocean conservation.     “Thank you – all of you — for coming from where you came from to be here to salute the ocean and salute the cause for hope. I’m looking at the cause for hope right now: you’re here, and you care. We’re all at this amazing point in history – early in the 21st century — we’re armed with that most important thing called knowledge. …
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First Ever Hope Spot in mainland United Kingdom Declared Along Scotland’s Argyll Coast and Islands

ARGYLL COAST, SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM The strikingly diverse landscape of the West coast of Scotland is one of a storybook come to life. Imagine idyllic, rolling green hills, cut with streams of clear water carving a path over rocks blanketed in tufts of spongy moss. Weathered stone castles stand like sentries along the dramatic coast, piercing a delicate veil of grey fog. Jagged rocks along the coast loom above placid, white sand beaches meeting crystalline blue waters. Plunging beneath the surface, shipwrecks lie preserved, their presence a reminder of the inextricable link between the sea and our maritime heritage, spanning four hundred years from the Spanish Armada to WW2 losses, these sites, many of which have become artificial reefs full of marine life, are windows into the past and enable us to discover the stories of seafarers, trade and conflict.…
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Leaders in Sustainability Highlighted in Newly Declared Tetiaroa Atoll Hope Spot

Tetiaroa Atoll is a rare, secluded place that serves as a refuge for nesting green sea turtles and a variety of seabird species, surrounded by a healthy and ecologically important coral reef and a brilliant turquoise lagoon. Unfortunately, like other atolls around the globe, Tetiaroa and the coral reefs that support it are at serious risk due to the negative effects of climate change and resource misuse– but there is hope. Local nonprofits Tetiaroa Society and Te mana o te moana, along with their partners – The Brando Resort, The Brando Family Trust, and the local government and community – are working to preserve and restore the atoll. International nonprofit Mission Blue has declared the Tetiaroa Atoll a Hope Spot in support of Tetiaroa Society’s goal of establishing full protection of the island from a ground-up, grassroots approach and in support of Te mana o te moana’s long term sea turtle nesting program on the atoll.…
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Ocean Organizations Designate Seamounts off California Coast as Newest Hope Spots in Worldwide System

CALIFORNIA COAST, UNITED STATES (May 14, 2019) – Deep below the ocean’s surface, not far from the beautiful beaches of the California coast, where millions sunbathe, surf, and enjoy the majesty and tranquility of the sea, lies a world of underwater mountains, volcanoes and ancient islands called seamounts. These seamounts provide a home to biologically important treasures critical to the health of the ocean. Although virtually unknown to the Golden State’s nearly 40 million residents, the seamounts are home to creatures like the endangered blue and gray whales and sperm whales, sharks, rare deep‐sea corals that take hundreds of years to grow, and seabirds hunting high overhead for fish that aggregate near the seamounts. Unfortunately, the dozens of vibrant seamounts along California’s coast and across the globe face a risky future due to potential deepsea trawling, ocean warming and acidification, offshore drilling, and the rise of deep-sea mining, a practice that extracts minerals from the seamounts and seabed.…
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Rodriguez Seamount – A Geologic Rarity

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute Rodriguez Seamount is a 10–12 million-year-old seamount located approximately 42 miles off the coast of southern California. It towers over a mile above the seafloor, with its tallest summit cone standing over a little over 2,000 feet below the surface. Once upon a time, Rodriguez was an island standing as tall as 230 feet above sea level, with an area of 2.6 square miles. Like the neighboring San Juan Seamount, it has since sunk back beneath the waves largely due to the subsidence of the ocean crust beneath it. Due to the erosional forces it was exposed to as an island, its modern summit largely consists of a large flat dome, qualifying Rodriguez as a guyot – a flat-topped seamount.…
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New Hope Spot in San Francisco Bay Highlights Need for Comprehensive Ocean Conservation Action

SAN FRANCISCO BAY, CALIFORNIA (APRIL 28TH, 2019) With 8 million people living in its watershed San Francisco Bay is the most urbanized estuary in the U.S. and development has taken a toll on its local marine life. But on April 28, the Bay will become the newest Mission Blue Hope Spot, injecting new life into conservation efforts. San Francisco Bay is a hotspot for marine biodiversity, with more than 500 species of fish and wildlife, including migratory salmon, herring and anchovies. Since the 1960s, billions of dollars and many volunteer hours have been invested to restore the Bay’s ecological health. These efforts have started to pay off: Water quality has greatly improved, watersheds are healthier, tidal wetland restoration is underway and many marine animals are returning to the Bay.…
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Gumdrop and Pioneer Seamounts – Offshore Seabird Havens

By Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute   Gumdrop and Pioneer Seamounts Gumdrop and Pioneer are neighboring seamounts located approximately 45 miles off the coast of California, close to San Francisco. The summit of Pioneer Seamount sits approximately half a mile (2,690 feet) below the surface, while Gumdrop Seamount is even deeper – 3,960 feet down. The seamounts are largely made up of various forms of basalt – a common volcanic rock type that forms when iron-rich lava cools quickly. Unlike many seamounts, which often form at the tumultuous intersection of two or more tectonic plates, they are both examples of intraplate volcanoes. Along with neighboring seamounts including Davidson, Guide, and Rodriguez, these types of volcanoes form within a single tectonic plate due to plumes of extremely hot mantle forcing its way through weaknesses in the Earth’s crust – in this case, likely due to the occurrence of an ancient spreading center.…
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Ocean Conservation Front and Center in Australia with Sydney Coast Hope Spot

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA As you read this, guests are gathering at Bondi Beach on Sydney’s brilliant coast to celebrate the launch of the Sydney Coast Hope Spot. The new Hope Spot is championed by the Ocean Lovers Festival in conjunction with Underwater Earth at an action-packed, 4-day event featuring on-shore live entertainment, art, photography presentations and practical workshops centered around the themes of conservation and sustainability. Starting today, April 11th through April 14th, attendees of the Ocean Lovers Festival will also enjoy a film festival, including a special screening of Mission Blue. “It is a dream come true not just for our festival, but for all our Sydney Ocean Lovers to have the support of Mission Blue to recognize Sydney’s cherished coastline on the international stage with a Hope Spot,” said Festival founder Anita Kolni.…
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Kep Archipelago Hope Spot Declared in Recognition of Protecting Cambodia’s Endangered Marine Ecosystems

KEP ARCHIPELAGO, CAMBODIA, (April 5th, 2019) The islands that make up the Kep Archipelago off the coast of Cambodia are known for their tranquil waters and at one time, some of the most exquisite seagrass meadows in Southeast Asia. The waters of Kep Archipelago act as important feeding grounds and provide migratory routes for numerous threatened species including Irrawaddy dolphins, dugongs, giant clams and Cambodia’s largest concentration of seahorses. Unfortunately, the area has faced considerable damage from illegal fishing and destructive bottom trawling practices that have ruined parts of the seafloor, creating an underwater desert. However, the work of organization Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC), through their research, direct conservation practices and local activism has greatly helped to restore Kep Archipelago’s precious ecosystems and species, including the endangered and iconic Irrawaddy dolphin.…
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