Blog Archives

MPAtlas Launches on World Oceans Day

World Ocean Day marks the official launch of MPAtlas. An online digital map that assembles key information on marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world, it is a project of the Marine Conservation Institute, in partnership with the Waitt Foundation. We protect our future by protecting the ocean. By safeguarding vital marine habitats/areas/places, we refuel the engine of our blue planet, enriching our culture, society and economy. The stories of vibrant ocean places are cataloged on MPAtlas.

In a world where fisheries and marine biodiversity are declining, marine protected areas are an essential tool to alter the oceans’ downward trajectory. Scientists have repeatedly shown that MPAs rapidly improve the biomass and diversity of ocean life in both tropical and temperate ecosystems.  …

Posted in hope spots, marine conservation institute, MPA, MPAtlas, waitt foundation, world oceans day |

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Mission Blue Launches Expedition to Bahamian Reefs Hope Spot

Consisting of over 3,000 islands, islets and cays, and covering an area of over 14,000 square kilometers, the nation of the Bahamas contains several priceless marine habitats, and thus has been designated by Dr. Earle as one of Mission Blue’s global Hope Spots. In cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, the expedition will be concentrated in the Exuma Cays, a Marine Protected Area that has been managed as a no-take marine fishery reserve since 1986, allowing populations of commercially important species such as queen conch, Nassau grouper and spiny lobster to thrive. Sea turtles and sharks swim throughout coral reefs teeming with marine life.

(c) Mark Godfrey/TNC

Joining us onboard will be Eleanor Phillips, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Northern Caribbean program.…

Posted in Bahamian Reefs Hope Spot, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Eleanor Phillips, exumas land and sea park, hope spots, The Bahama, The Nature Conservancy |

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Treehugger Names Dr. Earle’s ‘Hope Spots’ ~ Best Ocean Conservation Initiative for 2012

(c) Kip Evans Photography has again chosen to honor Dr. Sylvia Earle, this time with a “Best of Green Award” for her ‘Hope Spots’ initiative.  In 2010, ‘Her Deepness’ received Treehugger’s “Person of the Year” award not only for her lifetime of accomplishments, but specifically for her achievements during 2010, from her work during the Deepwater Horizon Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to her Mission Blue Voyage to the Galapagos, inspiring individuals globally to take action on behalf of the ocean.

Dr. Earle’s Hope Spots are a targeted approach to ocean conservation – a scientifically sound way of bringing attention to crucial areas of our ocean planet. Faced with relentless pressure from overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution, the ocean is increasingly threatened on many fronts.…

Posted in Awards, Dr. Sylvia Earle, hope spots, Treehugger |

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Mission Blue Expedition to Coiba, Panama Launched

Coiba National Park, located off the southwest coast of Panama, is made up of Coiba Island, 38 smaller islands and the surrounding marine areas within the Gulf of Chiriqui. Protected from the cold winds and effects of El Niño, Coiba hosts exceptional diversity on the land and under the ocean. Considered a precious jewel of the Pacific, Coiba is a critical part of the Eastern Pacific Seascape, a broad ocean area within the waters of Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador.

Photo: Hector Guzman, STRI

Coiba Island is the biggest island in Central America and is also the largest uninhabited island in all of Latin America. It was declared a World Heritage site in 2005 and it provides a key ecological link to the Tropical Eastern Pacific for the transit and survival of pelagic fish and marine mammals.…

Posted in Coiba National Park, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Hector Guzman, hope spots, Kip Evans, mission blue, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute |


First Ever Eco-Audit Finds More Effort Needed to Protect Mesoamerican Reef


In the first Eco-Audit of the Mesoamerican Reef, it has been determined that although progress is being made, more must be done to protect this fragile ecosystem, which is also one of Dr. Earle’s Hope Spots.  In the summer of 2011, Dr. Earle and her team mounted an expedition to the Swan Islands of Honduras, bringing increased focus to the region. The Mesoamerican reef runs over 600 miles from Mexico south to Honduras, and is a vital support system for this beautiful corner of our ocean planet.

Dr. Sylvia Earle Explores a coral reef at Swan Island, (c) Kip Evans Photography

The evaluation was carried out by The Healthy Reefs Initiative (HRI), in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI), and nearly 40 local organizations, government agencies and companies. …

Posted in Dr. Sylvia Earle, Healthy Reefs Initiative, hope spots, marine protected areas, Mesoamerican Reef, World Resources Institute |

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Artist Courtney Mattison Brings Hope Spots into View

Photo: Deb Castellana

San Francisco, California
Inspired by Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue, artist, marine conservation biologist and ocean lover Courtney Mattison has created her own ecosystem of 18 Hope Spots, now on exhibit at the San Francisco University High School / Jackson Street Gallery in San Francisco, California. In doing so she hopes to bring the coral reef above the ocean waves where people can experience them, as well as educate and inspire others to take action to save our planet’s coral reef systems while there is still time.
Dr. Earle’s TED Prize wish in 2009 was, “I wish you would use all means at your disposal to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet.”…

Posted in Courtney Mattison, Dr. Sylvia Earle, hope spots, mission blue |

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Implications of Environmental Change to Antarctic Marine Ecosystems

By Dr. Phil McGillivary and Gavin Morris reporting from the 25th International Conference on Conservation Biology in Auckland, NZEdited by Deb Castellana

The University of Auckland, New Zealand hosted a series of Marine Think Tanks, in the days before the 25th International Congress of Conservation Biology. One of them, Implications of Environmental Change to Antarctic Marine Ecosystems, dealt mainly with the Ross Sea, Antarctica, which is one of Sylvia Earle’s Hope Spots.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Ed Butler as he rushed off to the airport. Ed is the Manager for Antarctic Science with Antarctica New Zealand (ANZ). He, along with Vonda Cummings of NIWA, facilitated the 3-day think tank on the possible impacts of global climate change on Antarctic marine ecosystems.…

Posted in 25th International Conference on Conservation Biology, Antarctica, Dr. Phil McGillivary, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Gavin Morris, hope spots, Ross Sea |


25th International Congress for Conservation Biology

For the next two weeks, Dr. Phil McGillivary and Gavin Morris will be reporting from Auckland, New Zealand on marine conservation activities.  They will address some of Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Hope Spots during and after the International Congress for Conservation Biology.  The Congress is comprised of a series of workshops, symposia, presentations and field trips beginning with the Marine Conservation Think Tank sessions. These will be held the weekend before the main sessions of the Congress at the University of Auckland. 
November 30, 2011: The Day That Didn’t Exist. Welcome to Auckland for the 25th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) 
Anyone who has ever flown to the West Pacific from the United States was probably left feeling the way we did. …

Posted in Dr. Phil McGillivary, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Gavin Morris, hope spots, International Congress for Conservation Biology, Ross Sea |


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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