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President of Colombia to Expand Protection in the Malpelo Hope Spot

By: Shilpi Chhotray, Mission Blue Communications Strategist Over 300 miles off the Pacific coast of Colombia lies Malpelo Island whose clear waters are teeming with colorful marine life. The driving force behind the success of the Malpelo Hope Spot is the community of ocean advocates and citizen scientists promoting its protection. Sandra Bessudo, Marine Biologist and Founder of the Malpelo Foundation, is at the heart of Malpelo and its strongest spokesperson. “When I first started going to Malpelo in 1987 and saw what was happening: anchors in the coral, sharks on the deck of the boat, I thought we must do something“. Since then, she’s worked with divers, scientists, and even multiple Colombian presidents to enforce protection of the island. On September 9th, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to more than double the size of the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary.…
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Drawn to the Sea.

Narration By: Claire Paris, Biological Oceanographer and Free Diver  I have always been drawn to the sea. As a kid, I imagined the magic of the aquatic realm and found comfort underwater, mesmerized by the sounds of waves on the shoals and of my heart beat slowing down. I am a biological oceanographer and a free diver. The ocean is where I push my mind and my body. I study the earliest days of a fish’s life, what we call its larval stage. All fish, even those that grow to become very large, begin their lives very small. They may be tiny, but we’ve learned they are far from defenseless. They are strong and self sufficient having evolved to survive the pelagic life.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Aquarius Awaits

Our old friend Aquarius stands patiently on the sea floor, waiting for the launch of Mission 31 – Fabien Cousteau’s quest to break his grandfather’s underwater record by one day. This June, Fabien will descend 60′ to Aquarius Reef Base off Key Largo Florida for an epic 31 day mission to bring attention to the importance of underwater exploration.  Plus we are expecting some exciting celebrity guests.  More news soon on Mission Blue! Feature Photo: DJ Roller/Liquid Pictures…
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Photo of the Day ~ Peacock Mantis Shrimps’ Amazing Eyes

The Mantis Shrimp has eyes that are compound, like those of the dragonfly, although they have a far smaller number of ommatidia (about 10,000 per eye;) however, in the mantis shrimp each ommatidia row has a particular function. For example, some of them are used to detect light, others to detect color, etc. Mantis shrimp have much better color vision than humans (their eyes having 12 types of color receptors, whereas humans have only three,) as well as ultraviolet, infrared and polarized light vision, thus having the most complex eyesight of any animal known. The eyes are located at the end of stalks, and can be moved independently from each other, rotating up to 70 degrees. Interestingly, the visual information is processed by the eyes themselves, not the brain.…
Posted in Multimedia, Photo of the Day |

Photo of the Day ~ Weedy Scorpionfish

Also known as Rhinopias frondosa, this fishy jewel’s cryptic camouflage is an invaluable tool for hunting prey and avoiding becoming prey itself. Both prey and predators mistake the well camouflaged fish for a piece of seaweed! Photo: (c) Jamie Pollack…
Posted in Multimedia, Photo of the Day |

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Photo of the Day ~ Harbor Seal off Cortes Bank

Spotted at Cortes Bank near San Diego, California, a harbor seal (Phoco vitulina) swims through an underwater kelp forest. Captured by Kyle McBurnie, the photo is the overall winner of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science’s Underwater Photography Contest, which recognizes amateur photography.   …
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Photo of the Day ~ High Five for Sharks

Possibly our favorite shark photo – Eli Martinez receives a stylin’ High Five from a smiling lemon shark named Taxi off the Bahamas. We love it because it shows what many shark/human interactions are really like. That said, sharks are individuals, and you’ll want to exercise reason and caution dealing with any wild animal. To keep things in perspective, you are more likely to be killed by a vending machine than by a shark – and even more shocking, by your family toaster! Photo: Paul Spielvogel  …
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Photo of the Day ~ Great Hammerhead

Up close and personal in the Bahamas with a Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran.) Many theories have been put forward about the function of the hammer – amongst these, the most popular are that it helps the great hammerhead to scan larger areas of the ocean floor for food, and that it maximises the area of the sensory organs (known as the ampullae of Lorenzini) that can detect chemical, physical and thermal changes in the water, as well as electric fields. Photo: (c) Bill Eastwick…
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Humpbacks off Monterey, California

From Mission Blue Director of Expeditions and Photography, Kip Evans, “It’s so rare to have these beautiful flat days off the coast of Monterey. Adding huge Humpback whales….priceless!”…
Posted in Multimedia, Photo of the Day |

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Photo of the Week ~ Harbor Seal

A common seal (Phoca vitulina) at the surface in the evening. Harbor seals are also the most widely distributed pinniped. They are found in temperate, subarctic, and arctic coastal areas on both sides of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. Five separate subspecies have been identified, each common to a specific coastal region. Harbor seals are hunted primarily for their skins, oil, and meat. Their tendency to remain in the same area year-round puts them at greater risk for hunting. The Lake Ontario population was exterminated by the early 1800s, and the Greenland, Hokkaido, and Baltic Sea populations are currently under severe threat. In the Gulf of Alaska, populations have declined dramatically during the last 20-30 years. Harbor seals are thought by a few to “compete” with commercial fisheries for food sources and unfortunately this myth results in many harbor seals being killed by humans needlessly.…
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