Blog Archives

Exploring the Galápagos Islands with Dr. Sylvia Earle

By Elisa Cassiani   As a 17-year-old living in Napa, CA, my experience with the natural world was pretty conventional – dogs, cats, deer, squirrels. Although I have traveled to beautiful destinations in the past, they were generally established civilizations where wildlife wasn’t at the forefront. When my mom told me that I might be able to accompany her on an expedition to the Galápagos, I lunged at the opportunity. The trip was only a week away, but we managed to pull it together and get me ready for the experience of a lifetime. Within the first hour of arriving, I got my first glimpse into the Galápagos, which is a Mission Blue Hope Spot. My mom works for Mission Blue, Dr.…
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Dive into the Mysterious Deep-Sea Ecosystems of the Galápagos

By Salome Buglass Featured image: Salome Buglass and Dr. Sylvia Earle hold up kelp samples during a dive near Isabela Island, Galapagos National Park (c) Kip Evans, Mission Blue. The Spanish version can be read below. For almost three years now, as part of the Seamount Research Project at the Charles Darwin Foundation and working in collaboration with the Galápagos National Park Directorate, we have been investigating deep-sea ecosystems in the Galápagos Archipelago. It’s been an immense privilege, as our research group is among the first to explore and describe life in the deep, dark and remote spaces of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. It is also very exciting work, as we are constantly discovering new marine species for the Galápagos as well as for science.…
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Working with the Largest Fish in the Ocean to Protect Migratory Species in the Eastern Pacific Seascape Hope Spot

The Spanish version can be read below. The distinctive, rattling noise of an underwater noisemaker grabs the attention of the divers, and they quickly scan for the source of the sound: Dr. Alex Hearn. He is easy to spot, not only for his yellow tank but the exaggerated pointing. Before long the source of Dr. Hearn’s excitement is revealed. It’s a whale shark, about 12 meters (~40ft) in length cruising along above the reef off Darwin Island, one of the most remote, and recently protected islands in the Galápagos archipelago.  Like nearly all the whale sharks that pass through the Galápagos Islands, this whale shark is an adult female and she will only stay for a few days before continuing her migration through the Eastern Pacific Seascape Hope Spot.…
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A Hope Spot Expedition Heads to the Tropical Eastern Pacific’s Enchanted Galápagos Islands

The Spanish version can be read below. In the equatorial Eastern Pacific, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, lies an active volcanic archipelago that is like nowhere else on earth. Early Spanish sailors called these islands the Enchanted Isles because of the strong currents that pulled ships off course and heavy mist that caused the islands to “disappear”. Though the name was not initially intended to be a compliment, “enchanted” is still an apt description for this seemingly-magical geological and biological hotspot, now called the Galápagos Islands. The 19 islands and dozens of islets that make up the Galápagos archipelago were all formed by volcanic activity, a hot spot where intense heat from the Earth’s mantle forced the crust of the Nazca Plate, an oceanic tectonic plate, upward.…
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Mission Blue announces it is joining the Humboldt Alliance

Renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle heads the organization that aims to protect unique marine ecosystems such as the Humboldt Archipelago, which is being threatened by megaprojects Dominga and Cruz Grande. Santiago (May 19, 2020)  Mission Blue’s incorporation into the Humboldt Alliance was described as a great step toward the definitive protection of the Humboldt Archipelago. The Humboldt Alliance is a network of national and international organizations that came together over a year ago to ensure the conservation of this marine ecosystem which is currently being threatened by port mining project Dominga and port project Cruz Grande.     Mission Blue, whose international renown is based on its work to preserve marine ecosystems that are important to the health of oceans, had already recognized the unique characteristics of the Humboldt Archipelago, designating it as a Hope Spot in April 2018.…
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A Triumph for the Sea: The Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area Declared New Mission Blue Hope Spot

NUSA PENIDA, INDONESIA (May 22, 2020) The rugged islands and magnificent underwater landscapes of the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area (MPA) are a reef lover’s paradise, brimming with creatures like manta rays, sunfish and turtles. Located just a short trip from Bali, the Nusa Penida MPA covers an area of 20,057 hectares surrounding Nusa Penida and two smaller neighboring islands, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. For centuries, the people of the Penida Islands have lived in harmony with these waters. In 2008, the area was identified as a site with a high livelihood dependency on marine resources and was recognized as a critical area for marine biodiversity through a rapid ecological assessment. This report translates to reality for many of the 48,000 members of traditional villages who, on a day-to-day basis, rely on the sea for their livelihoods.…
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Worlds First Marine Migratory Species Hope Spot Declared Between Cocos and the Galápagos Islands

The Spanish version can be read below THE EASTERN TROPICAL PACIFIC OCEAN (MAY 12th, 2020) – What could become one of the first bi-national marine protected areas in the world has been declared a Hope Spot by the organization Mission Blue. This initiative connects the UNESCO biosphere reserves of two countries, highlighting the need to implement cutting-edge solutions to protect highly migratory species, such as sea turtles and sharks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.     Known as the Cocos-Galapagos Swimway, this Hope Spot is a 120,000-kilometer migratory underwater highway that connects the National Parks of two sovereign nations – Costa Rica’s Cocos Island National Park with Ecuador’s Galapagos Marine Reserve – both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.     Dr.…
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Antarctica Put to the Acid Test

By Maggie Amsler The great white continent of Antarctica and its encircling frigid Southern Ocean is one of the most remote and pristine regions of the planet and as such lends itself to a natural laboratory.  It is also now one of the planet’s most threatened regions due to climate change.  I recently completed a four-month research expedition investigating the effects of climate change on the marine communities in the local, shallow waters.  Local meaning Palmer Station, a US research facility on Anvers Island off the western Antarctic Peninsula, which served as both home and laboratory.    My team and I were not studying the direct effects of the documented increase in air temperature over Antarctica or increase in the Southern Ocean water temperature, yet was reminded of it daily. …
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Mission Blue Announced as Key Partner for Earth Day 50th Anniversary

Wave of Global Engagement Building for Landmark Earth Day 2020 April 15th, 2020, Washington, DC/Napa, CA Earth Day Network, which coordinates the annual Earth Day, is today delighted to announce that Mission Blue has become a key partner for 2020. Mission Blue, which is igniting public support for a global network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots! – large enough to save and restore the ocean, joins thousands of other groups and entities worldwide dedicated to make stepped-up environmental action a cornerstone in this crucial year. Earth Day 2020 comes 50 years after the first Earth Day which, in 1970, mobilized over 20 million citizens to demand action on the environmental challenges of the time. Today Earth Day is observed in around 190 countries and mobilizes one billion people and close to 100,000 organizations.…
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New Hope Spot in Panama Champions a Push for a Healthier Environment

Featured image by Bocas del Toro Productions   BOCAS DEL TORO ARCHIPELAGO, PANAMA (February 10th, 2020)  Over the last 30 years, Panama’s Bocas del Toro archipelago has gone from an unknown paradise to capturing the hearts of globe-trotting wanderlusters. This small archipelago is home to just 16,000 residents, and in 2012 they hosted 225,000 tourists. Compared to many favorite destinations across the world, this chain of islands is relatively new to the tourism industry – but many locals and conservationists are already feeling the unintended effects of the sharp rise of travelers and accompanying development.     Water conditions surrounding the islands continue to worsen. Sedimentation, eutrophication, hypoxic events and turbidity have impacted the abundance of many coral species and have made conditions difficult for regrowth.…
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