Blog Archives

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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Gorda and Mendocino Ridges – California’s Test Cases for Deep-Sea Mining

By: Samuel Georgian, Marine Biogeographer at Marine Conservation Institute.   The Gorda and Mendocino Ridges are a complex series of oceanic ridges just off the coast of northern California and are home to unique deep-sea ecosystems including hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. Unfortunately, these areas may be at risk from future deep-sea mining efforts. It is critical that we enact protection for these diverse habitats before they are irrevocably damaged by commercial activities. Hydrothermal Vents Only discovered in 1977, hydrothermal vents are incredible deep-sea ecosystems that form due to the venting of extremely hot and mineral-rich fluids into the water column. Hydrothermal vents occur when fractures in the seafloor allow seawater and magma to meet, resulting in the venting of extremely hot (750°F and higher) fluids into the water column.…
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Datan Algal Reef in Taiwan is Declared a Hope Spot in Support of Saving a Unique Ecosystem from Industrialization

TAOYUAN, TAIWAN, (March 19, 2019) The northwestern coast of Taiwan holds a mysterious reef that remains a secret from much of the world – including local residents. Hidden in plain sight during the day, this prolific reef comes to life at dusk with thousands of fish, crabs and macroinvertebrates rising to the water’s surface. This particular reef’s one-of-a-kind endemic species population, topography and ecosystem exist nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, much of this exquisite algal reef has suffered destruction from industrial development and pollution throughout the last 50 years, and the remaining healthy area of the reef is under threat from a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving port project. However, local community-based groups, NGOs and researchers are determined to convince the Taiwanese government to officially protect this unique reef and are working to preserve their cultural and fishing heritage, protect the living environment and develop a sustainable eco-tourism and hospitality industry to sustain the local economy.…
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Spring Into Migration!

By: Rachel Krasna It’s almost spring! The season for growth, life and new journeys. People everywhere are starting to plan vacations to enjoy their spring break- presumably somewhere warm. During this season of vacation and celebrating, you might encounter some species starting their own journeys, or migrations! Let’s take a look at some common marine species and their vacation plans: Sharks Every year in March, dozens of shark species begin migrating to the southeastern shorelines. Among them are black tips and spinner sharks, who are escaping frigid waters found in the north. 2018’s migration had researchers nervous with numbers severely decreasing, but this year’s population numbers look promising. The black tip sharks normally appear in Florida’s waterways around mid-January and stay in the area for a few months.…
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Mission Blue’s Journey to Magdalena Bay in Baja California Sur

The bull sharks of Cabo Pulmo inspired awe in our expeditions team as they glided into view on a January morning in 2019. If one were to dive all over the Gulf of California, as our team has done, they would be struck by the concentration of bull sharks in Cabo Pulmo. Why are these sharks so abundant and healthy in this place? Dr. Sylvia Earle would likely flash a grin and say “duh” at this point! It’s obvious: the community of Cabo Pulmo has protected their waters from fishing of any type, and voila, nature has flexed her muscles and the sharks have moved back in. What glorious creatures they are…powerful and pensive, as they cruise the reefs and wrecks at Cabo Pulmo delighting divers who travel from all over the world to revel in their majesty.…
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A Conversation with a Shark Fisherman

Kip Evans: Tell me about yourself and what you do for a living. Juan Lucas: My name is Juan Pablo Lucas and I’m a fisherman based out of Puerto San Carlos. I also live here, in La Paz, Baja California. I’ve been a fisherman my whole life. We were raised here when my mom and my dad took us over. During our childhood, we built small wooden or cork barges. We made small nets. We worked with basically what we saw around, you know? We did it because our parents did that…they made nets and fished. That was my life and I’ve been fishing ever since. We used to go for anything we could get, but now we have rules. We’re constantly trying to learn everything that’s going on in the protected areas.…
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2nd Annual Shark Conference Grows Support for MPAs in Gulf of California

Mission Blue Expeditions Team, led by Kip Evans, travelled to the Gulf of California Hope Spot last month and continued its multi-year work of supporting shark conservation in the region through documentary video and community engagement in partnership with Pelagios Kakunja. This La Paz-based non-profit is led by Dr. James Ketchum and is at the vanguard of shark telemetry and a strong advocate for enhanced protection of sharks in the region. The Expeditions Team was joined by Andrea Asunsola, a marine biologist based out of Baja California Sur and Pelagios Kakunja alumna, who helped create local connections, interview shark fishermen and generally support the conservation goals of the expedition. Over the course of the expedition — part of a shark conservation project generously funded by the Marisla Foundation Paul M.…
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Hope Spot Declared at Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica in Support of Nursery for Endangered Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks

There aren’t many creatures on Earth that offer a remarkable resemblance to the mythical beings we imagined from our childhood storybooks. The endangered scalloped hammerhead shark, with its famous laterally shaped head carrying eyeballs on either side, is perhaps one of these mysterious manifestations that awe those of us on land. Unfortunately, the scalloped hammerheads are endangered, due to overfishing in Golfo Dulce. Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica is an exceptional ecosystem that hosts a nursery for the scalloped hammerhead shark, with thousands of baby sharks born there every year. Recent research suggests evidence of a biological connection between the scalloped hammerheads in critical coastal habitats and the surrounding waters of Cocos Island, making the gulf, one of only four tropical fjords in the world, a crucial area to protect.…
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