tagged w/ Marine Life
"Oil companies once viewed drilling in the deep waters off Florida as cost prohibitive. Politicians feared even the slightest sign of support would be career suicide.
No more. Record crude oil prices are fueling support for oil and natural gas exploration off the nation’s shores. In Florida, movement was underway even before President Bush called on Congress last month to lift a federal moratorium that’s barred new offshore drilling since 1981.
The early activity here stems from a 2006 Congressional compromise that allows drilling on 8.3 million acres more than 125 miles off the Panhandle - an area that had been covered by the moratorium, which was enacted out of environmental concerns. In exchange, the state got a no-drilling buffer along the rest of its beaches.
Florida may turn out to be a prelude for other coastal states. If oil or natural gas deposits are found in the newly opened region, experts say it could further the push to explore other once-protected areas everywhere. It also could be a rallying point for critics, who say the new exploration isn’t a license to expand exploration.
With gas topping $4 a gallon, recent polls show Americans, Floridians included, more supportive of drilling in protected areas. Some politicians - including Gov. Charlie Crist - have switched sides.
“We think the public is way out ahead of the politicians on these issues. People are more open to (offshore drilling) now,” said Tom Moskitis, spokesman for the American Gas Association, a trade group.
At the same time, oil companies, driven by the record energy price, are more willing to risk $100 million or more to begin exploring new regions. The Interior Department estimates there could be 18 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath the 574 million acres of federal coastal waters that are now off-limits.
In March, four companies - Australia-based BHP Billiton Petroleum Deepwater Inc., Houston-based Anadarko E&P Co., Shell Offshore Inc. and Italian oil and natural gas company Eni SpA - purchased leases on 36 Gulf of Mexico tracts under the 2006 compromise.
But finding and producing natural gas in the new site will be expensive. Three-dimensional mapping of the ocean floor, which must happen before any drilling, could take up to two years, Strive said. If a promising site is found, engineers must drill up to three miles below the ocean surface to extract the oil or natural gas.
And it will take years before the company begins producing anything at the site - and there is no guarantee of success. A company can have as much as $4 billion invested and a wait of up to five years before seeing any return on the investment, Strive said.
“We typically will have $100 to $200 million invested in a project before we know if it is an economic venture or not,” he said. “Then, if you know you have made an economic discovery, you spend a billion dollars or more on a facility.”
The 1981 moratorium - enacted out of environmental concerns in response to a massive oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast a decade earlier - has prevented the Interior Department from spending money on offshore oil or gas leases in virtually all coastal waters outside the western Gulf of Mexico and in some areas off Alaska.
U.S. Sen. John McCain supports lifting the ban and allowing states to decide whether to approve drilling of their shores. Crist, Florida’s Republican governor and a possible vice presidential candidate, reversed his long-standing opposition to lifting the ban last month.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who has led opposition to offshore drilling among the state’s Congressional delegation, criticized the governor for reversing his position, accusing Crist and McCain of putting oil company profits before protecting the state’s $65 billion annual tourism industry.""Oil companies once viewed drilling in the deep waters off Florida as cost... more
all sorts of disorders and diseases caused by the chemicals in our plastics,
too many to list here.
We have to do something.
this video is the extra interview to a 12 part series of videos about the Northwest Gyre, a.k.a. Eastern Garbage Patch, a.k.a. Garbage Island. It's a shocking and disugsting look at how we've affected the ocean.
WARNING: you may never want to eat fish again. all sorts of disorders and diseases caused by the chemicals in our plastics, too many... more
Because of Disney's "Finding Nemo" film, tropical clownfish became the must-have pets for kids everywhere. This increased demands and lowered fish populations. The average school decreased from approximately 25 to just 6.
Rising sea temperatures that kill off reefs also are an issue.
What can be done to save these beautiful fishies?Because of Disney's "Finding Nemo" film, tropical clownfish became the... more
Growing large seaweed fields for energy using nutrients from wastewater could be an economically-sound use for the millions of tonnes of untreated wastewater dumped daily into our seas worldwide, and the seaweed helps clean it up in the process. Check out this Op-Ed piece.Growing large seaweed fields for energy using nutrients from wastewater could be an... more
Do your stuff, Wiki: 'The geoduck (pronounced "gooey duck"), is a species of large saltwater clam, a marine bivalve mollusc. The shell of this clam is large, about 15 to over 20 cm in length (about 7 to 9 inches), but the tremendously long siphons make the clam itself much longer; the "neck" or siphons alone can be one meter in length.'
Do you think you're funny or something, God?Do your stuff, Wiki: 'The geoduck (pronounced "gooey duck"), is a... more
In a Hobart laboratory a few weeks ago, a young marine biologist placed the shell of a tiny sea snail on a weighing scale and held her breath. Donna Roberts's critical experiment rested on getting the exact weight of this fragile specimen; any movement in the room could instantly throw off the delicate scale, so sensitive it is called a microbalance.
Roberts had been weighing 100 of these shells, stripped from snails that had been collected from the depths of the great Southern Ocean half way between Tasmania and Antarctica.
The snails, known to biologists as pteropods, swim through the sea like butterflies. They are as abundant as krill and help feed the ocean's huge schools of fish.
The shell specimens dated back to 1996 and the earlier ones had weighed in at 20 micrograms. But Roberts observed that as the specimens became more recent, the weight of the shells had fallen. When her last specimen, from 2005, weighed in at just 10 micrograms, Roberts barely dared to breathe.
"Wow, what is going on?" she asked herself. A halving of shell weight in just one decade was a real worry.
Roberts's still unpublished research is just one reason why her collaborator, Dr Will Howard, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, this week convened an extraordinary meeting of Australia's leading marine scientists in Hobart.
For three days, the 50 scientists, along with colleagues from America and New Zealand, focused their collective minds on a threat that has emerged, it seems, from out of the blue: the growing acidification of our oceans.
These scientists now know that burning fossil fuels and massive land clearing are not just warming the planet and raising sea temperatures, they are also changing the chemical make up of the oceans. A vast amount of the carbon dioxide humans have pumped into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution has been absorbed by oceans.
A new report by the Antarctic research centre, released at the Hobart meeting, says that about half the fossil fuel carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by humans has now dissolved into the oceans. If we keep pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at the current projections, by 2100 the ocean acidification will be three times that experienced at the end of the glacial period, 15,000 years ago.
The chemistry is basic. The ocean is a weakly alkaline solution. When carbon dioxide sucked in from the atmosphere dissolves in sea water, it forms a weak acid, making the ocean more acidic. For sea life with fragile shells, corals and countless other sea creatures, a more acidic ocean could be disastrous and have unknown impacts right up the marine food chain.
Our oceans have absorbed so much CO2 they will one day no longer be able to sustain life if we continue on the path we are on. What we do to other species we do to ourselves.
In a Hobart laboratory a few weeks ago, a young marine biologist placed the shell of a... more
The numbers of Northeastern offshore spotted and eastern spinner dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean are increasing after being severely depleted because of accidental death in the tuna purse-seine fishery between 1960 and 1990, according to biologists from NOAA's Fisheries Service.
Between 1960 and 1990, the northeastern offshore spotted and eastern spinner dolphin populations dropped to 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of their pre-fishery levels when dolphins were caught and died in tuna purse-seine nets. Since the early 1990s, however, the number of reported dolphin deaths has been very low because of severe restrictions on the fishery.
Researchers emphasize the need to continue to monitor dolphin populations at sea through comprehensive ecosystem research cruises, and to conduct an updated dolphin stock assessment that will include not only these most recent abundance estimates, but also additional information on dolphin life history, fishery mortality, and the ecosystem. This assessment will enable a more definitive interpretation of whether these abundance estimates indicate Eastern Tropical Pacific dolphins are recovering and the degree to which the fishery and other factors affect the conservation of these stocks.
Today's report stems from a series of research cruises conducted since 1986. It presents new estimates of abundance for 10 dolphin stocks for each survey year between 1986 and 2006.The numbers of Northeastern offshore spotted and eastern spinner dolphins in the... more
"SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- A panel of marine scientists is warning that the Pacific coast's increasing acidity could disrupt food chains and threaten the Pacific Northwest's shellfish industry
"The increasingly corrosive water threatens the survival of many organisms, from microscopic plants and animals at the base of the food chain to shellfish, corals and the young of some marine species, the researchers told a congressional field hearing Tuesday at the Seattle Aquarium."
"One of the article's authors, Christopher Sabine, said Tuesday he watched small marine snails placed in water of similar acidity to that recorded last summer off the northern California coast.
"We actually saw the shells dissolving off these living organisms. They were dissolving off the terapods as they were swimming around," Sabine said. Such creatures comprise as much as 40 percent of the Pacific king salmon's diet."
End of Excerpt
Source AP,CNN"SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- A panel of marine scientists is warning that the... more
Here in the open ocean, graceful dolphins glide beneath the surface in pursuit of fish, their primary food. These fish in turn feed on minute, prolific creatures called zooplankton. These days, zooplankton share the surface waters with increasing numbers of minute plastic particles, posing a problem, since fish and birds are now consuming plastic in addition to plankton.
Since petroleum based plastics are nonbiodegradable, any plastic entering the ocean remains there, continually breaking into ever-smaller pieces until it becomes ingested....
Plastic. It's what's for dinner. Here in the open ocean, graceful dolphins glide beneath the surface in pursuit of... more
Calgary Zoo staff were in shock Monday after the sudden deaths of nearly all of the zoo's stingrays over the weekend.
The zoo's new stingray exhibit was closed Sunday afternoon after the ray keeper noticed some of the creatures were swimming erratically and seemed distressed. The stingrays began dying suddenly, and by Monday morning 34 of the cownose rays were dead.
The remaining nine rays were being closely monitored by zoo officials.
"Our staff and volunteers are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy," said Cathy Gaviller, director of conservation, research and education, in a release. "There is always a deep connection to the animals we care for, and those who have worked with the rays hands-on are devastated."
Zoo officials continued to investigate the deaths Monday.
"What we do know is that there was no mechanical failure in the life support system," said Gaviller. "We know that all of the numerous water tests conducted on a daily basis since the exhibit opened have been consistently within normal range. This was the case both early yesterday and even after the rays began experiencing difficulties. We will be relentless in investigating the cause."
An initial examination found that the rays had severe irritation of the gills but were otherwise in good health.
The zoo said it has sent food and water samples to an independent laboratory for testing, but it may take more than a week to determine if there were toxins present in the water. Tissue samples from the dead rays have also been sent away for further tests.
The zoo said the exhibit, which opened in mid-February, will remain closed until further notice.
The zoo has lost several animals over the past two years, including four gorillas and six-year-old Hazina the Hippo.
Stingray death timeline
9:00: Rays fed, everything seemed normal.
10:00: Exhibit opened to public.
11:00: Rays ate well, behaved normally for group of people.
13:00: Rays appeared to have lost their appetites, staff begins monitoring them.
15:00: Rays show signs of stress. Water tested and appears normal.
16:00: Rays resting, a few swimming erratically.
16:20: Rays appear in extreme distress.
16:30: Ray keeper learns of several deaths. Exhibit closed.
17:00: 26 rays dead.
Monday: Eight more rays dead.
Calgary Zoo staff were in shock Monday after the sudden deaths of nearly all of the... more
As she glides through the water, Winter the dolphin appears to be completely normal. But she is the world's first bionic sea creature after being fitted with an artificial tail.As she glides through the water, Winter the dolphin appears to be completely normal.... more
Marine scientists studying the 10-metre long carcass of a colossal squid announced that its eyes were about 11 inches across, with a lens that is as big as an orange, meaning the new find has the largest animal eye on earth.
The beast was caught by fishermen last year off the north coast of Antarctica, and has been preserved in a huge block of ice until marine scientists were ready to examine it.
Scientists believe that the animal may not have been fully grown when it was caught, due to the shape of it's beak: "Perhaps the colossal squid gets up to 750 kilograms. That is certainly not the largest specimen out there."
One of the technicians at the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum where the squid will be housed, admitted that some of the scientists had yesterday snacked on part of another colossal squid being examined today.
"It was almost like a tua tua, you know a cockle. It was very nice. It left a real taste in your mouth and stayed for quite a while," he said.
"It was very much like [sashimi]. This is a gourmet meal. I don't know anyone else who has eaten Mesonychoteuthis."
Marine scientists studying the 10-metre long carcass of a colossal squid announced... more
Scientists who conducted the most comprehensive survey to date of New Zealand's Antarctic waters were surprised by the size of some specimens found, including jellyfish with 12-foot tentacles and 2-foot-wide starfish.
A 2,000-mile journey through the Ross Sea that ended Thursday has also potentially turned up several new species, including as many as eight new molluscs.
It's "exciting when you come across a new species," said Chris Jones, a fisheries scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "All the fish people go nuts about that — but you have to take it with a grain of salt."
The finds must still be reviewed by experts to determine if they are in fact new, said Stu Hanchet, a fisheries scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
Scientists who conducted the most comprehensive survey to date of New Zealand's... more
Find out where the teeth are!
Plus you can track where the recently released (from Monterey Bay Aquarium) great white shark is right now. Click on "Juvenile White Shark" in the left navbar. Fun for the whole family!Find out where the teeth are! Plus you can track where the recently released (from... more
Oceans cover 70% of this planet. Without them our planet dies. However, I am sure the EPA will once again fail to see the moral imperative of doing what is right.Oceans cover 70% of this planet. Without them our planet dies. However, I am sure the... more
A bottlenose dolphin has been found with an extra set of fins, providing further evidence that ocean-dwelling mammals once had four legs and lived on land, scientists have claimed.
Here are some Dolphin Facts:
There are almost forty species of dolphin in seventeen genera.
In the wild, these sleek swimmers can reach speeds of over 18 miles (30 kilometers) an hour.
They surface often to breathe, doing so two or three times a minute.
The name is originally from Ancient Greek The animal's name can therefore be interpreted as meaning "a 'fish' with a womb"
A dolphin's dorsal fin is as distinctive as a person's face.
Dolphin's ancestors once lived on land and looked similar to wolves, although they were more closely related to cows.
Dolphins are said to spend about one-third of their day sleeping or resting, one-third eating and one-third playing or making love.
Bottlenose dolphins track their prey through the expert use of echolocation. They can make up to 1,000 clicking noises per second.
They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid.
Dolphins, like cows, have two stomachs one for storing food and one for digesting it.
A dolphin's brain, in relation to the size of its body, is larger than the brains of chimpanzees and great apes.
Dolphins swallow fish whole, despite the 100 teeth in their mouths. The teeth are used to grasp prey.
Dolphins can jump as high as 20 feet out of the water.
A bottlenose dolphin has been found with an extra set of fins, providing further... more
How many other clandestine locations in this country are storing nuclear waste and how many other groundwater supplies are being poisoned by it? And groups continue to lobby that nuclear energy is "green?" It's time for nuclear to go.How many other clandestine locations in this country are storing nuclear waste and how... more
The conference took place from the 18th to 20th. This conference was very important in regards to discussing our oceans and coral reefs which sustain many species including our own.The conference took place from the 18th to 20th. This conference was very important in... more