Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Hubbard Medal – National Geographic’s Highest Honor

by Courtney Mattison On June 13th, the National Geographic Society (NGS) awarded its highest honor – the Hubbard Medal – to Mission Blue founder Dr. Sylvia Earle, film director and explorer James Cameron and legendary scientist and Harvard professor Dr. E. O. Wilson. As recipients of the Society’s oldest and most prestigious award, these three honorees go down in history among a truly outstanding group of scientists and explorers. Hubbard Medal video profile on Dr. Sylvia Earle. A brief video on the accomplishments of each honoree accompanied the 2013 Hubbard Medal presentation ceremony. © National Geographic The Hubbard Medal was named after Gardiner Greene Hubbard – the National Geographic Society’s first president and principal founder. The NGS Board of Trustees authorized the award in 1906 to “honor outstanding explorations or discoveries.” One wonders if they had any sense of the magnitude of incredible accomplishments in exploration, discovery and research the award would celebrate throughout the next 107 years.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Goblin Shark

Technically known as Mitsukurina owstoni, the Goblin Shark is the only remaining representative of the Mitsukurinidae family of sharks, a family that originated at least 125 million years ago. Hence, goblin sharks are often referred to as living fossils.The Goblin shark has only been encountered a few times and very little is known about it. What is known is that it is a slow moving deep sea shark that lives at depths of 1200m/4000ft in seas around the world. Goblin sharks have been observed in the western Indian Ocean, western Pacific Ocean and most of the Atlantic.  They are known for their strange specialized “catapulting” jaws, which almost looks like there is something that lives inside of the sharks mouth that explodes outward to catch prey before returning back into the mouth (video below.) FeaturePhoto (c) Hungarian Snow…
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Team ORCA Innovates to Understand Indian River Lagoon Decline

Florida’s Indian River Lagoon is one of the most bio-diverse estuaries in the world: 4300 species of plants and animals, as well as the most diverse bird population in North America, call it home. Fish ranging from as far away as Chesapeake Bay use the Lagoon as a breeding ground and the adjacent beaches are one of the densest sea turtle nesting areas found in the Western Hemisphere. Indian River Lagoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Tragically this once flourishing ecosystem has hit a brick wall in the past few years. Over 40,000 acres of seagrass meadows have vanished since 2010. Dependent on the seagrass, manatees, dolphins and pelicans are now dying at an unprecedented rate, as well as other key species. Unlike other environmental disasters, where we can point to oil spills or overfishing, the Indian River Lagoon presents an enigma: there is no specific industry to blame.…
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Dive Deep with Subs 101

What’s the difference between a submarine and a submersible? Take a trip to DOER Marine in Alameda, CA and you’ll learn this and much more about the fascinating engineering that goes into deep water exploration. DOER, Deep Ocean and Exploration Research, was established by Dr. Sylvia Earle in 1992 and is currently run by Liz Taylor, Sylvia’s daughter. The Mission Blue team took a trip to the 55,000 square-foot facility the other week and chatted with Liz to learn more about the basics of underwater engineering and exploration. First off, let’s answer our initial question: what is the difference between a submarine and submersible. Submarines are watercraft that can operate completely independently underwater. Perhaps you’ve seen Hollywood thriller, The Hunt For Red October.…
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Young Explorer Joins Project Seahorse – Danajon Banks, Philippines

By Carissa Shipman, Young Explorer My love affair with nudibranchs, a unique group of marine slugs, began six years ago after seeing one of these fascinating critters in a documentary. I watched the television with eyes wide open, in utter awe of its magnificence! Its ostentatious assortment of colors and intricately decorated appendages intensified my curiosity. In that moment, I knew I wanted to study these amazing underwater jewels in graduate school. Today, I am finishing up my graduate project, studying nudibranchs with Dr. Terry Gosliner, at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The Philippines is one of the most diverse areas in the world for sea slugs. This fueled my desire to dive there, to get up close and personal with these stunning invertebrates.…
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Video of the Day ~ Mission Blue Cocos Expedition

Surrounded by deep waters and strong currents, Cocos Island has long been admired by scuba divers for its wealth of marine life. Large pelagic species are very abundant in the cool productive waters surrounding Cocos and divers often see large schools of hammerhead sharks, dolphin, tuna, and schools of snapper. Jacques Cousteau visited Cocos several times and raved about its incredible beauty. Cocos Island was declared a National Park by the Costa Rican government in 1978 and in 1997, UNESCO designated Cocos a world heritage site. In 2002, the surrounding waters were included under that protection. Despite its status as one of the most important marine conservation sites in the world, Cocos is still under pressure from illegal poaching of sharks, tuna, and other marine species.…
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New issue of Sea Urchins Arrives!

By Samantha Hewitt I am very excited to announce the release of issue 4 of Sea Urchins magazine. This issue is the best and biggest so far. 30,000 copies of the magazine have been printed, more than ever before and it will be distributed globally across UK, US, Australia and New Zealand in selected Sea Life Centres and Parks. In this Issue:   1. Learn about 6 different species of seahorse in ‘Creature Feature’. 2. Explore a range of conservation projects in Sea Life centres around the world. 3. Be informed on the problems of plastic pollution with Global Ocean, but find out ways that you can help.  4. Be inspired by our new committee members- Harvey, Huey and Charlotte. 5. Find and attend fun and helpful events in your area 6.…
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Photo of the Day ~ The Mysterious Oarfish!

Louisiana State University marine biologists have just released video shot from an ROV in 2009 showing a shimmering giant oarfish, regalecus glesne, in it’s natural habitat, 1,475 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Reported to be the longest bony fish alive, the giant oarfish has a ribbon-like body and has been reliably documented to grow to 25 feet in length, although specimens up to 56 feet long have been reported. These strange ribbon-like creatures live at extreme ocean depths as much as 3,280 feet below the surface, and are found worldwide in all tropical and temperate oceans. Photo: US Navy Until now, it was believed that a swimming oarfish would ‘row’ with its pelvic fins in a circular motion, hence the common name.…
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Ballard’s E/V Nautilus Prepares for Gulf of Mexico Expedition

By Megan Cook Flexibility is very key in scheduling science and exploration missions.  Due to some last minute technical work happening aboard the E/V Nautilus on the Gulf coast, my first week as an Ocean Exploration Trust science communication fellow has been on a different coast: New England.  The ship’s scheduled exploration will begin soon, but in the meantime it was great to be behind the scenes getting to know what makes live streaming ocean exploration possible. The critical hub for streaming exploration live over the internet is the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.  This facility receives satellite transmissions from research and exploration ships all around the world.  In addition to managing enormous data volume and troubleshooting streams, the ISC team produces daily broadcasts to showcase exploration for the world. …
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A New Marine Preserve for the Bering Sea?

Today we’re featuring great news out of Juneau, Alaska! Our newest Mission Blue Hope Spot, the Bering Sea Deep Canyons is well on it’s way to protection after this week’s meetings with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. To give you the complete picture, we’re highlighting two blogs – from Phil Radford and Jackie Dragon of Greenpeace USA.  Read about how a coalition of organizations, together with 100,000 of you, and yes, even some big corporations spoke out, loud and clear – and succeeded in making a huge leap forward for the blue heart of our planet, and for us all.   ~ Ed. A Breakthrough in How We Work to Protect Our Oceans By  Phil Radford, Executive Director, Greenpeace, USA The Bering Sea is known to scientists and conservationists as one of the most remarkable places on Earth — a home to sponges, coral, fish, crab, skates, sperm whales, orcas, Steller sea lions, and a vast array of other species all part of a delicate ecosystem extremely vulnerable to human activity.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle