Monthly Archives: January 2014

Leaping Mobulas and Turtle tracks

On Sunday morning I had the privilege of joining Dr. Sylvia Earle and director Kip Evans on a scientific aerial survey over Las Baulas National Marine Park and surrounding areas. The Lighthawk team did an amazing job during the flight giving us the opportunity of filming some great aerial footage. We were looking for sea turtles swimming near the Marine Park, or perhaps their tracks on the sand, left the previous night after they had nested – lonely impressions on the sand showcasing the resilience of these marvelous creatures. During the afternoon we switched our mode of transportation hoping to find them in the water. Dr. George Shillinger joined us aboard the Boos Adventures boat, providing valuable knowledge on sea turtle behavior.…
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Finding the Leatherbacks

This weekend our expedition team, including Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Erick Ross, Dr. George Schillinger and Kip Evans visited the turtles at the Leatherback Trust hatchery in Costa Rica. The hatchery serves to give leatherbacks a better chance at overall survival. It begins by protecting the iconic creature’s eggs from predators, after which on-site biologists monitor the nests, checking nest temperatures which determine the sex of the turtles. When the turtles have matured, they are released to begin their migration offshore to the Central American Dome.  Lighthawk Flyover Searching for Leatherbacks. Photo: Kip Evans Successful protection of 99% of the nests started in 1993 and the hatchery started to operate in 1998-99. Although at present, population numbers are decreasing, we can expect to see numbers of leatherbacks increasing in the next few years.…
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Expedition Day Two – Leatherback nesting in Playa Grande

Tourists from all over the world come to the beaches of Playa Grande in Costa Rica to have the awe-inspiring experience of watching giant leatherback turtles lay their eggs after returning to the coast from waters of the Central American Dome Hope Spot offshore. In addition to the undeniable value of the leatherback within the marine ecosystem, this critically endangered species holds promise as a focal point for sustainable development in the coastal communities surrounding their nesting beaches. Local leaders have created a Community Association training locals to greet visitors to Marino las Baulas National Park, share a brief educational presentation, and ensure that visitors have a minimal impact on this critical leatherback habitat. Laura, Leatherback Volunteer. Photo: ©Kip Evans/Mission Blue-MarViva The volunteers reminisced about the old times when “one could barely walk on the beach,” due to the large number of nesting leatherbacks.…
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Central American Dome Expedition Team Arrives!

High seas ecosystems are intricately linked to those in the coastal regions. The Central American Dome Expedition mini documentary will highlight the need for more conservation policies in international waters and how they work alongside protection efforts on the coast. Our focus is the largest sea turtle on earth, the leatherback.  These leviathans travel from Playa Grande in Costa Rica, out into the Central Pacific Dome region and continue their migratory route to South America. Ocean currents also transport leatherback hatchlings through the area. Day 1: Critically endangered, leatherbacks are priceless in the marine ecosystem. Egg harvesting and fisheries by-catch have drastically reduced their population during the past two decades. Leatherback Hatchling going to sea(c) Kip F. EvansMBMarViva We visited The Leatherback Trust’s team at Baulas National Park in Guanacaste to learn about conservation measures being worked on with local authorities.…
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Central American Dome Hope Spot Expedition Underway

This week,  MarViva and Mission Blue are launching a film expedition with Dr. Sylvia Earle to highlight our Central American Dome Hope Spot.  Partners supporting the expedition are LightHawk, The Baum Foundation, Bula Bula and National Geographic. The ecological and commercial value of the Dome’s resources will be documented to raise awareness and support for the protection of its species and habitats. “The term dome refers to an oceanographic feature that results from cold, deep ocean water rising near the surface,” says Lance Morgan of The Marine Conservation Institute. “The water itself doesn’t dome, but a cold water band shaped like a dome comes up from the bottom. As this nutrient-rich water enters depths where sunlight can penetrate it unleashes enormous plankton blooms, fueling the entire ecosystem. …
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Ocean Foundation Celebrates 10 years

We hope that you will join us in celebrating this milestone for our partners at the Ocean Foundation! Mission Blue founder, Dr. Sylvia Earle appears in this inspiring video along side Alexandra Cousteau, Dr. Nancy Knowlton, and our Board Director, Ann Luskey to help The Ocean Foundation celebrate ten years of making a difference!  …
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China Sends Strong Message – Crushes Ivory Stockpiles

In a surprising step this week, China joined the increasing ranks of countries to publicly destroy stockpiles of ivory to make their stand against the illegal global trade – an industry that claims the lives of tens of thousands of endangered African elephants yearly. Just a few months ago, U.S. authorities in Denver crushed 6 tons of ivory seized at airports, demonstrating their resolve to stamp out the $10 billion illegal trade that has clear links to international crime, including human trafficking and terrorism. “Illegal trade in wildlife, whether ivory, rhinoceros horns, tiger parts, shark fins or other fish, provides slick corridors for drugs, arms, and human trafficking.  Putting the spotlight on this issue is important,” says Dr. Sylvia Earle. Positive actions such as this weeks ‘Ivory Crush’ are a good step, and we’re hopeful that soon the necessary policy changes will be put into place to make a real difference.…
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Global Reef Expedition transits globe to survey endangered corals

Written by Alison Barrat Three years into a six-year research project, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has already travelled half way around the world. Known as the ‘Global Reef Expedition’ the project is the largest coral reef survey of its kind and the most extensive coral reef mapping project ever conducted. The scientists taking part in the project come from all round the world. At each stop on the expedition they join forces with local scientists and conduct hundreds of dives to collect data about the reefs. Scientist Joao Moneiro swims over a reef (c) Khaled Bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation The research team uses a standard survey in each place, this allows them to compare results and build up a global picture of how the worlds’ reefs are faring.…
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The Entire IPCC Climate Change Report – in Illustrated Haiku!

Originally published in it’s entirety at Sightline Daily, by Anna Fahey. Edited by Mission Blue. Reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can be daunting, even for science and policy insiders. The full Physical Science Assessment, the first installment of the Fifth Assessment Report(pdf), released in manuscript form earlier this year, is over 2,000 pages long. And even the Summary for Policymakers, rather optimistically referred to as a “brochure,” is a dense 27 pages. What if we could communicate the essence of this important information in plain language and pictures? Well, that’s just what one Northwest oceanographer has done. He’s distilled the entire report into 19 illustrated haiku. The result is stunning, sobering, and brilliant. It’s poetry. It’s a work of art.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle