Monthly Archives: April 2014

New book series combines humor and adventure to introduce young readers to ocean issues

By Courtney Mattison “… He turned and saw a shark circling around. Tristan backpedaled as best he could in the water. The shark was coming at him fast. He closed his eyes, not wanting to see its toothy grin up close and personal. The shark’s snout touched Tristan’s stomach and he thought: I hope I taste really bad, like that disgusting cauliflower casserole mom made the other night. Then the shark did something totally unexpected. Instead of tearing through his flesh, it sort of nuzzled him – like a dog sideling up for a good scratch.” – Excerpt from The Shark Whisperer by Ellen Prager As the first book of author and researcher Ellen Prager’s Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians series, The Shark Whisperer appeals to middle school readers with a combination of humor, adventure, and fantasy that is sure to spark curiosity among young minds about real-world ocean issues.…
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MB Partner KAI Marine Promotes MPAs in Djibouti

Mission Blue partner, Kai Marine Services is conducting a marine protected area program to increase the resilience of nomadic communities pushed to the shores of the Gulf of Aden by climate change Cape “Bab El Mandeb”, the second busiest Traffic Separation Scheme of the planet, is unfortunately renowned as a hotspot of piracy. But behind this sad picture that reflects some of the illnesses of our modern civilisation there is much more. This strait between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean’s Gulf of Aden is considered one of the largest fish aggregation sites of the planet and a hot spot of biodiversity. This is the result of the extraordinary oceanography and physiography generated by the collision between the African and the Asian tectonic plates which have provided the connection of the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. …
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Photo of the Day ~ Aquarius Awaits

Our old friend Aquarius stands patiently on the sea floor, waiting for the launch of Mission 31 – Fabien Cousteau’s quest to break his grandfather’s underwater record by one day. This June, Fabien will descend 60′ to Aquarius Reef Base off Key Largo Florida for an epic 31 day mission to bring attention to the importance of underwater exploration.  Plus we are expecting some exciting celebrity guests.  More news soon on Mission Blue! Feature Photo: DJ Roller/Liquid Pictures…
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Ocean CREST Alliance ~ Bahamas Hope Spot within a Hope Spot

This week we’d like to introduce our new partners, The Ocean CREST Alliance, located on Long Island in Mission Blue’s Bahamian Reefs Hope Spot. They’ve been working on ocean issues from marine protected areas to education and we’ll let them tell you all about the scope of their grassroots efforts to protect their corner of the blue, as well as to develop methods for protecting their waters that can be mirrored elsewhere.  ~ Ed. Charting a new course for sustainable MPA operations Our Long Island Marine Managed Area (LIMMA)  initiative plays a significant role nationally and internationally in the design and development of sustainable Marine Protected Areas (MPAs.) We collaborate locally with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to help bring the Bahamas’ goal of 20% protection by 2020 to fruition. …
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Beyond the Deepwater Horizon

On April 20, 2010, the ultra-deep drilling rig Deepwater Horizon operating 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 men and injuring 17 others. In the 87 days that the gusher flowed uncontrolled, it spewed over 200 million gallons of oil into an already stressed Gulf ecosystem. Now, four years later we’d like to share with you several important pieces shedding light on just a few aspects of the cascading problems in Mission Blue’s Gulf of Mexico Deep Reefs Hope Spot, as well as the surrounding coastal areas of the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida.  Mission Blue would like to thank the honor roll of dedicated scientists, NGOs, grassroots organizations, government agencies, and citizens who continue to work tirelessly both to restore the Gulf, and to change future policies for a healthier tomorrow.  …
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Photo of the Day ~ Peacock Mantis Shrimps’ Amazing Eyes

The Mantis Shrimp has eyes that are compound, like those of the dragonfly, although they have a far smaller number of ommatidia (about 10,000 per eye;) however, in the mantis shrimp each ommatidia row has a particular function. For example, some of them are used to detect light, others to detect color, etc. Mantis shrimp have much better color vision than humans (their eyes having 12 types of color receptors, whereas humans have only three,) as well as ultraviolet, infrared and polarized light vision, thus having the most complex eyesight of any animal known. The eyes are located at the end of stalks, and can be moved independently from each other, rotating up to 70 degrees. Interestingly, the visual information is processed by the eyes themselves, not the brain.…
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UN International Maritime Organization addresses shipping noise

If there is a good feature about ocean noise pollution it is that unlike other human-generated pollutants, once you stop making noise it goes away. This axiom was highlighted last week when the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a set of noise guidelines that if followed by member nations could decrease low frequency shipping noise by 10dB (ten times less energy) in the next 30 years. This in effect could reverse 10dB increase in shipping noise that has occurred with the expansion of international ocean-borne trade in the last half century. The increase in shipping noise didn’t exactly sneak up on us; physical oceanographer Donald Ross predicted the increase as far back as 1976 – just as international trade was really beginning to take off.…
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Throwback Thursday: Subs for Science

As Alvin embarks on it’s first post refit explorations in the Gulf of Mexico, we look back to our own Sustainable Seas Expedition. Mission Blue Director of Expeditions and Photography, Kip Evans takes us on a magic carpet ride into the deep.   ~ Ed. In 1977, Alvin, the first untethered manned submersible, was used to confirm theories of seafloor spreading along the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Much to the amazement of scientists, the area was home to a thriving community of organisms living in extremely hot, sulfuric rich water. This discovery, along with hundreds of others, has made Alvin and other manned submersibles, one of the most valid oceanographic tools in the world. During the past 30 years there has been a lot of debate about the need for using manned submersibles.…
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Rigs to Reefs

Rigs to Reefs: addressing the future of offshore oil platforms in California California’s horizon has been speckled by oil and gas platforms since the 1950’s. Although these towering, distant objects bring in over 2 billion dollars in annual oil revenue to the state of California, many local residents complain that their very existence is an eyesore and an extreme liability should there be an oil spill. These legitimate grievances may soon receive retribution as the oil wells dry up and offshore production slows to a halt. With many rigs facing the potential of being decommissioned in the next decade, California stands at an important policy crossroads: safely eliminating the eye sore and liability of the oil and gas platforms while still protecting the valuable and fragile ecosystems that have formed on and around these structures.  …
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Photo of the Day ~ Weedy Scorpionfish

Also known as Rhinopias frondosa, this fishy jewel’s cryptic camouflage is an invaluable tool for hunting prey and avoiding becoming prey itself. Both prey and predators mistake the well camouflaged fish for a piece of seaweed! Photo: (c) Jamie Pollack…
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