Monthly Archives: October 2014

Ascension Island Hope Spot: A campaign for the largest marine reserve in the Atlantic

By Jonathan Hall – RSPB UK Overseas Territories Officer The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has initiated and is leading the campaign to create the largest fully-protected marine reserve in the Atlantic in the rich waters of Ascension Island. A jewel of the tropical Atlantic The Hope Spot of Ascension Island lies 1,000 miles from the coast of West Africa in the tropical Atlantic. Home to amazing marine biodiversity, this young volcanic island holds the second largest green turtle nesting population in that ocean and an intriguing remote tropical habitat where coral reefs have not arrived. Unique fish species, such as the resplendent angelfish and marmalade razorfish swim in the waters close to the shore. Further out, important populations of threatened tuna stocks – shared with developing West African nations – are found.…
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Sargassum Inundates the Beaches of the Caribbean

Massive amounts of pelagic sargassum has been washing up on Caribbean beaches for the past few months. According to Mission Blue friend Martha Gilkes of Antigua, the seaweed drifts are getting as high as 3 to 4 feet on some beaches. Unfortunately for local human populations, the sargassum is smelly and choking some of the ecotourism to the area. Tragically for baby sea turtle hatchlings, their journey into the open sea is being hampered by the collected sargassum and some are not making it. Heroic environmentalists like Mrs. Gilkes have taken the opportunity to comb the beaches in the morning and help rescue these helpless baby turtles. In correspondence to Mrs. Gilkes, Dr. Earle recently remarked, “I greatly appreciate your updates on the phenomenal amount of Sargassum that has been coming your way — and sympathize with the grief it is causing Antigua residents.…
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New Habitats and Human Impacts Discovered in the Deep Sea Surrounding West Coast Marine Sanctuaries

By Courtney Mattison The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) recently teamed up with Deep Ocean Exploration and Research and other partners to explore the depths of the proposed expansion areas of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. With the goal of gaining a basic understanding of new species and habitats that may soon be included in the sanctuaries, this team of scientists and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technicians explored depths up to 300 meters (984 feet) in Bodega Canyon and surrounding areas. The ROV was equipped with a video camera that allowed researchers to observe a variety of interesting invertebrates and fish including sea whip corals, rock prawns and flatfish. Among the team’s exciting discoveries was a catshark and skate nursery near Bodega Canyon that consisted of several clusters of eggs on the seafloor.…
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Who says you have to be near the coast to love the ocean?!

From our new partners at Teens4Oceans: Teens4Oceans, based in Boulder, Colorado along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, certainly doesn’t think so. In fact, Teens4Oceans became a nonprofit organization with the goal of bringing the ocean to students around the world through underwater webcams. Today, Teens4Oceans empowers middle and high school students to become ocean stewards and work toward solving ocean issues that they are passionate about through education programs, experiential learning, scientific research, and the use of innovative technologies such as the cameras that started it all. Students often help with underwater camera installations and learn better buoyancy skills at the same time. © Teens4Oceans As a Mission blue partner, Teens4Oceans aims to reach an even broader audience of ocean stewards who believe in youth education in the marine sciences.…
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Film Festival Honors Conservation Leaders

Last Friday, international filmmakers, scientists and some of the world’s most respected conservation leaders gathered for the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival Red Carpet Gala & Awards Ceremony to honor five distinguished guests. Mission Blue founder Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Birute Galdikas, Dr. Patricia C. Wright, His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Sultan and Nan Hauser each received a Lifetime Achievement Award during one of the premier conservation galas of 2014 at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. Sylvia Earle both received an award and presented one to HRH Prince Khaled bin Sultan for his international efforts to conserve coral reefs. In his acceptance speech, the prince spoke of the wonder he experienced during his first scuba dive and shared his inspiration for founding the Living Oceans Foundation, which co-hosted the gala and works tirelessly for “the conservation and restoration of living oceans and pledges to champion their preservation through research, education and a commitment to Science Without Borders.” The gala was a highlight of the weeklong Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) in New York City last week.…
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New Seafloor Map from Scripps uses Google Earth to Reveal Mysteries of the Deep

By Courtney Mattison Sylvia Earle often says, “We know more about space than we do about our ocean.” That surprising fact may soon change thanks to a new map produced using satellite data of variations in Earth’s gravitational field to reveal features of the seafloor that were previously undiscovered. By tapping into data streams from the Jason-1 and CryoSat-2 satellites, researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and their colleagues have made a breakthrough in seafloor mapping that “is like the difference between ordinary and high-definition television.”[i] The data collected for the new seafloor map will inform the upcoming version of the global ocean seafloor in Google Earth and Maps and fill in large voids between shipboard depth profiles that have provided lower resolution seafloor mapping data in the past.…
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Saving our Seas – Tapping into the Wisdom of OceanElders

By Martha Shaw For 10,000 years, the ocean has been the life support system that has generously supplied us with air, food, and shelter in the embrace of a livable climate. In a perfect world, human beings might have fit nicely into the Earth’s ecosystem, in balance with the rest of nature. Over the last half-century however, that’s not been the case. Since the industrial revolution, man’s effect on the ocean has been likened to an invasive species. Man’s greatest predator has quickly become man himself. As a species, who will save the day? One thing working against the ocean is that problems are out of sight, out of mind. Its wounds lie beyond and below our line of vision. Many people have never even seen it except on television, in books and movies, on menus, or in pictures on the packaging of ‘seafood.’ Of those who have seen the ocean, most only see a surface that glitters and shines, and splashes upon the shore in a spectacular show of white frill.…
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Leaders in Ocean Conservation Gather for Retreat

Last weekend, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco convened a summit on sea level rise and ocean acidification – two of the most pressing environmental issues caused by our carbon dioxide emissions – alongside partners from The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The three-day retreat had a special focus on catalyzing leadership strategies to adapt to these ecological changes, with a special focus on the Pacific. “The focus [of the retreat] is on solutions,” said Margaret Leinen, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “We already see acidification taking place. We already see sea level rising. So how are we going to adapt to that? I think it’s really a question of putting good science together with good strategies.” Low-lying islands of Kiribati are threatened by sea level rise © KevGuy4101 The summit and awards ceremony took place at Sunnylands – a famed high-level retreat center and estate in Rancho Mirage, CA that is often called a West Coast “Camp David.” The select group of retreat participants included policymakers, scientists, engineers and other public figures.…
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Keynote Speaker Sylvia Earle Rivets SXSW Eco

To a packed hall in Austin, TX on Tuesday, Sylvia Earle delivered a passionate keynote speech entitled “Sustainable Seas: The Vision and the Reality.” The 60-minute talk elicited a standing ovation and questions from the audience asking “What can I do to help?” Dr. Earle addressed myriad issues involved in understanding and preventing ocean decline – from microbiology, to overfishing, to Exclusive Economic Zones – and encouraged all present to apportion some of their creative energy to building a solution, a way forward so that we can find a sustainable way to live on a planet that sustains us. Her talk was preceded by this cinematic video created by Conservation International in which Harrison Ford plays the part of the ocean.…
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LIVE today! – Sylvia Earle’s Keynote Address at SXSW Eco

Thanks for visiting! The live stream of Sustainable Seas: The Vision and the Reality (a Keynote Presentation by Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, at SXSWEco) is finished, but here are 5 WAYS YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE RIGHT NOW! LEARN the issues and how you can help! Watch the Mission Blue film with your friends to understand how to eliminate or reduce seafood consumption, decrease your carbon footprint and stop plastic pollution (remember the 3 R’s: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE). You can be part of the solution. Go for it!   SUPPORT Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue! Your tax-deductible donations support public outreach, expeditions and direct appeals to policy makers to build a global network of Hope Spots to restore the ocean.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle