Monthly Archives: December 2014

Five Ocean Critters to Hope For in the New Year

As we look to the New Year, we’re taking time to think about ocean critters that inspire us to be hopeful. From the thousands of sharks that have been spared from finning due to recent bans in Asia to coral species that may be able to withstand ocean acidification, sea creatures big and small give us pause and merit our attention. Here’s a list of five animals that especially deserve our hope in the coming year: Blue Whale As the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale is one impressive cetacean! This long, slender marine mammal goes by the Latin name of Balaenoptera musculus, and has a heart that weighs 600 kilograms. Whalers hunted the endangered blue whale to near extinction for over a century until this practice was banned in 1966.…
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Happy Holidays from Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue!

Dear Friends, It has been a truly amazing year and I would like to thank you for playing an important role in the growth and success of Mission Blue! Harrison Ford recently narrated the voice of the ocean in an online video. He growls, “I am the ocean. You need me. But, I don’t need you.” If only this were true! The fact is now we are at a critical point in  time when the ocean does need us. We must wake up and understand what the ocean delivers: most of the oxygen in the atmosphere, a great sink for carbon dioxide, the majority of biodiversity — the ocean maintains a planet that works in our favor. Sadly, our collective actions — overfishing,  pollution, resource extraction — have driven this great system into a real crisis that is unfolding in this very moment in time.…
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Dive Virtually with Sylvia Earle!

Can’t throw on a scuba tank and go diving on a tropical coral reef with Sylvia Earle this week? No problem! Infinite Scuba® offers a realistic scuba diving experience from the comfort of your home, and not only can you dive with Dr. Earle, you can be her! Cascade Game Foundry just released two exciting additions to its Infinite Scuba video game: a Sylvia Earle avatar and a new Belize dive site. “Mission Blue is delighted to partner with Cascade Game Foundry on Infinite Scuba,” says Dr. Earle. “Experiencing the beauty, mystery and fragility of the ocean in such a hands-on way will inspire the people who play the game to protect our planet’s blue heart.”Kathie Flood, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Cascade Game Foundry (CGF) says, “It is a true honor to include Dr.…
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Onward! Sylvia Earle Inaugurates Community Hope Spots in South Africa

Dr. Sylvia Earle was in South Africa last week as a guest of Mission Blue partner Sustainable Seas Trust to launch new Community Hope Spots off the shores of South Africa. All in all six Community Hope Spots were launched: False Bay (all of False Bay from Cape Point to Cape Agulhas); Cape Whale Coast (stretches from Rooi Els to Quoin Point and includes offshore islands, just over 200km of coast line and then out to sea); Knysna (includes the Knysna Estuary and marine coast and offshore waters), Plett Hope Spot (links the Robberg MPA to Tsitsikamma MPA), Algoa Bay and the islands (this sanctuary area includes the principal breeding colonies of the African penguin, now down to 2% of historical population levels) and the Aliwal Shoal area in KwaZulu-Natal.…
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Literally Looking Through Waves

Did you know NASA has developed breathtaking technology that allows us to literally look through waves? Far from being distorted by the waves, the resulting image is actually more defined and 3D. To get the full scoop, Dr. Sylvia Earle led a Mission Blue envoy to NASA Ames Research Center this past summer. What we learned was nothing short of remarkable: NASA is poised to use this technology to map the shallow reefs of the world in unprecedented detail and give scientists the clearest picture yet of what we are losing where. With this information, we hope that an even stronger case can be made for conservation. As part of our trip to NASA, Mission Blue’s Brett Garling produced the following video in which you’ll learn all about this amazing new technology — called fluid lensing — and what hope it holds for the world’s oceans.…
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Capturing a Dream

The Photography of Christian Vizl Ever since I was a kid, as far as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dream about what lies beneath the waves. I imagine what it would look like if suddenly all the water would disappear for a while, but all the animals and living creatures would remain at the same place they were, so I could then take a walk inside the ocean and see them all, suspended for a moment in time and space. I still have that same dream, and I am very grateful that now I am able to live it every time I go down to the sea. I see my pictures, and realize they are the result of that childhood dream… beautiful and incredible marine life suspended in their natural environment and captured in a brief moment of time.…
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Entanglement Team Makes Whales Smile

Marine Life Studies Make a Whale Smile Campaign November 2014 – February 27, 2015 As we watch the last of the entangling lines slip off the whale, we are struck with the realization that we just relieved suffering and probably saved the life of this innocent creature. It is particularly gratifying when a humpback whale we disentangled is re-sighted actively feeding, doing well, and recovering from its severe injuries. Twenty to 80% of large whales show signs of entanglement in fishing gear or marine debris. A lucky few throw the gear or are disentangled by trained and permitted rescue teams. For every entangled whale reported there are many more that go unreported, struggling unnoticed and suffering or even dying from damage to fins and flukes.…
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A Family of Farmers – a Conservation Vessel – a Purpose

Island Reach in Vanuatu By Janis Steele Island Reach is a volunteer ocean-going project run by a New England forest farming family headed by a couple of social scientists trained in Human Ecology and Cultural Anthropology. In collaboration with The Ocean Foundation in the US, we work in Vanuatu in the South Pacific aboard Research Vessel Llyr.Vanuatu is one of our planet’s last great places of rich cultural and biological diversity. Lying on the eastern edge of The Coral Sea, this remote ocean state of 83 islands is home to a vast treasure trove of natural riches – from coral reefs to mangrove and rain forests – and an enduring interdependence between its people and their environment. This intimate relationship between Ni-Vanuatu (the people of Vanuatu) and their seas and islands finds expression in the densest language diversity on the planet, with over 120 languages in active use.…
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Keeping Tabs on Ocean Health with Reef Check

We’re thrilled to announce our new partnership with Reef Check! Established in 1996 by Dr. Gregor Hodgson, Reef Check is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to saving reefs and oceans through research, education, conservation, and encouragement of sustainable, environmental solutions. Reef Check seeks to empower local communities to improve two marine ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs. As a global organization, Reef Check provides a simple, standard method to train fishermen and community members to scientifically check the health of their reefs and to create non-extractive businesses that use coral reefs to provide a higher income than fishing – an ecologically and economically sustainable solution for both coral reef conservation and to track reef health worldwide.As the United Nations’ official selection for community-based reef monitoring programs, Reef Check analyzes the health of reefs through a method of surveying that uses local citizen scientists who are trained and led by professional marine biologists.…
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Getting Up Close and Personal with Marine Invertebrates

Photographer Susan Middleton’s new book, Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, the Backbone of Life, was just released and we can’t stop looking at these incredible images! Published by Abrams, New York, Spineless is chock full of gorgeous illuminated cephalopods, nudibranchs and other wild looking invertebrates. It even features a foreword by Dr. Sylvia Earle. In San Francisco? There will be book launch at San Francisco Public Library on Tuesday, December 9th, at 6PM. Susan will give a presentation in the Koret Auditorium followed by a book signing. Here is a teaser to give an idea of what’s inside!  http://issuu.com/hnabooks/docs/spineless?e=1035913/10221140 Learn more about Susan’s work at susanmiddleton.com and find the book on Amazon.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle