Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finding coral

You think it's easy to find coral? Then you're not thinking about that rarest and most special of corals, the deep sea variety.

The Finding Coral expedition, sponsored by the Living Oceans Society, is doing heroic work in finding deep corals in British Columbia's ocean waters, and documenting threats to their survival.

The videos are great, they give a sense of what it's like to go deep looking for corals, with a strong dose of threats along with the beautiful footage.

Stop by and join the expedition...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Too many beavers

When I was a boy, there were few beavers around. This was true even in rural Oregon, the beaver state. Well now there are more beavers than you can shake a stick at.

Too many beavers, in fact, since they're undoing what people have done to tame nature and otherwise control water.

It's funny, we liked them for the fur, we love them as a symbol (see Oregon state flag at right, the only state flag with images on two sides, and look there's a lovely little beaver on the back!)

What'll we do with too many beavers? Start a bounty program to get rid of them? Or learn to live with them?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cry, the beloved oyster

Oysters are my favorite ocean animal. What can I say, they're charismatic and sexy and interesting and yummy and important and...well...beloved.

Imagine my dismay when I read this article. Actually, it wasn't a big surprise to me, I've heard about this before. But the news just keeps getting worse.

Acid in the ocean seems to be killing oysters today, as we sit on our cushioned chairs and sofas watching TV. It's not a future crime, or a distant speculation of what might be. It's here and now.

Cry, the belove oysters, while it still might make a difference. Cry, and then get off your cushions and do something. And it won't help to simply stop eating them. Indeed, eat an oyster first, and then go charging of to save them, fortified with the elixir of life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rapid recovery of damaged ecosystems

Now there's a title of a scientific paper that makes me sit up and take notice. In this era of doom and gloom, it's nice to hear some good news.

What's behind the title? Let's listen to the authors:

Recent reports on the state of the global environment provide evidence that humankind is inflicting great damage to the very ecosystems that support human livelihoods. The reports further predict that ecosystems will take centuries to recover from damages if they recover at all. Accordingly, there is despair that we are passing on a legacy of irreparable damage to future generations which is entirely inconsistent with principles of sustainability.

We tested the prediction of irreparable harm using a synthesis of recovery times compiled from 240 independent studies reported in the scientific literature. We provide startling evidence that most ecosystems globally can, given human will, recover from very major perturbations on timescales of decades to half-centuries.

Accordingly, we find much hope that humankind can transition to more sustainable use of ecosystems.

Hooray, some validation that optimism is more than just wishful thinking.

hat tip: The Natural Patriot

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Victoria BC out of the Victorian age

Victoria BC finally admits that their shit stinks just like the rest of us. Well, most of them admit it, there are a few holdouts.

Thanks to Mr. Floatie (a person dressed as poop while running for major), among others, for getting Victoria to begin the process of treating their sewage before dumping it in the ocean.

Victoria will begin building sewage treatment plants soon. Welcome to the modern world, Victoria. Now about those unnamed "others" who say there's no need for treatment. I want to see you go swimming in the ocean near the outfall pipe.

Now, just for fun, enjoy the picture of Mr. Floatie one more time before he retires from politics (right).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Instant river, just add water

The so-called Chelan River works if you add water. See photo (right).

According to the online-only Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The Chelan County Public Utility District is spending nearly $16 million to restore year-round flow to the Chelan River Gorge, a four-mile stretch of river that tumbles from the dam at the foot of Lake Chelan to the Columbia River, about 400 feet below.

As a test, crews started spilling water Monday into the normally dry river bed. Water pooled near the river's mouth and spilled into a carefully engineered channel with strategically placed boulders, logs and rocks, all to provide new spawning habitat for steelhead and chinook salmon.

"It's one thing to look at the drawings, but when you see how the water actually flows around the boulders and wood structures and riffle, it's another story," biologist Steve Hays, the PUD's fish and wildlife senior adviser, told The Wenatchee World.

It's great to see water put back in a river, and it's truly strange to know that there are rivers around the world that have all their water removed. It's a traveshamockery (a borrowed phrase that means a travesty of a sham of a mockery).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Trouble on the beach

Wanna get sick? Go play on the beach in one of those cute little streams that flow down to the ocean, and play in sewage. Ugh. At least that's the story for some Oregon beaches.

The good news? Things are improving. People are looking into the problems and trying to track down the causes. In some cases, solutions have been found.

It's good to see problems acknowledged and progress made. But it's still sad to have to read about yuck in the pretty little streams that run across our beaches, they'll never look quite the same to me again after reading about massive bacterial contamination and toilet paper flowing across the beach. Ugh again.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Carnival of the blue 25

On this World Oceans Day, it's a singular pleasure to host Carnival of the Blue 25, a movable feast of ocean blogging. Featuring the best ocean bloggers doing their very best to write the best posts, it's just the best.

Now here's a fish to get you in the mood and because fish are the best.

Fish are way better than dolphins, because rising star Miriam Goldstein will tell you that dolphins are infanticidal, violent predators if you swing by The Oyster's Garter or is it Double X? I can't keep up with all of her outlets.

Fish are so great that people want to cut their fins off just to get a piece of the action, even in Brazil, according to Lucia Malla in her post on shark finning in Brazil

In fact, fish are so great that people want to eat the last bluefin tuna, preferably raw and served by a fancy chef. What should a fancy chef like Nobu do when fishy activists make a stink? Sam Fromartz gathered the views of a crop of sages at Chews Wise

That's right, fish are just the best and even a bunch of really nice pictures of silly birds can't begin to compare, even if they're incredible photos of Kelp Gulls from Capetown, by Charlie Moores. OK, these are good and if they were fish they'd be the best.

Which fish are the best? Hard to say, but certainly the luckiest ones are the fish that live in MPAs, since MPAs work in Hawaii according to Rick MacPherson.

And even though Susannah at Wanderin' Weeta shows us how worms are tenacious, they're still not the best like fish.

If you want to see some fish, who ya gonna call? Probably the Johnson-Sea-Link, which just happens to need saving and Kevin Zelnio is taking names of the people who want to help save this venerable submersible, which may be the best submersible but it's certainly not quite up to the standards of fish.

This bad news about JSL is more than matched by some good news for sharks in Florida on Southern Fried Science, thanks to Why Sharks Matter. That seems redundant, actually, sharks matter because they're the best.

Urchins are pretty good, especially when there's going topless involved, and you can see the whole business at i'm a chordata! urochordata, on a post that is sure to show up on the wrong kind of google searches.

Turtles ain't bad, especially if you're looking at green sea turtles in Hawaii like Bobbie and Jerry.

Now here's a fish that's really the best, the magnificent peacock flounder--master of camouflage.

The best thing you can do with fish is don't be a dummie and catch too many. Here's some schoolin' on overfishing by Kelsey Abbott of mauka to makai, which she'll also explain to you if you just go on over and read it.

And what happens if you can't read or don't bother, and end up running out of fish? That's really the worst says Caspar Henderson over at Barely Imagined Beings. It's so worst that it will cause at least 100 million hungry people to march as coral reefs disintegrate -- and that's on a good day!

If that's not worst enough, then try on the Undersea mining bummer which says, oh too bad, undersea mining ain't going anywhere fast, from new celebrity The Saipan Blogger, who's probably famous enough to get punk'd.

Fish are the best, but boats are not bad and most of us can always use a lift, so stop by Sea Notes and get a lift from Blue Boat Home.

Oh yeah, you probably need another fish picture since fish are just the best and on World Oceans Day you probably deserve at least 2 fish pictures from my vacation...

Here's proof that fish are just the best, look at this coexistence baby--big fish and little fish living together in harmony--it doesn't get any better than that. A lesson for world peace, fish going all Obama on us:

But not all fish are soooo awful nice, here's the word from a staunch sergeant major

get off yer ass and go read the blogs, dammit, they're really the best.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Catfish wars

First Vietnamese catfish are not catfish, then they are catfish. It all depends on which definition makes more money for US catfish farmers. Biology be damned, it's time for economics-based definitions of catfish.

In 2002, the US catfish industry got a law passed that defined Vietnames catfish as not-catfish. Then, an opportunity arose to get Vietnames not-catfish denied entry into the US if they got their catfish status reinstated. So now the US industry is seeking to restore rightful catfish status to Vietnamese catfish.

Nevermind whether these finny animals are really catfish or not.

And nevermind the real challenge for the US catfish industry, the competition and market position of their products. Look for delacata, the new name for US catfish.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Whales on the beach?

Why do whales end up on the beach, and why do we kill them?

Like the 55 false killer whales stranded on a South African beach last week, whales and dolphins on the beach usually end up dead. When nudged back out in the water, they often just swim back onto the beach.

Is it illness or injury and a hope for rest & recovery? Are they following one lost soul and trying to help? The answer is that there are many reasons why whales and dolphins end up on a beach, including illness, injury and unknown causes.

Whales have been beaching themselves since the time of Aristotle, so we can't blame it purely on industrial disease.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Don't be such a scientst

Finally, reason for hope. There's a new book coming that would have saved the Roman Empire if it were written in Latin, published 2000 years ago, and if someone taught Caligula to read.

It's 'Don't Be Such A Scientist' by filmmaker and scientist Randy Olson. It's all about how to reach people with information that matters but usually comes cloaked in scientific mumbo-gumbo.

It'll be great, and you can pre-order here.

Of course, I don't really believe any of this, I'm just trying to butter up Randy and save $19.95 plust tax by getting a free copy to review if I promise sycophantic praise a la Hollywood.