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Thrills, Spills, and Seabirds in the Subantarctic

This is Part Three of “Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin” (See Part One and Part Two) Endangered (by) Sea Lions Alternate title: Mom, Don’t Read This One 11 November 2017 Chambres Inlet Imagine you’ve sailed 300 miles south of New Zealand to a subantarctic island. You’ve been dropped off by dinghy before sunrise in a secluded cove,…

Splashy Sunfishes: Secrets of the World’s Heaviest Bony Fish Surface

The esoteric ocean sunfishes have been splashing across the media with the latest big discovery, led by Japanese researcher, Etsuro Sawai, being announced this week: World’s heaviest bony fish identified and correctly named. The Sawai team assigned an old species name to a group of sunfishes who sport a large bulbous bump on their heads when…

Sharks and Rays: Migratory Species with a Story Worth Telling

The Convention on Migratory Species is a unique United Nations Convention in that it deals exclusively with the management of the world’s migratory species due to the complex, often compounded threats migrations can bring. After years focused on crucial action to protect the world’s birds, cetaceans, and even the monarch butterfly, the countries that make up this intergovernmental body have begun in recent years to focus on the conservation of the world’s migratory sharks and rays.

Planning for a climate-change-resilient Galapagos Marine Reserve

Written by: Salomé Buglass When I first moved to the Galapagos to begin my position as marine ecologist at the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) a year ago, I was in disbelief each time I went snorkelling. Seeing tropical corals and parrot fish, sea lions and sub-Antarctic penguins all sharing the same coastal habitat was mind-blowing.…

Goliath Pacific groupers under threat in a biodiversity hotspot

“If you miss the first shot, it might try to eat you,” Apsalon, a local spear fisherman, told me during an interview for my research. He was once half-swallowed by a massive goliath grouper near one of his favorite fishing spots, Playa Blanca in Chocó, Colombia. Although they may sound terrifying, these massive fish are…

Penguins Wanted

This is Part Two of “Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin” (See Part One and Part Three) The Search 8 November 2017 Port Ross and Enderby Island It was cold and clear and very dark when six hardy souls climbed over the ship’s rail and down into the little dinghy, surging up and down against Evohe’s hull. Hamish the…

The Opportunity in the Ross Sea

The Ross Sea MPA comes into force today. It is one of our greatest achievements in the conservation of our oceans. I wish you could have witnessed the moment it happened. We must use this opportunity wisely. And the clock is ticking…

Voyage of the Yellow-eyed Penguin

The latest numbers say that yellow-eyed penguins are still heading toward extinction on mainland New Zealand. Their only other breeding habitat is a handful of islands hundreds of miles to the south. In this four-part story I join a surreal voyage to the all-but-inaccessible Auckland Islands, where we’re trying to find out how this gravely endangered penguin is faring in the…

The battle for Bristol Bay isn’t over

By David Aplin, interim managing director of WWF’s U.S. Arctic program

Time and time again, the people of Bristol Bay, the State of Alaska, and the United States have said overwhelmingly that the risks associated with development of the Pebble Mine are too great. Bristol Bay’s sustainable ecosystems and all of the values they support should not be compromised. Local business leaders don’t want it. The region’s tribes don’t want it. And more than a million Americans have gone on record demanding that this national treasure be protected.

Can a gentle giant of Philippine coral reefs be saved from extinction in the wild?

We once lived in a world full of giants – blue whales freely swimming in our oceans and large animals such as elephants roaming our land. Unfortunately, populations of terrestrial and marine megafauna have declined dramatically in recent years. African elephant populations have declined from an estimated 1.3 million to around 600,000. Populations of big…

We Will March for the Ocean!

On Saturday, June 9, 2018 tens of thousands of people will March for the Ocean in Washington D.C. and across the nation and planet to mark the end of World Oceans Day weekend. Why? Because we have no choice! Our public seas, already in crisis, are now at hugely increased risk from the Trump administration…

What’s the cost of a surf-and-turf dinner? 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

What’s the cost of an average shrimp-and-steak dinner? If it comes from the loss of mangrove forests to aquaculture and agriculture, it’s 1,795 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about the same amount of greenhouse gases produced by driving a fuel-efficient car from Los Angeles to New York City. Clearcutting of tropical mangrove forests to…

Menhaden, The Little Fish That Could—Won’t

Menhaden, the little fish that could, can’t. I mean, they can but they won’t. Because as of a few days ago, they’re not allowed to. This week they got another bad break from fisheries managers. Let me explain. The fish is called “the most important fish in the sea” because it feeds so many whales,…

Hōkūleʻa Joins the Centennial Tribute to Queen Liliʻuokalani

In honor of Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hōkūleʻa this morning set sail along the southern shoreline of Oʻahu to join in an observance ceremony shared across the island chain. At around 8:30 am, Hōkūleʻa was faced toward the direction of Iolani Palace, Kawaiahaʻo and Washington Place and her sails were lowered. At this moment, double rainbows appeared…

‘Planetary Boundaries’ a flawed mechanism to safeguard Earth’s biodiversity, scientists warn

The notion that human impacts will be fine, so long as we keep them within “planetary boundaries” is seductive, but deeply flawed scientifically. Worse, though well-intentioned, it encourages harmful policies, three of the world’s leading ecologists argue in a peer-reviewed commentary published this month in Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

“A critical question is how should we manage human actions that harm the natural world,” said Stuart L. Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “Do we really want to operate under the assumption – as the notion of a planetary boundary for biodiversity purports – that humans can go about business as usual so long as the impacts of our actions remain within some arbitrary ‘safe operating space’?”