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Carl Safina joins board of nonprofit working to improve lives of captive cetaceans

By Erica Cirino There are many people who believe whales and dolphins do not belong in aquariums and marine parks, and for good reason: When you put a large, highly intelligent animal that naturally travels a hundred or more miles a day into a small concrete tank, the results aren’t pretty. The animals suffer increased mental…

The bird and the dolphins

By Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin Notes from the Field: The first of three vignettes A vignette from Expedition Echo, a 7-day sailing journey to record marine mammal vocalizations along the coast of Belize. It was a fisherman’s worst nightmare. As Captain Eggy frantically reeled in his line, the crew congregated at the back of the…

Vatika Bay Hope Spot: Submerged Ancient Grecian City Abuts Marine Abundance

Vatika Bay and the Myrtoon Sea in Greece may boast clear blue waters, white sandy beaches and iconic mountainous ridges, but what makes the Hope Spot truly special is intersection of nature and culture. Iconic species including whales and dolphins, loggerhead turtles, monk seals, and fan clams swim near a spectacular underwater archeological site called Pavlopetri. Located in the western…

Animal neuroscientist discusses her career and the case for keeping cetaceans out of captivity

Many countries and U.S. states have recently banned the captivity of orcas and other cetaceans. Neuroscientist Lori Marino discusses what happens when these animals are kept in tanks and why she believes there is a need to bring them back into a more natural environment.

Fate of Small Species Has Huge Implications for Our Ocean

When most of us think of the ocean, we think big: It covers 71 percent of our planet, dictates our weather, and is home to the tallest mountain and deepest canyon on the planet, as well as the largest animal, the blue whale.

And yet the ocean relies on its smallest inhabitants, from the phytoplankton and zooplankton that underpin the food web to forage fish, species like sardines, herring, and anchovy that are often referred to as baitfish.

In recent years, numbers of some forage fish species have declined dramatically, causing a food shortage for a vast array of marine animals. The Pacific marine ecosystem, including right here in the San Francisco Bay, is already suffering the consequences, with well-publicized accounts of starving sea lion pups and brown pelican breeding failures among the most visible evidence.

Woo-woo; Whale Magic?

Whales leave us with questions so puzzling they are unsettling, unshakeable, at times even disturbing. Are whales a product of magic, or something else?

Free at last: National Aquarium’s sea change on dolphin policy

By Erica Cirino and Carl Safina If you’re ever visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore, you must stop by Dolphin Discovery, according to aquarium staff. It’s an exhibit reminiscent of an Olympic swimming stadium: A large pool surrounded by bleacher seating for hundreds of onlookers, located inside a towering glass-walled building. Inside the glass-and-concrete swimming…

Killer whales pursuing a dolphin off Central California

By Jodi Frediani, with intro by Carl Safina Killer whales are astonishing creatures, extreme by every measure. I (Carl) wrote extensively about them in my recent book Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel. Several non-interbreeding “types” which are actually different species exist (though these are not yet formally recognized with different Latin names). And…

Gaining a better understanding of the seas through citizen science

Co-authored by Erica Cirino Twice a day, every day, Kera Mathes hops aboard a ship that sets off from Long Beach Harbor in California. As education specialist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, she helps visitors aboard the ship identify the animals they see. Mathes also supervises the aquarium’s interns (college students and…

Life in the Gulf of California Hope Spot

The Gulf of California, a 700-mile narrow sea between Baja and mainland Mexico, is home to over 800 species of fish, 2000 invertebrates, as well as whales, dolphins, sea turtles and sea lions. The area includes 256,000 hectares of mangroves, 600,000 hectares of wetlands and 70 percent of Mexican fisheries. Simply put, this area is one of…

In the Agulhas

On board with Lindblad Expeditions Southern Africa and Indian Ocean tour. March 27, 2015 – The Agulhas current flows down the east coast of Africa from the north. It’s described as “narrow, swift, and strong” on our briefing material aboard National Geographic Orion. As it reaches the southern tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas (Cape of…

Meet the Dolphin Society

Most dolphins are social animals and, like great apes and humans, derive more advantages than disadvantages from living in a group. In schools, a dolphin can attain protection from predators, ease of finding food and a convenient place to meet fertile sexual partners.

A Massive New Marine Protected Area Network in Gabon

By John Robinson

The first day of the IUCN 2014 World Parks Congress marked a significant win for the oceans. The President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon announced the decision to create a new marine protected area network of ten marine parks covering more than 18,000 square miles (over 46,000 square kilometres). The network – encompassing about 23 percent of Gabon’s territorial waters and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) – will safeguard whales, sea turtles, and other marine species inhabiting the nation’s coastal and offshore ecosystems. As the President noted in his speech, this puts Gabon “near the 20 to 30 percent that marine biologists tell us is needed to maintain biodiversity and restore depleted areas outside parks.” This is a massive increase from the 1 percent of marine area currently protected by Gabon.

Are You Kidding? Larger Tanks Won’t Cut it for Killer Whales

Once again Sea World is missing the point. The aquatic entertainment enterprise just doesn’t seem to give up despite documentaries like Blackfish and a growing public awareness that keeping cetaceans in captivity is cruel and morally wrong. Even Wall Street is turning its back on the company. Now, with a new and grandiose multi-million dollar plan for expanding their killer whale tanks, Sea World is taking the “logical” next step to resurrect itself.

Two-Headed Dolphin Is Super Rare

A dead two-headed dolphin that washed ashore this week in Turkey is only the fifth-known case of conjoined twins in dolphins, experts say.