My main blogging efforts are focused at DeepSeaNews.com these days, where I am lucky enough to blog alongside a wonderful team of people consisting of Dr. Craig McClain, Dr. Rick Macpherson, Dr. Holly Bik, Miriam Goldstein, Kevin Zelnio and Kim Martini. I won’t be updating this blog very often, except perhaps when I have something burning a hole in my conscience which doesn’t fit the scope of DSN. In the meantime, I am active on Twitter @para_sight and I also keep an eye on my friend @Wheres_Domino, an adventure seeking whale shark in the Gulf of Mexico.
Here’s episode 3 of my conversation with WREK scientist/DJs Pete Ludovice and Bill Hung, for their show Inside the Black Box. In this bit, we’re talking about how field and aquarium-based research inform each other. See the rest of their archive here, and tune in on Wednesdays at 12 for a webcast dose of “science only funnier”
Here’s episode two (of four) of my conversation with WREK scientist/DJs Pete Ludovice and Bill Hung. In this bit we’re talking about whale shark research in Mexico and the idea of conservation by payment for ecosystem services. Check out the rest of their archive here, and listen live on Wednesdays at 12 (details in the link)
Two weeks back I did an hour long radio interview with WREK 91.1, a public radio station out of Georgia Tech, for their science show Inside the Black Box, which is described by its hosts Pete Ludovice and Bill Hung as “Science, only funnier”. Pete and Bill are both faculty members at Tech and also stand-up comedians.
I am going to post the interview here in four more manageable parts over the next week or so. Here’s Section 1, where we talk about how public aquariums came out of the naturalist movement of the Victorian era.
If you just can’t wait for the rest (and who could blame you, he says, sotto voce and without a hint of irony…), the whole interview with lead-ins and musical breaks is here.
While you’re at it, put a reminder on your calendar to listen to their live webcast each week on Wednesdays at 12. They have sponsorship from NSF and do great work; I appreciate their permission to post the interview here.
I am excited to say that I will be joining the Deep Sea News network of marine science bloggers. For those who are not familiar with DSN, they’ve been producing kick-butt marine science bloggy-type content since 2005 and are currently the most popular marine bio blog on the web and the only one listed in Google News. Joining that community means I can work with some of the best mar-sci bloggers around and hopefully we all riff off each other to produce great content and host the sort of excellent discussions that I have always found so rewarding about blog audiences. Its a sort of critical mass that’s much more manageable in a blog network than going solo.
I am going to hang onto this domain, because there will be times when I want to write about stuff that is not DSN material, so don’t drop this page from your feed reader just yet.
My first post is a general intro to the natural history of whale sharks and may be very familiar to folks who’ve followed this blog for a while. Once its set up, I’ll post the link to RSS feed of my posts at DSN here. But really, you should subscribe to ALL of DSN’s stuff, you can’t go wrong.
After the outrageous popularity of a previous post here about a whale shark dookie so big you could see it from an aeroplane, now this YouTube video of a white shark telling some cage divers exactly what he thinks of their taste in SCUBA fashions:
At the risk of being labeled “Dr Shark Poo”, I have a few quotes in this article discussing exactly what’s going on here. In short, why is the poop yellow? (digestive and blood pigments) why are the fish eating it? (nom nom nom) and why study shark poo anyway? (a figurative treasure trove of physiological data). Roll over there and check out the rest of the article.
Craig McClain at DeepSeaNews did a nice piece last summer about what Twitter is and why scientists should use it. I bring it up because in this brief hiatus from active blogging, I’m still on Twitter and so are lots of other marine science folks, most of whom are talented and funny and taking full advantage of the short form Twitter provides. I can be followed @para_sight, but you should also check out people like @DrCraigMc, @DrBondar, @sfriedscientist, @kzelnio, @DrChrisKellogg, @Dr_Bik, @edyong209, @oystersgarter, @BoraZ and @WhySharksMatter
Sorry for the lack of updates lately. After the frenzy of activity in brazil, things have been a little hectic at work and there’s lots to do at home, so not much time for researching or writing right now. It’ll pick back up again in the near future, but for now I need to focus on some other things.
In the meantime, you should check in on some of the other fine ocean and science blogging out there
With a grateful hat tip to DSN’s DrCraigMc via Twitter, I give you (well, really the Telegraph gives you)- TA DA! - the world’s smallest aquarium. Click the link or the pic to see it in all its diminutive glory.
Just for scale, the Ocean Voyager exhibit at Georgia Aquarium would hold 2.4 billion of those bad boys. That means that aquariums effectively span 9 orders of magnitude in size. We’ve come a long way, Anton Dohrn…
When we were on the Abrolhos research cruise aboard the HBOI/CEPEMAR ship Seward Johnson recently, I posted a little clip of the outside of the sub. In that post I promised better quality and longer clips when I got back to land. So here, (in HD goodness if you want it) is long-time pilot Don Liberatore giving a neat history of the Johnson Sea Link 2 submersible. What I find most interesting is his comment about how he got into being a sub pilot in the first place: sitting on the dock in the 70’s he and some buddies saw the HBOI ship pull into port with the original JSL1 or Clelia (not sure which) on the deck and he thought “how cool is that?”. This comment is exactly what I meant in my recent post about the importance of Human Occupied Vehicles (HOVs), or submersibles, for inspiring people to careers in marine science.
The 500pixel column width here on the blog is a bit limiting; if you want to see it in HD, roll over to the YouTube channel and check it out
A new website wants you to know how grim the situation has become for Atlantic bluefin. It includes the stark statement that in all probability, the last bluefin will die in 2012, so we best get cracking on trying to save them. Is it possible? Certainly it will take a concerted effort from all nations that currently exploit this species, and a total dismantling of a subsidised tech-heavy industry. To achieve that in just 12 months, well, forgive me if I wax pessimistic…
That aside, the video is nicely animated and quite information dense, touching on many aspects that plague modern fisheries management like the economies of extinction (when an exploited species becomes ever more valuable, the rarer it gets), tragedy of the commons , bycatch, subsidies and the wasteful nature of feeding cultured predatory fishes. So, it’s worth your time, and if you live in an EU nation, it’s worth your contacting your country’s responsible ministry to ask what they are doing to help avoid the extinction of one of the oceans noblest creatures. Finally, it’s worth rejecting bluefin at the market level (in sushi restaurants may be the best place) to help reduce demand.
Maybe it’s already too late for bluefin, and that’s a tragedy, but the story doesn’t end there. As we continue to fish down the food web, the crisis will move from bluefin to the next most threatened species and the cycle will reiterate until all that’s left is jellyfish and harmful algal blooms. If that vision isn’t enough to inspire action, I don’t know what is.