All Posts By

Brianna Ordung

OCEAN APPS: Part 2 Android Phones

By | Ocean Solutions | No Comments

 

Here’s part 2 of the 3 part series on smartphone apps related to anything ocean ! This article focuses on Android applications!

unnamedBe a citizen scientist with the Sea Turtle Tracker Tool! This app designed with inspiration from the NOAA Marine Turtle Assessments Program, will allow you to submit photos with location information of sea turtles you happen upon to help with ongoing sea turtle research. *Note the app was created in less than 48 hours and is a very crude prototype, but will be updated in the near future.

aqpaThe Aquarium Visitor Guide brought to you by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA provides the user with a wealth of information about the aquarium including the species found there and exhibits to find them in, a map, visitors guide and schedule! This app is a great way to give yourself a tour of the aquarium and make sure you don’t miss anything you want to see! A great idea for all aquariums to incorporate new technology and ensure everyone at the aquarium gets the most out of their aquarium visit! *This app is free and also available for iPhone.

aqidThe Aquarium ID app brought to you by Meet Reef (a social network for all aquarium fanatics), brings identification of saltwater fish, invertebrates and corals to the palm of your hand! Don’t be confused when you purchase new aquarium members and make sure the animal you are purchasing will actually get along well with your tank! No more worrying about spending money on something that will eat or be eaten anymore! This app also includes general aquarium questions about starting a tank, water quality, lighting, feeding, common problems and connects you to their forum for any other questions you may have. This app is FREE!

The last three apps on this list are a great tool for conservationists and an innovative way to generate awareness for coral reefs and their residents around the world! There should be one of these for every major diving and snorkeling location around the world!

rchk Hong Kong Reef Check, developed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department allows the user to check out coral coverage of 33 survey sites in the waters off Hong Kong. It includes photos of 48 species of the reefs inhabitants, along with current weather. *This app is FREE but mostly in Chinese, but there are pictures to help you determine what you want to find if you cannot read Chinese.

GEN_XDD5UWATER1Red Sea Explorer is comprised of images and descriptions for over 600 marine species that can be found in the Red Sea. This apps main focus is on fish, but also includes whales, dolphins, sea turtles, mollusks, jellyfish, crustaceans and corals! This app is particularly great because it helps you identify things based on observable traits such as body shapes, colors, and where you may have seen them. Very useful for divers or snorkelers interested in what they saw but with no idea where to start to identify it. This app is FREE

hawaiisf Hawaii Snorkel Fish contains images of over 200 fish that may be seen during snorkel or shallow water diving in Hawaii. Each fish contains its own description with a picture, basic ecological information, size and scientific name. This app allows the user to either browse by families if you know the approximate type of fish it is but just not sure what species, or by its customizable search option including size, shape, color, markings, position in the water column, schooling behavior, endemism (uniqueness to Hawai`i), favorite status, fish seen, common name, scientific name and Hawaiian name. Apart from identifying the fish you’ve seen, you can keep a log of all the snorkel locations you’ve done including a list of what you have seen at each location. This app has a pricetag of $4.99 but seems like a sound investment if you are a Hawaiian resident or frequent traveler with a love for the ocean and curiosity about fish! For more information check out their website!

 

OCEAN APPS Part 1: Apple

By | Ocean Solutions | 2 Comments

Apple-iPhone-5S-iPad-5-Lineup

By now, most people have a smartphone, ipad or other device that allows them to download apps.  Hopefully everyone has a version of the Monterey Bay Aquariums Seafood Watch App (there are similar apps such as “Fish First” for the Windows Phone) Apart from those, there are a surprisingly small amount of marine/ocean related apps in comparison to other topics. We have searched far and wide and found the really good ones you may not have heard about for apple, android and windows phones. Here is part 1 of the 3 part series. These apps made for Apple are useful for marine conservation efforts, educational, fun or an amazing combination of the three!

mzl.cgscigzl.320x480-75

Brought to you by the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary Foundation SeaPhoto gives you a virtual photo tour of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  From the smallest algae and invertebrates to the largest fishes and mammals, along with varying ecosystems and seascapes. There are over 1,300 images (one below of a newborn sea otter) depicting over 550 species to explore and discover (130 of which come with detailed ecological information) and all can be permanently stored for future access! These photos canseaottermonterey be shared through twitter and email or just enjoyed by yourself. We think this app is great because it helps to spread awareness of the immense diversity found in the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. Awareness is the first step in conservation, and encourages people to help protect areas in the future! The best part? It’s FREE!  If you don’t have a smartphone, you can even view all of the photos here!

cropped-MDT_Sandwriting

Brought to you by the folks at the NOAA Marine Debris Division and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (Faculty of Engineering at University of Georgia), Marine Debris Tracker is a beach cleanup organizers dream! This app allows the user, who registers with the app, to log what they find and the GPS point it was found at (so it does use your location information). This does not have to be done in real time, but can be saved and submitted at a later time to avoid people from tracking your exact location (the GPS location of the submission is not recorded). This information can then be accessed through an online database where it simply shows the username, city and state the trash was found in. You can access your own data or look at what other people have found. We think this is a great app because it spreads awareness about marine debris, while encouraging people to share what they find, and think about marine debris! This app is FREE and also available for Android phones! You can learn more from their website.

images

Brought to you by the scientists at Stanford University and the worldwide collaborative research of the GTOPP (Global Tagging of Pacific Predators) , Shark Net allows the user a glimpse into the lives of Great White Sharks!

This app follows the lives of previously tagged Great Whites as they pass by underwater acoustic listening stations and wave gliders off the coast of California, transmitting real-time data (within 5 minutes!) to the user. In addition, the app provides interactive 3D models of individual tagged sharks, buoys and wave fig_3_shark_net_appgliders and a history of the shark and where it has been. It also includes educational photos, videos and information about the sharks, along with the option of double-tapping the 3D sharks to see them bite! The app itself is FREE, but there is the option to pledge $0.99 which benefits continued shark research at Stanford University and gives the person who pledges exclusive access to all the information for a shark named “Scar Girl.”

Untitled

Brought to you by the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health (in conjunction with the National Park Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants IveGot1 allows the user to immediately identify and report invasive species (animals and plants) in Florida. On top of reporting, there is a website with direct access to invasive species reports and a hotline to instantly report live animals (1-888-IVEGOT1). Similar to the Marine Debris Tracker, this app uses your location to report the GPS coordinates of the find, but it can be saved and sent in at a later time. Like the others, this app is FREE!

Invasive and/or exotic species are becoming a major economic and ecological problem in Florida, with a subtropical climate which allows for many exotic plants and animals to not only survive, but to thrive and take over the native landscape. These species may effect the health of an entire ecosystem and are important to to be aware of. I have also included this app because Florida has an ever-growing list of exotic Untitled 2marine species, including the lionfish, a number of angelfish, surgeonfish and maybe even the humpback grouper! The only way to know about these species and the extent of the invasion is if people that witness these animals in the wild while diving or fishing report them to the proper authorities. This app makes it very user friendly and even lets you submit pictures so that proper identification can be determined if you are still unsure whether something is native or exotic.

Untitled 4

Brought to you by iHome Educator, iLive Math: Oceans made this list because it not only helps kids with math, but it does so using ocean creatures! Designed for Kindergarten through 6th grade, this app includes over 30 marine species with educational links and videos so you can learn more about your math problem!

mzl.ptrvbmbu.320x480-75Most kids don’t care too much about math because, lets face it, lone numbers can be a bit boring. By associating numbers with marine creatures via photos links and videos, this app helps to make math more engaging and encourages kids to explore the type of creature or behaviors their math problem describes (check out a sample question to the right). With over 1 million randomly generated word problems for addition, subtraction, fractions and geometry there will always be something new for your child to learn! This app even allows student teacher collaboration using twitter, email or blogs to provide the student with immediate feedback. Unlike the other apps, this one is a bit pricey at $4.99, but can you really put a price on your child understanding and maybe even enjoying math while learning about the ocean?

*This App was hard to find, did not show up in my search for marine related apps and I just found out about it as I was finishing this article,  but it deserves mention. Check out the Rippl app from Ocean Conservancy! Great way to keep on track of adopting a more green lifestyle!*

Know about any other great apple apps that we missed? Share in the Comments below!

Stay tuned for part 2 (Android) and part 3 (Windows) if you do not have an apple product!

 

Man vs. Machine: what is best for ocean exploration?

By | Ocean News | 6 Comments

 

Robert Ballard, the famed scientist that discovered hydrothermal vents aboard the Alvin, argues that manned submersibles are unnecessary. He says that, from a scientific perspective, the video screen does just as good or better at showing what is seen out the window of these submersibles. On the other hand, Sylvia Earle, Her Deepness, disagrees and believes that there is no better way to explore the oceans than actually being in the submersible and experiencing it first hand.

As a graduate in Marine Biology with hopes of someday exploring the depths of the ocean using submersibles, the news that funding was being cut across the board was heart breaking! Almost every dive to a new area in a submersible has shed light on new to science, species and even entire ecosystems! Had it not been for deep sea exploration, we would not know about hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and the animals that inhabit them; some of which resemble their shallower water cousins, but have adapted to not only survive, but to thrive in these harsh conditions. Traveling into the deep sea is like experiencing evolution first hand!

nereus_main_n1_119653Could a machine do just as good of a job at making these discoveries with a scientist or group of scientists on the other end? Sort of an extreme version of an RC car, but capable of collecting data and exploring areas humans are not capable of reaching yet. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has demonstrated this concept with their hybrid ROV Nereus (left), which traveled deeper than any human in 2009 and brought back samples for the scientists to analyze. Of course machines can do the work, probably more efficiently and cost effectively, but what can a machine share with the average person? How many people reading this were aware of these record breaking dives when they occurred?

If I have learned anything in the past couple years, the most important lesson is that without education and public involvement, there is no conservation. This is something that Sylvia Earle excels in. Her explorations were covered by media and helped to raise awareness, as well as increase the knowledge of the scientific community. In order to spread awareness about the ocean and what we can do to help protect it or the many wonders that still await discovery, scientists need to share their stories with the world. It is hard to share a story if you have not experienced it first-hand.

In my opinion, having a voice for the discoveries of the deep is necessary because the deep sea is so disconnected from the average human being. I agree that at a scientific standpoint, the unmanned submersibles make more sense. They allow the scientists to discover areas that would otherwise be out of reach, and  maybe even make it home for dinner like a normal job. On a conservation standpoint, however, they lead to the dehumanization of new discoveries, and will make the fight to protect the oceans more difficult in the long run.

3man productsThe only way the unmanned submersibles could help conservation is by glorifying them like the first walks on the moon. Footage from the ROV/AUV should be actively shared through visual media and the average person should be able to experience these trips into the unknown depths.  Until this happens, there should still be a human voice for the voyages into the deep.

What do you think, are wo/men or machines better for ocean exploration and conservation?

 

Sea Turtles: Experts Meet To Discuss Saving Iconic Species

By | Ocean Leaders You Know | 3 Comments

 

gI_83375_ists7

This past week sea turtle researchers and conservationists from around the globe flocked to Baltimore, Maryland for the 33rd Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation hosted every year by the International Sea Turtle Society (ISTS). This event combines different disciplines and cultures with a common goal of protecting sea turtles.

The theme of this year’s symposium was “Connections” which seems appropriate as sea turtles unknowingly connect us all. They connect the ocean to the land, they connect people to the ocean they call their home, they rally people to protect beaches they lay their eggs on, and most importantly they connect scientists and sea turtle fanatics from around the globe. The symposium not only included research talks, discussions and debates but focused on community outreach, opening the doors to the public to share information about sea turtles found in the Chesapeake Bay and environmental issues effecting the watershed.

DSC07537

We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Wallace J Nichols, AKA J,(left) a passionate scientist, activist, community organizer, author and dad, about the event. His achievements include a myriad of published scientific papers, founding/codirecting Ocean Revolution, SEE the WILD,  and LIVBlue among many other things. With an interest in the innovative and emerging field of neroconservation, he hopes to change the way scientists communicate with the public to more effectively protect our planet for the future!

SUFB:What was your role in the 33rd Annual International Sea Turtle Symposium?

J: I’m a past President and board member of the ISTS, but still play lots of small roles with the society and at the symposium. But this is the kind of conference where the majority of people attending take up some volunteer effort or other to make it all work. That one quality of our society that gives our symposia a bit of a family reunion feeling. Everybody pulls together.

This year, our president, Dr. Ray Carthy, chose “Connections” as the theme. It was brilliant as throughout the week all the ways sea turtles connect ocean and terrestrial ecosystems, connect people to nature and connect us to each other were repeatedly highlighted.

SUFB:Favorite exhibitor?

J: I had the pleasure to meet with and speak at length with the people supporting the sea turtle project in Tecolutla, Veracruz, Mexico. A group of volunteers from Philadelphia who have fallen in love with sea turtles and the people who protect them in Mexico and do everything they can to support this particular project. You can find out more about them and see a short film about Fernando “Papa Tortuga” Manzano.

The truth is that these days there are literally thousands of projects around the world working quietly and tirelessly, day and night, over the span of decades to make sure our future includes plenty of sea turtles. Every time I stop and think on that a bit I get deeply inspired.

SUFB:Favorite part of event?

J: Hugging my fellow turtle geeks.

And saying “see you in New Orleans next year”, knowing I will.

536949_4237394817504_1332287489_n

SUFB:Did you learn anything new?

J: This year the symposium invited Dr. Elena Mustakova Possardt to speak and lead a workshop on emotional resilience. It was a tremendous addition to the ISTS and quite overdue. Conservation work can be heavy, stressful and thankless for long stretches. That causes stress and burnout. If we who work on the front lines as a voice for the ocean burn out, that’s bad. We need to stay strong, be resilient. Neuropsychology offers some insights into how to do that. I think ALL conservation meetings should include this neuroconservation theme at some level.

269239_10151466470301672_1952291347_nSUFB:With your research on neuroconservation, I would like to know your take on the Ray Lewis ad for Visa and corresponding article in Sports illustrated.

J: My plan is to get Ray Lewis out on the beach with his family and put some baby turtles in their hands, snorkel with sea turtles, walk the beach at night and show them some nesting female turtles and add a tribal turtle tattoo to his collection. I’ll let you know how that goes!

SUFB: What can you tell our readers about the take home message of the symposium?

J: Our President, Ray Carthy, did a fantastic job this year. He chose a great theme that resonated for scientists, conservationists and volunteers. This year there were more hugs than usual, and as a result more oxytocin. The neurochemical that promotes connections in humans (and egg laying in turtles). So, for me the take home message was the reminder that we should be sure oxytocin is in our conservation toolbox.

SUFB:What is your best advice for a young scientist looking to get into the field of Sea Turtle Conservation?

J: We did a “speed chatting” session again this year where scientists with a few years under their belts get to chat with students and others with questions or ideas to share. The overwhelming sense I got from those few dozen short conversations is that young scientists are looking to do work that matters.

The advice I gave all revolved around connecting with the people, not just the sea turtles, that you work near. Whether they are shrimpers in Louisiana or coastal residents in Costa Rica. Also the importance of staying, committing and working for a decade in a place and with specific people if you hope to experience the fruits of your work. The academic/esearch system isn’t really designed to do that, with the normal cycles of grants and degree-getting, so it takes some assertive effort.

SUFB:What can the average person do to help save the Sea Turtles?

J: There are no average people. And everyone is connected to the ocean, wherever they are. The ocean is downstream of our entire economy. Other than that, I really don’t like to answer this question. If you’ve read this far, you probably already know what you can do for sea turtles. Do it.

Sea-Turtles-on-St-Thomas-585x227

Overall it seems the symposium was a great reunion for the turtle geeks of the world, filled with hugs, sharing of information, strategy and even emotional hardships. After reading an article about the previous years symposium (written by a first timer) it seems turtle conservationists are a tight knit global community with one mission, save the sea turtles! Surely a symposium that should not be passed up in the future if you conduct sea turtle research, volunteer work, activism, conservationism or just plain love sea turtles!

You can watch Dr. Wallace J Nichols TEDx talk on Exploring our Blue Mind here!

Do you have any questions about Sea Turtles and their protection/what you can do to help? Feel free to share them in our comments section and we will do our best to answer them! Chances are you aren’t the only one with that question!

 

Is Australia’s Heat Wave Linked to ENSO?

By | Ocean News | No Comments

 

Climate change is something we’ve all heard about, and have hopefully accepted as fact.  Major scientific agencies around the globe are in agreement the climate is changing and it has been greatly influenced by an increase in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases, etc.).  There have been record breaking temperatures found around the globe, changes in rainfall severe storms, heat waves, melting glaciers, not to mention ocean warming, acidification and sea level rise.

art-weather-620x349The most recent example of this has been seen in Australia, where their weather forecast chart had to add new colors! Pinks and purples now show up on Australian weather charts to show extreme heat (right).  How extreme?  Previously Australia’s top color (burnt orange to black) indicated 50℃ (for those in America, that’s a whopping 122℉). These new colors represent temperatures from 51-54℃ (≈124-130℉), which forecasters believe to be possible in certain parts of the country.

Beyond the areas predicted for extreme heat, the entire country has been going through the longest and hottest heat wave on record (which have been taken since 1910).  On December 7th the entire countries average temperature was Australia_wildfires_1-6-2013_NASA_Terra-e135790803297740.33℃ (105℉), and they have had 7 consecutive days where the average temperature was above 39℃ (102℉)— the previous record was only 4 days.  This heat wave has caused many wildfires throughout the country, with nearly 741,000 acres burned as of January 8th! The image is a NASA satellite picture taken on Jan 6th showcasing all the wildfires!

What is to blame??? Unusual climate, the ocean, or both?
Generally the northern Australian monsoon season arrives in December and lasts through March, these months may vary in different areas of Australia.  As the heatwave shows, the monsoon season has not arrived when it normally should. Could this be due to an El Niño Southern Oscillation (aka ENSO) event?

What is an ENSO Event?
An ENSO event is influenced by warming ocean waters in the Pacific. To put it simply, changes in the atmosphere and ocean circulation lead to warmer than normal Pacific Ocean temperatures, increased cloudiness, weaker trade winds, and low SOI (Southern Oscillation Index) values (focused in the central and eastern tropical Pacific).  The SOI is just a mathematical representation of pressure differences at sea level between Darwin Australia and Tahiti which indicate the development of ENSO events.  The picture below is a great explanation if you are a bit confused.  An El Niño event typically occurs every 3 to 7 years.

el-nino2

What does this have to do with climate?
These events effect not only Australia, but the entire world, influencing temperatures and precipitation worldwide.  How? Sea Surface temperatures actually have a great influence on rainfall, which in turn effects wind patterns. A warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture. When there is an extreme high or low sea surface temperature it can alter the normal rain and wind patterns, leading to unusually wet and cold or hot and dry conditions. These events are natural sources of climate variation and are monitored to ensure people are ready for the extreme temperatures, flooding and droughts they can bring to the world.

What do the Experts think?
The Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society currently say that we are El Niño Neutral for Spring 2013, but Summer is still up in the air.  These conditions were also not seen during December 2012, meaning the extreme weather in Australia is not due to an El Niño event and natural climate variation.  Instead this weather has been brought on by our own changes to the climate.

If extreme El Niño-esque weather conditions can now occur separately from El Niño events, then what will El Niño events look like in the future?  What does this mean for our climate worldwide?

 

Salt Marsh: Study Says They Are In Trouble!

By | Ocean News | No Comments

plum_island_salt_marsh_broken_e360

Following a long-term study on the effects of nutrient enrichment in salt marshes, lead researcher Linda Deegan of Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory finds that nutrient loading (adding more nutrients than are naturally there) may actually lead to the decimation of salt marshes along the U.S East Coast.   It was previously thought that the marshes could withstand the pressures of increased nitrogen or phosphorous from fertilizers or septic systems, but this study shows that may be a misconception.

What exactly is a salt marsh?

salt_marshFor those that may not know,  salt marshes are one of the most productive coastal ecosystems on earth!  They can be found on every coast in North America , and in the mid to high latitudes worldwide.  They are the northern equivalent of a mangrove ecosystem.  Usually located in estuaries, mouths of bays and other low impact coastal wetland areas, they serve as the major intertidal transition zone between the sea and land.  These systems are known by their network of channels, and abundance of grasses, mostly cordgrasses (Spartina sp.)

estuar06a1_649

Why should we care?

“Salt marshes have not always been regarded as valuable resources. Over half of our original salt marshes in the United States have been destroyed, many of them between 1950 and the mid-1970s. Most of that destruction was due to filling of marshes to create more land area for homes, industry and agriculture. Other losses were caused by ditching for mosquito control and diking to create impoundments. ” –Dr. Elizabeth Wenner, Marine Resources Research Institute

Salt marshes help humans in ways we don’t often think about.

First of all, they help protect us by acting as a buffer, dampening the blow from bad storms by preventing erosion and reducing flooding.  It has been showcased recently what can happen when salt marshes are reduced or removed in the devastation observed from hurricanes Sandy and KatrinaThe areas that were hit the hardest from these storms were areas that were marshes but have been long filled in and developed.

Secondly, they act as nurseries, hideouts and refuges for a wide variety of animals including about 75% of pivotal fisheries species.  Without salt marshes, there would be a serious decrease in both commercial and recreational fish and crustacean stocks, adding to the already pressured fishing industry.

Lastly, and most important to this study, they act as a filter, removing the toxins and pollutants from runoff before the water reaches the ocean.

This last service that salt marshes provide us as a water treatment plant, may lead to it’s demise according to the study by Linda Deegan and associates.  After nine years of studying the direct effects of nutrients on salt marshes by actually introducing them into the system and investigating their effects, it is apparent that the addition of nitrates into the system alters the framework that holds a salt marsh together: the grasses and roots.

gallery_deegan_slumping_marsh_creek

In addition to a process known in the agricultural world as lodging, where the plant grows too tall and spindly eventually falling over, the increased nutrients lead to a decrease in root growth.  The salt marsh grasses put most of their effort into growth, instead of stabilization and the increased nutrients sped up the decomposition rates below the ground.  This eventually (results were seen in about 4 to 5 years) caused the root system to break apart in the areas closest to water, forming “cracks in the marshes” which eventually grew bigger and collapsed into the mud. (seen above)

This study is a reminder that even the most resilient ecosystems are being effected by pollution and runoff. What do you think increased nutrients will do to systems that do not have the resilience of salt marshes?  What do you do to decrease your nutrient loads to the environment?

Let us know in the comments below

5 Ways to Seriously Reduce Your Plastic Pollution

By | Ocean Solutions | 19 Comments

 

Plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic……. it seems to be all we are hearing about lately.  With advice from all over the place on how to reduce or reuse your plastics, all the information can get a bit overwhelming!  One article I found offered 51 ways to reduce plastic use!  I don’t know about you, but trying to keep in mind 51 things to do on a daily basis is a daunting task for me.  To make things a little easier and more manageable, we have come up with the top 5 ways that you can reduce your plastic use that have the highest impact on the ocean, beyond saying no to the plastic bag!

ocean_polluted_garbage1) Ditch one time use water bottles!

Instead of buying cases upon cases of disposable water bottles to bring with you wherever you go, buy one or two re-useable water bottles (metal ones reduce your plastic impact even more!).  Don’t like the taste of the water in your area?  No more excuses! There are portable, quick filters made for your water bottle  to give you the fresh taste of filtered water wherever you are!  These filters are even eco-friendly with recycled packaging and the filters are 100% bio-degradable!  The best part….it is a fraction of the cost of bottled water! (Note this does not purify water from contaminants, just makes it taste better)

Plastic Pollution

2) Buy a pack of re-useable produce bags!  That’s right they make mesh, cotton, or hemp material bags to pack your produce in.  Say goodbye to those annoying plastic bag rolls at the grocery store and hello to re-useable bags that can help keep your produce fresh longer and are machine washable in case something does go bad in them!  You can even make your own!!

straws

3) Ditch one time use straws!

Plastic straws are one of the number one items picked up on beach cleanups (in my experience) except for cigarette butts (gross huh?).  There are many alternatives to having a straw.  On the go they can be more convenient, so buy a drink tumbler that come with straws.  Who knows they may even fill it up for you at the drive-thru window if you ask nicely?  At your own home you could either buy re-useable plastic straws, or to be even more ocean friendly, glass or metal straws!

foam-cups-day296-june21-2012

4) Ditch one time use coffee cups!

That’s right, styrofoam is a different form of plastic that is just as bad for the ocean.  Invest in a re-useable coffee mug and ask your favorite coffee shop if they will fill it up for you instead of their one time use cups.  Many coffee shops and gas stations even sell their own versions that you can fill up for a discounted price!  Chances are if the coffee shop says no, they’e probably not so environmentally friendly and you might want to find a new favorite place!  Even better, make your own coffee at home!  A french press or presspot is a great alternative to the standard coffee maker, making rich coffee-shop quality coffee right at home with the only waste product being the coffee grounds themselves (which are great for gardening and compost)!

ht_KamiloBeach_080326_mn

5) RE-USE Plastic Product Packaging!

Many products are sold in re-useable plastic containers that are identical to the re-useable plastic tupperware found in most households.  Instead of throwing these containers in the recycle bin when you are finished with them, throw them in your dishwasher!  Wash and re-use them over and over again.  They make a great alternative to zip-loc bags, keeping your sandwiches squish free! They last a long time and will save you money in buying new tuppeware, because lets face it, tuppeware lids are one of those things that enjoys getting lost, like one of your favorite socks in the dryer!  You could even bring these when you go out to eat to put your leftovers in.  To reduce your plastic use even more, look for and buy the same products sold in glass containers, and re-use those as well!

The bottom line is that the oceans are filled with garbage.  Some of it carelessly left on the beaches and washed into the waves, others carried by the wind from landfills, and even more depressing thrown out of a car or boat.  Do your part to help reduce this garbage and always remember to hold onto your garbage until you can properly dispose of it, or be creative and find a new use for it!

To learn more about the weird things that end up on beaches and the price of plastic pollution check out these links below!

Dr. Sylvia Earle and Sir David Attenborough Talk Plastic

Ted Jones: The Economic Injustice of Plastic

 

The 36 Most Ridiculous Things Found on New Jersey Beaches

The Daily Ocean: 365 NON-CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF COLLECTING, WEIGHING, AND DOCUMENTING BEACH TRASH

If you love these ideas and or already practice them then check out these other suggestions!

16 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste

How to Cut Your Use of Plastic

How to Turn 8,000 Plastic Bottles into a Building!

Making Beautiful Art out of Beach Plastic

 

Share your own ways that you reduce your plastic use with us in the comments section below!  

 

A New Take on Whale Conservation

By | Ocean News | No Comments

 

Have you ever wondered what the sound of a dolphin or whale would look like?  Well Mark Fischer of Aguasonic Acustics did just that.  By taking the recordings of dolphins and whales and applying the mathematical theory of wavelets he transforms the sounds into works of art.  Each different color represents a different frequency, with reds representing low frequency, greens and blues are medium, and violets show the highest frequencies.  “It’s a kind of photography to me,” Fischer says, “with mathematics as the lens and the computer as the camera.” He calls the result “the shape of the sound.”

Why should conservationists care?

This method of representing the shape of cetacean sounds has never been seen before.  It shows the complexities within each call and accentuates the differences and variety of calls between and among species.  These complexities were never seen before due to 255px-Akhumps_128_016_0_500cthe fact that sinusoidal waves (left), instead of wavelets, were being analyzed.  “Mr Fischer said he hopes his work will highlight the importance of sound to whales and dolphins and the amount of sound pollution being emitted by commercial ships.”  He also sells his work through whale song art, which donates 1% of their profits to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

This artist is using his own techniques to present and protect these amazing creatures, without having any background in marine conservation, just a passion for the animals and the unique sounds they make.  It goes to show that any person, with any background can contribute to the science of marine conservation.  Everyone has a certain skill, and most, if not all, can be applied to marine conservation in ways we haven’t even imagined yet!

Here’s a sampling of some of his cetacean work below.  You can check out all the images, including his other work on insects and birds on his website

 

White-Beaked Dolphin
White beaked dolphin

 

Northern Minke Whale

minke whale

 

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin

spotted dolphin

 

Humpback Whale

humpback whale

 

Blue Whale

blue whale

 

False Killer Whale

false killer whale

 

Cachalot (more commonly known as the Sperm Whale)

sperm whale

 

“Each sound has a unique and specific significance for the continuance of life in every ecosystem, and so every sound is a piece of art” -Mark Fischer