Ocean Currents

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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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About Matt Love

As a Senior Conservation Biologist-GIS Specialist, Matt tracks what research is being done in the Gulf of Mexico and compiles data to make maps of the marine world to support Ocean Conservancy’s goal of protecting the Gulf. He grew up in coastal Alabama where he developed a fascination with the wet part of world while surfing (yes, it is possible in the Gulf) and doing everything requiring a boat! Now, he also battles ocean acidification, global warming and his own mortality by commuting, racing and traveling by bicycle.

A Road Map for Ensuring BP Dollars are Well Spent in the Gulf

Posted On August 1, 2016 by

For many people, buying a house or a car is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. Which is why you hire an appraiser or mechanic to inspect that house or car before you sign the contract—you want peace of mind that it’s a good investment.

The principle is pretty much the same whether you’re spending $28,000 or $20 billion. Last year BP agreed to pay more than $20 billion to the American people to help recover from the impacts caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. This week the National Academy of Sciences published a report with recommendations that will help ensure the $20 billion is well spent.

The report walks through how to build a monitoring program that will ensure we are getting what we pay for when we invest in Gulf restoration projects, such as rebuilding important marsh and dune habitats that were devastated by the oil. Or, restoration projects that provide first responder services for bottlenose dolphins that are still exhibiting health problems from the oil. Or, projects that protect Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which were oiled in the disaster.

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Taking the Pulse of the Gulf

Posted On December 1, 2015 by

Today Ocean Conservancy released a new report, Charting the Gulf: Analyzing the Gaps in Long-term Monitoring. As one of the authors of this report, I’ve had the privilege of collecting information and meeting with scientists from around the Gulf to compile a comprehensive view of their work, and it’s my hope that this will make the jobs of those scientists and other Gulf leaders much easier by providing a map of existing information for restoring the Gulf.

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Postcards from Florida

Posted On May 15, 2015 by

In honor of the 5-year memorial of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Ocean Conservancy interviewed residents about the spill, its impacts and what the Gulf means to them. Over the next 87 days—the length of the spill itself—we will be releasing “postcards from the Gulf” to share their stories. This blog is the third of a four-part series featuring some of the full-length interviews from our postcards.  Be sure to follow Ocean Conservancy on Facebook and Twitter over the next couple of months to see all of the postcards.

The headlines we often hear about the Gulf of Mexico can get you down, from oil disasters to ocean acidification and coastal pollution. But it gives me hope to see young leaders of the next generation recognize the value of sustaining a healthy Gulf. Cole Kolasa, a high school student on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is one of the young leaders of tomorrow, who I believe embodies the spirit of the next generation that will alter the course of history and begin to restore the actions of the past. This is what he has to say about his Gulf of Mexico. 

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BP: Return on Investment Includes Cost of Business

Posted On January 26, 2015 by

Every day we monitor the health of our economy through indicators such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ or S&P 500. We are able to understand the trends in our economy through the long-term values of these indicators. Decisions are made each day based on these trends and affect every aspect of our lives. Very few business leaders would dare conduct business without analyzing these indices.

The ocean is an important driver of our economy and a major player in our ability to thrive. It provides the oxygen we breathe. It controls the weather systems that produce our food and the marine systems that sustain much of the biological wealth of this planet. The health of the ocean is immensely important, yet we conduct business every day without knowing the changes or trends in the ocean’s health.

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Interview: Dr. Bill Montevecchi on Oil and Dispersant Effects on Birds Wintering in the Gulf of Mexico

Posted On January 9, 2014 by

Dr. Montevecchi applying a tracking device to a northern gannet at its northernmost oceanic colony site, Funk Island, Newfoundland, Canada. [Photo: Stefan Garthe]

(This blog is part of a series of interviews with scientists who are championing marine research in the Gulf of Mexico.)

Dr. Bill Montevecchi is a professor of psychology, biology and ocean sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He conducts long-term interdisciplinary ecosystem research on the behavioral ecology of marine and terrestrial birds, especially environmental influences on animal behavior and ecology. His study of migrating northern gannets, among other things, demonstrates that what happens in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t only affect the Gulf. Gannets are monogamous for life, and though mates travel independently during the nonbreeding season and may have round-trip migrations of 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) or more,  they then return to their Canadian nest site where the partners reunite the following spring. A substantial proportion of the northern gannet population winters in the Gulf of Mexico, many in the vicinity of the area oiled by BP.

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Interview: Dr. Blair Witherington on Oil’s Impact on Turtles in the Gulf of Mexico

Posted On December 23, 2013 by

Dr. Witherington with an oiled Kemp’s ridley turtle in the Gulf of Mexico.

(This blog is part of a series of interviews with scientists who are championing marine research in the Gulf of Mexico.)

A research scientist with more than 24 years of experience in sea turtle biology and conservation, Dr. Blair Witherington has worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute since 1992. He is also an adjunct assistant professor, department of zoology, University of Florida; served as president of the 20th International Sea Turtle Symposium; and is vice chair of the Northwest Atlantic region of the Marine Turtle Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He has authored or contributed to more than 40 scientific articles, monographs and book chapters. In addition, he has written five books on sea turtles and other natural history subjects.

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster had an immediate and particularly harmful effect on early juvenile sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. The worst marine oil spill in history also served to highlight a compelling need for assessments of open-sea habitats – research critically lacking in 2010, yet essential for conservation efforts and restoration planning.

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Interview: Dr. John Incardona on Oil’s Heartbreaking Impact on Fish and What it Means for Gulf Restoration

Posted On December 17, 2013 by

(This blog is part of a series of interviews with scientists who are championing marine research in the Gulf of Mexico.)

Dr. John Incardona is an ecotoxicologist and researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northwest Fisheries Science Center who spent much of his childhood in the Gulf of Mexico. Trained as a physician, he did his postdoctoral research into human birth defects, which eventually led him to study how chemicals affect fish embryos. He found that specific chemicals in crude oil are toxic to the hearts of developing zebrafish – a major finding with implications for assessing the health of wild fish before and after large-scale disasters. Ocean Conservancy talked with Dr. Incardona about his work and the new research tools that could be put to use in the Gulf and elsewhere.
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