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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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10 Things to Know about Penguins

Posted On April 25, 2016 by

Adelie penguin

This blog was written by Roger Di Silvestro, a field correspondent for Ocean Conservancy.

The tuxedo seems to have two separate origins. Why the fashion industry came up with the tux, and why it hasn’t vanished with the top hat, is tough to say. But why penguins evolved into tuxedo-wearing birds is pretty clear: The white belly makes them harder to spot when viewed in water from below against the surface of a sunlit sea, and the black back does the same against the dark ocean surface. It’s all about tricking predators. The survival of this monochromatic color scheme in all 17 penguin species is a measure of how well it has worked in nature’s often-unforgiving game of survival.

Here are ten other fun facts to know about penguins.

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Introducing the National Aquarium’s 48 Days of Blue

Posted On April 22, 2016 by

Did you know that more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water? As we celebrate Earth Day today, we want to pay a special tribute to the ocean!

The ocean is almost 4 billion years old. More than just a pleasant attribute, the ocean is responsible for controlling our climate and supporting our continued survival here on Earth. Their mere existence is what separates us from every other planet in our solar system.

In the 48 days between Earth Day (April 22) and World Oceans Day (June 8), help the National Aquarium give something back to our amazing, life-sustaining blue planet!

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Inspiring the Next Generation of Ocean Advocates to Leave Their Mark

Posted On April 18, 2016 by

Most college students like me are familiar with the all-too-common rollercoaster: late nights spent pondering the future, deciding how to leave our proverbial mark on the world. We feel weightless as the pieces of one puzzle seem to fall into place, but then watch miserably as those visions crumble, battered by new uncertainties.

But I have known of my purpose for years: to save the ocean.

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What Do We Actually Know About the Ecological Impacts of Marine Debris?

Posted On March 31, 2016 by

The following is a guest blog from Dr. Chelsea Rochman, who is currently serving as a Smith Postdoctoral Fellow in Conservation Biology.

For decades, we have heard concerns regarding the entanglement of marine mammals and sea turtles in marine debris. We see images of seabirds, turtles and whales washing up with bellies full of trash. And more recently, we see constant media attention on microplastics—small pieces of plastic debris less than five millimeters in size. Marine debris is everywhere. It is reported from the poles to the equator and from the surface to the seafloor. It has been recorded in tens of thousands of individual animals encompassing nearly 600 species.

With such vast and abundant contamination, comes a perception that marine debris is a large threat to the ecology of our ocean. As part of a working group at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) facilitated by Ocean Conservancy and focused on marine debris, I worked with a group of scientists to ask if the weight of evidence demonstrating impacts matched the weight of this concern? The findings of our analysis have just been published.

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World Whale Day: 6 Things to Know About Whales

Posted On February 13, 2016 by

This blog was written by Roger Di Silvestro, a field correspondent for Ocean Conservancy.

As Valentine’s Day nears, let’s interrupt our thoughts about love, roses, and chocolates and turn to a closely related subject: whales.

Yes, whales.

Before there is a Valentine’s Day, there is World Whale Day—a celebration of some of the planet’s most-fascinating, well-loved, and yet elusive creatures, looming large in the popular imagination but still in many ways a scientific mystery. Established on Maui in 1980 to remind people about whales, their lives, and their plight, World Whale Day has been celebrated ever since with parades and various whale-focused events.

In recognition of World Whale Day, here are 6 facts about some of the largest animals that ever lived.

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Lessons From the Mediterranean About Ocean Acidification

Posted On August 26, 2015 by

Today’s guest blog comes from Jason Hall-Spencer — a Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom. His research spans seamount ecology, fisheries , ocean acidification, aquaculture and conservation. He’s also working on marine protected area design using satellite vessel monitoring for fisheries management. He does his fieldwork all over the world, at volcanic CO2 vents in the Mediterranean, coral reefs in the Arctic, the NE Atlantic, and off Papua New Guinea. Follow him on Twitter at @jhallspencer.

In 2006, when I first heard about ocean acidification, I started running expeditions near underwater volcanoes in the Mediterranean where CO2 bubbles up through the sea floor, acidifying large areas for centuries. We have found similar ecosystem shifts at all the seeps, so I am now convinced that ocean acidification will bring change.  In a recent article I attempt to put this topic into context, focusing on two major causes of change – the corrosive effects of CO2, and the way the extra carbon is used as a resource.

Here’s what we’ve noticed about the sea life around those natural CO2 seeps in the Mediterranean: algae seems to thrive, whereas animals with calcium carbonate shells—like plankton—dissolve away. We see a lot of brown seaweeds on the seafloor, and they often overwhelm slower-growing competitors like corals. Although life is abundant at CO2 seeps, there is far less diversity than we see elsewhere.

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A Lobsterman’s Thoughts on the Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm Project

Posted On July 25, 2015 by

Offshore wind energy. Credit: Shutterstock user Dennis van de Water

Next week, the country’s first offshore wind farm will begin construction in Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is a five turbine, 30-megawatt renewable energy development off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. This project has moved forward in record time, thanks to an ocean planning process that took into consideration the views of many ocean users including fishermen to ensure the best possible outcome for Rhode Island, its residents, and businesses.

Below is a Q&A with Bill McElroy, a lobsterman and the Chairman of the Fisheries Advisory Board for Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council, which is the entity that initiated the Ocean SAMP.

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