It’s not an easy life we lead. And by “we”, I mean the entirety of the male penguin population.
As a male Magellanic penguin, the complexities of my life escalate the second I turn four. In a few years’ time, I’m expected to find the mate I want to spend the rest of my life with, build a nest, father children, raise a family and on top of it all, manage to not get eaten by a sea lion. Or an orca.
In honor of Penguin Awareness Day (my second favorite holiday) I want to shed some insight into the rituals, habits and traits that make me, and my kind, the very best of mates. You just might learn something.
As Arctic sea ice continues to melt, the Bering Sea—including the narrow Bering Strait—is experiencing more and more ship traffic. As ship traffic increases, so too do the risks, including oil spills, vessel strikes on marine mammals, air pollution, discharge of wastes into the water, and production of underwater noise.
A new report, commissioned by Ocean Conservancy and conducted by Nuka Research and Planning Group LLC, evaluates the risks from vessel traffic in the Bering Strait.
The Bering Sea is used by millions of seabirds, and an array of marine mammals including whales, seals, walruses and polar bears. Alaska Native peoples who live near the Bering Sea depend on its fish and wildlife as a key source of food and to support cultural practices that date back millennia. And the Bering Sea is home to rich commercial fisheries: in 2014, five of the top 10 most valuable commercial fisheries in the United States were based in or near the Bering Sea.
In recent months, two young sperm whales stranded themselves along the coast of Louisiana. These events highlight the importance for quality health and diagnostic information for the marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. What could kill one of the greatest predators to ever exist on earth?
It’s 2017, and a suite of new standards and practices are now in place for vessels operating in Arctic and Antarctic waters. The new set of rules—called the Polar Code—is designed to increase ship safety and environmental protection in high-latitude waters. Adopted by a specialized agency of the United Nations called the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Polar Code sets standards for ship safety and for prevention of pollution from international shipping. The Polar Code took effect on January 1 of this year (with a one-year phase in period).
The Polar Code is so important because as sea ice continues to decline, the Arctic Ocean is becoming more accessible to vessel traffic. But as more ships operate in those remote and challenging waters, there are substantial safety and environmental risks—including possible impacts to food security of Arctic indigenous peoples.
When it comes to iconic ocean animals, seabirds are often overlooked. But seabirds, or birds that make their living primarily from the ocean, are a crucial part of marine ecosystems. From the tiny least storm petrel to the massive wandering albatross, seabirds consume an estimated 7% of ocean productivity and are an important food source for marine and terrestrial predators.
In honor of National Bird Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate five fascinating seabirds.
For many of us, the ocean is a place of hope—it inspires us and supports us and in turn, we work hard to protect it. 2016 has been quite a year, full of ups and downs. But when it comes to the ocean, 2016 was a year of fantastic victories that remind us what is possible when we come together in support of our ocean, and give us hope for our ocean’s future.