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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy


AT RISK: The 8 Ocean Parks Threatened by Trump’s Executive Orders

Posted On April 28, 2017 by

In his first 100 days, President Trump announced two separate Executive Orders that put at risk special places on land and in the sea.

On April 28, 2017, he announced the Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, which takes aim at America’s marine monuments and sanctuaries.

All marine monuments and sanctuaries established or expanded in the last 10 years are under review:

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Different Pole, Same Problem: Plastic Pollution in Antarctica’s Ocean

Posted On April 28, 2017 by

Another study has just come out—revealing that plastic pollution has been discovered in deep-sea sediments and surface waters in the Antarctic marine ecosystem. The similarities between this research and the study I wrote about earlier in the week on plastics in the Arctic are very troubling.

Plastic pollution has now been documented in both Polar Regions on Earth. In addition to being the most remote, least populated areas on the planet, the Arctic and Antarctic are critically sensitive regions, currently being affected by increasing water temperatures and decreasing sea ice due to climate change.

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Big News for Little Fish

Posted On April 27, 2017 by

I have another exciting update in the world of fisheries management.

Last year, I wrote about a ruling by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect forage fish in offshore waters on the West Coast. This was a BIG deal, and was made possible in part by the Ocean Conservancy activists and other conservationists who sent 100,000 letters to NMFS in support of these protections. I also mentioned our goal to secure a follow-up effort by California to take corresponding action to protect forage in nearshore waters.

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Plastic Pollution is Threatening the Arctic

Posted On April 26, 2017 by

Scientists are learning more about the threats microplastics pose to our ocean. Photo credit: NOAA

Last week, a new study published in in the journal Science Advances found that the Arctic Ocean is accumulating high concentrations of plastics―specifically in the Greenland and Barents seas. I wanted to share with you why this study is so alarming, what it means for the health of the ocean and how you can help. Here are five things you need to know from the new study. 

The trash traveled a long way

The accumulation of plastic in the Arctic region is almost certainly not caused by local populations. Instead, it’s carried in from distant regions by currents in the Atlantic Ocean—a sort of “plastic conveyor belt,” as the researchers put it—which culminates in Arctic waters.  Researchers found that the Arctic plastic was tiny, weathered and aged, indicating that it had been traveling the seas for decades, fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces along the way. The study didn’t document much plastic in the Arctic Ocean beyond the Greenland and Barents seas, again suggesting that currents—or the ‘conveyer belt’—carried the debris to Arctic waters.

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5 Surprising Facts About Penguins

Posted On April 25, 2017 by

From the iconic emperor to the quirky macaroni, penguins are some of the most charismatic (and well-dressed) ocean animals. In honor of World Penguin Day, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite penguin facts to celebrate these captivating birds. So sit back, enjoy and be sure to share your favorite penguin trivia with your friends!

They come in all sizes.

Fitting to its name, the largest penguin in the world is the emperor penguin, which can reach up to four feet tall and weigh almost 85 pounds. Conversely, the little blue penguin (also known as the fairy penguin) reaches only 15 inches and just three pounds, making it the smallest of all the penguin species. You can find the emperor in the frigid Antarctic, while the little blue sticks to the shores of Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. Generally, smaller penguin species stick to milder climates, where larger penguin species are found in colder climates where their body mass can help them survive the harsh temperatures.

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How an Argument Led to a Big Discovery: An Interview with USGS Scientist Kim Yates

Posted On April 24, 2017 by

Dr. Kim Yates, research oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Survey. Credit: Benjamin Drummond for Ocean Conservancy.

The Ocean Conservancy ocean acidification team has spent time in Florida over the past year talking with fishermen and scientists to better understand how changes in ocean chemistry are affecting Florida’s coastal communities and its marine resources, including its iconic coral reefs and fish. On our most recent visit, we interviewed Dr. Kim Yates, an oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Survey, who is an expert on ocean acidification impacts on coral reef ecosystems about vanishing sea floors and how arguing with a boat captain led her to a major scientific discovery.

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Why I Support the March for Science

Posted On April 21, 2017 by

Tomorrow, thousands of people around the world will take to the streets for the March for Science. It’s a strange concept—why is it important to come together and support science? To find out, I sat down with Ocean Conservancy’s President, Andreas Merkl, and asked why ocean science is so important to him, why he’s marching and why a British explorer and a Czech monk are his science heroes.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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