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.
Bright lights, shops bursting with souvenirs, the laughter of children, the smell of caramel popcorn complete with sunlight sparking rays off the emerald saltwater as America’s largest charter boat fishing fleet bobs in the marina—the “world’s luckiest fishing village” is open for business.
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.
There’s big news in the fight against invasive lionfish. This week, Representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida’s 26th District introduced a bill that would make more funding available for researchers studying lionfish in their invaded range. The bill directs the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award $1,500,000 in higher education grants to combat lionfish, including projects that help us learn about lionfish impacts and how to mitigate them.
In honor of this newly-introduced bill, we pulled together a refresher course on the lionfish invasion. Read on to see how lionfish are impacting the ecosystem (and what people are doing about it!)
Last week, some of the best and brightest women in conservation came together to discuss their experiences in the field. The Twitter chat, hosted by Ocean Conservancy in honor of International Women’s Day, emphasized the importance of encouraging young women interested in science and supporting fellow females in conservation. Dozens of participants shared stories, photos and advice about the thrills and challenges of being a woman in the industry.
I consider myself lucky to work at Ocean Conservancy for many reasons—not the least of which is the incredible, passionate group of female colleagues who inspire me to work my hardest every day, and have served as an amazing set of mentors in my professional life.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the important work done by Ocean Conservancy’s women in conservation. They’ve answered some questions about their professional experience, and offered their advice for anyone who may be looking to enter the field of conservation themselves!
Calling all ocean lovers: In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the fantastic females in the fields of science and conservation. Join us next Tuesday, March 8 to hear insights from women around the world (and contribute your own thoughts, too).
Tune in on Tuesday as we share questions throughout the day about what it’s like to be a women in the field, and share profiles of some of our own inspiring female scientists.