The Beacon

Whales Found to be Crucial for Healthy Ocean Ecosystems

Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus)

Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus). (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons  / Scott Portelli)

In June, researchers found that whale poo is highly beneficial to marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean since it is rich in iron. Now, new findings show that whales’ contribution to the sea goes far beyond just their excrements.


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Video: Disco Clam Lights up the Sea Floor

Disco clams reflect light from their lips

Disco Clam (Ctenoides ales). (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Jayvee Fernandez)

The vast ocean can appear foreboding and intimidating, but one little bivalve is lighting things up on the seafloor. The appropriately-named “disco clam” is a small mollusk that’s able to flash an array of neon lights from its lips.


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Global Issue of Marine Plastics is Gathering Significant Media Attention

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) nearing a plastic bag

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) nearing a plastic bag. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Bag Monster) 

From the straws in your fountain drink to the soles of our shoes, plastics are a part of our daily lives, and we’re surrounded by them without often realizing it. Unfortunately, as plastic waste makes its way from our households to our oceans, fish and other marine organisms are not only surrounded by plastics too, but ingesting it.


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Oceana Launches Underwater ReefCam in the Caribbean

A coral reef community

Reef community (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen) 

Want to stay connected to the underwater world even when you’re not out diving or at the beach? Now you can catch a glimpse of coral reef communities all day long with Oceana’s new ReefCam. Through a partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands Center for Marine and Environmental Studies, Oceana has launched live-feed video footage that captures marine animals as they swim and forage around near-shore reefs off of St. Thomas.


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Photos: Spanish Supreme Court Approves Offshore Drilling around the Canary Islands

Offshore drilling in the Canary Islands will harm marine species.

A male barred hogfish (Bodianus scrofa) pictured in Spain during a 2009 Ranger Expedition. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Carlos Suarez)

Last week, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled in favor of oil drilling in the Canary Islands. The ruling approves permits for Repsol, a Spanish multinational oil and gas company, to search for hydrocarbons on the eastern coastlines of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote islands. This project will harm up to 25 marine areas and 82 protected species that were documented by Oceana during its expedition in this zone.


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Chile Announces New Policy Against Illegal Fishing

Chilean Jack Mackerel (Trachurus murphyi)

Chilean Jack Mackerel (Trachurus murphyi). (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen)

During the “Our Ocean” conference held in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, the Chilean government announced a new national policy to fight Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing, as well as their commitment to the New York agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks—a move that gives the Chilean Navy increased resources to conduct enforcement operations in the high seas.


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Photos: Happy Cephalopod Week!

Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) photographed in Portugal

Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) photographed in Portugal during a 2011 Oceana Ranger Expedition. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

You may have heard of the elusive vampire squid, a species that emits mucus covered in bioluminescence to trick its predators, or the dumbo octopus, the deepest-living of all the octopus species. Creepy and otherworldly as they may seem, each of these spineless creatures plays an important role in ocean ecosystems.


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Creature Feature: Day Octopus

Day octopus (Octopus Cyanea) photographed in Kona, Hawaii.

Day octopus (Octopus Cyanea) photographed in Kona, Hawaii. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Peter Liu Photography)

In honor of cephalopod week, which celebrates squid, octopus, nautiluses, and cuttlefish all over the world, we’re taking a close look at one of the cephalopod family’s finest masters of disguise: the day octopus. This clever invertebrate has an extraordinary ability to camouflage, making it stand out among its fellow mollusks.


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Photos: A Beautiful Glimpse into Denmark’s Little Belt

Goldsinny-wrasse in Little Belt

Goldsinny-wrasse (Ctenolabrus rupestris) swims past sponges (Haliclona oculata), plumose anemones (Metridium senile) and brown algae in Little Belt during a 2013 Baltic Coastal expedition. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Minguell / Flickr)

Tucked between the Jutland mainland and the island of Fyn lies Denmark’s Little Belt: a marine strait composed of lagoons and common eelgrass beds that’s home to a diverse array of marine life. The southern part of Little Belt is protected under Europe’s Natura 2000 network—a network of protected areas that form the backbone of marine protection in the European Union—but a northern region remains unprotected and exposed to pollution, mussel dredging, and fisheries bycatch.


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Video: Bottlenose Dolphins Surf Australia’s Waves Better than the Pros

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops)

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops) (Photo: Oceana)

Bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Western Australia are stealing the spotlight from Aussie surfers, and are proving that humans aren’t the only ones capable of catching that perfect wave.


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