The Beacon

Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.

Seaweed Spotlight: A Rare Glimpse into Beautiful Ocean Kelp Forests (Photos)

Kelp is a type of seaweed

Kelp (Laminaria ochroleuca) in the Gorringe Bank in the Atlantic, pictured during an Oceana Ranger Transoceanic Expedition. (Photo: Oceana / Juan Carlos Calvin)

Forest ecosystems are critical for the survival of terrestrial life, but did you know that such ecosystems exist in the oceans too?

Kelp, a type of seaweed, can form dense forests underwater. Known as kelp forests, they rank with coral reefs and estuaries for being one of the most important ocean ecosystems, home to thousands of species and vast biodiversity. Despite their ecological importance, kelp forests are often overlooked.


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Ocean Roundup: Methane Seeping from U.S. Atlantic Seafloor, Iceland’s Caught Scores of Endangered Fin Whales, and More

The U.S. Atlantic coast is seeping methane in 570 locations

Methane rising from the seafloor off Virginia. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr Creative Commons)

- According to a new report by the Assembly Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy, California is “woefully unprepared” for sea level rise. The report projects that agriculture, tourism, and fishing industries will be most impacted by sea level rise. Think Progress


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CEO Note: SeaChange Summer Party a Huge Success for the Oceans

Leonardo DiCaprio attended Oceana's SeaChange Party

Leonardo DiCaprio at SeaChange. (Photo: Oceana / Tom Vickers)

Last weekend I had the honor of recognizing award-winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio for his dedicated and generous support of ocean conservation. DiCaprio was Oceana’s guest of honor at our annual SeaChange Summer Party in Laguna Beach, California.


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Oceana Supports Recent European Commission Moves to End Overfishing

Ten EU Member States are receiving penalties for overfishing

Early morning trawling vessels in the Mediterranean. (Photo: Oceana / Juan Cuetos)

The European Commission (EC) recently announced that ten Member States will be penalized for exceeding fishing quotas in 2013. Oceana supports the deductions in order to reverse the damage done to overfished stocks, and denounces the Member States’ failure to emplace sound control measures.


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Ocean Roundup: Vaquita Porpoise Needs Swift Protection, Atlantic Ocean behind Global Warming Slow Down, and More

The vaquita will go extinct if North America doesn't cooperate to save it

A vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus), the most endangered marine mammal. (Photo: "Vaquita5 Olson NOAA" by Paula Olson, NOAA, Wikimedia Commons) 

- New research shows that the Atlantic and Southern Oceans may just be behind the slowdown of sea surface temperatures increases after years of rapid warming. Scientists say that heat-storing greenhouse gases have sunk to the depths of these oceans, and not the Pacific as previously assumed. The Guardian


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Dolphins and Whales Squeal like Children When They’re Happy, Study Says

Dolphins and whales squeal when they're happy

An Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis). A new study found that dolphins and whales “squeal with delight.” (Photo: Oceana)

As a child, you may remember squealing and screaming when you were excited about something. It turns out that humans aren’t the only species that gets noisy when they’re happy: New research shows that whales and dolphins “squeal with delight” to express glee, too.


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A Summer Reading List for Ocean Lovers: Ten Books to Read before Summer Ends

Summer reading list for ocean lovers

(Photo: Steve McFarland / Flickr Creative Commons)

Summer may be winding down, but there are still a few warm weeks left to enjoy some summer reading. As you make your last trips to the beach, there’s no better way to enjoy the coast than sitting down with an ocean-themed book.

We’ve rounded-up ten must-reads for ocean lovers, with topics ranging from sustainable fisheries to narwhal biology. Take a look below, and let us know about any other ocean-themed books you enjoyed this summer!


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Ocean Roundup: New Coral Reef Species Discovered, Seals Found to Spread Tuberculosis 6,000 Years Ago, and More

Fur seals may have spread tuberculosis 6,000 years ago

A Juan Fernández Fur Seal (Arctocephalus philippii). A new study says that seals may have spread tuberculosis 6,000 years ago. (Photo: Oceana)

- Seals may just be the culprit in having spread tuberculosis from Africa to the New World 6,000 years ago. A new study found that seals contracted the disease when they crawled ashore on African beaches to raise their young, and then brought it to South America, where hunters became exposed. The New York Times


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CITES Listing Countdown: Less Than One Month until Manta Rays are Protected

CITES will protect manta rays on September 14

A manta ray off the Philippines. (Photo: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr Creative Commons)

On September 14, 2014, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will add seven sharks and rays to Appendix II, meaning that global trade of these species will be restricted. At Oceana, we work to protect marine species from overexploitation every day, so we’re thrilled about the new listings. To celebrate, we’ll be spotlighting all seven species that are receiving protections on September 14 in a series of countdown blog posts on The Beacon.


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Offshore Wind Development Moves Closer to Reality in Maryland, North Carolina Thanks to BOEM

Maryland and North Carolina move forward with offshore wind

An offshore wind farm in the North Sea. (Photo: © MEDVIND / Bent Sørensen / DONG Energy  A/S)

Big news keeps rolling in for offshore wind this summer! Yesterday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held its third competitive lease sale off the coast of Maryland for an area that comprises 80,000 acres of the outer Continental Shelf. Sixteen offshore wind developers competed to win the rights to develop this clean energy in two sections in the North Lease Area (32,737 acres) and the South Lease Area (46,970 acres), which are both at least ten miles off the coast of Ocean City.


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