The Beacon

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

Ocean Roundup: Giant Clam Could Inspire Solar Technology, Thousands of Seamounts Discovered, and More

The giant clam could influence solar technology

A giant clam (Tridacna gigas) in the Maldives. Giant clams could influence new solar technology. (Photo: Malcolm Browne / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Improvements in radar satellite technology have allowed scientists to discover thousands of underwater seamounts around the world. The scientists say this discovery is important for fisheries management and conservation since wildlife tends to congregate around these seamounts. BBC News


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Photos: Oil Spill in Chile’s Quintero Bay Affects Local Wildlife, Fisheries

Nearly 800 gallons of oil spilled in Chile's Quintero Bay

Oiled seawater near the Monobuoy Terminal in Chile. (Photo: Oceana / Claudio Almarza)

Last week, nearly 800 gallons of oil spilled into Quintero Bay, Chile at the Monobuoy Terminal when intake hoses broke free from an oil tanker. The National Fishing and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) filed a criminal lawsuit against those responsible for the spill, and Oceana in Chile requested that the Environmental Superintendency (ES) conduct an investigation and claim responsibilities for the spill.


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Ocean Roundup: Crabs Found to Look Out for Corals, 35,000 Walruses Gather on Alaskan Beach, and More

Coral crab guards defend corals from sea stars

A crab of the genus Trapezia, which defends coral reefs from sea stars. (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that some coral may have natural “crab guards” that help them fight off predatory sea stars. Researchers found that coral off the island of Moorea in French Polynesia have a symbiotic relationship with these crabs, offering them shelter and nutrition in exchange for protection. Smithsonian


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Recent Marine Fossil Discoveries Provide Insight on Ancient Ocean Inhabitants

Ancient marine fossil discoveries provide insight on early oceans

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus skull, the first semi-aquatic dinosaur known to exist. (Photo: Didier Descouens / Wikimedia Commons)

It’s no surprise that the oceans are home to some of the most fascinating animals, from the massive blue whale, the world’s largest animal, to creatures like octopus and squid that can change their coloration instantly. But it’s not just modern-day ocean inhabitants that are awe-inspiring and sometimes frightening: Many of the oldest, extinct ocean creatures are just as impressive.


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Celebrate National Seafood Month with This Sustainable Recipe: Mussel Chowder

Mussel chowder is a sustainable seafood recipe

(Photo: Pete / Flickr Creative Commons)

October 1 kicks off National Seafood Month, a time to raise awareness for sustainable fisheries and celebrate the benefits of seafood in one’s diet. Oceana focuses on sustainable seafood all year long through various campaigns, from the Save the Oceans, Feed the World campaign—which advocates for rebuilding healthy fisheries for a growing global population to enjoy seafood meals—to Oceana’s Seafood Fraud campaign, which advocates for traceability and accurate labeling in the supply chain.


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Ocean Roundup: Oceans Get a “D’ for Ocean Health, Beluga Whale Population Faces “Catastrophe,” and More

Beluga whales are declining in the St. Lawrence River

A beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas). Beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River are declining. (Photo: Ansgar Walk / Wikimedia Commons) 

- The Ocean Health Index’s third annual ocean evaluation gave ocean health a “D,” or 67 out of 100. The researchers cite overfishing, pollution, climate change, and poor ocean protections as factors leading to the score, though they say many people expected the score to be worse. 


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Arctic Sea Ice Found to Play Bigger Role in Global Carbon Cycle Than Assumed, Study Says

Arctic sea ice may help absorb CO2

Arctic Ice. (Photo: Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard / U.S. Geological Survey / Flickr Creative Commons)

It comes as no surprise that Arctic sea ice melt has a range of ecological and economic consequences, from hastening sea level rise to disrupting food chains. Polar bears, for instance, are having to change their diets from seals, their preferred prey source, to other options like snow geese, while ice melt is unlocking trillions of frozen microplastics into the marine environment.


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Video: Rare Blue Whale Footage Captured Off California

Blue whale footage captured off Laguna Beach

Underwater footage of the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) off Laguna Beach. (Photo: Rich German / YouTube)

While paddling off Laguna Beach recently, one lucky paddle boarder was in the right place at the right time to spot an elusive blue whale—an endangered marine mammal that’s rarely spotted. With a GoPro in hand, he was able to catch underwater and surface footage of the elusive marine mammal for the rest of us to see (check out segments at 2:00, 3:36 and 5:04 minutes in to see the underwater footage). 


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Ocean Roundup: UN Sounds Alarm on Mangrove Disappearance, Brazil to Triple Marine Protected Areas, and More

A new UN report warns that mangroves are disappearing

Mangroves in Elbow Reef, Key Largo, Florida. The U.N. has issued a report warning about mangrove disappearance. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

- Brazil is planning to triple its Marine Protected Areas from 5.5 million hectares to over 17.5 million—a project that’s worth more than $18 million. The projected is intended to benefit the 43 million people who live along Brazil’s coast by securing a local food supply, maintaining water quality, and increasing coastal resilience. MercoPress


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Live Action Role-Play for the Baltic Sea: Finding New Ways to Address Environmental Troubles

Baltic Sea Role Play Raises Awareness for the Baltic Sea

Baltic Sea project manager, Hanna Paulomäki, being attacked by “Viking Zombies”at the Baltic Warriors event. (Photo: Oceana)

Earlier this month, Oceana in Europe’s Baltic Sea Project Manager Hanna Paulomäki attended an event in Finland that simulated “Viking Zomebies” as a way to raise awareness for the issues facing the Baltic Sea. In this article, originally published on Oceana in Europe’s blog, Paulomäki explains the goals of this role play in attracting a wider audience to care about the Baltic Sea. Take a look below to learn more.


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