The Beacon: Andy Sharpless's blog
Off the coast of Ft. Lauderdale lies a 36-acre pile of tires - two million of them to be exact. Could it be the final resting place of the infamous Firestone recall of 2000? Not exactly. The area is actually Osbourne Reef - a man made reef that's been around since the `70s. At first glance, it looks more like a sea of tires than a marine habitat. But upon closer inspection...yup, still a sea of tires.
As William Nuckols, project coordinator and military liaison for Coastal America, explained on NPR last week, the man-made reef is a total failure. Marine life often thrives in other ocean debris, like sunken ships and old military aircrafts, but this hasn't been the case with the tires. Instead, hurricanes sweep through the area, picking up the tires and crashing them back down, killing the same creatures they are suppose to support.
Now Florida officials are calling on Navy salvage divers to remove the tires, a process that will likely take several years. Hopefully, the next time we set out to mess with the oceans this gaffe will serve as a reminder that we're just not as smart as Mother Nature.
Listen to the full broadcast here.
Four months ago, a fisherman found a baby bottlenose dolphin tangled in the buoy line of a crab trap near Cape Canaveral. "Winter" is just one of hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds that are caught accidentally by fishermen each year. The good news is, unlike most bycatch victims, instead of losing her life, Winter only lost her tail.
After being nursed back to health by more than 150 marine biologists and volunteers working around the clock, Winter has shown great improvement. She swims and plays at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. But Winter isn't out of the woods just yet, experts think she needs...a prosthetic tail.
Evil doers beware - a new soldier's been drafted into the war on terror. If our color coded charts and duct tape sent chills up your spine, wait until you get a load of our bluegills.
San Francisco, New York, Washington and other big cities are using bluegills -- aka sunfish or bream -- to safeguard their drinking water. These fish are highly attuned to chemical disturbances in their environment, and could be able to detect chemical warfare before traditional detection means. When the fish are exposed to toxins, they flex their gills in the same way a human would cough.
Sadly, there are plenty of toxins that could make these freshwater fish "flex their gills" and Osama didn't put them there.
Be careful when you remark, "yeah, when pigs fly!" because we just discovered a shark that can walk. In fact, we discovered two.
Researchers from Conservation International found 50 new species in the Bird's Head region in Papua. The new discoveries include 20 corals, 24 fish and eight mantis shrimp. But the one that's got everyone cocking their head to the side with a resounding, "huh!" is the two new species of epaulette sharks, which spend most of their time walking across the sea floor, swimming away when danger looms. See for yourself.
Every year environmental and animal welfare groups join forces to boo and hiss at (and work to oppose) Japan during the International Whaling Commission meeting. In 1986 the IWC instituted a moratorium on commercial whaling, and ever since, Japan has been fighting to overturn it. This year, Japan and its allies came dangerously close to inhaling the sweet smell of success.
Juliet knew what she was talking about when she uttered the famous line, "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." But the question remains "would it taste as good?"
Scientists say abnormal "intersex" fish, with both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River and its tributaries across the Capitol Region. Although scientists are not sure of the source of the problem, they suspect Felicity Huffman is to blame.
irony; from the Latin ironia; incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result; example: earning fame and fortune wrestling crocodiles and being killed by a basically inoffensive marine creature.
Beloved naturalist Steve Irwin, aka "the crocodile hunter," was killed by a stingray during a diving expedition off the Australian coast on Sunday. The stingray's barb had pierced the tv personality's heart and he died within moments.
Although I'm no fan of the cigarette companies, I have to give credit where credit is due. They have often been on the cutting edge of advertising and marketing. Marlboro made it cool for men to smoke, Virginia Slims made it cool for women to smoke and Camels made it cool for - well, let's not go there.
Flipping through Newsweek the other day, I came across an ad for American Spirit. Since I'm a non-smoker, I didn't realize there was a cigarette company marketing itself as the "organic" cigarette manufacturer. As I was rolling my eyes at the advertisement, a silver lining emerged from the cloud of tobacco smoke.
With the height of hurricane season approaching, and the Katrina anniversary monopolizing the media, it's fair to say America's got hurricane on the brain. While coastal residents and (let's hope) the government prepare for this year's storms, so, too do marine creatures.
Scientists and volunteers near Conch Reef rounded up about 500 long-spined sea urchins (critical to the health of coral reefs) in a shallow rubble zone and moved them to deeper water on the coral reef where they'll be safer.
Take note, Mr. President. Preventative action before hurricanes = good. Still in the "beginning" stages of recovery a year after the fact = bad.
- North Atlantic Great White Sharks are Rebounding, but that’s Not the Case for All Species Posted Mon, July 21, 2014
- Video: Oceana Exposes Illegal Drift Gillnet Use in Italy Posted Mon, July 21, 2014
- Video: Migratory 'Superhighway' Possibly Discovered Between Costa Rica and the Galapagos Posted Wed, July 16, 2014
- Ocean News: June 2014 Marked the Hottest on Record, Microplastics Worse for Crabs than Thought, and More Posted Tue, July 22, 2014
- Creature Feature: Ochre Sea Star Posted Wed, July 16, 2014