The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Photos: Oceana Captures First-Ever Images of Seamounts North of Canary Islands

Oceana captured images of Dacia and Tritón seamounts

Mediterranean moray (Muraena helena) in black coral (Stichopathes sp.) field, pictured north of the Canary Islands, Spain during the 2014 Oceana Ranger expedition to the Canary Islands. (Photo:EUO © OCEANA / Flickr)

The Dacia and Tritón seamounts, located just north of the Canary Islands, have gone previously undocumented—until now. During Oceana in Europe’s current expedition to the Canary Islands, Oceana took the first pictures of these mountains and revealed extensive forests of black corals on the summit of Dacia, and a great diversity of sponges on the slopes of Tritón, including spectacular glass sponges and carnivorous sponges, gorgonians, corals, deep-sea fish, deep-sea sharks, and more.


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Photos: A Look at Amazing Fall Migrations Underway in the Oceans Right Now

Marine animals travel on vast fall migrations

Cownose rays (Rhinoptera bonasus) migrate each year in huge schools. (Photo: Doc Lucio / Flickr Creative Commons)

As temperatures start to drop and days shorten in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of year again when many animals embark on migrations for the winter season. Animals migrate for a variety of reasons, but most commonly in search of productive feeding and breeding grounds.


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Ocean Roundup: Australia Releases Great Barrier Reef Management Plan, West Coast Starfish See Hope for Recovery, and More

Australia released a 35 year management plan for the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef. The Australian government released a 35-year management plan for the Reef. (Photo: Bruce Tuten / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Following a recent scare to conservationists worldwide that the Great Barrier Reef would become a dredge dumping site, the Australian government released a 35-year management plan last week for this World Heritage site. Many scientists are conservationists, however, are saying that the report isn’t comprehensive enough to restore the Reef and that it has “no measurable, deliverable action.”  The New York Times


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High Level of Seafood Fraud Found in Denmark

High level of seafood fraud uncovered in Denmark

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in Gilleleje North, Denmark. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

A new study conducted by Oceana, the Danish newspaper Søndagsavisen, and the TV program “Go’Aften Denmark” found that there is a high level of sea fraud in Danish markets. The study revealed that 18 percent of cod sold in fishmongers is not cod, but actually haddock or saithe. In total, 120 samples from fishmongers, supermarkets, and restaurants in the wider Copenhagen region underwent DNA analysis.


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Ocean Roundup: Gulf of Mexico Sharks are Shrinking, Caribbean Reefs Capable of Being Saved, and More

Shark sizes are decreasing in the Gulf of Mexico

A tiger shark. Researchers say some shark species are decreasing in size in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo: Willy Volk / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Researchers say that some sharks in the Gulf of Mexico are decreasing in size, and in some cases are down by as much as 70 percent. The researchers analyzed data from annual shark rodeos over the last half century to come to the results, and say that finning and commercial fishing are significant factors in this decline. Houston Chronicle


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Photos: Oceana Launches Expedition to El Hierro Island and Atlantic Seamounts

Oceana launched an expedition to the Canary Islands

Rocky seabed covered with in the Canary Islands, Spain. Oceana launched their second expedition to the Canary Islands this week. (Photo: EUO © OCEANA Carlos Suárez / Flickr)

Earlier this week, Oceana in Europe launched their second expedition to the Canary Islands. This expedition focuses on the waters around the island of El Hierro, which is expected to become the first marine national park in Spain. This one-month campaign aims to map seamounts north of Lanzarote, the easternmost Canary Island, and around Sahara, the southernmost point of the Spanish Exclusive Economic Zone.


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Ocean Roundup: Tiny Clownfish Can Swim for 250 Miles, Sydney Harbor May Turn Tropical, and More

Clownfish can swim for 250 miles, according to a new study

A new study shows that clownfish can swim for great distances. (Photo: vivacevy / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Tiny larvae clownfish are capable of traveling vast distances—up to 250 miles in search of a new coral home, according to a recent study. Researchers say that this will help the species deal with climate change. The Guardian


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Oceana Provides Common Hake Recovery Plan to Chilean Government

Oceana in Chile presents recovery plan for common hake

Hakes (Merluccius sp.) in a crate. (Photo: Oceana / LX)

Earlier this month, Oceana in Chile presented a recovery plan for common hake, a severely overexploited species, to the Chilean government. Among the recommendations, the recovery plan stresses the importance of protecting juvenile common hake and setting a minimum catch size of about 15 inches. Common hake catches have declined by 70 percent from 2001 to 2013.  


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Ocean Roundup: Leatherback Coloration May Play Important Role, UK Sees New Voluntary Seafood Labeling Scheme, and More

Leatherback pink spots may help with their migration

A leatherback sea turtle. Leatherback “pink spots” may play an important physiological role. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Researchers have discovered that the “pink spot” on leatherback sea turtles’ heads may actually play a useful physiological role. It may detect sunlight patterns, clueing leatherbacks into changes in seasonal patterns to inform their migrational and foraging habits. Smithsonian


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Ocean Roundup: Shark-Eating Dinosaur Fossils Discovered, Germany Paving Way for Cheaper Wind Energy, and More

Germany is a leading nation for wind energy

Wind turbines off England. Germany is setting such a demand for wind power that the price of turbines is starting to decrease. (Photo: Vattenfall / Flickr Creative Commons)

- According to a study published last week, scientists have found fossil evidence of the first semi-aquatic dinosaur. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, known to prey on sharks, is the largest predatory dinosaur known to roam Earth— even bigger than T. rex specimens. The Washington Post


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