The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Creature Feature: Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Creature feature Caribbean spiny lobster

Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) in a giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia muta) in the Elbow Reef, Key Largo, Florida, USA. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

This lobster species is perhaps best known for its impressive navigational skills. Caribbean spiny lobsters orient themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field, and then follow that point to find food at night and for long migrations. During these migrations, they form queues—long, single file lines in groups of 50 that walk day and night until reaching their destination. Lobsters prefer warmer water, so they migrate en masse to deeper waters when water starts to cool in winter.


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Deceptive Crab Mislabeling Leads Members of Congress to Call for Action

blue crabs are mislabeled leading to seafood fraud

Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus). (Photo: Bob Simmons / Flickr Creative Commons)

By Leah Powley

Seafood fraud in the Mid-Atlantic region is causing new concern among area watermen and their Congressional representatives. According to crab fishermen in Maryland and Virginia, imported crabmeat is being packaged in the United States, relabeled, and then sold as a “product of the U.S.” This mislabeling—illegal under U.S. law—has gathered attention from the area’s Congressional representatives, who are calling on President Obama to address this seafood fraud.


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Ocean News: Climate Change Threatens Red Knots, Pacific Island Leaders Meet to Discuss Ocean Conservation, and More

Climate change threatens red knot migration

Red knots (Calidris canutus rufa) flying over Delaware. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists recently found two new coral communities in the Gulf of Mexico show signs of damage from the 2010 BP oil spill. The communities are over 13 miles from the spill, indicating that the spill is “deeper and broader” than thought. Salon


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Ocean News: Cape Cod Embraces Shark Spottings, Rare White Southern Right Whale Calf Spotted off Australia, and More

Great white sharks are celebrated on Cape Cod

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). (Photo: Scubaben / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A rare white southern right whale calf was recently spotted off southern Australia with its mother. Only about two percent of southern right whales are born white, but remain that color for just a year. Adelaide Now


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Staff Spotlight: Jackie Savitz

Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans Jacqueline Savitz

Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans Jacqueline Savitz (Photo: Oceana / Melissa Forsyth)

Going forward, The Beacon will feature one Oceana staff member every month, highlighting their role at Oceana and personal history with the oceans. The first spotlight is on Oceana’s vice president for United States Oceans, Jackie Savitz. Take a look below to learn more.


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Baby Sea Turtles Found to Make Noise to Coordinate Hatching

Leatherback sea turtles make noises

Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) hatching from their nest in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

If you’ve ever witnessed a sea turtle nest hatch, you’ve probably noticed that it seems like these reptiles emerge from their nests in silence. Scientists have long assumed that too, but a new study adds to a growing body of literature that finds that baby sea turtles can in fact make noise—and this communication is key to a successful hatching  process.


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Ocean News: NC Fishermen Face Tighter Restrictions, Antarctic Fur Seals Hurt by Climate Change, and More

Antarctic fur seals are losing krill

Antarctic Fur Seals. (Photo: Liam Quinn / Flickr Creative Commons) 

- North Carolina fishermen that use large mesh gill nets are now facing tighter restrictions after the state's Division of Marine Fisheries failed to comply with federal requirements. Under the new requirements, the fishermen can only deploy their nets at limited times and to a certain depth in an effort to protect sea turtles. North Carolina Sportsman


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Loggerhead Sea Turtles Gain Protection with Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restriction

loggerhead sea turtles are protected by the swordfish drift gillnet closure

A loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez) 

Yesterday, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the California swordfish drift gillnet fishery after facing mounting pressure from Oceana and our partner conservation groups. This closure, known as the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area, will occur from July 25 to August 31, 2014 in an area that stretches just north of Santa Barbara and runs south of San Diego, and will prevent endangered loggerhead sea turtles from entangling and drowning in these indiscriminant nets.


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Ocean News: Blue Whale “Hot Spots” Linked with Busy Shipping Lanes, Massachusetts Bans Shark Fin Trade, and More

Blue whales hot spots are in busy fishing lanes

A blue whale off of California. (Photo: millerm217 / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new study found that blue whale “hot spots” off California intersect with some of California’s busiest shipping lanes, and that ship strikes are preventing blue whales from recovering. Blue whale numbers have increased since the International Whaling Commission’s 1966 protections, but they haven’t recovered at the rate scientists expected. National Geographic


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Photos: A Look at Some of the Ocean’s Most Beautiful Tentacles

Jellyfish tentacles close up

Muave stinger jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca) photographed off the Balearic Islands, Spain. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell) 

If you’ve spent some time at the coast this summer, the chances are you’ve had a close encounter with a jellyfish, as these invertebrates have earned quite the reputation in the media for “invading” coastal areas and causing a “jellyfish apocalypse” in recent years.


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