The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Ocean Roundup: Dolphin Intelligence May Be Overestimated, Penguin Personalities To Help with Climate Change Adaption, and More

New research shows that dolphins may not be as smart as thought

Dolphins may not be as intelligent as assumed. (Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

- It turns out that pollution and runoff may be having a much bigger impact on the Great Barrier Reef than previously thought. New research shows that pollution may be decreasing organisms’ ability to photosynthesize, thereby making it harder to absorb CO2. The Guardian


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Video: Oceana in Belize Exposes Belizean First Family to Belizean World Heritage Sites

Belize's first family visits the Great Blue Hole

Belize's Prime Minister Dean Barrow's wife and daughter visit the Great Blue Hole. (Photo Oceana / Alex Ellis)

The Great Blue Hole, a Belizean National Monument and World Heritage Site, is one of the most gorgeous marine settings in the world. Situated just over 50 miles east of Belize City in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the rare reef formation stretches over 1,000 feet wide and over 400 feet deep. Previously an above-ground cave that’s sunk underwater, this sinkhole is teeming with marine life and is a haven for divers and ocean enthusiasts. Belize is home to three of the Caribbean’s four natural coral reef atolls.


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Ocean Roundup: Seaweed Transporting Disease to Sea Otters, Lego to Break Ties with Shell, and More

Seaweed particles are helping spread disease among sea otters

Seaweed particles are helping spread disease among sea otters. (Photo: Vicki & Chuck Rogers / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists have recently discovered that some mangroves are offering coral reef shelter and protection from climate change. In Hurricane Hole, a mangrove habitat in the U.S. Virgin Islands, scientists found 30 species of coral growing underwater. Science Daily


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Video: Oceana Supporter Maya Gabeira Determined To Keep Surfing after Near-Fatal Accident

Maya Gabeira was featured in Outside magazine

Maya Gabeira pictured during her Oceana PSA. (Photo: Oceana / Brian Bielmann Photography)

It was a year ago this month when champion big-wave surfer Maya Gabeira set out to ride the biggest wave ever ridden by a woman off Nazaré, Portugal. She's surfed 46-foot waves in South Africa, but nothing like the monstrous 50-foot-plus waves that formed off the underwater cliffs in the Atlantic last October. As Gabeira set out to ride one of these massive waves, she fell into the surf and suffered a near-fatal accident before being rescued.  


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Ocean Roundup: Orcas Can Shift Vocal Sounds around Dolphins, Larval Fish Found to Make Noise, and More

Orcas were found to engage in cross-species vocal learning

Orcas were found to engage in cross-species vocal learning. (Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Brandon Southall, NMFS/OPR / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Humans, cetaceans, and some birds are some of the only species known to practice vocal learning—communicating with sounds that aren’t just innate. Researchers found orcas not only practice this, but orcas engage in cross-species vocal learning, meaning they shift sounds depending on who they’re hanging out with. Science Daily


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Ocean Roundup: Cause of Green Sea Turtle Tumors Discovered, Sharks Found to Have Distinct Personalities, and More

Green sea turtle tumors have been attributed to nitrogen

Nitrogen runoff is causing tumors to grow on green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) around Hawaii. (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen)

- Scientists have detected a 40 percent decline in calcium carbonate in one section of the Great Barrier Reef near Lizard Island. Calcium carbonate serves as building blocks for coral reefs, so scientists say this study calls for “an arrest to ocean acidification.” The Sydney Morning Herald


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Chile Becomes First South American Nation to Tax Carbon

Chile becomes first South American nation to approve carbon tax

A power plant in Ventanas, Chile. (Photo: Oceana)

Late last month, Chile became the first nation in South America to tax carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The new tax—$5 per ton of CO2 emitted—targets 50 megawatt or higher fossil fuel-emitting power plants, while smaller plants and those fueled by renewable sources will remain exempt. Most of the funds will go into Chile’s education system, says Blue and Green tomorrow.


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Ocean Roundup: Fish Finding It Difficult to Adapt to Climate Change, Oceans Warmer Than Thought, and More

Spiny damselfish could take generations to adapt to climate change

Spiny damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus). Juvenile spiny damselfish are having a difficult time adjusting to climate change. (Photo: Nikita / Wikimedia Commons)

- New research shows that fish aren’t quickly adapting to climate change, and it may take them several generations to do so. Researchers found that young spiny damselfish fish were no better than their parents at adapting to higher CO2 levels in seawater. The Guardian


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As California Drift Gillnet Fishery Continues to Kill Marine Mammals, Oceana Pressures for “Count, Cap, and Control” Approach

California drift gillnet fishery kills pilot whales

A short-finned pilot whale killed by a California drift gillnet. This fishery killed an estimated six short-finned pilot whales in the 2013 to 2014 fishing season. (Photo: NOAA)

In September, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released new data showing the bycatch reported by federal observers of the California-based drift gillnet fishery that predominantly targets swordfish and thresher sharks. Alarmingly, the data indicates this fishery killed an estimated 53 marine mammals from May 2013 through January 2014.


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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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