The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Oceana Board Member Ted Danson to Speak at Secretary Kerry’s “Our Ocean” Conference

Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) in the Bahamas

Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) in the Bahamas. (Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

Recently, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been busy building momentum to protect the oceans for generations to come. Next week, the U.S. Department of State will host the first “Our Ocean” conference, an event where prominent scientists, world leaders, and conservationists will converge to tackle some of the biggest threats facing the oceans today. The invitation-only conference will be held on Monday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 17 in Washington D.C.

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Ocean News: Great White Shark Records Updated, Ex-BP Engineer Gets a New Trial, and More

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

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

- A former BP engineer won a new trial on Thursday. A U.S. District judge concluded Mix—who was originally convicted for obstructing justice related to the 2010 spill—didn’t have an impartial jury. The New York Times

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Ocean News: Climate Change Making Penguins Hungry, Underwater Volcano Discovered, and More

Gentoo penguin with its chick

A Gentoo penguin with its chick. (Photo: Liam Quinn / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that three Antarctic penguin species—the Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo—thrived during the last warming event 15,000 years ago, growing their populations as ice retreat opened bare ground for nesting.

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Ocean News: New Plastic Rock Discovered, Grocers Respond to Prawn Fishery Slavery, and More

Great Barracuda in the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary

A great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) in the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary in the Florida Keys. NOAA will now allow members of the public to submit marine sanctuary nominations. (Photo: Phil's 1stPix  / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Yesterday, NOAA updated its marine sanctuary nomination process for the first time in 20 years, allowing the American public to have a role in designating national marine sanctuaries. Have a favorite beach or diving site that you think needs protection? Learn more about the nomination process here. NOAA

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Whale Poo Found to Benefit Fisheries in the Southern Ocean

Blue whale excrement is essential for fisheries in Southern Ocean

A blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) (Photo: David Slater / Flickr Creative Commons)

Whale feces probably doesn’t cross your mind very often, but when it does, you likely cringe at the thought of its size, sight, and smell. Blue whales, for example, grow to be longer than a school bus and rank as the largest animals known to live on Earth, so naturally, they’re going to eat—and poop—a lot. A new study found that whale dumpings are highly valuable to marine ecosystems, and they’re not something to write off as stinky or gross.

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Ocean News: Scientists Discover New Line of Sea Anemones, Illinois Bans Microbeads, and More

A sawfish (Pristidae) (Photo: Shutter Fotos / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists previously mistook a deep-sea creature with 6.5 foot long tentacles to be one of the oceans’ largest sea anemones, but DNA research reveals that this animal is part of a new order of marine organisms. This new order of Cnidaria—a phylum that includes jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, and their relatives—now includes stony corals, anemones, and black corals. Science Daily

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Ocean News: Japan Vows to Reinstate Whaling, Sea Level Rise Uncovers WWII Remains, and More

A polar bear diving underwater.

A polar bear (Ursus maritimus). (Photo: Oceana)

- It turns out that deep sea fish play a significant role in removing CO2 from surface water, according to a new study. The researchers found that deep sea fish are responsible for removing and storing more than one million tons of CO2 per year near Ireland and the United Kingdom. EurekAlert

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Champion Surfer Maya Gabeira Wants to Help the Oceans Catch a Break

Maya Gabeira works with Oceana to protect the oceans

Maya Gabeira (Photo: Oceana / Brian Bielmann)

Oceana fights for the oceans all year long, but in honor of this year’s World Oceans Day, Oceana is releasing a new public service announcement (PSA) starring Brazilian champion big-wave surfer and ocean advocate Maya Gabeira. She wants to “help the oceans catch a break” and raise awareness for the need to save this precious resource.

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Ocean News: World Oceans Day Edition

A leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) hatchling

A leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) hatchling. (Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

World Oceans Day is on Sunday, June 8—a day to celebrate and raise awareness for marine ecosystems. Today’s round-up features both the perils facing the oceans today, as well as advancements to protect them. Take a look below, and click here to find a list of World Oceans Day events near you.

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Arctic Shipping to Open Pathways for Invasive Species

The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is a freshwater invasive species.

The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), pictured here, is a freshwater invasive species likely introduced to the U.S. from ballast water. (Photo: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory / Flickr Creative Commons)

For years, commercial ships had  two main pathways to easily traverse the globe: the Panama and Suez Canals. Now, after 30 years of unprecedented sea ice melt in the Arctic, the northern Atlantic and Pacific are connected for the first time in 2 million years. That means Arctic shipping is an option, and it’s certainly an appealing one: The routes are faster, ships need less fuel, and piracy isn’t a threat.

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