The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Video: Dumbo Octopus Makes Rare Appearance in the Gulf of Mexico

Dumbo octopus appears on film for the Nautilus Live expedition

The dumbo octopus (Grimpoteuthis spp.) (Photo: EVNautilus / Nautilus Live Expedition / YouTube)

It’s not often that rare, deep-sea creatures present themselves to scientists in plain sight. But in a video captured last month during Nautilus Live, a five-month expedition that’s mapping and documenting seafloor ecosystems around the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, an elusive dumbo octopus in the Gulf delighted scientists when it swam right in front of their remotely operated vehicle (ROV).


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Ocean Roundup: Seafood Watch Upgrades 21 Fish Species, Dolphin Slaughter Begins in Japan, and More

Seafood Watch upgraded rockfish to safe seafood option

A thornyhead rockfish. Rockfish were recently upgraded to a more sustainable seafood option on The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program Seafood Watch list. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Japan’s annual dolphin hunt began earlier this week, despite objection from many environmental groups that call the hunt “inhumane.” The catch involves driving dolphins into a secluded bay and then killing them, and will continue through February. The Guardian


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Ocean Roundup: Great Barrier Reef to Stay Clear of Dredge Spoil, Louisiana Rapidly Losing Coastline, and More

The Great Barrier Reef will stay clear of dredge spoil

A sea turtle in the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: University of Denver / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The Chesapeake Bay experienced their eighth-largest dead zone this summer since record keeping began in the 1980s, according to Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. Officials say this signals larger issues with Bay health, and that much more work is needed to reduce nutrient input and pollution. The Washington Post


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Video: Leatherback Sea Turtle Rescued from Fishing Gear

A leatherback sea turtle was rescued from fishing gear off New Jersey

A leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). (Photo: Oceana / © 2009 Tim Calver  www.timcalver.com)

As you likely know, natural predators aren’t the only threats to sea turtles and marine mammals in the open ocean—many manmade threats, like derelict fishing gear, pollution, and plastics, constantly endanger marine life. Fortunately, a recent encounter between a leatherback sea turtle and a derelict fishing net had a positive ending for the turtle.  


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Conservation Groups Plan Lawsuit to Protect Sperm Whales

California Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery threatens sperm whales

“Mother and baby sperm whale." (Photo: Gabriel Barathieu, Wikimedia Commons) 

Earlier this month, several conservation groups, including Oceana, announced plans to file a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect sperm whales from deadly, mile-long drift gillnets used in the California drift gillnet fishery.


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Ocean Roundup: 20 Coral Species to Gain Federal Protection, Shell Files New Plan for Arctic Drilling, and More

20 coral species to gain protection

Rough cactus coral, one of the new coral species to be listed as threatened. (Photo: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it will list 20 new species of coral as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, largely because of climate change. Found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, these corals are also threatened by overfishing, runoff, and coastal construction. The Associated Press 


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Oceana’s 2014 Balearic Seamount Expedition: Diaries from the Field

Oceana ventured to the Balearic islands to record seamounts

The SOCIB R/V vessel used during this expedition, pictured during a ROV immersion at Fort d'en Moreu, Cabrera, Balearic islands, Spain. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Flickr)

As you may have previously read on The Beacon, Oceana in Europe recently wrapped-up a ten-day expedition to the Balearic seamounts off Spain to determine the need for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the region.


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Court Requests Changes to the North Pacific Fisheries Observer Program be Reconsidered

NMFS must reconsider changes to the North Pacific observer program

A National Marine Fisheries Service observer checks the dimensions of a net and its catch. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library / Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Marine Observer Program)

Earlier this month, the United States District Court for the District of Alaska ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) must reconsider recent changes to the North Pacific observer program. NMFS restructured the observer program in 2013 to increase observers on small hook-and-line halibut boats in the Gulf of Alaska fleet and randomize the deployment of observers on vessels, but the agency significantly underestimated the cost of these changes.


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Ocean Roundup: Florida Receives Federal Help for Oyster Recovery, Climate Change Linked to Iceland’s Puffin Decline, and More

Puffin nesting has declined in Iceland

An Icelandic puffin. (Photo: Martin Ystenes / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Florida is receiving $6 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for oyster recovery in  Apalachicola Bay in northwest Florida—a fishery that crashed in 2012 and 2013. The money will go towards oyster recovery, oyster monitoring, community assistance, and other outlets. WCTV


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Photos: Oceana in Belize Exposes Belizean Youth to the Wonder of the Sea

Oceana in Belize takes Belizean youth to the coast

Belizean boys on the trip to the Lighthouse Reed Atoll. (Photo: Oceana in Belize / Alexander Ellis / Flickr)

Oceana in Belize has been busy instilling a sense of wonder and stewardship for the oceans in Belizean youth. Earlier this month, they took a group of underprovided boys, all under the age of 14, to Belize’s beautiful coral isles. For many of them, it was their first time to the ocean— meaning it was the first time that they were able to see this famous, stunning resource of their own country.


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