The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Video: Rare Blue Whale Footage Captured Off California

Blue whale footage captured off Laguna Beach

Underwater footage of the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) off Laguna Beach. (Photo: Rich German / YouTube)

While paddling off Laguna Beach recently, one lucky paddle boarder was in the right place at the right time to spot an elusive blue whale—an endangered marine mammal that’s rarely spotted. With a GoPro in hand, he was able to catch underwater and surface footage of the elusive marine mammal for the rest of us to see (check out segments at 2:00, 3:36 and 5:04 minutes in to see the underwater footage). 


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Ocean Roundup: UN Sounds Alarm on Mangrove Disappearance, Brazil to Triple Marine Protected Areas, and More

A new UN report warns that mangroves are disappearing

Mangroves in Elbow Reef, Key Largo, Florida. The U.N. has issued a report warning about mangrove disappearance. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

- Brazil is planning to triple its Marine Protected Areas from 5.5 million hectares to over 17.5 million—a project that’s worth more than $18 million. The projected is intended to benefit the 43 million people who live along Brazil’s coast by securing a local food supply, maintaining water quality, and increasing coastal resilience. MercoPress


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Creature Feature: Leatherback Sea Turtle

This creature feature is on leatherback sea turtles

A leatherback sea turtle hatchling (Dermochelys coriacea) in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo: Tim Calver / www.timcalver.com)

If you’re an ocean lover, you’ve probably heard of the mighty leatherback sea turtle—the largest of the seven sea turtle species. Leatherback sea turtles can grow over six feet in length, and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.  Besides their massive size, their unique appearance makes them easily distinguishable from the other sea turtle species. They lack a solid carapace, and instead have a dense layer of black, leather-like tissue, for which they’re aptly named.


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Ocean Roundup: Sand Tiger Shark Embryos Found to Eat Each Other, Wind Turbines Could Weaken Hurricane Intensity, and More

Sand tiger shark embryos engage in cannibalism

A sand tiger shark. Sand tiger shark embryos engage in cannibalism. (Photo: Mark Turner / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that young sea stars (Asterias rubens) in the Baltic Sea are more vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification than adults. The scientists found that young sea stars grew slower and ate less under more acidic conditions. Science World Report


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Meet a Tiny Crab Species That’s Not into Long-Term Relationships

Tiny crabs found to not be faithful to their mates

Planes minutus crab living on a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). New research shows that another small crab species (Planes major) that also hitches rides on loggerheads may engage in “risky behavior.” (Photo: BMC Ecology / Flickr Creative Commons)

A tiny crab species, commonly known as flotsam crabs, have quite the luxurious lifestyle. They spend most of their lives hitching free rides on loggerhead sea turtles, catching views of the open ocean as they travel safely nestled between their carapaces and tails. Here, they’re offered safety from predators, and typically ride along with a mate to reproduce and have a friend.


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Video: Leonardo DiCaprio Speaks up for the Planet at UN Climate Summit

Leonardo DiCaprio Spoke at the UN Climate Summit

Leonardo DiCaprio speaking at the UN Climate Summit at the UN Headquarters in New York City. (Photo: The Daily Conversation / YouTube)

Earlier this week, actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio addressed world leaders at the opening of the UN Climate Summit about climate change. His moving speech noted that clear evidence of climate change is in effect, ranging from shifting weather patterns to acidifying oceans, and urged these leaders to step up and take action before it’s too late.


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Ocean Roundup: Gulf Businesses Won’t Return BP Payouts, Whales May Have More than One Spleen, and More

Some whales may have more than one spleen

A humpback whale. Some humpback whale specimens had more than one spleen. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr Creative Commons)

- California’s Dungeness crab fishery is one of the state’s most valuable fisheries, but many of the crab traps get lost at sea. Some commercial fishermen in that industry recently paired with the University of California Davis to collect old derelict traps, and have caught 556 since July. Phys.org


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Will EU Member States Live Up To Their Common Fisheries Policy Commitments?

European Union nations have commitments to Common Fisheries Policy

Fishing vessels off the port of Gilleleje, Denmark. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

Earlier this month, Oceana joined European Union nations and other groups at the Baltic Sea Fisheries Forum to discuss restoring Baltic fisheries. This blog, which will appeal to fishery and policy lovers, discusses the difficulties EU Member States face as they near 2015, the year Member States have committed to rebuild fish stocks in the EU. This blog originally appeared on Oceana in Europe’s blog. Take a look below to learn more.


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President Obama Designates World’s Largest Marine Protected Area in Pacific Ocean

President Obama Designates World’s Largest Marine Protected Area

Coral at Jarvis Island National Wildlife Refuge, one of the areas protected under President Obama’s designation. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters / Flickr Creative Commons)

In a big move for the oceans, President Obama announced today that he’s creating the world’s largest marine protected area. The move expands the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument by more than six times its original size from nearly 87,000 square miles to more than 490,000. The area will protect Johnston Atoll, Wake Atoll, and Jarvis Island, and keep them off-limits to activities such as commercial fishing and energy exploration.


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Ocean Roundup: Giant Cuttlefish Decline Remains a Mystery, President Obama Creates World's Largest MPA, and More

Giant cuttlefish decline in Australia is a mystery to scientists

An Australian giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama). Giant cuttlefish are declining in South Australian waters. (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Federal officials say the endangered Hawaiian monk seal population may be making a slow comeback. Pup numbers have slowly increased from previous years, from 103 individuals in 2013 to 121 this year. The Dodo


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