The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Video: Scuba Divers Rescue Entangled Manta Ray from Fishing Line

Divers untangled a manta ray from fishing line

A diver untangling the manta ray from fishing gear. (Photo: Oceano VideoSub / YouTube)

Manta rays are some of the most beautiful and eloquent fish in the ocean, but also one of the most threatened.  Harvested for their skin, cartilage, and gill rakers in traditional Chinese medicine, these cartilaginous species are subject to overfishing, bycatch, and a range of other threats.


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In Honor of Sea Otter Awareness Week, Ten Fun Facts about Sea Otters

Sea Otter Awareness Week Celebrates sea otters

A sea otter. (Photo: Alan D. Wilson / Naturespicsonline.com)

There’s no denying that sea otters rank right alongside baby sea turtles and tiny clownfish as some of the cutest ocean inhabitants. Fortunately, these creatures receive an entire week each September to be celebrated through Sea Otter Awareness Week – a time for scientists, conservationists, and the general public to celebrate these adorable marine mammals and learn more about their key roles in marine environments.


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Ocean Roundup: Blue Crabs Keeping Invasive Green Crabs in Line, Sargasso Sea Less Biodiverse than in Previous Years, and More

Blue crabs are patrolling green crabs off Canada

A blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) (Photo: Jan Stefka / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that there’s much less biodiversity in the Sargasso Sea than there was in the 1970s. The scientists noted that 13 species reported to be present over 40 years ago, including worms and some crustaceans, were not found in these samples. Phys.org


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Seismic Surveys and Sharks: A Bad Combination

Seismic airguns threaten sharks in the Mediterranean.

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

Proposed seismic surveys in both Europe and the U.S. are threatening a range of marine animals and important habitat. In this blog post, originally posted on Oceana in Europe’s blog, some of the many shark species at risk from oil exploration in the Gulf of Valencia are presented. Take a look below to learn more.


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Ocean Roundup: Polar Bears Turning to Snow Geese for Food, Arctic Sea Ice Found to Absorb CO2, and More

Polar bears diets are shifting from climate change

Polar bears are shifting diets to deal with climate change. (Photo: Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Researchers say that sea otter populations, who have been slowly rebounding after recovering from near-extinction, did not increase from 2013. This is worrisome to scientists, who say that a lack of food, increased shark attacks, disease, and other factors are keeping them from recovery. SFGate


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Photos: Oceana Captures First-Ever Images of Seamounts North of Canary Islands

Oceana captured images of Dacia and Tritón seamounts

Mediterranean moray (Muraena helena) in black coral (Stichopathes sp.) field, pictured north of the Canary Islands, Spain during the 2014 Oceana Ranger expedition to the Canary Islands. (Photo:EUO © OCEANA / Flickr)

The Dacia and Tritón seamounts, located just north of the Canary Islands, have gone previously undocumented—until now. During Oceana in Europe’s current expedition to the Canary Islands, Oceana took the first pictures of these mountains and revealed extensive forests of black corals on the summit of Dacia, and a great diversity of sponges on the slopes of Tritón, including spectacular glass sponges and carnivorous sponges, gorgonians, corals, deep-sea fish, deep-sea sharks, and more.


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Photos: A Look at Amazing Fall Migrations Underway in the Oceans Right Now

Marine animals travel on vast fall migrations

Cownose rays (Rhinoptera bonasus) migrate each year in huge schools. (Photo: Doc Lucio / Flickr Creative Commons)

As temperatures start to drop and days shorten in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of year again when many animals embark on migrations for the winter season. Animals migrate for a variety of reasons, but most commonly in search of productive feeding and breeding grounds.


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Ocean Roundup: Australia Releases Great Barrier Reef Management Plan, West Coast Starfish See Hope for Recovery, and More

Australia released a 35 year management plan for the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef. The Australian government released a 35-year management plan for the Reef. (Photo: Bruce Tuten / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Following a recent scare to conservationists worldwide that the Great Barrier Reef would become a dredge dumping site, the Australian government released a 35-year management plan last week for this World Heritage site. Many scientists are conservationists, however, are saying that the report isn’t comprehensive enough to restore the Reef and that it has “no measurable, deliverable action.”  The New York Times


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High Level of Seafood Fraud Found in Denmark

High level of seafood fraud uncovered in Denmark

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in Gilleleje North, Denmark. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

A new study conducted by Oceana, the Danish newspaper Søndagsavisen, and the TV program “Go’Aften Denmark” found that there is a high level of sea fraud in Danish markets. The study revealed that 18 percent of cod sold in fishmongers is not cod, but actually haddock or saithe. In total, 120 samples from fishmongers, supermarkets, and restaurants in the wider Copenhagen region underwent DNA analysis.


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Ocean Roundup: Gulf of Mexico Sharks are Shrinking, Caribbean Reefs Capable of Being Saved, and More

Shark sizes are decreasing in the Gulf of Mexico

A tiger shark. Researchers say some shark species are decreasing in size in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo: Willy Volk / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Researchers say that some sharks in the Gulf of Mexico are decreasing in size, and in some cases are down by as much as 70 percent. The researchers analyzed data from annual shark rodeos over the last half century to come to the results, and say that finning and commercial fishing are significant factors in this decline. Houston Chronicle


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