The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Ocean News: Great Barrier Reef Health at Greater Risk than Ever Before, Rare Deep Sea Amphipod Caught on Tape, and More

Great Barrier Reef health is compromised

The Eddy Reef in the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: Paul Toogood / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists caught the largest species of amphipod, Alicella gigantean, on camera for the first time. The nearly 1-foot-long creature was spotted four miles below the ocean’s surface. New Scientist  


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Offshore Wind Farms Are Foraging Grounds for Seals

offshore wind farms found to host foraging seals

Elsams Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea. (Photo: MEDVIND / Bent Sørensen / DONG Energy A/S / Oceana)

It appears that some marine mammals are certainly welcoming the presence of offshore wind farms.

Satellite tags on grey and harbor seals reveal that these apex predators are frequenting two offshore wind farms in the North Sea to forage for prey. According to a study recently published in Current Biology, 11 seals showed evidence of foraging at the Alpha Ventus wind farm off Germany and the Sheringham Shoal wind farm off the United Kingdom, moving in a grid-like pattern as they swam from turbine to turbine.


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Spain Moves to Protect Four New Areas Outlined in the LIFE+ INDEMARES Project

Pilot whales will be protected in the Natura 2000 Network

Long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) in Seco de los Olivos, Almería, Spain, an area identified in the LIFE+ INDEMARES project. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

Earlier this month, Spain’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (MAGRAMA) approved a proposal to add four marine areas as Sites of Community Importance to the Natura 2000 Network—the backbone of marine protection in the European Union. These four areas—the western system of submarine canyons in the Gulf of Lions, the Channel of Menorca, the mud volcanoes of the Gulf of Cádiz, and the Bank of Galicia—stemmed from LIFE+ INDEMARES, a project Oceana is a partner on.


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Ocean News: African Penguin Language Decoded, Tiny Hydrozoans Bombarding the West Coast, and More

African penguin language has been decoded

A pair of African penguins in South Africa. (Photo: Paul Mannix / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Researchers recently found that the bumphead parrotfish can benefit but also harm coral reef ecosystems in the Pacific. Bumpheads help coral reefs reproduce and reduce-fast growing algae that compete with corals, but since bumpheads do eat coral, they can reduce its abundance and diversity. Red Orbit


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Photos: Meet the Ocean Animals with the Wildest Teeth

Fangtooth moray eel has wild, glass-like teeth

The fangtooth moray eel, an eel species with multiple glass-like teeth. (Photo: Philippe Guillaume / Flickr Creative Commons)

When you’re out swimming or surfing at the beach, have you ever wondered which ocean animals surrounding you have teeth? It turns out that sharks aren’t the only marine animals with teeth—a tool in some marine animals may be more widespread than you thought.

From hundreds of sharp, razor-blade-like teeth in great white sharks to the singular long, spiraled tooth on narwhales, teeth come in all shapes in sizes in marine ecosystems. This diversity is for good reason—some use their teeth to shred and slice prey, while others use their teeth more as a harpoon.


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Video: Watch Dozens of Baby Loggerhead Sea Turtles Scurry to the Ocean

This sea turtle cam caught a nest hatch in Florida

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings make their way to the ocean in Florida. (Photo: FloridaKeysTV / Florida Keys Turtle Cam) 

It’s that wonderful time of year again on the East Coast: sea turtle hatching season! Turtle nests—from green sea turtles to loggerheads, Kemp’s ridleys, and even more species—are starting to hatch from Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re a sea turtle lover and haven’t made it to the beach to catch a nest hatch, don’t worry—the Florida Keys Turtle Cam has got you covered.


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Ocean News: Brazil Bans Catfish Fishery to Protect Pink River Dolphins, Arctic Ice Melt Leading to Large Arctic Waves, and More

Brazil bans catfish industry to protect pink river dolphins

A pink river dolphin, a species that’s declined from Brazil’s catfish fishery. (Photo: Colombia Travel / Flickr Creative Commons)

- In its biggest fisheries ban since 1967, Brazil banned its commercial catfish fishery that uses pink river dolphins as bait. Dolphin populations have severely declined over the past decade, and one population saw a 50 percent drop in numbers since 2004. New Scientist


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Creature Feature: Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Creature feature Caribbean spiny lobster

Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) in a giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia muta) in the Elbow Reef, Key Largo, Florida, USA. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

This lobster species is perhaps best known for its impressive navigational skills. Caribbean spiny lobsters orient themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field, and then follow that point to find food at night and for long migrations. During these migrations, they form queues—long, single file lines in groups of 50 that walk day and night until reaching their destination. Lobsters prefer warmer water, so they migrate en masse to deeper waters when water starts to cool in winter.


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Ocean News: Climate Change Threatens Red Knots, Pacific Island Leaders Meet to Discuss Ocean Conservation, and More

Climate change threatens red knot migration

Red knots (Calidris canutus rufa) flying over Delaware. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists recently found two new coral communities in the Gulf of Mexico show signs of damage from the 2010 BP oil spill. The communities are over 13 miles from the spill, indicating that the spill is “deeper and broader” than thought. Salon


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Ocean News: Cape Cod Embraces Shark Spottings, Rare White Southern Right Whale Calf Spotted off Australia, and More

Great white sharks are celebrated on Cape Cod

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

- A rare white southern right whale calf was recently spotted off southern Australia with its mother. Only about two percent of southern right whales are born white, but remain that color for just a year. Adelaide Now


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