The Beacon: Justine Hausheer's blog

Sheryl Crow Editorial Calls for an Airgun-free Atlantic

The government estimates that seismic airguns will injure at least 138,500 dolphins and whales. (Photo: Mike Legend) 

Oceana’s efforts to fight seismic airgun use in the Atlantic are off to a strong start. Right now our activists are conducting forums in nine different states to educate residents about the dangers of airguns.


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Creature Feature: Magnificent Frigatebird

Yes, that’s a bird, and yes, it’s supposed to look like that. (Photo: Mark Vance)

Magnificent frigatebirds aren’t the beauty queens of the bird world, but they do get points for bold style. These seabirds have a seven foot wingspan and an inflatable, bright-red throat sac under their bills that they used in elaborate courtship displays. Only the males have these sacs—female frigatebirds have a non-inflatable white neck, making them the only seabird species where the males and females look very different.


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The Amazing Disappearing Octopus

Now you see me, now you don’t. (Photo: Snailgenie) 

This amazing video has been making the rounds on the internet for a while, be we still couldn’t resist sharing it with you! You may know that an octopus can change the color of its skin to blend in with its surroundings. But did you know they were this good?


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Fleet of Gliding Robots Collect Ocean Data

A slocum glider, with its wings, is prepped before deployment. (Photo: Christena MacDonald, OTN/MEOPAR)

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s an ocean-going robot! Scientists from the United States and Canada are teaming up to launch up to 14 ocean-monitoring robotic gliders. These gliders are collecting data on ocean conditions and marine life along the eastern seaboard, traveling from the coast to the edge of the continental shelf.


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Creature Feature: Loggerhead Sea Turtle

A loggerhead sea turtle. (Photo: Wendell Reed)

If you're a fan of sea turtles, you might have heard about the mighty loggerhead sea turtle. Growing 2 to 3 feet long and weighing in at a massive 165–350 pounds, loggerheads are heavier than many people. These reptiles are actually the second-largest marine turtle (only the leatherback is larger.) Named for their hefty heads, loggerheads are found in tropical and temperate waters around the world.


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Measles-Like Virus Likely Responsible for Atlantic Dolphin Strandings

Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are suffering from a viral epidemic. (Photo: Oceana)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that a measles-like virus is responsible for hundreds of bottlenose dolphin strandings along the mid-Atlantic coast this summer.

Since early July, unusually high numbers of dead or dying bottlenose dolphins have washed ashore from New York to North Carolina. About 155 dolphins strand in the mid-Atlantic from January to late August during a normal year, but this year almost 500 dolphins washed ashore in the same time period. The sudden increase prompted NOAA to declare an Unusual Mortality Event for bottlenose dolphins.


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Creature Feature: Lionfish

Up close and personal with a lionfish

Up close and personal with a lionfish. (Photo: Kjeld Friis)

It’s venomous, voracious, and taking over reefs across the western Atlantic.

This strange-looking predator is a lionfish, a.k.a. Pterois volitans. Native to Indo-Pacific reefs, lionfish are anything but subtle. The large, striped spines protruding from their bodies are their main defense, filled with neurotoxic venom to deter predators. While the venom isn’t deadly to humans, running afoul of a lionfish isn’t fun—side effects include excruciating pain, headaches, difficulty breathing, and vomiting. Lesson learned: don’t mess with a lionfish. 


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Pacific Expedition Featured on Local Oregon News

The expedition team poses with the underwater ROV. (Photo: Oceana)

 

Great news from our Pacific expedition team! On September 3 the local Portland station KGW featured the expedition on the evening news.

This August, Oceana set sail to document deep sea corals and sponges off the rugged Oregon Coast using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) outfitted with high-definition underwater cameras. The areas they explored are places that we proposed be protected from bottom trawling, which destroys important habitat on the sea floor.  


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Offshore Wind Development Expands Along Virginia’s Coast

Offshore wind turbines can help stop deadly drilling disasters like the 2010 Gulf Oilspill. (Photo: phault) 

 

We have some exciting news to share on our efforts to promote renewable energy: today the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) leased almost 113,000 acres off the coast of Virginia for wind energy development in a live auction.


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Whales Get Sunburns, Too

Sperm whales can develop sunburn-like blisters when swimming near the surface. (Photo: Paul Richards)

 

If you head to the beach without sunscreen, you’ll probably return home with a scarlet, painful sunburn. That’s because you’ve exposed your skin to several hours of UV rays, which damage DNA within your skin cells. But did you know that whales can get sunburned, too?


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