The Beacon

Blog Tags: Science

Under the Microscope in Key West

A few days ago, I posted a video of Oceana marine scientist Margot getting ready to test the waters of the Florida Keys looking for baby fish. Margot attached a small video camera to the microscope and then pulled the following still images from the video. Pretty cool, huh?

Margot was pleased to find a lot of healthy shellfish, including lobsters and crabs. The expedition crew plans to do similar testing near the oil spill site to see if these same species have been covered in oil.

 


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Where’s Waldo? In the Gulf!

© Naples Daily News

Today Oceana and NRDC, in collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory, are launching an oil-detecting underwater robot off the Florida Keys as a first line of defense against underwater oil plumes from the Gulf oil spill.

For 25 to 30 days, the robot, a.k.a.Waldo, will travel undersea in the water column, an area that satellite imagery cannot access, gathering data every few seconds and transmitting the information to researchers via satellite every three hours.

If oil is detected, Mote Marine Laboratory will provide the local government with this information so that emergency resources and response plans can be activated to help protect the Keys’ important ecological resources.

You can check out Waldo’s location and data throughout his expedition at Rutgers University’s web site.  


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Ocean Hero Finalists: Bonnie Lei

Bonnie Lei collecting specimens. (Image courtesy Bonnie Lei.)

This is the tenth in a series of posts about the 2010 Ocean Hero finalists.

Today’s featured finalist already has an impressive resume, and she’s still in high school.

For the past three years, high school junior Bonnie Lei has been conducting independent research on the population structure and evolutionary history of sea slugs to create a better understanding of biodiversity conservation in the Caribbean.

She has reclassified the tropical Spurilla genus, identified a possible new species, and she even presented her research at the international American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) annual meetings in 2009 and 2010.

“With the escalating loss of marine species comes the loss of stability and productivity in entire ecosystems,” she wrote in an essay for us. “It will be impossible to protect these species unless a lucid picture of the distribution, genetic differences, and uniqueness of the populations today is provided.” 


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Sound, Brain and Ocean Waves

wave

Image via wikimedia commons.

Last time we heard from Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols, he sent us wisdom from a coconut. Now he's back with several cool new projects. The first is called Ocean Voices, a website where you can record your own thoughts on the oceans and listen to others' voices, too.

The culmination of the project will be an Ocean Opera performed in June 2010 to kick off World Ocean Month and Jacques Cousteau's 100th Birthday celebration. With more than 300 voices so far, Nichols hopes to get 1000 by the end of this year. Check it out and speak up for the seas!

And then there's his forthcoming book, Oceanophilia, co-authored by Andy Myers. So what is Oceanophilia, you ask? Keep reading and find out, in this post by Nichols from yesterday's Huffington Post:

Oceanophilia: The Neuroscience of Emotion and the Ocean

“We are tied to the ocean.  And when we go back to the sea—whether it is to sail or to watch it—we are going back from whence we came.”  - President John F. Kennedy

Once I met a man who hated the ocean.  Intensely, he said.  He described to me fear, negative associations and a general unease he couldn’t quite put his finger on.  His aversion was so strong— especially when measured against my own great, unabashed love for the ocean—that I’ll never forget my bewilderment.  Everyone I have ever known loves the ocean.  I’m not talking about lower-case “l” kind of love either; the kind that we apply indiscriminately to pop stars, sports teams and chocolate bars.  I mean the capital “L” kind of Love; the love that is unfathomable and ineffable, a fusion of respect, understanding, awe, sensuality and mystery.


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