Andy Sharpless's blog

Caudaplasty?

Posted Wed, Sep 27, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

Four months ago, a fisherman found a baby bottlenose dolphin tangled in the buoy line of a crab trap near Cape Canaveral. "Winter" is just one of hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds that are caught accidentally by fishermen each year. The good news is, unlike most bycatch victims, instead of losing her life, Winter only lost her tail.



After being nursed back to health by more than 150 marine biologists and volunteers working around the clock, Winter has shown great improvement. She swims and plays at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. But Winter isn't out of the woods just yet, experts think she needs...a prosthetic tail.


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Aquatic canaries in the coal mine

Posted Thu, Sep 21, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

Evil doers beware - a new soldier's been drafted into the war on terror. If our color coded charts and duct tape sent chills up your spine, wait until you get a load of our bluegills.



San Francisco, New York, Washington and other big cities are using bluegills -- aka sunfish or bream -- to safeguard their drinking water. These fish are highly attuned to chemical disturbances in their environment, and could be able to detect chemical warfare before traditional detection means. When the fish are exposed to toxins, they flex their gills in the same way a human would cough.



Sadly, there are plenty of toxins that could make these freshwater fish "flex their gills" and Osama didn't put them there.


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Diving Mecca discovered

Posted Tue, Sep 19, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

Be careful when you remark, "yeah, when pigs fly!" because we just discovered a shark that can walk. In fact, we discovered two.



Researchers from Conservation International found 50 new species in the Bird's Head region in Papua. The new discoveries include 20 corals, 24 fish and eight mantis shrimp. But the one that's got everyone cocking their head to the side with a resounding, "huh!" is the two new species of epaulette sharks, which spend most of their time walking across the sea floor, swimming away when danger looms. See for yourself.


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Who Needs the Orkin Man?

Posted Mon, Sep 18, 2006 by Andy Sharpless to dolphins, whales

Every year environmental and animal welfare groups join forces to boo and hiss at (and work to oppose) Japan during the International Whaling Commission meeting. In 1986 the IWC instituted a moratorium on commercial whaling, and ever since, Japan has been fighting to overturn it. This year, Japan and its allies came dangerously close to inhaling the sweet smell of success.


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A rose by any other name...

Posted Thu, Sep 14, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

Juliet knew what she was talking about when she uttered the famous line, "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." But the question remains "would it taste as good?"


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Let's talk about Intersex fish, baby

Posted Fri, Sep 8, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

Scientists say abnormal "intersex" fish, with both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River and its tributaries across the Capitol Region.  Although scientists are not sure of the source of the problem, they suspect Felicity Huffman is to blame.


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Crikey indeed

Posted Tue, Sep 5, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

irony; from the Latin ironia; incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result; example: earning fame and fortune wrestling crocodiles and being killed by a basically inoffensive marine creature.

Beloved naturalist Steve Irwin, aka "the crocodile hunter," was killed by a stingray during a diving expedition off the Australian coast on Sunday. The stingray's barb had pierced the tv personality's heart and he died within moments.


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What I learned from Newsweek (the ads, not the articles)

Posted Fri, Sep 1, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

Although I'm no fan of the cigarette companies, I have to give credit where credit is due. They have often been on the cutting edge of advertising and marketing. Marlboro made it cool for men to smoke, Virginia Slims made it cool for women to smoke and Camels made it cool for - well, let's not go there.

Flipping through Newsweek the other day, I came across an ad for American Spirit. Since I'm a non-smoker, I didn't realize there was a cigarette company marketing itself as the "organic" cigarette manufacturer. As I was rolling my eyes at the advertisement, a silver lining emerged from the cloud of tobacco smoke.


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Who would you rather have in your corner - FEMA or MENSA?

Posted Tue, Aug 29, 2006 by Andy Sharpless

With the height of hurricane season approaching, and the Katrina anniversary monopolizing the media, it's fair to say America's got hurricane on the brain. While coastal residents and (let's hope) the government prepare for this year's storms, so, too do marine creatures.

Scientists and volunteers near Conch Reef rounded up about 500 long-spined sea urchins (critical to the health of coral reefs) in a shallow rubble zone and moved them to deeper water on the coral reef where they'll be safer.

Take note, Mr. President. Preventative action before hurricanes = good. Still in the "beginning" stages of recovery a year after the fact = bad.


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