The Beacon

Ocean News: Manatees Could Lose Endangered Status, Ocean Acidification Causing Fish to Lose Their Friends, and More

(Photo: Oceana)

- Earlier this week, U.S. Coast Guard officials found 65 dead sharks in an illegal drift net 20 miles off South Padre Island, Texas. An airplane spotted the mile-long net and decomposing sharks, and immediately deployed a patrol boat. Houston Chronicle

- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Tuesday that reclassifying manatees from Endangered to Threatened under the Endangered Species Act may be warranted, and will now conduct a year-long scientific review. Manatees received federal protection in 1967 after populations dropped from boat strikes, red tide, and a loss of habitat—and opponents of the decision say they are still impacted by many of these factors. Sun Sentinel 

- Ocean acidification may cause fish to become "friendless," according to new research. Fish typically travel in schools for predator protection and to find a mate, but ocean acidification is making fish unrecognizable to each other. Grist

- Scientists found that Chilean devil rays are some of the deepest-diving marine animals—able to dive to depths around 6,000 feet. Like great white sharks and other deep-diving species, these rays have a retia mirabilia—an organ that keeps the animals' brain warm as they swim into cold, dark waters. Smithsonian Magazine

- It turns out that tiny coquina clams could play a large role in monitoring coastal pollutants. Researchers found that these tiny mollusks retained pollutants longer than surrounding particles, indicating that they could be good monitors for oil and other contaminants along shorelines. Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative

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