The Beacon: tmarshall's blog

Expedition Photo of the Day: Oh, I didn't see you there!


© Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

This camouflaged flatfish looks up at an Oceana diver from the sea floor off the coast of Panama City, FL.

Flatfish are an order of fish that, like their name suggests, are relatively flat. Their eyes are on one side of their head, with some species "left facing", some "right facing", and others can face either way.

Be sure to check out all our footage from the expedition – photos, videos, blogs - updated every day!

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Expedition Photo of the Day: Oil on the Horizon

oil rig on the horizon at sunset

© Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

My other photos of the day have been cool underwater creatures. But today, my focus is something you can see above the waves. This beautiful photo is marred by that pesky oil rig in the distance, otherwise breaking up a fantastic sunset.

It is no surprise that as an ocean conservation group, we are against offshore drilling. Our expedition will continue for several more weeks, looking for how the BP drilling diaster has affected the area. But we are also working to make sure that an event like this never happens again.

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Expedition Photo of the Day: Mystical Anemone

anemone from research expedition

© Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

Nope, this isn't an alien specimen. Related to corals and jellyfish, anemones are predatory creatures who use poisons in their tentacles to capture and immoblize their prey. Anemonefish, or clownfish, are not affected by anemone toxins and find shelter in their tentacles.

This translucent beauty was spotted during Oceana's research expedition off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

Be sure to check out all our footage from the expedition – photos, videos, blogs - updated every day!

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Expedition Photo of the Day: Arrow Crab

Arrow crab off coast of Panama City Florida

© Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

These nocturnal crabs resemble underwater daddy long-legs, with purple-tipped limbs up to three times the length of their abdomens. Despite their gangly appearance, they are surprisingly agile.

This feasting crustacean was captured on film on our oil spill research expedition off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

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Expedition Photo of the Day: Inquisitive Blenny

blenny in gulf of mexico

© Oceana/Eduardo Sorensen

With all the great footage we’re getting from our research vessel in the Gulf, I wanted to highlight some of my  favorite photos with a new daily feature.

This inquisitive blenny sticks his head out in the Florida Middle Grounds off the West Florida Shelf in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, roughly 100 miles from shore. Like all blennies, it has a long body, a single long dorsal fin, and peg-like pelvic fins, which it uses to prop itself up.

Be sure to check out all our footage from the expedition – photos, videos, blogs - updated every day!

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Kate Walsh on The View: Stop the Drill

Yesterday, Kate Walsh spent some time on the couch with the ladies of The View. After talking about past and possible future love affairs of Dr. Addison Montgomery, Kate spoke passionately and eloquently about the BP oil disaster and the need to stop offshore drilling. But don't take my word for it - check her out for yourself.


We are at almost 100,000 signatures! Add your name to the fight against offshore drilling - sign the petition to Stop the Drill today.

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Gulf Coast Dodges a Bullet... for Now

Deepwater Horizon rig fire

Battling the fire on Deepwater Horizon. Photo: US Coast Guard

A sad and ironic post for the day after Earth Day – the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil rig that caught fire on Tuesday and sank yesterday is still a serious concern for  the Coast Guard, NOAA and potentially for dozens of endangered species.

The Coast Guard continues to search for the missing 11 crew members while cleanup efforts have begun. An oily sheen covers the water where the rig used to stand, probably related to the fire and onboard activity as the rig sank. While it is contained for now, BP Vice President David Rainey said "it certainly has the potential to be a major spill." BP PLC operates the license on which the rig was drilling.

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Oceana U: Report from Connecticut College

Last semester (for those of you who still think in those terms), I started working with a young and dedicated oceans advocate at Connecticut College. Check out her story below:

Hi! My name is Olivia and I’m a sophomore at Connecticut College. I’m from Newport Beach, California and was fortunate enough to be introduced to the remarkable work that Oceana does to protect our oceans. 

I was so shocked by how little I knew about the devastating statistics and lack of governmental enforcement to protect the sea creatures that are very close to extinction, so I felt a need to find a way to participate. After volunteering for their Sea Change event in Laguna Beach, I contacted a member of Oceana about starting a college branch. I was the first student to approach them with this idea and they were very excited to get started!

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Whale Wednesday: Circle of (Creepy) Life

Here at Whale Wednesday, we generally talk about the amazing life of whales… while they are alive. But like everything in nature, cetaceans pass on. And good thing, too, if you are a boneworm.

These strange, tiny creatures feast on the bones of mammal carcasses on the sea floor. Bobbing along as microscopic larvae until they come in contact with a whale or elephant seal, they then latch on, sending root-like structures into the bones and feathery arms into the water. The bacteria in these roots break down bone protein, while the feathery appendages draw in oxygen. And that’s not the strangest part.

All boneworms start off male, but as they sexually mature, become female. However, if a male larvae lands on a female boneworm, he will become a male worm, though remain microscopic in size. He will then go on to fertilize the females eggs, which will result in all-male larvae. And the cycle begins again.

Space is often touted as the final frontier, but the depths of the oceans hold much more mystery… and bone eating worms.

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And the Freakiest Fish of 2009 is...

hairy angler

© Dorling Kindersley

The results are in and the freakiest fish is… the hairy angler! This deep-sea creature not only looks frightening, but has a scary big appetite. Due to its expandable stomach, it can eat prey as big, or even bigger, than itself. This certainly comes in handy in the food-scarce depths of the ocean.

Learn more about crazy creatures, interesting places, and ocean science in our brand new Explore section.

Though Halloween has passed, we should still be frightened for the future of the oceans. Visit our Act section on the new website, donate to support our work, and spread the word to your friends and family that the oceans need our help.

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