North Carolina legislature makes history yet again, proposing to outlaw sea level rise

[Editor’s note: OK, I know we live in crazy times, and getting crazier by the day. But this one is so utterly, bat-doo insane, masochistic and over-the-top that I can’t resist and must quote verbatim. By Scott Huler at From Scientific American blogs. John, Craig, Kevin Z, Andrew, et al — what the ___ is […]

New evidence for catastrophic loss of coral reef sharks

“[The] density of reef sharks has declined to 3–10% of baseline levels” This is the take-home finding from one of two new papers that help clarify just how much reef shark populations have declined. Nadon et al. 2012, Re-creating missing population baselines for Pacific reef sharks, just came out in the journal Conservation Biology. The team used a new database […]

Coral reef grazing in Palau

From Peter Mumby’s Spatial Ecology Lab at UQ [vimeo][/vimeo]

Cheer up climate communicators; America’s views on climate change are better than you think

The George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) has a new report based on their monitoring of the attitudes of American’s about climate change: America’s Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes, March 2012. Highlights of the survey (with “expert” commentary) • Since November 2011, public belief that global warming is happening increased by 3 points, to […]

Big wave awards 2012

Check out some of the nominations for the Billabong 2012 Big Wave Awards: [youtube][/youtube]

Sun coral


A judge for the ocean

The article below from  Sea Shepherd describes the slowly developing recognition that the current judiciary in Ecuador and elsewhere cannot deal with various environmental laws. Just like the recent case in Indonesia, when a boat was caught illegally harvesting sharks in the Galapagos, all the fisherman were sent home with minimal fines. But on the other […]

The political economy and ecology of fisheries

Below is a guest post by my colleague and workout buddy, Dr Elizabeth Havice, a fisheries economist and tuna guru in the Department of Geography here at UNC. And what of the people, places, politics, and economics behind change in fisheries systems? Here on SeaMonster we see all sorts of amazing stories about the creatures […]

Mid-week shark finning news round up

There has been some important news this week about the global shark fin fishery problem. First is a piece by Juliet Eilperin about the problem of illegal shark fishing in marine reserves. Just last week another boat was caught illegally harvesting sharks from a globally important reserve: Local and regional authorities in Indonesia caught 33 poachers […]

Twilight of the giants in taxonomy

[Adapted in part from my recent review at Faculty of 1000] In an important sense, nothing exists until it’s given a name.  And in the living world of organisms, names—official, scientific names—are assigned by unique creatures called taxonomists, experts in the minutiae of structure and biology of particular groups of organisms, working according to a […]

Seaweed is important to the Galapagos Islands

UNC PhD student Lindsey Carr has been working in the Galapagos islands over the last few years.  She is doing some really cool work on algae and all the neat herbivores there, including iguanas, fish, urchins, and sea turtles. But she is short on funds for her planned field work this summer: please help her […]

Biodiversity, simply

Have you ever been flummoxed trying to understand — or explain — the concept and importance of biodiversity? Your prayers have been answered. This short video is an absolute gem of intuitive, attractive, concision (en español, with subtitles): [vimeo][/vimeo] HT to Julia Whitty at Mother Jones.

Arctic sea ice thickness video!


And everyone’s huggin’ each other and swimmin’ through this liquid space atmosphere

That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Verbatim, and there’s more where that came from, some of it surprisingly coherent. From the Ocean Rap Archive: Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers, lover of the Ocean, circa 1990: ht to Lars Gamfeldt

Global warming continues to heat the oceans

This is a repost from Skeptical Science written by Dana1981: Levitus et al. had previously published updated ocean heat content (OHC) data on the National Oceanic Data Center (NODC) website, labeled as “Levitus et al. in preparation” (Figure 1). Figure 1:  Global OHC for the upper 2000 meters of oceans (NODC) Levitus et al. (2012) is now […]

Obama speaks at UNC on importance of higher education

I had the treat of a lifetime yesterday. I attended (along with 8000 other members of the Carolina community) a speech by a sitting US president (only the 7th in the 200+ year history of Carolina). President Obama talked about the critical role of higher education in our country’s economic and social fabric. If we […]

Weighing advocacy and objectivity as a junior scientist

Speaking out: weighing advocacy and objectivity as a junior scientist Thomas A Morrison, Matthew P Ayres (2010) Speaking out: weighing advocacy and objectivity as a junior scientist. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 50-5 Thomas A Morrison (graduate student) Ecologists wear many hats, and some fit better than others. One […]

Tundra Connections: Mothers & Cubs live today!

Tundra Connections, an amazing online outreach platform produced by Polar Bears International will be running a live show today about mum and cub polar bears from the arctic!  Learn more here. [youtube][/youtube]  

Clash of the fisheries titans

If you missed last Monday’s panel discussion “Are fisheries turning the corner” organized by the Nicholas Institute at Duke, you can watch the video below! Also check out Clare “@SeaFiez” Fieseler’s incredible Storify of it here. [youtube][/youtube]

Ecologists and environmentalism

I love this essay by Ecology EIC and former Don of the Tallahassee Mafia Don Strong. I bring up his argument, that like art historians, ecologists should not be hesitant to defend what they study, whenever someone asks if I think it is alright for scientists to be advocates: Of course it is!  Don’t you think […]

Advocacy and science

An excerpt from Peterson et al 1997 on advocacy, science, ecology and managers. Peterson, G., S. Pope, G. A. De Leo, M.A. Janssen, J.R. Malcolm, J.M. Parody, G. Hood, and M. North. 1997. Ecology, ethics, and advocacy. Conservation Ecology [online] 1(1): 17.  Ecologists are frequently confronted with situations that they feel are wrong. However, it is […]

Lawsuit launched to protect habitat for Florida’s Loggerhead sea turtles

The Center for Biological Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network ( filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Obama administration today seeking to protect critical habitat for imperiled loggerhead sea turtles on Florida’s nesting beaches and marine waters in the Atlantic. Florida beaches, which host the largest nesting population of loggerheads in the […]

Communicating science to a nation watching reality TV

A great video of Sheril Kirshenbaum speaking about science communication. [youtube][/youtube]  

Expert debunks lamo coverage of polar bear science

Below is a repost of a piece from MediaMatters by Jocelyn Fong covering Steven Amstrup’s response to the recent media coverage of polar bear populations, which led to a resurgence of that long debunked myth “Polar Bears are doing better than ever! They LOVE climate change!”  Steven used to be a federal scientist and is now the lead […]