How much salt is in the ocean? Revisited

In late 2008, I wrote a very simple post explaining ‘salinity’ and the overall general amount of salt in the ocean. Now, with new data being collected by NASA (in a joint mission with Argentina) using the Aquarius instrument aboard a satellite, Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas, we are able to more completely understand “How salty is the sea?” The satellite measures  the “brightness temperature” of the top centimeter layer of ocean waters.

June 10, 2012 marked was the one year anniversary this satellite has been in orbit. In the past year many finding have been confirmed using three sensors to collect approximately 3.6 million measurements (300,000 measurements per month)! For instance, 1) the Atlantic ocean is saltier than the Pacific ocean, 2) long rivers are responsible for massive plumes of freshwater that extend far into the sea (e.g., Mississippi River carry lots of freshwater into the Gulf of Mexico, the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, and the Everglades flowing into the Florida Keys region), and 3) rainfall along the equator’s rainforest create a significantly more diluted ocean than we once previously had envisioned.

Trivia question: Can anyone tell me the what you call the body of water where freshwater from rivers mix with the salty ocean water?

Check out the maps of the Saltiness of the Earth’s Ocean from Our Amazing Planet.

100 ocean quotes

Because there is not just one quote that summarizes how ethereal and majestic the ocean is, and in honor of World Oceans Day, and because you know I like lists, here is an archive of some inspiring quotes about the important aspects of our ocean all from people you may have heard of a time or two. If you have another favorite, please don’t forget to share and comment below.

100 Quotes about the ocean from the Beach Chair Scientist

1. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
2. “In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans” – Kahlil Gibran
3. “We know that when we protect our oceans we’re protecting our future.” – Bill Clinton
4. “It isn’t the oceans which cut us off from the world — it’s the American way of looking at things.” – Henry Miller
5. “The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free!” – Bryan W. Procter
6. “To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?” – Walt Whitman
7. “There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety; there are the many kinds of fish, both surface and bottom living; there are the hosts of different invertebrate creatures on the sea-floor; and there are those almost grotesque forms of pelagic life in the oceans depths. Then there are the squids and cuttlefish, and the porpoises, dolphins and great whales.” – Sir Alister Hardy
8. “Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.” – Loren Eiseley
9. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. Cummings
10. “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came…” – John F. Kennedy
11. “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Isaac Newton
12. “Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.” – Lloyd Biggle Jr.
13. “It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist: the threat is rather to life itself.” – Rachel Carson
14. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa
15. “To me, the sea is like a person–like a child that I’ve known a long time. It sounds crazy, I know, but when I swim in the sea I talk to it. I never feel alone when I’m out there.” – Gertrude Ederle
16. “My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
17. “The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.” Christopher Columbus
18. “Animal protection is education to the humanity.” – Albert Schweitzer
19. “The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” -Blaise Pascal
20. “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” – Evan Esar
21. “Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer
22. “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” – William James
23. “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Wyland
24. “The tradition of freedom of the high seas has its roots in an era when there were too few people to seriously violate the oceans — but in hindsight that era ended some 150 years ago.” – James Carlton
25. “The true peace of God begins at any spot a thousand miles from the nearest land.” – Joseph Conrad
26. “Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” – Robert Henri
27. “The sea hath no king but God alone.” – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
28. “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” – Thomas Fuller
29. “After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” – Pam Shaw
30. “Primeval forests! virgin sod! That Saxon has not ravish’d yet, Lo! peak on peak in stairways set— In stepping stairs that reach to God! Here we are free as sea or wind, For here are set Time’s snowy tents
In everlasting battlements Against the march of Saxon mind.” – Joaquin Miller
31. “The oceans deserve our respect and care, but you have to know something before you can care about it.” – Sylvia Earle
32. “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
33. “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
34. “From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
35. “No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
36. “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
37. “The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” -Christopher Paolini
38. “Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” -Sarah Kay
39. “Hark, now hear the sailors cry / smell the sea, and feel the sky / let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.” -Van Morrison
40. “Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.” -John Kenneth Galbraith
41. “It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much. Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy… Beach Therapy.” -Amy Dykens
42. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
43. “I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen
44. “Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.” – William Shakespeare
45. “I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller
46. “When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
47. “The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.” – Beyoncé Knowles
48. “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
49. “The use of sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession therof.” – Elizabeth I, Queen of England
50. “The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” – Kate Chopin
51. “I felt the full breadth and depth of the ocean around the sphere of the Earth, back billions of years to the beginning of life, across all the passing lives and deaths, the endless waves of swimming joy and quiet losses of exquisite creatures with fins and fronds, tentacles and wings, colourful and transparent, tiny and huge, coming and going. There is nothing the ocean has not seen.” – Sally Andrew
52. “The waves of the sea help me get back to me.” – Jill Davis
53. “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” – Dave Barry
54. “I couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. It was a giant reset button. You could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.” – Avery Sawyer
55. “If we don’t manage this resource, we will be left with a diet of jellyfish and plankton stew.” Daniel Pauly
56. “I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.” —Sylvia Earle
57. “People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet-we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.” – Sylvia Earle
57. “It is important to remember that the ocean’s resources are finite. The commitment these kids are making here today is a clear and compelling call to all of us to pay attention to our ocean.” – Ted Danson
58. “My boat is on the shore, And my bark is on the sea.” George Gordon Byron
59. “Even castles made from sand fall to the ocean” – Jimi Hendrix
60. “Ever since I was a child I’ve felt connected to water: lakes, rivers, streams––I love to jump in and swim around. But it’s the ocean where I go for rejuvenation, revelation, and solace.” Susan Rockefeller
61. “No love is Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves’ boundaries …” – Jack Spicer
62. “I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows.” – Drew Barrymore
63. “Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void.” – Fabien Cousteau
64. “We are blessed with a magnificent and miraculous world ocean on this planet. But we are also stressing it in ways that we are not even close to bringing under control.” – Carl Safina
65. “The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves …” – Wyland
66. “It is particularly appropriate that we unveil this campaign on this first day of the annual international coastal clean-up effort, … Beach cleanups are something each of us can do any time of the year. I’m proud to be participating in the cleanup efforts today and I encourage everyone to make the time for these types of activities.” – Ted Danson
67. “The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth
68. “Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.” – Heinrich Zimmer
69. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson
70. “The sea lives in every one of us …” – Wyland
71. “Always remember that the ocean delights in feeling your feet in her eternal bath …” – Wyland
72. “Ocean energy can contribute a great deal toward the protection or our atmosphere – without damaging marine ecosystems that are equally vital to the planet’s future.” – Fred Krupp
73. “Do what we will, the Colorado will one day find an unimpeded way to the sea.” – Donald Worster
74. “At the end of the day, no amount of investing, no amount of clean electrons, no amount of energy efficiency will save the natural world if we are not paying attention to it – if we are not paying attention to all the things that nature give us for free: clean air, clean water, breathtaking vistas, mountains for skiing, rivers for fishing, oceans for sailing, sunsets for poets, and landscapes for painters. What good is it to have wind-powered lights to brighten the night if you can’t see anything green during the day? Just because we can’t sell shares in nature doesn’t mean it has no value.” – Thomas L. Friedman
75. “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” – Hunter S. Thompson
76. “There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” – Joseph Conrad

77. “And I shall watch the ferry boats, and they’ll get high, on a bluer ocean against tomorrow’s sky. and i will never grow so old again, and i will walk and talk, in gardens all wet with rain…” – Van Morrison
78. “‎I have always been fascinated by the ocean, to dip a limb beneath its surface and know that I’m touching eternity, that it goes on forever until it begins here again.” – Lauren DeStefano
79. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
80. “No matter how remote we feel we are from the oceans, every act each one of us takes in our everyday lives affects our planet’s water cycle and in return affects us.” – Fabien Cousteau
81. “Into the ocean went a world more fantastic than any imagination could inspire …” – Wyland
82. “You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.” – Thomas Traherne
83. “I do an awful lot of scuba diving. I love to be on the ocean, under the ocean. I live next to the ocean.” – James Cameron
84. “I heard silence, silence infinite as the bottom of the ocean, a silence that sealed.” – Anne Spollen
85. “The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
86. “Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life.” – Tamora Pierce
87. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” – Vincent Van Gogh
88. “Your heart is like the ocean, mysterious and dark.” – Bob Dylan
89. “Individuals of all ages can make an important difference in the overall health of our ocean by the actions they take every day. Simple things like picking up trash on the beach, recycling and conserving water can have a big impact on the health of our ocean.” – Ted Danson
90. “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” – Sylvia Earle
91. “That the sea is one of the most beautiful and magnificent sights in Nature, all admit.” – John Joly
92. “To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” – Rachel Carson
93. “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach” – Henry Beston
94. “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about the sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.” – Herman Melville
95. “To heal the ocean, we must heal ourselves.” – Dr. Rod Fujita
96. “If you like to eat seafood or swim in the ocean, it’s time to get involved.” – Julie Evans-Brumm
97. “And I have loved thee, Ocean! And my joy of youthful sports was on thy breast to be borne, like thy bubbles, onward; from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers. They to me were a delight; and if the freshening sea made them a terror, ‘twas a pleasing fear.” – Lord Byron
98. “Catch a wave, and you’re sitting on top of the world.” – The Beach Boys
99. “The sea is not a bargain basement.” – Jacques Cousteau
100. “Only God almighty and naval research can save us from the perils of the sea.” – John Warner

World Oceans Day is June 8th

June 8th is World Oceans Day, the UN-designated day for the global community to celebrate and take action for our shared ocean. So start the weekend off on a wave of advocacy and share the message that you have concern for the sea with your friends and family.

My call to action in honor of World Oceans Day? The Majestic Plastic Bag is one of the oceans greatest threats because chances are it’s so mundane you don’t even notice it effects. Look around you right now: how much plastic do you see and where does it go? Switch one disposable plastic habits for a sustainable, ocean-friendly one: such as bringing reusable food containers from home when eating out for your ‘doggie bag.’ Head out to your nearest and dearest body of water with some friends and pick up all the trash you find. You’ll be surprised at how much of it is plastic. Many communities around the world are banning plastic bags from being used at their stores. Learn how to start a campaign to stop plastic bags use in your town!

Here are some United States Events to celebrate World Oceans Day 2012 with others in your town.

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner

What is your favorite ocean-themed children’s book?

Summer is unofficially here and with that comes trips to the beach! To keep the theme going at home I am on a mission to discover new ocean-themed books to share with my little one. I compiled this list after some research and from your feedback on Facebook and Twitter. Please share by commenting below if you have a new book to add to the list. Also, scroll down and fill out the survey to share which one(s) are your favorite.

‘The Serpent Came to Gloucester’ by M.T. Anderson: (Ages 6 and up) Drawing on a true story, an award-winning author and illustrator present a picture-book tribute to the beauty and mystery of the ocean, and to the mesmerizing creatures that may frolic there.

‘Commotion in the Ocean’ by Gil Andreae: (Ages 3 and up)  The sequel to the best-selling “Rumble in the Jungle”, this delightful new collection of poems includes fun rhymes about the creatures who live in and around the ocean. Children will delight in the snappy poems and colorful illustrations about whales, walruses, penguins, polar bears, stingrays and sharks.

‘Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef’ by Marianne Berkes: (Ages 3 and up) This coral reef is a marine nursery, teeming with parents and babies! In the age-old way of kids and fish, children will count and sing to the rhythm of “Over in the Meadow” while pufferfish “puff,” gruntfish “grunt” and seahorses “flutter.”

A House for Hermit Crab‘ by Eric Carle: (Ages 5 and up) His modern-day fable is both wise and simple; based on the true habits of the hermit crab, it not only introduces young readers to the wonder and beauty of the marine environment but also contains an encouraging message for small children facing the inevitable challenges of growing up.

‘Mister Seahorse’ by Eric Carle: (Ages 2 and up) When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse’s belly! She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets some other underwater fathers caring for their babies: Mr. Tilapia, who carries his babies in his mouth; Mr. Kurtus, who keeps his on his head; and Mr. Catfish, who is baby-sitting his young hatchlings.

‘The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor’ by Joanna Cole: (Ages 4 and up) When Ms. Frizzle drives the Magic School Bus full speed ahead into the ocean, the class takes a submarine expedition that’s anything but ordinary. With a well-meaning lifeguard in tow, the class takes a deep breath and learns about hot water vents, coral reefs, plant and animal life on the ocean floor, and more!

‘Abby’s Aquarium Adventure Series’ by Heidi de Maine: (Ages 5-10) Stories that teach about different types of fish and how to remember their names easily, it also shows the kids what an aquarist does in his/her job at the aquarium.

‘The Disappearing Island‘ by Corinne Demas: (Ages 6-10) Carrie wonders about the mysterious island that her grandmother plans to take her to on her ninth birthday, a place that is visible only at low tide and the rest of the time remains a secret beneath the waves.

Crab Moon‘ by Ruth Horowitz: (Ages 6-10) June’s full moon casts an atmospheric glow over Kiesler’s (Old Elm Speaks, 1998) soft-focus shore scenes in this brief consciousness raiser.

‘A Day in the Salt Marsh’ by Kevin Kurtz: (Ages 5 and up) Enjoy A Day in the Salt Marsh, one of the most dynamic habitats on earth. Fun-to-read, rhyming verse introduces readers to hourly changes in the marsh as the tide comes and goes.

Carry on Mr. Bowditch‘ by Jean Lee Latham: (Grades 2 – 6) The story of a boy who had the persistence to master navigation in the days when men sailed by “log, lead, and lookout,” and who authored The American Practical Navigator, “the sailor’s Bible.”

‘Swimmy’ by Leo Lionni: (Ages 4 and up) Deep in the sea there lives a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger.

The Coast Mappers‘ by Taylor Morrison: (Grades 2 – 6) In the mid-nineteenth century, little was known of the west coast and waterways. The ships that sailed those waters did so at a considerable risk, sometimes depending on only a school atlas to navigate and all too often crashing into the rocks.

‘The Young Man and the Sea‘ by W. R. Philbrick: (Ages 9 and up) Award winner Rodman Philbrick’s powerful middle-grade novel is a story of determination and survival–of a boy’s exhilirating encounter with a fish that first nearly kills him but then saves his life.

‘Beach Day’ by Karen Roosa: (Ages 4 and up) In this charming picture book, a cheerful family tumbles out of the car and onto the beach, ready for a perfect day.

‘Hello Ocean‘ by Pam Munoz Ryan: (Ages 4-7) This rhyming picture book about the pleasures of a day at the beach goes through the day while using the sense.

‘I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean’ by Kevin Sherry: (Ages 4-7) When a giant squid takes inventory of all of the creatures in the ocean, he realizes that he?s way bigger than most of them! Of course, there are bigger things lurking around . . . but maybe this giant squid with a giant touch of hubris doesn’t really care?

‘The Suzanne Tate Nature Series‘ by Suzanne Tate: (Preschool – 4th grade) Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series is a unique series of 34 books about marine life. Teaching guides are available for books 1 through 28. In each colorfully illustrated book for early childhood (Pre-K-4), biologically accurate information is combined with an exciting story line. The books also promote self-esteem and environmental awareness.

The Boathouse Buddies Series’ by Karen Thomason and Ilene Baskette: (Grade 2 – 6) The Boat House Buddies deals with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in a series of ten books.

‘Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage‘ by Sophie Webb: (Ages 9 and up) In extremely deep waters (two miles deep), the vast sea appears empty. But as naturalist and artist Sophie Webb shows us, it is full of fascinating—yet difficult to study—life. Together with her shipmates, Sophie counts and collects samples of life in the deep ocean, from seabirds to dolphins, from winged fish to whales.

‘Flotsam’ by David Wiesner: (Ages 4 and up) A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam–anything floating that has been washed ashore.

‘The Seashore Book‘ by Charlotte Zolotow: (Ages 3 and up) A young boy, who has never seen the sea, asks his mother to describe it. From there, Zolotow carefully chooses her words to create a poem full of the colors, sounds, and sights of a day at the beach.

The summaries and book covers can be attributed to the link associated with the title of the book.

Which book(s) are your favorite?

Share your beachcombing adventures!

It’s just about time to get back to reality from a weekend, so why not extend the good times and share your beachcomber adventures?Did you find anything interesting? Did you watch any birds swoop down to the sea for food? What was the sunset like? Share your pictures or any fun stories! Here is a photograph I call ‘Littlest Limulus Love‘ from a visit the the Stone Harbor Point.

Looking forward to hearing all the amusing anecdotes from your times at the sea! To share you can reply to this post or find Beach Chair Scientist on Facebook or Twitter.

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.” — Plato (Greek philosopher, 428 – 347 BC)

Find more great nature at play quotes compiled by the “Institute for Nature in Childhood” here.

Why are our seas collapsing?

ReUseThisBag.com and oBizMedia.com have come together to produce a powerful infographic outlining 8 threats to the ocean (overfishing, whaling, factory fishing, global warming, pollution, factory fishing, bycatch, and pirate fishing). Creator Samantha Sanders did a phenomenal job designing the infographic with rich and vivid images detailing supporting evidence such as the destruction of coral reefs and the global decline of the tuna population. For instance, “There are 109 countries with coral reefs. Reefs in 90 of them are damaged by cruise ships anchors and sewage, by tourists breaking off chucks of coral, and by commercial sales to tourists.” Please share and feel free to comment your thoughts on the ‘Collapsing Seas’ infographic.

Take the Earth Pledge this Memorial Day weekend

It’s going to be a very busy travel weekend this Memorial Day weekend with 34.8 million Americans trekking 50 miles or more from home base. While you’re traveling, please remember to take this Earth Pledge as a reminder on how to treat the beautiful places you’ll be visiting. Also, please acknowledge that Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have died in our nation’s service.

Spend your tax refund at United by Blue!

United by Blue is an organization that is dedicated to making and seeing a difference in our world, with particular attention on the oceans.  Brian Linton started the company in May of 2010 and sells amazing apparel, jewelry, and bags and makes certain to remove 1 pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways for every product sold. So far they’ve removed over 83,380 pounds of trash from our seas. As they state on their Blue Movement page they’re, “Dedicated to preserving and protecting our world’s oceans and waterways for our own and for future generations.  We are scuba divers, fisherman, and sailors. We are educators, activists, and businesspeople. Most importantly, we are all passionate, and we all understand our dependence on the world’s oceans and waterways“.

Review the website for products and more background on topics and issues such as shark finning, sustainable fishing, and coral reefs. Check out the Lookbook for the very chic, fun, and stylish products featured this spring/summer. (You can even purchase gift cards for friends and family!)

One more thing, one of their interns, Lauren, created an attractive infographic about where our plastic bottles go after we either toss or recycle. She points out that even if a plastic bottle is recycled the tosser isn’t that altruistic as we may have once thought (water bottles are always an option). Enjoy, share, and please feel free to comment (Oh, and shop!).

‘Wicked Tuna’ is food for thought

Tomorrow the National Geographic Channel (of which approximately over 50% is owned by NewsCorp, a Murdoch Company) is debuting the television show Wicked Tuna. The show is intriguing because the species itself is remarkable.

Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) can swim up to 40 miles per hour and can dive up to 3,000 feet. Their body is so remarkably streamlined for efficiently swimming through the ocean that Pentagon-funded scientists have studied the species as a model for Navy torpedoes. They’re also known to travel far and wide (actually, across entire oceans over their lifetime). This causes some challenges when coming together to manage the species.

The dilemma I have in deciding to watch the show is that NatGeo may be glorifying the bluefin tuna as a species of consumption so that people start ordering it more. But, folks need to understand the repercussions and ask one more question, “Is this bluefin tuna caught in the U.S.?”

As I mentioned, there are some challenges with managing a species that spans globe. Bluefin tuna are an internationally managed species, guided by the intergovernmental body the International Commission on Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Within management plans of the ICCAT, it is irrefutable that the U.S. bluefin fishery is the most sustainably managed in the world. The bluefin tuna caught in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts is predominantly hand gear (rod and reel or harpoon). This fishery is well regulated and responsible. There is also bluefin tuna caught as bycatch from the longline fisheries targeting other types of tuna. To reduce bycatch, fisheries are now required to use circle hook and weak hooks to reduce the bluefin tuna bycatch, as well as other nontarget species (e.g., sea turtles). The species is slow to mature and catching young bluefin tuna reduces the chance they’ll have the opportunity to reproduce. That is why it is so negligent to eat the bluefin tuna from the poorly regulated European fishery. Many of the bluefin caught there are with purse seines or longlines. In fact, since industrial fishing began in the Mediterranean it is estimated that over 80 percent of bluefin stocks have been fished out.

It’s no help that there is extreme demand for this type of fishing pressure as sushi chefs will pay gobs for the fish. The ‘Wicked Tuna” fishermen can get up to $20,000 for each fish. In January 2012, a Tokyo restaurant paid $736,000 for a bluefin tuna at auction (there’s the ‘first fish phenomenon’ which can bring a lot of publicity to a restaurant for paying a high amount for the first fish).

The Monterey Bay Seafood Guide lists bluefin tuna as a species to avoid. The Center for Biological Diversity encourages the public to boycott any restaurants serving bluefin tuna. Greenpeace has even stated that, “The world needs to see a ban on bluefin tuna fishing until stocks recover”. National Geographic claims this show’s scope includes a “solid conservation message about what’s been going on with the bluefin”. So, if you must ask for ‘Wicked Tuna’, make sure it’s at least from the U.S. Certainly, food for thought.

What is oceanography?

If you take biology, physics, meteorology, chemistry, geology, geography and mix them all together (via the same concept as Ekman transport) you come up with oceanography. See this very concise infographic from the Sea Blog for a visual depiction of how it all comes together. Click here to understand the difference between a marine biologist and an oceanographer.