What is the state with the longest coastline?

I have lived in New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida – someone in each state has claimed that their state has the longest coastline along the Atlantic. Seriously – even,  New Jersey! Usually, the phrase, “Well, we have a lot of coves and bays that jig jag in and out of the coast” is always part of the conversation when I start to look skeptical.

I did some research and here is the low down on the general coastline bragging rights (not including tidal coastlines):

10. Massachusetts – 192 miles

9. Maine -228 miles

8. Oregon -296 miles

7. North Carolina -301 miles

6. Texas -367 miles

5. Louisiana -397 miles

4. Hawaii -750 miles

3. California – 840 miles

2. Florida – 1,350 miles

1. Alaska – 6,640 miles

(according to Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, “figures are lengths of general outline of seacoast. This does not include freshwater coastlines. Measurements are made with a unit measure of 30 minutes of latitude on charts as near scale of 1:1,200.000 as possible. Coastline of bays and sounds is included where they narrow to width of unit measure, and distance across at such point is included.“)

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What is sea foam?

Sea foam can be thought of as the air bubbles in seawater that bounce off one another. When they bounce off one another it also releases sea spray.

Air bubbles in freshwater basically just unite and don’t bounce off one another. If there is foaminess in freshwater it is pollutant related. Makes you think where your water comes from, huh?

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How can I be a responsible fisherman?


A lot of folks these days are interested in making certain their favorite past time jackandsawyer1of fishing is going to be around for future generations to enjoy.

Here is a short list of tactics to remain ethical, while still keeping fishing that ever intense sport of glory.

Best practices:

– Respect the space of one another while out there on the water to make it enjoyable for everyone.
– Be informed of the catch and size limits of the waters that you are fishing.
– Practice “catch” and “release” fishing techniques (see below).

The “catch” part:

– Use barbless hooks, because they reduce damage and handling time of the fish. Remove the hook gently.
– Keep the fish in the water or wet your hands if you handle the fish to unhook it.
– Don’t put your fingers in the gill covers or hold the fish by its eye sockets (!) or squeeze it too hard.
– When you do make contact with the fish make sure your hands are continuously wet. It will help to keep the animal’s natural mucus intact. The mucus protects the fish from getting infections.

The “release” part:

– Hold the fish in their normal swimming position and move them back and forth slowly to have water run across their gills.
– Revive exhausted fish by moving water through its gills. Fish that were caught kicking and screaming like a teenager going off to Sunday school use an increased rate of oxygen.

Lastly, I am a big fan of saving the best for last – the most important rule – have fun!

Photo (c) of my older brother.


What are the top ocean movies?

Since, I am feeling rather cold these days and want to warm myself up with some good “beachy” flix so I thought I’d share.

1) The Abyss – Only see the new deluxe version. It is like Armageddon under the sea.
1.5) Jaws I – The book was written by Peter Benchley of N.J. Robert Shaw played my favorite character, Quinn.
2) Point Break – Fun waves. Exciting skydiving. A little dramatic at sometimes, but, just fun.
3) Beaches – It has to go in because of the title. Whatever happened to Blossom?
4) Finding Nemo – Great jokes for adults. Science. Amazing graphics.

Here is Fox News list of the top ten ocean movies.

Do you have a question or comment please email info@beachchairscientist.com.

Where did the word “ocean” come from?

Basically, according to Greek mythology, the Greek god Oceanus was a serpent like being that looked like a river and encompassed the entire world – so, picture that – and you get an ocean. I do like the image because it is a sharp reminder that all of our oceans, estuaries and rivers are connected.

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What is a rising sea level and how does it effect us?

Ahh, you see the polar ice sheets and glaciers are melting, but the water still needs to go somewhere – the ocean. The water then rises transforming geography, manipulates the balance of salt in estuaries and creates higher flooding intensity.

Basically,  rising sea levels affects coastal areas the most drastically.  But, don’t dismay! The EPA, in cooperation with NOAA and a few other exciting agencies recently released a report – Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region – in which many many recommendations are made to coastal towns to plan and adapt for rising sea levels.

Do you have another great question? Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

Who are the top celebrity ocean advocates?

Actor Ted Danson (cropped from original)
Image via Wikipedia

Wow! What a fun question to research, thank you! (You’ll surely notice I was picky because there are many environmental activists in Hollywood but  and tried to keep the list to those that focus on primarily oceans.)

I am such a fan of giving back no matter how much I believe we all make a difference. I find myself giving my time to local clean-ups, making contributions to Surfrider Foundation, National American Association of Environmental Education, or Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Associations, and just in general pitching in where I can.

Here is a list of some celebrity ocean advocates.

Ted Danson, recently appeared before the House Committee on Natural Resources to testify again off-shore drilling. Board member of Oceana.

Sam Waterston board member of Oceana.

Pierce Brosnan donates his time and energy to Oceana, Waterkeeper Alliance, Ocean Futures Society, California Coastal Protection Network, among many others.

Cousin Jennifer did some lobbying and convinced me to put Hayden Panettiere on the list. She is an outspoken advocate for marine mammals (including I think a brief brush with the law for some protesting with Greenpeace). One of her main organizations for this platform is Save the Whales Again.

I know also that musician Jack Jackson has done quite a bit on behalf of the oceans.

For all the people listed above I’d like to say ‘thank you’ for giving a prominent voice to the oceans.

Added 5/9: By default I think that Ewan McGregor can be added to the list since he is rumored to play Paul Watson, founder of Greenpeace, in ‘Ocean Warrior‘.

Please feel free to let me know if you think of others. Just e-mail info@beachchairscientist.com!

What will our oceans look like in 100 years?

WOW! I wish I had the answer to that one…And, also, that reminds me of why I tend to answer the scientific based questions first. However, I do like a challenge and a reason to search for up-to-date information. I found these two articles on a subscription site that provide some insight to the question…

OCEANS: Warming oceans driving fish toward poles — study (02/13/2009)

Climate change could push more than 1,000 species of commercial fish and shellfish away from tropical waters and toward polar oceans, according to a new study.

By studying projected ocean changes, researchers predicted that by 2050, marine species will migrate toward cooler waters at an average rate of between 40 kilometers and 45 kilometers (25 miles and 28 miles) per decade.

“These are major impacts that we are going to see within our lifetime and our children’s lifetime,” said William Cheung, a marine biologist at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom and lead author of the study, which is to be published this week in the journal Fish and Fisheries. “Climate change provides us with a kick in the pants. We can’t think about climate change and biodiversity without thinking about the impact it will have on people.”

The migrations could cause massive food shortages and make fish move away from developing equatorial countries where millions depend on them as their primary source of protein (Azadeh Ansari, CNN.com, Feb. 12).

Global warming disrupting whale migrations — scientists

Gray whales along the West Coast are lingering longer in the north before making their swim to tropical waters for the summer, scientists and whale watchers say.

Every year, grays make a 12,000-mile round-trip migration from warm waters off Baja California to Arctic seas between Alaska and Russia, where they gorge themselves on enough crustaceans to keep them nourished for the rest of the year.

But as the Arctic seas warm because of climate change, competition from new species may be forcing whales to spend more time gathering nourishment and delaying their return to the tropics by an average of 10 days per year, according to Wayne Perryman, a researcher at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif., where scientists have watched whales for 20 years.

Perryman said the change was significant but did not know how the whales’ new schedule would affect the population over time. “The Arctic environment is so darn dynamic,” he said. “We just don’t know how this will play out” (Michael Torrice, Miami Herald, Feb. 12). – PR

Stories compiled from Greenwire

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Five facts about my favorite animal…Can you guess what it is?

1) This animal is one of four in its genus. The other three are all native to the Pacific ocean. And, the animal is so well revered in Japanese culture that the shape of a samurai warrior’s headgear was designed after its shell.

2) This animal has its gills under its shell. The gills are flaps that are called book gills because under each flap are more gills, or pages.

3) This animal has blue blood which contains something called lysate used to test for purities in medicines.

4) This animal’s scientific (genus and species name) name is Limulus polyphemus. Rhymes with stimulus jolly-fee-bus. (I know pretty rough around the edges)

5) This animal has been around since before the time of the dinosaurs.

Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Socially responsible fish!

So, it is the end of a long day on the beach and now you want some seafood. Completely understandable. And, I applaud this question and the quest to be socially responsible. Your choices will make a difference.

It is a tough question to always have a correct up-to-date answer, especially since it varies for regions.

What I can do is recommend a fantastic site that always provides these up-to-date answer – and – for each region. The Monterey Bay Aquarium will even provide you with a seafood pocket guide that you can fit in your wallet.

The guide is broken down into best choices, good alternatives, and fish you should avoid. These valuations are based on fisheries (or fish farms) that are healthier for long term sustainability of the oceans.

Currently, the best farmed choices for the northeast US are char, barracmundi, catfish, oysters, mussels , clams, bay scallops, strugeon (cavier), tilapia, and rainbow trout. The best wild choices for the northeast US are clams, dungeness crabs, atlantic croacker, spiny lobster, pollock, salmon, longfin squid, swordfish, albacore (troll/pole caught) and skipjack tuna (troll/pole caught).

Species labeled as avoidable according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch are: chilean seabass, atlantic cod, imported king crab, Atlantic dogfish, sole, haddock, white hake, imported mahi mahi, marlin, monkfish, orange roughy, farmed salmon, shark, skates, imported or wild shrimp, red snapper, imported wild strugeon (cavier), imported swordfish, tilefish, albacore, bigeye, yellowfin tunas (caught on longline), bluefin tuna, and farmed yellowtail.



Don’t forget to download the guide according to your region.

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