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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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!

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.

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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.

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!

Why is being near saltwater good for your health?

I can not believe I am answering this question since I am not a doctor or a beautician on any level.

However, I will happily give you my opinion as a person that has grown up near the ocean. Salt water is amazing for skin – it really moisturizes and tones. That being said, my theory is that once the skin is feeling healthy and strong – circulation increases and eases joint pain and other muscle tensions.