World Oceans Day is June 8th, but then what? 10 ways to show the ocean love throughout the year

Acknowledging all of the movements and days of awareness can seem like a lot to keep up. Just yesterday was World Environment Day and in two days it will be World Oceans Day. Of course, I want to celebrate, support, and demonstrate a commitment to making a difference every day and especially on these special days. The first step has to be “being prepared”! So here is a guide I created for all the important days to look out for the next year. Mark those calendars, add a reminder on your phone, get ready to throw down for some serious high key awareness!

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July is Marine Debris/Plastic Free Month when you can take the challenge and urge people to refuse single use plastic. Why does reducing our plastic use matter? Here are two alarming facts from Scientific American:

  • Chemicals added to plastics are absorbed by human bodies. Some of these compounds have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.
  • Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison wildlife.

August 5th is National Oyster Day! Did you know oysters spawn during the summer months and therefore tend not to be as tasty. This is the epitome of the old wives’ tale on why “you shouldn’t eat oysters in months that don’t end in ‘R’.” Find an oyster festival near you here.

This September hosts the 15th Annual Sea Otter Awareness Week during September 24th-28th in 2017. Did you know that the sea otter has a fur that is not as dense as river otters?

October is National Seafood Month. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries takes this month to highlight sustainable fisheries as the smart seafood choice. Learn about sustainable choices as well as lots of recipes (someone please make the flounder stuffed with crabmeat for me, please!) from FishWatch.gov.

The 15th of November is designated as America Recycles Day. It’s a national initiative from Keep America Beautiful to learn what can be recycled in your community, recognize what can be reduced, and identify products made with recycled content. Learn more here.

December into January each year is one of the largest citizen science projects: Christmas Bird Count. Each year since the early 1900s the Audubon Society has been at the forefront of organizing this event. Get the app and see what a remarkable value you can be especially in providing data for reports such as the 2014 Climate Report.

International Polar Bear Day is February 27th. Let’s not pretend it just because they’re cute and cuddly. After all, they’re ferocious and male polar bears might eat their young if they can’t find food. This day is all about calling attention to their habitat loss (i.e., they’re in need of some serious sea ice) due to climate change.

The last Wednesday in March is Manatee Appreciation Day. These slow-moving creatures are slightly adorable and slightly gnarly. Regardless of your feelings they’re populations are going down and it’s primarily caused by human interactions.

Many people reading may know that April hosts is Earth Day but did you know that April 25th is World Penguin Day? This is the time of the year when the penguins travel north from Antarctica as winter moves in on the southern hemisphere.

May finishes the annual list with World Turtle Day on the 23rd! Did you know that if you see a tortoise, turtle, o terrapin is crossing a street, you can pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again! Also, drive slow.

Now, when can we fit in a celebration for horseshoe crabs?

10 best in the past nine years

Sometimes it’s nice to look at the past and see what’s worked. From the past nine years of posts on Beach Chair Scientist, it seems that one post has been the “most valuable player”. 100 ocean quotes is a surefire “make you stop by BCS for the first time and join the mailing list” kinda post. It’s the Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth, or Micheal Jordan in terms of stats. All other posts just fall short. But in the ethos of sportsmanship, here are ten posts that also bring some well deserved worth to this little blog. Which one are you rooting for?

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Christmas critter countdown: Snowflake eel

Eels have the ability to genuinely give me the creeps. It’s probably because of the scene from Princess Bride. But, actually it might have something to do with the fact that some have the ability to tie their bodies in knots and use this to gain leverage when tearing food. Find out some more uplifting facts of eels here. … … … read on as you wish!

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Star puffer

Did you know some species of puffers and other fish can live in both fresh and saltwater? It’s called euryhaline. Like … rhymes with “your-e-hey-leen!”. What’s it called when an animal isn’t this adaptable? Find out here.

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Red drum

Red drum have an ability to produce a drumming sound on their air bladders which is how they got commons name. Learn who what other fish share this characteristic with them here. Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum …

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Christmas critter countdown: Angel shark

Hark! Unlike rays and skates, the nocturnal angel shark doesn’t have a mouth on the underside of its body, but rather in front. Learn more here.

Christmas critter countdown

Christmas critter countdown: Cookie cutter shark

Another day of the countdown. This time it’s the ferocious cookie cutter shark. There’s nothing short of remarkably awesome when it comes to these sharks. They are small but also skillful in their ability to sneak up and eat prey much larger.  They even have the largest tooth-to-body-length ratio of any shark (including the great white)! Learn more here.

Christmas critter countdown: Cookie cutter sharks

Deadliest shark: Great white vs. bull?

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GREAT WHITE SHARK: Most great white sharks average in at about 15 feet in length, but some have been recorded as long as 20 feet. That’s a huge fish! They can reach speeds of 15 miles per hour (mph). So, the great white is a slow but mighty creature. Their bite force can reach up to 4,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Along with that … Great white have several rows of teeth and they are even serrated. Pretty scary mouth, if I do say so.
BULL SHARK: Bull sharks are typically eight feet in length, so already they are significantly smaller that great white sharks. Female bull sharks weigh in at about 290 pounds. A nine foot long bull shark could have bite force of upwards of 400 pounds. It doesn’t sound like much compared to the great white, but pound-for-pound a bull shark’s bite is stronger. Bull sharks can also swim inland in rivers.
MY VERDICT: To me the major concerns are keeping the great white shark’s length in mind while on the other hand taking into account that you could run into a bull shark in freshwater. Add in that scientists have proved that a bull shark’s bite is indeed more deadly that a great white. Bull sharks are also a more territorial species and might even be in freshwater … so that poses even more of running into them. To me, it’s suddenly a no-brainier. Bull sharks are definitely the most deadly species to humans (although, we are never actually what they hunt).
This post was written by Abby Kersh. Abby is a senior at Stonewall Jackson High School. She has been fascinated by the ocean since she could walk. She plans to study marine biology in college. She would like to concentrate of shark behavior when she completes college.

A bromance in the sea

There’s an eel – the giant moray – that teams up with the roving coral grouper to hunt for grub (i.e., cooperative hunting). The eel is slick enough to slither into crevices and flush out food for a feast. How’s that for a wingman!?

Look at them hitting the scene!

Giant moray and the roving coral grouper (also, known as a trout). Image (c) Science news

The giant moray and the roving coral grouper (also, known as a trout). Image (c) Science news

 

Facts about ‘Finding Dory’ friends

Maybe it’s because I’m a full-time teacher now, but my favorite character in Finding Dory is the Sting Ray. I mean, if it wasn’t for the class trip to learn about migration Dory – the blue tang with short-term memory loss –  may never had thought about “going home” and the trek to look for her parents may never have happened. She is supported on the journey with Marlin and Nemo – a class act father and son clown anemonefish duo. However, they meet some other amazing new creatures and reconnect with some old friends. Here are some of my favorite facts to share about Hank the Octopus, Destiny the Whale Shark, Bailey the Beluga, Crush the Green Sea Turtle, and – of course, the Sting Ray Teacher!

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What are your thoughts on the Finding Dory film? Did anyone catch that Dory should now have been able to speak “whale” because of her friendship with Destiny – given Destiny is actually a fish and not a whale?