Search Results for: marine debris

10 tips for a successful beachcombing trip

Pick up that clump! You never know what you'll find.

Pick up that clump! You never know what you’ll find.

It’s my favorite time of year. This is the best time to explore the beach. It’s still sunny and warm, there are frequent storms (you’ll see why that matters later), and there are few people on the beach. For another six weeks along the mid-Atlantic (before it gets too cold), I encourage you to spend some time getting to know your local shoreline. Here are 10 tips for a successful beachcombing trip.

10. What to bring. Here is a list of some items you may want to remember so you’re prepared for any situation.

  • Often the beach is considerably cooler than inland so bring layers. You may want to wear hiking pants and bring a zippered sweatshirt so you’re equipped with lots of pockets for some other items that might be essential.
  • Make sure to have some appropriate soles. Sure it’s our instinct to be barefoot, however if you want to venture out along the jetties or rocks make sure you have some old sneakers or those water shoes with some decent grip (After all, you don’t want to ruin your adventure with a puncture to some sharp object). Also, the water might be a little cooler than you’d prefer and some good foot cover will allow you to wade into a tide pool.
  • Make sure to have a watch.
  • Even during the off-season the sun is shining and is strong enough to give you a burn. Make sure to bring along a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • It’s always a good idea to bring a shovel, grabber sick, or even a metal detector so you can gently investigate inside crevices and below the sand.
  • You are going to want to cherish the moments so find that camera and try to make a neck strap so it’s always handy. You can take pictures of items you find and want to learn about later. You’ll also want to catalog those smiles in the sun.
  • Take along a small (i.e., not heavy) identification book so you can learn more about what you find while on your outing.

9. Be hands free. One more item that you’re going to love me for suggesting is a backpack. This way you can investigate a little bit further from your base and your items are quickly at your disposal.

8. Leave important items behind. Don’t ruin the day by losing a credit card or your phone. If you’re active and in the moment you might lose something and it’s going to be difficult to retrace your steps. I won’t say “I told you so”. On the same note it’s important to leave animals, plants, rocks, and seashells where you find them. If you want to have a little bit of the beach in your home check out these great books by Josie Iselin.

7. When to go. To get the optimum experience for beachcombing you’ll want to check on when low tide is at your beach spot. The best time to go beachcombing is 2-3 hours prior to low tide or an hour or so after (This is why a watch is important, you don’t want to get stuck on  shoal during high tide). Many intertidal animals live under the water in the sand during high tide, but come out to play (and seek out food) during low tide. If you can time it so you get to check out the beach after a big storm you’ll be in for a real treat. The strong wind and wave action of storms will wash up a fossils, bones, seaweed, and lot of other interesting treasures from the ocean floor. Also, keep in mind that dawn and dusk are difficult times to identify beach treasures. Although this is a great time to spot birds as many fish tend to come up to the surface at these times.

6. Where to go. My favorite spot to beachcomb is the Stone Harbor Point in NJ, but it’s not always easy for me to get there these days. I like to remind myself from time to time that I don’t need an ocean to beachcomb. There is a lake and creek in my neighborhood and these spots are a great place to spend the afternoon. After all, these waterways eventually lead to the ocean.  No matter where I decide to spend some time beachcombing I always make sure to note the general water quality.

5. Be careful. This is just a reminder to not tamper with obviously dangerous items. Fish hooks, metal canisters, and needles often wash up on the beach. While I am going to also suggest doing your part and picking up marine debris it’s also a good idea to err on the side of caution and when poking around. Also, some rocks look very steady but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. If you are feeling like having an adventurous day it’s might be a good idea to make sure you have someone else with you. One last thing about being careful,even though the dunes might look like an interesting place to check out – it’s important to know that those grasses are incredibly brittle and can crack easily. It’s also against the law to walk on the dunes. The dunes are an important part of the beach ecosystem as they protect our homes from storm surge.

4. Leave it be. Each rock that you turn over is part of an ecosystem. A rock might be an essential part of an animal’s home as it helps pool water during high tide. Rocks also protect them from predator as well as the sun. It’s important to always remember to not take animals out of their natural setting – especially if you see them in a tide pool. Many animals are naturally attached to rocks for survival and you could be risking their survival.

3. Play. You might not want to go home, but you also might be in the company of some people that just don’t have a very long attention span. Even more frustrating is repeating the phrase, “No, you cannot go in the water today” over and over again. Build a sandcastle. Look to the horizon for dolphins or porpoises. Make a sand angel. Look up to the sky for cloud animals. Check out my ebook for other beachcombing adventures.

2. Bag it and track it. It’s always nice to be prepared to be able to do your part. I prefer to take along a hefty canvas bag that can fit in a backpack so I can tote marine debris back to a garbage can. You might even try to acquire one of these nifty bags with holes for sand to percolate through from the Green Bag Lady. When you head back to the car you can even do some citizen science and log your marine debris on the Marine Debris Tracker.

1. Don’t expect too much. It’s important to remember to relax and respect the area you are exploring. All of the ideas above are simply suggestions and ideas to ensure you get the most out of  a beachcombing adventure. Please don’t hesitate to share your favorite stories, spots, and other ideas for a great day. You can comment below of email me at info@beachchairscientist.com.

What they’re into … with Harold Johnson (The Flotsam Diaries)

Yesterday I promised more insight into one of the featured marine debris heroes as part of the “What Marine Conservationists Are Into …” series are here you have it – The Flotsam Diaries own Harold Johnson! In case you didn’t know this is a series I have been presenting each Tuesday this summer to get a special sneak peek at the many different personalities behind the scientists, activists, and educators (including bloggers) who play an integral role in the marine science conservation field. It’s essentially an extension of the overwhelmingly popular and well done Tumblr blog, This Is What A Scientist Looks Like, (BCS was featured in April of 2012!) which sets out to illustrate that scientists are not just crazy haired nerds in lab coats. I sent a list of 15 random questions and asked that each person share at least their answers to 5 of them.

Harold Johnson, copyeditor and writer by trade, spends at least one day a week sifting beaches for other people’s litter. For fun. In March 2010, he stumbled onto a sickening scene of storm-washed debris at his local beach in southern Maine. Since then, he’s been writing as “The Flotsam Diaries,” (http://www.theflotsamdiaries.org) trying to learn about the nature of the garbage that washes into the ocean, how it got there, and what can be done about it. And then he works daily to share what he’s learned. In addition to his blog and social media, he’s got a growing body of guest posts at Scientific American online (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/08/16/plastics-in-the-ocean-how-dense-are-we/). His motto is “See – Learn – Change,” and he encourages everyone who visits The Flotsam Diaries to stop for a moment, look down at the ground around them, and really see what’s there.

What is the last thing you bought that you shouldn’t have?
A new app called “Catapult King.” I really don’t need another distraction or excuse to “take 5”!

What is your favorite fruit flavor?
Blueberries. I know this because for 40 years I thought that yogurt was a curse from the yawning mouths of Hell. Yet recently I’ve fallen in love with blueberry yogurt. If blueberries can do that, they can do anything. Plus there’s nothing like discovering a secret wild blueberry barren in August, picking them to your heart’s content.

What is your favorite Sunday breakfast?
Home-made pancakes from scratch (I’ve got a recipe that comes out just like Bisquick, which is the height of good pancakes). A couple eggs over-medium. And much bacon. Crispy, smoked, delicious bacon.

Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Before fatherhood, most definitely a night-owl. But now I barely sleep past 7AM even when I can. And if I’m out past 10PM it’s a big evening.

Which sitcom character do you relate to?
Abed from “Community,” hands-down. Though friends will say, lovingly no doubt, Cliff from “Cheers.”

What is your favorite scent?
Dew-y pastureland in the Tynedale region of Northumberland, UK as the sun peeks over the Pennines and the mists hang in the valleys. There is no smell like that air.

What is your favorite pastime?
Learning. It’s such a remarkable world, my biggest thrill is discovering some new connection that I’d never made before. I love reading, but usually nonfiction. If it’s fiction I usually lose interest half-way through. Only Tolkien really holds my interest. But then again, everyone knows Hobbits are real, right? Other than that, I love exploring coasts & trails, and playing frisbee with our daughter, who has a mean wrist-flick for a 5-year-old. And she and I also play a lot of Minecraft these days. Curse those Creepers!

How superstitious are you?
I own a black cat and have broken many mirrors, so I guess not very. But I do think there is much, much more to “reality” than our senses are aware of. And I have a Zombie talisman in my car to protect me from the Zombie Apocalypse.

Are you a cat person, dog person, or neither?
Cat. I get them, and they get me. One of my secret powers is befriending truculent cats. I’m pretty sure I was a well-loved housecat once, and will be again.

What’s some other random favorite information about you?
I’ve done archaeology at 3 sites in the UK, most recently & most often at Vindolanda, a Roman fort just behind Hadrian’s Wall. I’ve taken the entire front off of a 1967 Cougar down to the engine block and successfully put it back together. I used the Internet when there were less than 1000 people on it and it was still all text. And I can bend the tips of my fingers downward without bending the other joints/knuckles.

It’s a SodaStream sweepstakes!

Time for another giveaway … Would you believe me if I told you there was a smallish kitchen appliance you could use daily to enjoy a refreshing beverage that would reduce the amount of plastic bottles that would potentially enter the atmosphere as marine debris and it was free? While you’re contemplating how this miracle could ever occur, here are some facts on plastic bottles and the impact they have on the environment.

  1. Plastic bottles can take over 1,000 years to decompose.
  2. Enough plastic bottles are thrown away each year in the United States to circle the earth four times.
  3. Over 80% of empty water bottles end up in the nation’s landfills.
  4. Only 8% of the total plastic waste generated in 2010 was recovered for recycling.
  5. 1.5 million tons of plastic waste are created by plastic bottles alone.
  6. 47 million gallons of oil is consumed to produce the bottles that Americans drink out of each year (This is enough oil to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1-billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere).
  7. 24 million gallons of oil are needed to produce a billion plastic bottles.
  8. Bottled water costs about 1000 times more than tap water and 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself.
  9. Bottling and shipping water is the least energy efficient method ever used to supply water.
  10. In a study conducted by the National Resources Defense Council one third of bottled water tested contained significant contamination.

Now, how can you reduce the amount of plastic bottles you may potentially contribute to the environment? My suggestion isn’t going to be too surprising if you’ve been following me on Twitter as I’ve become a genuine fan of the SodaStream machine. The SodaStream isn’t a new product by any means. In fact, this home soda maker machine is connected with 1970/1980’s childhood nostalgia in the United Kingdom. The soda maker machine comes with a few durable bottles that you keep filled up in the refrigerator and use the carbonator to turn the cold tap water into delicious bubbly water. There are about 30 flavors to add to the bubbly water to create your own fun drinks (Target carries the flavors to add)! My husband likens the cola flavor to Coke rather than Pepsi. I thoroughly enjoy the plain club soda, but have indulged in the occasional diet Dr. flavor and cannot tell any difference from the Pipp or Pepper original. There are even Crystal Light and energy drink options. I’ve come to appreciate it, not only because it reduces marine debris, but also because there is no dragging bottles from the store to the house and the recycling bin doesn’t need to be emptied as much which I know is also making an impact on the environment.

Of course, the SodaStream carbonator does need to be replaced and that comes with a cost (but, I think it’s worth it!). The carbonator needs to be replaced depending on how often you use it. We’ve had ours for 3 months and will probably make it another 3 before we need to replace it. The carbonators can be exchanged for free to any participating local retailer or through the SodaStream company directly via UPS (yes, you’re essentially hostage to a single overpriced gas supplier).

How can you get your hands on a SodaStream for free? If you share any of my posts on Facebook or retweet any of my posts on Twitter in the next week I’ll enter you into a raffle for a free SodaStream (they were kind of enough to send me one)! You can share as many posts or retweet as many tweets as you’d prefer to saturate your friends, family, and colleagues until noon next Friday. Each time you share or retweet it will be an additional chance to win. I’ll only count the shares from the direct page or the retweets from the original tweet and not the folks that share a share or retweet a retweet. Also, it can be any post or tweet, new or old. Be sure to tag Beach Chair Scientist in anything you share! I will announce the winner next Friday (what a great way to start Labor Day weekend for someone!).

Update (8/31/2012): Thanks to Random Picker for helping make the raffle so efficient! Our winner for the SodaStream is a Beach Chair Scientist Facebook friend! Thank you to everyone that participated your support means the world!

Programs

You’ll love what the Beach Chair Scientist can bring to your classroom or neighborhood event!

Fill out this form to tell us more about yourself and your event.

SEA STORIES: Great for library or small business story time these preschool programs bring the ocean to life with music, crafts, some special ocean artifacts, and lots of sea stories! Half-hour to hour-long programs are available focuses on themes such as Earth Day is Every Day, Our Ocean Senses, Our Vast Ocean (counting), Mysterious Creatures, the Where Does Our Water Go? (water cycle), and Ocean Neighborhoods (animal homes).

COMMUNITY GARDEN/MARINE DEBRIS SCAVENGER HUNT: There are lots of service projects you can do to get the school more involved. I can work with you and your class to help jump-start your project and share ideas on how to manage and make it happen.

YOU & YOUR WATERSHED (SUSTAINABILITY WORKSHOPS): Perfect for middle/high school students or adults. Programs revolve around the idea that to protect the ocean we must first understand the ocean and how our community relates to the ecosystem. Lots of sustainability behaviors shared as well as the encouragement to start a community action project.

When I cannot escape seaside, I am grateful for Josie Iselin’s unique eye

“Brilliant and captivating images of raw, earthen materials collected from the beach coupled with phrases of a scientific or contemplative nature always reinvigorate my psyche when the beach is near or far.”

It’s no secret that it’s tough to get to the beach sometimes. When life affords me the extravagance of a weekend of nothing to do and some extra comp time I can usually make it up to south Jersey where my husband and I grew up and we still have family. However, since DC is my home base these days, I sometimes find my beach meditation and inspiration in the form of books. I grew up an avid reader and find the tangible qualities of a book incredibly relaxing. Piles of books can be found in each of the rooms throughout our house and when looking for our first home I was unyielding that we be no more than a short bike ride from the nearest library. What this introduction has to do is express how much I value books and, in particular books that inspire me about the sea. With that I would like to share with you the collection of books that I find so dear to me from the artist and author Josie Iselin.

Josie Iselin is the photographer, author, and designer of six books (Beach Stones (2006), Leaves & Pods (2006), Seashells (2007), Heart Stones (2008), Beach: A Book of Treasure (2010), and Sea Glass Hearts (2012)) that focus on the breathtaking forms found in nature, concentrating on those treasures found seaside. Josie’s mission is to “produce enticing, original, and well-designed books that combine art and science, leaving the reader with new information and an appreciation for the world around them”. You can tell why I am so enamored with her work as sharing information in a unique and approachable manner is a big part of my mission on this blog.

Understanding the process that Josie takes to create such beautiful and classic images is fascinating. For almost twenty years she has used a flatbed scanner and computer to generate her images of the treasures she collected along the coast. She has noted that, “She is still captivated by the fluidity with which this technique allows her to render and design with three-dimensional objects”.

The most comprehensive of Josie Iselin’s ethereal catalog of maritime wonders is Beach: A book of Treasure. The over 100-page book published by Chronicle Books has images of seaside plants, oyster, clam, and scallop shells, igneous rock, fossilized seashells, crab exoskeletons, and sea glass displayed with such care that you cannot help but be in pure amazement with the design of Mother Nature. Nowhere else have I been able to view the skull of a seagull in a manner that suits me (often times I get intimidated by text found in captions of extensive ornithology books and that ultimately suppresses my examination). The text is remarkable in that it interweaves first-hand experiences of tossing a Frisbee with the explanation that the beach we play on is also known by scientists as “the first extension of the benthic zone”.

This book also revels in the colors that are the ocean ecosystem. Upon Josie’s placement of light with the scanner, sea urchin tests and multicellular algae are given the proper stage to display brilliant, bright colors and patterns. I also, appreciate the fact that the author took the time to recognize that often times not everything found on the beach is a treasure. As she noted, “We know that its (a pictured object of marine debris) production used a great deal of heat both in its formation and in making the materials it is composed of. This represents a net loss of resources for our environment. In contrast, the self assembly of the oyster shell, a durable and hard thing, occurs with no energy expended and without detriment to the maker’s environment”.

I optimistically encourage you to take the time to review Josie Iselin’s collection of beautiful books and, just like the author, I hope you will enjoy “celebrating the ordinary wonders we find at the beach and will bring thoughtfulness and stewardship to this extraordinary place of discovery”.

No balloons at the celebration for the Beach Chair Scientist …

Today is the fourth birthday of the Beach Chair Scientist blog. Despite the fact that some companies label latex balloons as ‘biodegradable’ and therefore, ‘safe’ for the environment, I will not be decorating any birthday celebration with balloons. Balloons blow! What has been widely spread is that latex balloons breakdown at ‘the same rate as an oak leaf from a tree‘. First, let me explain ‘latex’. Latex is a white tree sap of rubber particles from the plant, Hevae brasiliensis. After it is processed it becomes rubber. Rubber, as we know, is used in a variety of products because of its strong resilience and tear resistance. Balloons are made from latex (essentially, liquid rubber) once colors are added.

It just would not feel like a celebration for Beach Chair Scientist because I have been to countless beach clean-ups and see those latex and mylar balloons, as well as the strings that are tied to them, along the shoreline. Balloons are just not following the path that balloon manufacturers want us to believe. It may be true that research done in a controlled setting proves that when latex balloons rises to almost 30,000 feet they will freeze and bust into tiny slivers that fall back to earth. However, there are just too many natural factors (e.g., trees, wind) that impede balloons from rising to that height prior to losing their helium and flaying to the earth whole. Not to mention that even if latex balloons do break apart into tiny shards the tiny shard are still detrimental to the ocean. According to Sea Turtle Foundation, “Most balloons are made from ‘biodegradable’ latex, which degrades on exposure to air. However degradation can take up to six months and balloons floating in seawater can take up to twelve months to degrade”. In many areas it is illegal for mass balloon releases. Please check out your area for the local laws on balloons.

Here are ten examples of balloons affecting the ocean ecosystem:  

  1. On a New Jersey beach a sperm whale was found dying because it had a balloon in its stomach halting the passage of food.
  2. At a clean-up was on an island 5 miles out to sea – the distance cleaned at the 4 sites we targeted was about 1/2 mile of shoreline – in southern Maine this past June over 550 pounds of marine debris were found, including 232 pieces of debris (9 of which were balloons and one was found right next to a gull’s nest).
  3. Birds will collect plastic debris for their nests, and unknowingly construct death traps for their young.
  4. Balloons, plastic straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags, and metal beverage cans were found to be the most abundant type of marine debris litter as a 10-year national survey completed in 2008.
  5. Most of the trash found along the California coast during a 2003-2010 survey was 82% land-based plastics, including plastic bags, plastic bottles, balloons and straws.
  6. Fishing gear fragments, packaging materials, balloons, bottle caps, and straws were found to be the most common items found during a Cape Cod survey that collected 5,829 items along one-kilometer.
  7. A leatherback turtle starved to death because a latex balloon was stuck in its stomach. After the turtle necropsy, the only thing found in its intestines was three feet of nylon string attached to a balloon.
  8. Animals can become entangled in balloon ribbons and string, restricting their movement and their ability to feed.
  9. Bottlenose dolphins in California, loggerhead turtles in Texas, and a green turtle in Florida were all found dead after ingesting latex balloons.
  10. In the UK, Risso’s dolphins in French waters and fulmars in the North Sea are known to ingest balloons.

If you’re still keen on celebrating with balloons try to do activities where you can control them and not have them released into the atmosphere. You can put prizes inside them or decorate them or play games. Below are are alternatives for decorating and commemorating without balloons. Check out the background image from Orlando Sentinel with the juvenile loggerhead turtle swimming close to the floating balloons.

One last thing, if you’re in the DC area Saturday, July 21st and would like to join me during a stream clean-up with United By Blue please feel free to come along! It’s a great event co-sponsored by Subaru and fun for the whole family. Read this article about my first experience volunteering with them. Please feel free to drop me a line at info@beachchairscientist.com or leave a comment below if you have anything else you like to add to this post or just a question in general.

EE, Ocean, & Water Conservation Infographics

It’s no secret that a picture speaks a thousands words. But, when you couple words and pictures (with numbers, arrows, charts, etc.) you get quite an impact. If you’re a regular reader of the BCS blog you already know I’m fond of infographics. So I decided to pull together the ones found on BCS, as well as other places. You’ll see this list follows the general themes found on BCS: marine science, water/ocean conservation, as well as connecting with nature. I hope you enjoy browsing and a special thanks to all the organizations that have produced these powerful resources. To check out the collective visual of most of these infographics please check out my EE, Ocean, & Water Conservation Infographics Pinterest board. Please email info@beachchairscientist.com or let me know on Twitter  (@bcsanswers) if you have another one that could be added to the list.

  1. 5 reasons feeding of whale sharks should stop – Save Philippine Seas
  2. 10 ways to save water in your home – Good
  3. 10 places to see – Infographipedia
  4. 25 years of Shark Week – Leonly
  5. 50 Awesome facts about earth
  6. Acting green v. buying green – Inhabitat
  7. Anatomy of a bottom trawl – Oceana
  8. Atlantic bluefin tuna (Saving an ocean giant) – Pew Environment Group
  9. Atlantic horseshoe crab – Beach Chair Scientist
  10. Benefits of plants – Zabisco
  11. Benefits of recycling – Visual.ly
  12. Black market on bluefin tuna – Center for Public Integrity
  13. Boating accidents: The bad & the ugly – Gadling
  14. Carbon storage and coastal habitats – Ocean Health Index
  15. Challenger Deep – Visual News
  16. Children and nature – National Environmental Education Foundation
  17. Citizen science is blooming – National Environmental Education Foundation
  18. Collapsing seas – Reusethisbag.com
  19. Dangerous sharks of the Red Sea – Rian.eu
  20. Dangers of natural gas – One Block off the Grid
  21. Decline of fish populations in the last 50 years – Good
  22. Deepwater Horizon explained (video) – Visual World
  23. Do you know your seafood? – One World One Ocean
  24. Earth ages – USGS
  25. Earth Day – H&R Block
  26. Energy level threats from sea level rise – Surging Seas
  27. Energy-water collision – Union of Concerned Scientists
  28. Facts of fracking – Treehugger
  29. Global water crisis – Living Green Magazine
  30. GMOs: We have the right to know – Just Label It
  31. Great Barrier Reef – Go Green, Travel Green
  32. Green guilt – Call2Recycle
  33. Green electronics – National Resource Defense Council
  34. Highest, leaping sharks – Visual.ly
  35. How a landfill work – Reusethisbag.com
  36. How bikes can save us – Dailyinfographic.com
  37. How convenience is killing our planet by ArteIdeas
  38. How deep is the ocean? – Our Amazing Planet
  39. How does recycling work? – Transit Utopia
  40. How fresh is your seafood? – Oceana
  41. How long will it last? – Earth911.com
  42. How to choose the safest seafood – Visual.ly
  43. How much are you spending on water per gallon? – United By Blue
  44. How we are eating our way through the oceans – CFP Reform Watch
  45. Humpback whales – MauiWhaleWatchTours.com
  46. Humpback whale facts – The Daily Catch
  47. Hurricane Sandy vs. Hurricane Katrina – Huffington Post
  48. Is it really ‘green’? – Contract Services Group, Inc.
  49. Let’s explore the ocean – found on Ocean Wild Things
  50. Life of a water bottle – Visual.ly
  51. Low down on bottled water – Sustainable Energy Systems
  52. Marine debris poster – SeaGrant, et al
  53. Marine habitats – PlanetSave
  54. Ocean food shortage (Save menhaden) – Pew Environment Group
  55. Oceans: Our living resource – Humane Society of America
  56. Offshore drilling – Oceana
  57. Paper vs. plastic – Market Research
  58. Plastics Breakdown, The – One World One Ocean
  59. Polar bears in peril – Mother Nature News
  60. Pollutants entering the ocean – Living Green Magazine
  61. Pop science guide to birds – Mother Nature News
  62. Right whales – Kyle Bentle
  63. Recycling: The good, the better, the best – Reusethisbag.com
  64. Reduce your water footprint – Good
  65. Reuse, reduce, and relocate – My Move
  66. Save the Arctic – Greenpeace
  67. Seafood decision guide – National Geographic
  68. Sea turtles of the coral triangle – World Wildlife Fund
  69. Secret to a sound sea – Visual News
  70. Sharks count – Pew Environment Group
  71. Shipping noises and whales – Ocean Initiative
  72. STEM & our planet – National Environmental Education Foundation
  73. Suffocating the world with plastics – Living Green Magazine
  74. Tar Sands Standoff – Huffington Post
  75. Test your water IQ – Whole Living Daily
  76. Threats to wildlife – Ocean Conservancy
  77. Tips for a green home and yard – A Simply Good Life
  78. Trash and recycling trends – Round2, An Avnet Company
  79. Truth about water – Evergreen AES
  80. Truth about plastic – Reusethisbag.com
  81. Total water – Soulja Portfolio
  82. Toxicity of surfing – Adventure Journal
  83. Ugly journey of our trash – Project Aware
  84. Understanding carbon offsets – Good
  85. US of the Environment – Mother Nature News
  86. Water: Cooperation or competition – Visual.ly
  87. Water footprint of Americans – Nature Conservancy
  88. Whale shark – One World One Ocean
  89. Whaling is a big issue – Human Society International
  90. What is oceanography? – Sea Blog
  91. What is shark finning? – Wildaid
  92. What to eat this summer? – Good
  93. What we recycle – Live Science
  94. When sea levels attack – from Creative Data
  95. Where do plastic bottles end up? – United By Blue
  96. Who are the deepest divers in the sea? – Live Science
  97. Who’s been dumping in my ocean? – Marisys
  98. Why a four degree Celsius warmer world must be avoided – The Moral Mindfield
  99. Why don’t Americans recycle? – Good
  100. Why protect Antarctica’s ocean? – Antarctic Ocean Alliance
  101. Why the ocean? (video) – One World One Ocean
  102. Why you should care about water conservation – Mother Nature News
  103. Worldwide plastic bag ban – Reusethisbag.com
  104. World wetland destruction – So Fresh and So Green

Project AWARE

English: project aware logo

Image via Wikipedia

From time to time I like to write about what is going on with other amazing organizations around the world. Today I am highlighting the work of Project AWARE. As they like to say, the Foundation is “a growing movement of scuba divers protecting the ocean planet – one dive at a time.” One of their major focuses is marine debris. Marine debris is a serious problem and effects us all. Did you know that NOAA stated in December that debris from the earthquake in Japan is making its way to Hawai’i already? The folks involved with Project AWARE are ‘diving for debris‘ and not only removing it from the ocean but are also collecting data on what and where they find debris to be used to effect policy and change in the long term. Keep up the great work!

One Beach: film premiere on September 20th

On September 20th, the Barefoot Wines facebook page will be premiering a film directed by Jason Baffa. The movie, One Beach, is focused on inspiring people to tackle the issue of marine debris with creativity and a positive attitude. One Beach is a perfect follow-up to the International Coastal Cleanup event sponsored by Ocean Conservancy (among others) on September 17th.

At 6:30 pm EST on the day of the premiere there will be an introduction to the film by Jason followed by a questions and answers session from the cast.

Check out the trailer for One Beach below!

13 apps for your day at the beach

It’s time to get the most out of that last trip to the beach!

Whether you’re ready for a day out on the boat, lounging, beachcombing, catching some waves, or preparing a feast there is an app to get you more involved in your marine environment. Apps are not only a great way to learn something new on the fly but can be a useful tool for engaging one another in settings where you may not have common ground. (OK, at the very least apps settle many ‘discussions’.)

Here is a list of useful and rather attractive apps that can connect you to your inner marine biologist.

AUDUBON FIELD GUIDES: Audubon Fishes of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and Audubon Fishes – A Guide to North American Fishes include photos, geographic ranges, and concise yet detailed descriptions of appearances. Coming soon is the field guide for the Mid-Atlantic shoreline. ($9.99)

OCEANOGRAPHY STUDY GUIDE: If you are into fun oceanography trivia and want to learn more about the geography of the sea than download this app. It isn’t an endless list of “did you know?” facts but rather a large range of topics with well written articles for the serious beach chair scientist. ($4.99)

OFFICIAL APP OF ISSF: The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) was founded in 2008 when leaders of industry, scientists and environmental champions voiced concern over the future of tuna fisheries. This app provides a glossary of terms, videos, and a list of the status of stocks. (Free)

SEA TURTLE APP: This app was created by the Sea Turtle Conservancy and allows you to follow read the latest on sea turtle news but much more exciting you can track the global migration of different sea turtles with interactive satellite tracking maps! (Free)

Enough sitting around – it’s time to get out there and do something:

MOBILE APP FOR IGFA: The International Game Fishing Association created an app for weigh station locations, angler rules and regulations, customizable quests, and advice for trip planning. What more does a sport fisherman need?

MARINE DEBRIS TRACKER APP: This collaboration is brought to you by the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative. The reporting of where you find marine debris can help to focus and prioritize federal efforts. The app uses GPS and allows you minimal work of sorting through lists of common marine debris. (Free)

CRAB APP: This app is an offshoot from the marine wild lab and allows you to collect horseshoe crab species data that will be used in scientific research. Horseshoe crabs are of enormous importance to 1) the drug industry due to their blood, 2) to fisheries for bait, and 3) to migratory shorebirds for its eggs.  (Free)

TIDE GRAPH: I found out that there are many, many apps out there to help you monitor the tides. Tide Graph will work for both coasts in the US and provides graphs to help you see how the tide changes over the day and the month. ($1.99)

If you are preparing a feast or gorging on some dockside seafood:

SEAFOOD WATCH: For years the Monterey Bay Aquarium has produced adorable pocket-sized regional cheat sheets so you can get a quick overview of what species are considered over fished or not in your neck of the woods. They continue to produce this application for your iPhone and use GPS tracking to discover where you are so you can get the most relevant information. (Free)

PROJECT FISHMAP: Monterey Bay Aquarium also gets you more involved by asking you to submit information when you find a restaurant or market that advocates sustainable seafood. As the map grows you can see what spots you’ve not uncovered in your neighborhood. (Free)

FISHPHONE APP: With one quick text (example: “fish salmon”) to 30644 Blue Ocean Institute will fed you intel on your species of choice. For instance, they’ll rank the sustainability and toxicity levels and send an overview of its conservation status. (Free)

SAFE SEAFOOD: This app takes information from ten different seafood rankings (including Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Environmental Defense Fund) to create its list. The app outlines choices in an easy to review “best to worst” list. I particularly like that fish with multiple different market names are listed by each of common name too. ($0.99, but 10% of the proceeds go to EDF)

I am certain I missed many wonderful apps. Please do not hesitate to email at info@beachchairscientist.com to share!

Added October 27, 2011: An app for water quality and to get the most up-to-date grade for your beach presented by Heal the Bay in California.