Monday Morning Salvage: January 16, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageJanuary 16, 20170

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Some SFS deep history: I got my start in marine science working in a seahorse lab. Seahorses are among my favorite animals.

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web) (more…)

Thursday Afternoon Dredging: January 12th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJanuary 12, 20170

Cuttings (short and sweet):

Drone footage from Basking Shark Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

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Micronations and poop dreams: Strange tales from the Guano Islands Act of 1856

Popular CultureJanuary 11, 20170

I’m just going to lay this out there right now: This story ends with Ernest Hemingway’s brother sitting on a 30-foot raft in the middle of the Caribbean.

But first, let’s talk about Bill Warren.

Bill Warren is an entrepreneur, treasure hunter, Frank Sinatra impersonator, former Christian music host, and about 30 other descriptors. He’s probably a huckster, but he’s our kind of huckster. You’ve almost certainly seen something about him: This Treasure Hunter Says He Has Located Bin Laden’s Body. I could spend the next 2,000 words just writing about Bill Warren, but you’re here for the guano, so just read this exhaustive, entertaining, hilarious article bout him by CJ CiaramellaThe Nearly Astonishing Tale Of Bill Warren, Treasure Seeker.

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How Millard Fillmore reshaped the oceans in a quest for guano.

#OceanOptimism, Conservation, policyJanuary 10, 20170

President Millard Fillmore

The numbers are in, and over the last eight years, President Barack Obama has protected more ocean than any other president in history. His expansion of NOAA and implementation of a National Ocean Policy will impact ocean health and fisheries management for generations. By almost any measure, he has had the biggest impact on the ocean of any modern presidency. Which raises the obvious question: is President Obama the most influential ocean president in history? Not by a long shot. That honor has to go to the president who’s policies have fundamentally shaped and reshaped how we view and control ocean territory, who laid the foundation for almost all the ocean protections we currently enjoy, and who set the precedent for the American Empire. That man is President Millard Fillmore, and he did it all for bird poop.

1850.

Agricultural science is beginning to understand that soil is not just soil, but a collection of nutrients that are slowly drawn from the ground by growing crops. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are crucial ingredients. The Industrial Revolution is pushing agriculture away from passive crop re-nourishment processes and towards intensive, fertilizer-driven farming. Fertilizer producers can’t keep up. At the same time, the American whaling industry had reached its zenith and began to fall. Coastal whales were harder to find and the bold men of Nantucket ventured out across the Pacific in search of the last great whaling grounds.

In these voyages, the whalers found numerous tiny, often uncharted islands in the Pacific. These remote islands were refuges, not just for weary sailors, but for generations of seabirds. From these seabirds rose great mountains of guano, guano rich in the nutrients plants crave. Guano was the solution to the fertilizer crises.

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Monday Morning Salvage: January 9, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageJanuary 9, 20170

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web) (more…)

Small changes and new faces at Southern Fried Science

BloggingJanuary 6, 20170

We’ve got some small changes and new additions to the growing Southern Fried Science family.

Due to their long and consistent commitment to maintaining the blog, Drs. Kersey Sturdivant and Chris Parsons have been promoted to the lofty and prestigious rank of Senior Correspondent. Congratulations!

We’re also thrilled to announce the addition of a new writer, Dr. Solomon David!

Solomon an aquatic ecologist who studies freshwater fish biodiversity and conservation. His current research focuses on ecology and conservation of Great Lakes migratory fishes, “Ancient Sport Fish” (e.g. gars and bowfins), and peripheral populations of species. An avid fan of “primitive fishes” and advocate for native species conservation, Solomon strives to effectively communicate science to both the research community and general public to raise awareness of the value of aquatic ecosystems and freshwater biodiversity.

You can follow Solomon on Twitter @SolomonRDavid and @PrimitiveFishes.

We’re super excited to welcome Solomon to our team and learn more about America’s inland seas!

Thursday Afternoon Dredging: January 5th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJanuary 5, 20170

Cuttings (short and sweet):

  • Here’s NOAA Okeanos video of a “ghost shark” from 2013.

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Bonnethead sharks, one of the smallest hammerheads, may actually be more than one species

marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks2

Bonnethead sharks, one of the smallest members of the hammerhead shark family Sphyrnidae, have a special place in my heart. For many years, the avatar I used for science communication efforts, including posts on this blog, was a picture of me with a bonnethead.

Remember this avatar? That’s a bonnethead (on the left).

These sharks, which can grow up to about 5 feet long, are found throughout North, Central, and South America. However, new research by Fields and friends suggests that they may actually be a species complex, not a true species. “A species complex is a group of distinct species that are incorrectly classified as one species because they look very similar to one another,” explained Dr. Demian Chapman, an Associate Professor of Biology at Florida International University and a co-author on this new study. “A great example is the white spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) that was once thought to be one, globally distributed species, but now has been shown to be a group of very similar-looking species, each of which lives in a particular region.”

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When I talk about Climate Change, I don’t talk about science.

#SciComm, climate change, Conservation, Natural Science, ScienceJanuary 3, 2017

Climate Change is real. It’s happening now. And the best available data points to us as the cause.

That the foundational science is settled is a point of unending frustration to scientists, science writers, and policy advocates who face continuous partisan push back, from whitewashing government websites to threatening scientists with legal repercussions for reporting the data.  During my International Marine Conservation Congress keynote last year, I argued that Climate Change denial is not a science literacy problem, but rather a product of increasing political bifurcation. Political ideology is a much stronger predictor of Climate Change understanding than science literacy.

The term “Climate Change” is now loaded with so much political baggage that it becomes almost impossible to hold a discussion across political lines. In stakeholder interviews, people generally understand and acknowledge the impacts of climate change on local and regional scales, as long as you don’t call it “Climate Change”. This has been my experience working in rural coastal communities, which tend to be strongly conservative and intimately connected to the changing ocean.

Which is why, when I talk about Climate Change, I don’t talk about science.  (more…)

Bachelor contestant wears a shark costume and calls it a dolphin costume

#SciComm1

Last night was the premiere of the Bachelor, which is just about the only reality TV show that I do not watch. However, an incident occured on last night’s episode that several of you brought to my attention. Apparently, one of the contestants wore a shark costume for the entire episode…but kept referring to it as a dolphin costume. (While not everyone can reasonably be expected to know the difference between a shark and a dolphin, this contestant stated that she wants to be a dolphin trainer.)

Here is a screenshot:

Screenshot from the Bachelor season 21 premiere, H/T Buzzfeed

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Staff: Andrew David Thaler (1107), David Shiffman (505), Amy Freitag (235), Guest Writer (75), Kersey Sturdivant (51), Chris Parsons (49), Chuck Bangley (18), Michelle Jewell (17), Administrator (2), Sarah Keartes (1), David Lang (1), Iris (1), Michael Bok (0), Solomon David (0), Lyndell M. Bade (0)
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