We can’t afford to substitute genuine outreach with social media metrics

#SciCommDecember 7, 20160

If you plan to give up one thing in 2017, make it the social media trap that so many NPOs/NGOs/individuals have fallen into.  We need more organizations and individuals talking about what they are doing in the real world and less that just talk.  We going to need that now more than ever.

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The Organism is Always Right.

deep sea, marine science, Natural Science, ScienceDecember 6, 20160

snailfish3

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Monday Morning Salvage: December 5, 2016

Monday Morning SalvageDecember 5, 20160

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Fun Science FRIEDay – Water to Wine? Close, CO2 to Alcohol (ethanol)

climate change, Fun Science Friday, Natural Science, Open Science, ScienceDecember 2, 20160

Science brings us many wonderful things (honestly if you enjoy the benefits of the modern era, go out and hug a scientist). One of humanities age old desires is the ability to convert something invaluable, or a nuisance, into something desirable. The old midas touch if you will. Recently some scientist stumbled onto the process of converting CO2, a primary culprit of anthropogenic climate change, into alcohol… though not the kind you drink, the kind that humanity could use as fuel.

(Photo credit: Getty + Space Images)

(Photo credit: Getty + Space Images)

Producing fuel from CO2 is huge because it lets us take a nuisance compound, and converts it into a productive one. This was accomplished by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee by using common materials (copper and carbon), but arranging them with nanotechnology. The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, such as ethanol. They figured they would go from CO2 to methanol, and then work out the logistics of going from methanol to ethanol, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. Science for the win!

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Thursday Afternoon Dredging: December 1, 2016

Thursday Afternoon DredgingDecember 1, 20160

Cuttings (short and sweet):

How a sawfish uses its saw, from Wueringer and friends (2012), the function of the sawfish saw, Current Biology

How a sawfish uses its saw, from Wueringer and friends (2012), the function of the sawfish saw, Current Biology

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Do you see the deep sea?

deep sea, marine science, Natural Science, ScienceNovember 29, 20160

doyouseespark

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Monday Morning Salvage: November 28, 2016

Monday Morning SalvageNovember 28, 20160

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Now, More Than Ever, America Needs an Ambassador for the Deep Sea.

#OceanOptimism, A Renewed Sense of Wonder, Conservation, EducationNovember 25, 20160

That ambassador is Bathynomus giganteus, the giant, deep-sea isopod.

A giant deep sea isopod on the sea floor. Photo via NOAA Photobank.

A giant deep sea isopod on the sea floor. Photo via NOAA Photobank.

Conservation has long had the concept of Flagship Species—popular, charismatic species that serve as rallying points for conservation awareness and action. Formalized within the framework of conservation marketing, flagship species are focused around particular goals and audiences. Think of the WWF’s Giant Panda, Polar Bears and a thousand different arctic or climate change campaigns, or even the American Bald Eagle, whose decline galvanized the country into action. These animals are iconic. They connect people to species and ecosystems in crisis. They are Flagship Species.

The Giant Deep-sea Isopod is not a flagship species. The Giant Deep-sea Isopod addresses a much more fundamental issue: despite being the largest, most diverse ecosystem on the planet, most people have no direct connection, no frame of reference, for the deep sea. (more…)

Secrets of the Deep Sea

deep sea, marine science, Natural Science, ScienceNovember 22, 20160

On the other hand, giant isopods are actually giant.

Protecting the freshwater riches of the Southeastern US

UncategorizedNovember 16, 20160

bernie-kuhajdaDr. Bernie Kuhajda joined the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute staff in May 2012 after 25 years at the University of Alabama, where he managed a museum collection of one million specimens of preserved fishes from all around the world. Though his studies of fishes and other aquatic organisms have taken him around the United States, Mexico, and Central Asia, his particular expertise is surveying and monitoring threatened and endangered species from aquatic systems in the Southeast, in part to help evaluate the effectiveness of conservation programs. He currently teaches weekend courses at the University of Alabama Gadsden Campus and on the main campus in Tuscaloosa every summer. He serves on multiple USFWS Recovery Teams/Groups for endangered and threatened species.

Imagine possessing untold wealth but lacking the means to keep it safe. That is the broad-strokes reality faced by those of us who work to protect the Southeast’s rich aquatic biodiversity.

Our waterways are home to an incredible natural profusion, one that is unrivaled in the temperate world. More than 1,400 aquatic species reside in waterways within a 500-mile radius of the Tennessee Aquarium’s home in Chattanooga, including about three-quarters (73.1 percent) of all native fish species in the United States. More than 90 percent of all American mussels and crayfish species live within that same area, as do 80 percent of North America’s salamander species and half of its turtle species.

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