Book review: “Shark Research: Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field and Laboratory”

Editors: Jeffrey C. Carrier, Michael R. Heithaus, Colin A. Simpfendorfer. CRC Press, available here.

I can’t imagine a more useful introductory reference guide for new or prospective graduate students starting their career in marine biology than “Shark Research: Emerging Technologies and Applications for the Field And Laboratory”. This book is designed for people who have little to no familiarity with a research discipline but are about to start working in that discipline, a large and important audience that is often ignored by books and review papers geared towards people who are already experts. So many graduate students are told to learn a new research method by reading technical literature that assumes they already know this stuff, resulting in stress and frustration.

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A song of mostly just fire, how to hide a nuclear submarine, toasty anemones, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 20, 2019.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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I spent 50 days working out in Virtual Reality and everything went better than expected.

For the last several years, I’ve been working off the weight gained and fitness lost from a decade of grad school, post-doctoral research, job hunting, and, ultimately, launching my own company. The gym, to put it mildly, had not been a priority. Running and weight training went a long way towards getting me back to where I wanted to be, but I had hit a plateau. Every spring and summer I’d make incremental improvements, every winter, I’d fall back into old habits. It was a sustainable situation, but not fantastic.

Last summer, I set a goal for myself. While the weather was just on the wrong side of that threshold that makes running something I’m willing to do first thing in the morning, I would instead swap out my sneakers for an Oculus Rift, and spend an hour, four or five days a week, playing fitness-oriented virtual reality games, for fifty sessions. That schedule would get me through the winter and hopefully keep me more active than I otherwise would.

To better illustrate this plan, I made a GIF, just for you:

Yes, it’s me. Yes, we put googly eyes on the Oculus.

Unsurprisingly, the science behind Virtual Reality and exercise is still in its infancy.

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Burning driftwood, new protections for Canada’s oceans, dolphin errant, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 13, 2019

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Good news everybody! Canada bans deep-sea mining, oil and gas drilling in marine protected areas.
Nicolas Pilcher (left), from Malaysia’s Marine Research Foundation, shows a fisherman how to install a turtle excluder device (TED). Photo courtesy of Marine Research Foundation Asia
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The Quest for the best tough 3D Printer for under $200: Our final recommendations

You thought we were done, here. You were wrong. After extensively reviewing 5 3D printers for sale under $200 and picking the best from the reviews, we went back to our two favorites and put them through their paces, abusing both for an extra month to make sure that when I say this is the best printer for field work, I mean it.

These printers have been dragged around, beaten up, put in the hands of children and child-like adults, and run through the wringer to ensure that they stand up to the kind of abuse you might expect from the field. Now we’re really ready to make the call and tell you which are the best dirt-cheap, field-ready 3D printers.

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The Global Extinction Vortex, rising regulations for deep-sea mining, biodegradable bags that don’t, Scientology’s measles cruise, and more! The Monday Morning Salvage: May 6, 2019.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Hope is the knowledge that we can prevent bad things—but also the realization that we might choose not to.

Thinking about Climate on a Dark, Dismal Morning
Three years after being in sea water, this bag could still hold some groceries.
Photo: Lloyd Russell (University of Plymouth)
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Three entries about bitcoin-powered seasteaders that are absolutely full of cringe, plus some stuff that actually matters to the ocean. Monday Morning Salvage: April 22, 2019.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Credit: OCEANIX/BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
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Hagfish nom-nommers, Trample-gramming, boring clams, I’m still in love with these giant isopods, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: April 8, 2019.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

A wood-boring clam inside a piece of wood
Photo: Jenna Judge
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Research expedition: what ever happened to the world’s first certified sustainable shark fishery?

My Postdoctoral research has focused on understanding the causes and consequences of public misunderstanding about shark fisheries management. While scientists overwhelmingly support sustainable fisheries management as a solution to shark overfishing, many concerned citizens and conservation activists prefer total bans on all shark fishing and trade. Some go so far as to (wrongly) claim that sustainable shark fisheries cannot exist even in theory and do not exist in practice anywhere in the world, and that bans are the only possible solution.

There’s an important piece of data that very rarely makes it into these discussions. Amidst the ongoing discussions about whether or not sustainable shark fisheries are even possible, one right in my backyard became the first shark fishery anywhere in the world to be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.

However, a few years after BC’s spiny dogfish fishery got certified, the certification was quietly withdrawn. I couldn’t find any information in the MSC reports, or in associated scientific literature or government reports, that explained what happened to this fishery, which was thriving until recently. No scientists, managers, or conservation advocates who I asked about this knew exactly what happened to BC’s spiny dogfish fishery.

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At last, a $200 3D Printer that might actually hold up to a field season. The Creality Ender-3 (review).

Somewhere between the Prusa printers with their paired z-axis motors and the cantilever systems with a gantry arm spanning the x- or y-axis with only a single point of support, lies printers like the Creality Ender-3. Where a more conventional 3D printer uses rails and linear bearings to drive the axes, these printers forgo the standard model.

You won’t find a single linear bearing on the Creality Ender-3 or it’s clones. Instead, rubber rollers pass through v-slot grooves in extruded aluminum, removing the need for complex gantry systems.

This is an incredibly robust method for cutting costs, but it is not a compromise. Roller and v-slot printers can be just as precise as their rail and bearing counterparts, and the mandated all aluminum construction makes them strong and durable.

Creality Ender-3. Photo by Author.

For a general-use field-ready 3D printer, you could not do much better than the Creality Ender-3.

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