Thursday Afternoon Dredging: May 25th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingMay 25, 2017

Logo by Ethan Kocak

Cuttings (short and sweet):

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Parasitic barnacles, a code of conduct for marine conservation, #BillMeetScienceTwitter, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 22, 2017.

Monday Morning SalvageMay 22, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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

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What Google Searches Tell Us About The Ocean… and Us

Basics of the Human Dimension, Open Science, ScienceMay 20, 2017

I recently discovered that Google Trends is a thing. Specifically, that they aggregate their search data and make it publicly available. Which is awesome. People Google much more honestly than they interact with others in person, more honestly than they answer surveys, and more honestly than they behave in a world where politics is important. So what people Google is insight into what people are curious about, where online outreach can have the most potential impact, and what is on the top of people’s brains at particular times. It tells us something about regionalisms, and seasonality of thought. I encourage everyone to play around with their data, for work or for play.

Here’s a couple of examples of things you can learn. Let’s start with the basics. Which states, over the last 12 months, have searched for “ocean” the most?

 

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Fun Science FRIEDay – Cure for HIV?

Fun Science Friday, Life SciencesMay 19, 2017

One of the greatest scourges of the mid 20th century, leading into the 21st century, has been the human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV, which can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV is a virus that attacks a person’s immune system. Without treatment, over time HIV can completely destroy a person’s immune system leaving them mortally vulnerable to common pathogens that would otherwise be easily dealt with.  Since this disease first burst onto the scene in the mid-20th century it has claimed countless lives, and science has struggled to develop a cure given the ability of the disease to rapidly change and hide-out in the body.

(Photo credit: gamjai / Fotolia)

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Bony-eared assfish, shark swarms, ocean plastics, and more! The Monday Morning Salvage: May 15, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageMay 15, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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The Case Against Shark Fin Trade Bans

Conservation, fisheries, marine science, Natural Science, Public perceptions of wildlife, Science, sharks, SustainabilityMay 12, 2017

Photo credit: Jessica King, Marine Photobank

The United States Congress is considering a nationwide ban on buying, selling, or trading shark finsWhile several of my posts and tweets have briefly discussed my stance on such policies, I’ve never laid out my full argument in one post. Here is why I, as a shark conservation biologist, oppose banning the shark fin trade within the United States.  The short answer is that the US represents a tiny percentage of overall consumers of shark fin, but provide some of the most sustainably caught sharks on Earth, as well as important examples of successful management, to the world. This means that banning the US shark fin trade won’t reduce total shark mortality by very much, but will remove an important example of fins coming from a well-managed fishery while also hurting American fishermen who follow the rules. Also, a focus on these policies promotes the incorrect belief that shark fin soup is the only significant threat to sharks, and that addressing the tiny part of that problem locally represents the end of all threats. For the longer answer, read on. And for the case for shark fin bans, please see this guest post from Oceana scientist Mariah Pfleger.

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The Case for Shark Fin Trade Bans

Conservation, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks

Mariah Pfleger is a marine scientist at Oceana, an international marine conservation non-profit, advising both the responsible fishing and sharks campaigns. She graduated from Florida State University in 2012 where she studied coastal sharks and their relatives. In 2016 she earned her Master’s degree from the University of West Florida where she researched both coastal and deep-water sharks and rays. Mariah worked for 3 years as a field assistant, and during her Master’s an additional 3 years as a field manager, on the Gulf of Mexico Shark Pupping and Nursery Program. She has also conducted research using environmental DNA to detect rare and endangered sturgeon. Her twitter handle is @MariahPfleger.


The demand for shark fins is widely recognized as one of the major contributors to shark mortality around the world. However, solutions to decrease this demand are hotly debated, especially in the scientific community. Southern Fried Science and other websites have published opinions that debate the effectiveness of shark fin bans, but as a shark scientist working to implement this policy I would like to present the case for shark fin trade bans.

The conversation is newly relevant with the introduction of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act in the Senate on March 30th by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Shelly Moore-Capito (R-WV) and in the House on March 9th by Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-MP). If passed, the bill would ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States – thereby removing the United States from the global shark fin trade altogether. The bill is championed by Oceana, where I work as the scientist on the sharks campaign.

The demand for fins fuels finning – the act of slicing off a shark’s fins and dumping the body back into the ocean. The United States recognized this practice was a problem and implemented the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 followed by the  Shark Conservation Act (SCA) in 2010, which required that all sharks must be landed with their fins naturally attached (except for smooth dogfish, which can be landed under a fin-to-carcass ratio). However, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the United States is still importing fins from places like Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Indonesia, to name a few. Not all of these countries have anti-finning laws, which means that the United States may be, and likely is, purchasing fins from finned sharks. Once in the United States market, there is no way to tell whether a fin came from a finned shark or not. By purchasing these fins, the United States is sustaining the demand for this unsustainable practice. (more…)

The Old Man and the Deep Sea

deep seaMay 9, 2017

Torben Wolff, legendary deep-sea scientist and last surviving member of the Galathea II expedition, which plumbed the Philippine Trench and recovered biological material from more than 10,000 meters for the first time in history, died in his sleep on May 2, 2017. He was 97.

Torben will be remembered for his monumental contributions to deep-sea oceanography, his commitment to international collaboration in the deep sea, and three generations of mentorship, as well as his tradition of closing deep-sea meetings with a Haka that he learned from Maori during his travels in New Zealand.

Farewell Torben. We’ll see you some day in Fiddler’s Green.

Terraforming Mars on Earth, giant larvaceans, conservation jobs, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 8, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageMay 8, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Seabirds on Ascension Island. Photo by Clare Fieseler.

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

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Thursday Afternoon Dredging: May 4th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingMay 4, 2017

After a month hiatus for packing, moving, and unpacking, we’re back!

Logo by Ethan Kocak

Cuttings (short and sweet):

  • Watch a dogfish swim around British Columbia, video by GEERG.

Video by GEERG

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