Thursday Afternoon Dredging: December 22nd, 2016

Thursday Afternoon DredgingDecember 22, 2016

Cuttings (short and sweet):

  • Watch this hammerhead shark hunt and catch a stingray, from “Hunting the Hammerhead” on the Smithsonian Channel
From the Smithsonian Channel's "Hunting the Hammerhead"

From the Smithsonian Channel’s “Hunting the Hammerhead”


Fun Science FRIEDay – Harnessing Synthetic Biology to Fight Ocean Pollution

#OceanOptimism, Conservation, Environmentalism, Fun Science Friday, marine science, Natural Science, Science, toxicologyDecember 16, 2016

Plastics, more importantly microplastics, clog our oceans. This phenomena in the ocean has been likened to smog around cities. These plastic particles are dangerous because they can absorb toxins, subsequently be consumed by zooplankton and invertebrates, and bioaccumluate up the food web to fish that are consumed by humans. A study in Nature found that 25 percent of seafood sold contains microplastics! There has been a recent awareness of the unseen harm that exists when plastic pollution in the ocean degrades into microplastics. A report in Environmental Research Letters estimated that “accumulated number of micro plastic particles… ranges from 15 to 51 trillion particles, weighing between 93 and 236 thousand metric tons.” That is cray cray. Despite a better awareness of the impact of microplastics on marine ecology, we still have a poor spatial understanding of microplastics in the ocean. The presence and density of microplastics is determined by trawling the ocean (i.e., researchers go out with a net and physically count the pieces of plastic they pick up). As you can imagine, this is not very effective.

Conceptualization of plastic degrading in the ocean. (Photo credit: Archipelagos Institute)


The Worlds First Empirical ‘How-To’ Get Into Graduate School Book

Academic life, Education, Personal Stories, publishing, Science publishingDecember 15, 2016

Many years ago as a graduate student at the College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, my former officemate (Noelle Relles) and I came up with a novel idea: take all the disparate information out there about strategies for getting into graduate school in the natural sciences and coalesce them into a single concise yet comprehensive text. Essentially develop a How-To book about graduate school. But we wanted the book to be more than just instructional anecdotes. We were scientist, and thought it would be useful to add a level of empiricism to the book. We wanted to write a How-To book where the conclusion were driven by results from a national survey of graduate admissions offices in the USA. At the time, writing a book based on a national survey of graduate programs seemed like quite a long-shot as we were both a number of years removed from getting our PhDs, and the most pressing issues in our lives at that time were graduating and finding free food and alcohol.

Living the life of a graduate student at VIMS’ infamous Fall Party. (Photo credit: Kersey Sturdivant)


Thursday Afternoon Dredging: December 15th, 2016

Thursday Afternoon Dredging

Cuttings (short and sweet):

Thresher shark tail whip, from Oliver and friends 2013, "Thresher Sharks Use Tail-Slaps as a Hunting Strategy," PLoS ONE

Thresher shark tail whip, from Oliver and friends 2013, “Thresher Sharks Use Tail-Slaps as a Hunting Strategy,” PLoS ONE


Help save the oceans in honor of David’s Ph.D.!

BloggingDecember 13, 2016

Earlier this week, I announced that I have officially earned my Ph.D.!  I am hoping to use this occassion to raise funds for a variety of environmental causes. If you’re able to help, I’ve created a campaign that allows you to donate to my favorite environmental and human rights causes in honor of my graduation. Any amount helps! Thanks in advance.

37 things I learned about shark ecology and conservation for my dissertation

Conservation, ecology, fisheries, fisheries, marine science, Natural Science, policy, Science, sharks, Social Science, Underrepresented Issues in Marine Science and ConservationDecember 12, 2016

The fam attending my dissertation defense

The fam attending my dissertation defense

After a little more than 5 years of hard work, I’ve officially completed my Ph.D.! You can read my dissertation (“An Integrative and Interdisciplinary Approach to Shark Conservation: Policy Solutions, Ecosystem Role, and Stakeholder Attitudes”) online here in its entirety.

In case there are some among you who don’t really want to read a 281 page dissertation but are curious about what I found, I’ve prepared this blog post to summarize my key conclusions. (Note: this does not include every conclusion. Some are aggregated together, and some more technical conclusions are omitted for this summary).


Monday Morning Salvage: December 12, 2016

Monday Morning Salvage

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Mr. Trashwheel, who has the best social media game in town. How can anyone compete with a garbage-eating floating waterwheel who’s Reddit AMA is this on point?


Thursday Afternoon Dredging: December 8th, 2016

Thursday Afternoon DredgingDecember 8, 2016

Cuttings (short and sweet):

  • Rays chew. Who knew? From this paper by Kolmann and friends

    From Kolmann and friends 2016, "Always chew your food. Freshwater stingrays use mastication to process insect prey." Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    From Kolmann and friends 2016, “Always chew your food. Freshwater stingrays use mastication to process insect prey.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

  • Follow Dr. Leanne Currey @LeanneMCurrey, a postdoc working on the Global FinPrint project, on twitter! Follow her for great videos of sharks and other marine life approaching baited underwater video stations around the world.
  • Our friends at the Fisheries Blog surveyed their readers about their peer review habits. Do these results match your experience?


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

#SciCommDecember 7, 2016

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.


The Organism is Always Right.

deep sea, marine science, Natural Science, ScienceDecember 6, 2016


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