Kersey Sturdivant • Uncategorized • July 29, 2016
Human induced climate change is real. It feels weird that I have to say that, but the overwhelming body of evidence suggest human activity post the industrial revolution is having irrevocable damage on our environment. One of the major implications of climate change is the loss of the polar glaciers (and subsequent sea level rise).
Andrew David Thaler • #SciComm • July 27, 2016
A plurality of Southern Fried Science writers will be attending the 2016 International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Expect updates to be infrequent here through early August.
Follow along at the conference hashtag #IMCC4 or follow me, Amy, David, and Chris on twitter on this adventure.
Andrew David Thaler • #SciComm, Education • July 19, 2016
Pokémon Go is officially a thing.
In the last week, this game has outpaced even Google Maps in number of downloads. It has more daily active users than Twitter. Its user retention rate is astronomical. It is either a herald of the end of western capitalism or a huge boom for small businesses. People are going outside, exploring their neighborhoods, finding dead bodies, walking off cliffs, experiencing nature, getting robbed, making new friends, and getting shot at.
It is the best of tech. It is the worst of tech. Or maybe, it’s just tech, and people can interact with technology in as many ways as there are Pokémon to be found.
Last week, I wrote a brief introduction to this phenomenon, which I won’t rehash here.
But of course, the big question emerging within the sphere of environmental educators is “how can we capitalize on Pokémon Go to engage with the public on environmental issues?”
After spending more time with the app, and focusing on specific features that can facilitate environmental education, I have five suggestions. (more…)
Kersey Sturdivant • Citizen Science, Fun Science Friday, marine science, Natural Science, oceanography, Oceanography for Everyone, Open Science, Uncategorized • July 15, 2016
The oceans belong to all of us. With this simple statement in mind, the Oceanography for Everyone (OfE) project was launched with the goal of making ocean science more accessible. One of the biggest hurdles in conducting ocean science is instrumentation costs, and 4 years ago the OfE team began trying to make one of the most basic ocean science tools, the CTD (a water quality sensor that measures Conductivity-Temperature-Depth), cheaper… much, much cheaper!
David Shiffman • Blogging, marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks •
Some SCUBA diving operators use bait or chum to attract sharks so that their customers can get an up close and personal encounter. A new bill that would make this practice illegal in all U.S. waters has just been introduced into Congress. Section 3 of S. 3099, the “Access for Sportfishing Act of 2016,” contains the following provision:
David Shiffman • Uncategorized • July 3, 2016
Below is a Storify of curated tweets from Shark Week 2016 shows, including fact-checking, commentary, praise, and criticism. Enjoy!
David Shiffman • #SciComm •
Below are all of my Shark Week 2016 episode reviews from my Facebook page.
Guest Writer • marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks • June 30, 2016
Photo by Zoe Gillam
Sammy Andrzejaczek grew up ocean obsessed in Western Australia and knew from an early age she wanted to be a marine biologist. She completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Queensland and developed a fascination with all things shark. Her Honours thesis on whale sharks fed that fascination and she has now moved onto a PhD where she is looking at the vertical movements of sharks and other pelagic predatory fishes. She hopes her project on tiger sharks will become the cornerstone of her thesis and enable her to compare findings with other species of shark around the world. In her (limited) spare time she can be found outside – surfing, diving, camping and hiking. She also loves martial arts and is a black belt in Zen Do Kai.
We live in the age of computers and information. While technology advances, the devices we use are getting smaller and more compact, and we are able to carry a world of information in our pockets. The same can be said for animal-borne tagging devices. Tags no longer just record where an animal is going; rather they are capable of telling us how an animal is moving, measure the physical environment that the animal passes through and record the physiological state of the animal as it undergoes movement. Some tags even have embedded video cameras that effectively carry us along for the ride as animals go about their daily behaviours. These advances in tagging technology offer a huge potential for researchers to gain an understanding of drivers behind movement patterns, i.e. not just where an animal goes, but how it moves and why it moves to get to a particular destination. For sharks – my study species – most movement research to date has largely focused on horizontal scales i.e. movements across ocean basins or along coastlines. However, marine animals live in a three dimensional environment, moving up and down through the water column as well as across it. It is fair to say that unless we understand how and why animals move in these three dimensions, then we have little chance of getting a real insight into their ecology.
Andrew David Thaler • #SciComm • June 28, 2016
Last night, as part of #JacquesWeek, we watched The Silent World. The Silent World was Cousteau’s first feature film, was released to wide critical acclaim in 1954, and quickly vanished in a puff of weird copyright shenanigans. Most USians, even die-hard Cousteau fans, have never seen the Silent World.
It’s a tough watch. In order to help prime the #JacquesWeek audience for what was coming, I hosted a pre-viewing briefing, via Facebook live.
The Silent World is an important moment in the history of marine conservation. It represents the birth of a more general public awareness about life beneath the waves. A the time, it was the vast majority of people’s first experience seeing what life looks like underwater. But it also features Cousteau’s team killing a baby whale, attempting to harpoon others, riding sea turtles and land tortoises, and slaughtering sharks. It’s a hard watch. Some of our viewers had to cut out half-way. Even I conveniently got up to mix a stronger drink during some of the worst bits.
After the show, we also hosted a debrief to talk a bit more about the Silent World, put it in context, and talk about how the film fits into the history of ocean conservation:
If you missed this last night, you can still watch The Silent World at your own pace, and I highly recommend that you do. It’s an important film and should be taken, warts and all.
Guest Writer • marine science, Natural Science, Science, sharks •
Mareike Dornhege is currently finishing up her PhD on shark fisheries in Japan. She is based in Tokyo at Sophia University and after seeing no sharks many times were there should be sharks on reefs all around the world she wanted to dig deeper and find out when we lost them, why and where. She is trying to reconstruct baselines by looking at the history of sharks and humans, talking to old fishermen and of course modern data as well. And she really loves going on that shark-feeding dive about 90 minutes south of Tokyo!
The latest shark thriller The Shallows just hit theaters—coincidentally with Shark Week around the corner – and is latest in a long line of shark thrillers. In the grand, yet predictable fashion of movies like Deep Blue Sea, The Reef or Open Water, it fuels our fear of the sleek ocean predators that was first awakened by the mother of all shark movies, Jaws, in 1975. Or, was it? It is only since the Jaws theme that got stuck in our heads, even if we are just paddling around in a swimming pool at dusk, and images of dangling legs under water, that we got so irrationally scared and obsessed with the well-designed teeth of these fish after all, right?
Actually no. During my research on the history of shark and men I came across some hair-raising anecdotes of monster sharks from the Caribbean and man-hunting mantas that are just a bit older. A few centuries that is. This fishermen’s yarn must be the pre-digital equivalent of this youtube video of a megalodon shark caught on tape, real mermaids, and dragon footage. Let’s look at what they say and then at what the real science behind these stories is.