Snot Bots for whale health, critical dolphins, lobster considerations, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: January 15, 2018.

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Screen cap of linked tweet.

Ice balls and slush waves.

Paul May via Storyful.

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Chasing Genius, aquatic brain blobs, hurricanes, bats, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: September 4, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Unflappable Mola Molas, a Cousteau biopic, sharkcats, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: August 21, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • “Thirty years ago, I discovered a new world. I wanted to conquer it when I should have protected it. It’s not too late.” An uncompromising Jacques Cousteau biopic starring Lambert Wilson? Yes, please!

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web)
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#JacquesWeek, Lionfish tax, coral that glows, accelerating climate change, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: July 10, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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#IAmSeaGrant, Octopus Beats Dolphins, Deep-sea Mining, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 29, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Monday Morning Salvage: January 2, 2017

Welcome to 2017 and the ninth year of marine science and conservation at Southern Fried Science!

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Alex Warneke knows exactly how to push all of my ocean outreach buttons: Low-cost teaching tools? Check! Hands on student engagement? Check! Open-source materials and datasets? Check! 3D Printing? Check! Meet 3D Cabrillo:

Courtesy A. Warneke, DSN.

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Don’t diss the dolphins

Parsons Dr. Chris Parsons has been involved in whale and dolphin research for over two decades and has been involved in research projects in every continent except Antarctica. Dr. Parsons is an Associate Professor at George Mason University as well as the undergraduate coordinator for their environmental science program. He’s a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), has been involved in organizing the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) (the world’s  largest academic marine conservation conference) and is currently the Conference Chair and a Governor of the Society for Conservation Biology. In addition, Dr. Parsons has published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters and has written a textbook on marine mammal biology & conservation.

At a recent conference of marine scientists I attended, one of the speakers announced, albeit tongue in cheek, that they “hated dolphins”. This prompted a round of applause and cheers from the largely marine biologist audience, much to the chagrin of the marine mammal researchers in the audience (there were several, and almost all of these were involved in marine mammal conservation).That sort of attitude unfortunately is common in the marine biology community. There seems to be a misapprehension that dolphin researchers get all the glamour, glory and funding, and to paraphrase Yoda, this leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.

I’ve been studying dolphins (mostly in conservation-focused research) for over 20 years, and admittedly it has led to some rather nice trips on boats, sometimes in warm tropical locations. But it has also been 20 years with marine biologist colleagues constantly commenting that dolphin research is not “real marine biology” – even to the extent of having a reviewer say that, in response to a manuscript. Within the marine mammal science professional societies this has led to the rather unfortunate situation where: (a) marine mammalogists keep themselves to themselves with their own journals and conferences and not mixing with many other streams of marine biology; (b) there is such a fear of being seen as “not a real scientist” that within the marine mammal science community there is frequently a stigma against doing any applied, or interdisciplinary, or non-pure science research, including research that is conservation-oriented. This is at a time when such research is drastically needed, with so many cetacean species being endangered. In fact, a study on cetacean science literature  determined that about half of the studies could be important to conservation, but unfortunately much of the information lies locked within the ivory tower, and the relatively few ivory towers of marine mammalogists at that.

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Fun Science Friday – BP Oil Spill Impacts Dolphins

Happy Fun Science Friday!

Though this post does not present such a happy story, given the recent discussion about dolphin photobombing, this week’s FSF is topically related.  In the spring of 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig experienced catastrophic failure resulting in the worst oil spill in human history. The Gulf of Mexico (GoM) was the unfortunate host of this catastrophe and the GoM community is still feeling the ecological, social, and economic consequences of this disaster.

Pod of bottlenose dolphins swimming underneath oily water of Chandeleur Sound, La., May 6, 2010. Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

Pod of bottlenose dolphins swimming underneath oily water of Chandeleur Sound, La., May 6, 2010.
Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

One such impact that received little TV coverage during the spill was the uncharacteristic spike in dolphin deaths. A few months following the BP spill there was an unprecedented spike in dead dolphins washing ashore along the Gulf Coast; 67 dead dolphins by February of 2011, with more than half (35) of the dead dolphins being calves. This is in stark contrast to years preceding the spill when one or two dead dolphins per year were normally documented to wash ashore.  Despite the spike in dolphin deaths, there was no definitive evidence linking the dead cetaceans to the oil spill as a number of other factors could have been responsible for the deaths, including infectious disease or the abnormally cold winter proceeding the spill.

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