Pirates, conch, and surfing scientists: Thursday Afternoon Dredging, July 19th, 2018

Cuttings (short and sweet): 

Spoils (long reads and deep dives):

Please add your own cuttings and spoils in the comments!

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Books reviews: read up on sharks and grouper before the AES/ASIH meeting

In just three weeks, the American Elasmobranch Society and the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists will hold their annual meeting. This year, it will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia as part of the World Herpetology Congress. I’ll be presenting, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of our readers there. Those of you who will be attending this conference, as well as anyone with an interest in sharks and other marine fishes, may be interested in these great new marine science books!

1. Groupers of the world: a field and market guide (by Matthew Craig, Yvonne Sadovy de Mitcheson, and Phillip Heemstra). Grouper are some of the most economically important fish in the ocean, and it’s important that scientists, managers, and eco-conscious consumers have access to the latest scientific and conservation information about these fish. As fisheries landings have increased greatly in recent years (the 300,000 tons landed in 2008 are 10 times the landings from the 1950’s), many species are rapidly declining in population. Recent research showed that 12% of known grouper species are Threatened (Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered according to IUCN Red List standards) and another 13% are Near Threatened. Mating behaviors like spawning aggregations and the tendency to change sex further complicates management.

In addition to introducing readers to the field and summarizing the latest scientific discoveries, this book serves as a detailed reference guide to the 163 known species of grouper. The authors demonstrate how to identify each species using more than 300 beautiful color photographs and line drawings,  and detailed maps show where each can be found. The population status (including major threats and some proposed solutions), IUCN Red List conservation status, life history information and known feeding behavior is also reviewed for each species. $79.95, CRC Press.

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The Ocean Question: What is your favorite marine organism and why?

We caught up with 11 marine scientists (including one honorary marine scientist, paleoblogger Brian Switek) at this year’s Ocean Sciences meeting in Salt Lake City and asked them the following question – What is your favorite marine organism and why? Their responses ranged from the classic (dolphins and sharks) to the bizarre (deep-sea shrimp and snails) to the exceptionally broad (Eukaryotes, Holly? Could you narrow it down just a little?).

Check out what they had to say:

Watch our previous Ocean Question and let us know what your favorite marine organisms are in the comments below.

A rig by any other name, could it be an artificial reef?

There are currently more than 7,500 offshore oil platforms actively probing the earth’s crust for black gold. Their relatively minimal appearance at the surface belies the shear magnitude of human construction beneath the waves. Oil platforms are among the world’s tallest man-made structures. Compliant tower platforms reach up to 900 meters in depth (in contrast, the tallest building is 828 meters). these rigs are not permanent structures. As the wells run dry and sea water corrodes steel jackets, the wells are capped and rigs decommissioned. At least 6500 offshore platforms are slated for decommission by 2025, which begs the question, what do we do with inactive oil platforms?

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