Seafaring neanderthals and switchblade fish: A mega Thursday Afternoon Dredging, May 10th, 2018


After two weeks off, we’re back and bigger than ever!

Cuttings (short and sweet): 

Spoils (long reads and deep dives):

Please add your own cuttings and spoils in the comments!

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Southern Fried Science year-in-review, Palau’s Giant, a new challenge for deep-sea mining, Porgs are Puffins, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: December 25, 2017.

Happy Holidays from the Southern Fried Science Team!

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Do-it-yourself science is taking off. A growing movement seeks to make the tools of science available to everyone (including you). I love that The Economist now has a “Punk Science” heading.
  • Palau now requires all tourists to sign an environmental pledge when they enter the country. All flights in now feature this delightful short film.

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Beware the walrus, explosion detected near missing submarine, diamond mining, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: November 27, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Seasteading, ivory diving, seabed mining, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: June 5, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Seasteading. Ok, we’re not actually obsessed with Seasteading. What we are obsessed with are the increasingly convoluted proposals to create floating nations at sea (heck, I even wrote a novel or two about that). Fresh from the New Republic: Libertarians Seek a Home on the High Seas.

Courtesy of Seasteading Institute

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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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Make for the Planet with Conservation X Labs and the Earth Optimism Summit!

Invasive species, overfishing, ocean plastics, wildlife tracking, and measuring ecosystem services, are some of the most daunting challenges in conservation.While these challenges require a combination of social, commercial, and regulatory cooperation to address, they can also be tackled through technological innovation, which can bypass some of the largest hurdles to implementing practical, timely solutions.

On April 21, 2017, 18 teams of conservationists, technologists, makers, and hardware hackers will gather in Washington DC and tackle five conservation challenges selected by a panel of experts at the Make for the Planet, part of the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit. Over three days, teams will work to develop prototypes, strategic frameworks, and model systems that address specific issues within the broader challenge prompt of terrestrial species invasion, overfishing, ocean plastics, wildlife tracking, and ecosystem services. Read More

“When we left the beach…” Monday Morning Salvage: March 20, 2017


Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • The poetry of Derek Walcott.

Walcott, from the Trinidad Guardian.

  • Nobel laureate, poet, and perhaps the finest English-language writer of any generation, died this weekend. His poetry, particularly the epic poem Omeros, which draws upon the themes of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey to tell the story of colonization, imperialism, slavery, and humanity’;s relationship to the sea over more than 8000 lines.
  • If you’re new to the poetry of Derek Walcott, The Sea is History is a great place to start and the New York Times published a short selection of his poetry: The Pages of the Sea.

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The Legacy of the Invasivore Movement

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


Over 25 years ago, the concept of “Invasivore”–a dietary ethic that involved eating only invasive species, or more often, only eating meat if it was from an invasive species–entered into popular culture. Unfortunately, the actual practicalities of being an invasivore made the practice, with the exception of people in highly invaded regions, functionally impossible.

This led to an interesting and welcome change in the overarching dietary ethic movement. By focusing on specific meals, rather the food ethics that defined someone’s identity, people could focus on what’s really important, choosing meals and finding food suppliers that provided the most net-good for a specific region or community. While it was nearly impossible to be a strict invasivore, it was relatively easy to source and host an invasivore barbecue or cook an invasivore meal. We began defining meals, rather than individuals, by the method of production and preparation. Read More

Robots Versus Aliens – Anticipatory conservation in technology-drive initiatives

This week, I and a team of marine ecologist, explorers, and ocean technologists published Robots as vectors for marine invasions: best practices for minimizing transmission of invasive species via observation-class ROVs. This paper, conceived and largely produced during the ROV2PNG Marine Science Short Course in Papua New Guinea, represent the current best practices for minimizing or eliminating the spread of invasive species via portable, low-cost underwater robots.

Zebra mussels observed via OpenROV. Photo by author.

Zebra mussels observed via OpenROV. Photo by author.

Species invasion, particularly in the ocean, is a huge problem. Invasive species are ruthlessly good at out-competing native fauna. Without any natural predators, they can flourish, causing massive, irreparable damage to marine ecosystems. As scientists, explorers, and conservationist, we have to be proactive in ensuring that our actions don’t negatively impact the ecosystems we’re trying to save. Our guidelines are simple, but effective, and, most importantly, easy to follow.

  1. Educate yourself about species invasions generally and specifically about current issues in the area you’re working.
  2. Inspect your gear.
  3. Soak your gear in freshwater between dives.
  4. Soak your gear in weak bleach between expeditions.
  5. Avoid moving your equipment between geographic regions, when possible.

Technology can be a powerful tool in the aid of conservation. Around the world, people are using low-cost robotics to count elephants, detect poachers, protect tortoises, even seek-and-destroy invasive sea stars. As I discuss over at Motherboard, these robots are a transformative component of 21st century marine science and conservation, they fundamentally reshape the way we interact with the ocean. And with the explosive success of the latest OpenROV launch, there are about to be a lot more robots in the water. This is a good thing. The more eyes we have in the sea, the more people that actively contribute to ocean exploration, the more people with access to the tools necessary to explore, study, and understand our oceans and how they are changing, the better off we will all be.

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