Several years ago, the ocean blogosphere experienced a moment which can only be described as a Great Convergence. Numerous popular independent blogs, either seeking refuge from The Event, looking for a broader audience, or undergoing life transitions that made it impossible to maintain the high volume of new content, merged under the aegis of the Southern Fried Science/Deep Sea News aegis. For a while, the ocean blogosphere felt empty, with few giants roaming the internet depths (once one-man shows, Craig McClain now shares Deep Sea News with 8 current writers, the addition of Michelle Jewell brings Southern Fried Science up to 11). For a while the mighty Sea Monster filled the void, but they have slowed in recent months.
I miss the days when we had to check a dozen links each morning for the latest and greatest in ocean science writing. Fortunately, as often happens when ecologic niches are left empty, new species emerge to fill them. There is a new crop of excellent ocean blogs rising up from the deep. Here are five of my favorite new* ocean blogs that you should already be reading.
Launched September 2013, oceanbites is the sister site of the wildly popular astrobites. Hosted by a massive list of excellent graduate student and post-doc authors, this blog takes the latest and greatest from the marine science literature and breaks it down into appealing, accessible bites of ocean science. The consistent flow of content means there’s always something new on the frontpage and their engaging style means that you’re guaranteed to be both informed and entertained.
And the winner of the best college-themed ocean pun goes to University of North Carolina-based UNder the C, who, though their blue color scheme is a bit too light for my taste, has been posting excellent marine science articles since October, 2013. Another graduate student led team blog, these five practicing scientists take the time to dive deep into ocean issues and the broader state of science, communication, and outreach. And, of course, the heart of a great ocean blog is humor. Humor and puns.
Another team led blog, with a healthy mix of grad student, faculty, and (currently emeritus) post-doc. Saltwater Science kicked off in May 2013 by answer one question that had been bugging me for years, Do whales get decompression sickness? Since then, this trio has produced exceptional articles ranging from marine mammal physiology to ocean conservation to erosion and runoff. Their style is a bit denser than other blogs on the list, but no less engaging.
Though sporadically updated, this blog by marine conservation firebrand and director of MCI Elliot Norse is a trove of excellent ocean writing from both a personal and professional perspective. It doesn’t hurt that Norse also has a wicked sense of humor.
The Drop-In at Moss Landing Marine Lab
To be fair, the Drop-In has been around for years, but this Moss Landing-run blog continuously features new voices in the marine science and outreach world, drawn from a pool of their own masters students. The Drop-In is easily one of the best places to go to find out the latest in west Coast research, direct from the source. It’s been in my RSS reader for years and it never goes stale.
Back in the day, most of the ocean blogs were single-person productions–Oysters Garter; Malaria, Bed Bugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets, Blogfish, even SFS was, at its inception, just me. It’s great to see so many new a vibrant teams building their sites together. One of the hardest things to do in blog is keep the content flowing, a task nearly impossible when you’re writing alone.
Feel free to use the comment thread to mention your favorite newish ocean blogs or, if you write one, take a minute to introduce yourself.
*Loosely defined as ocean blogs that are less than 2 years old, or have recent writers.
Since you invited introductions… let me introduce you to the Commission for the History of Oceanography blog (i’m one of the writers): http://oceansciencehistory.wordpress.com/; and also the blog of one of my colleagues, Dr. Samantha Muka: http://throughaquariumglass.blogspot.com/. Both are marine science focused with a historical twist.
Over here in Australia, (or is that “down here in Australia”? I never quite know), we’re publishing Great Ocean Quarterly, which is mostly a print product but also a blog (www.greatocean.com.au) and Twitter/Insta feeds. We reckon we’re the world’s only art, literature, science and photography journal devoted entirely to the sea. We love running material from all over the world and we welcome contributions. Check us out!
Jock Serong, editor, GOQ.