5 things to know about spotted eagle ray tooth plates, August’s 3D printed reward!

I recently unveiled a new tier of Patreon rewards: 3D printed shark and ray models!For $17 per month, you will get a monthly 3D printed educational model of different shark or ray parts in the mail, and you’ll be supporting my efforts to provide these models to schools for free.

August’s reward is a row from the tooth plate of a spotted eagle ray, Aetobatus narinari! The original specimen is housed at the University of Tennessee fossil collection, and the 3D scan was shared online as part of the FOSSIL project.

I asked University of Florida/Florida Museum Ph.D. student Jeanette Pirlo about the FOSSIL project:

” The FOSSIL Project is an NSF funded project, based out of the University of Florida and the Florida Museum, devoted to cultivating a networked community of practice in which fossil club members and professional paleontologists collaborate in learning the practice of science and outreach. The myFOSSIL.org website is the platform from which our members can collaborate by sharing their fossil finds, curate their personal collections, and participate in ongoing paleontological research” – Jeanette Pirlo

A full set of Spotted Eagle Ray Jaws showing multiple tooth rows fused into a plate, photo by Cathleen Bester courtesy Jeanette Pirlo at the Florida Museum. The specific individual tooth row that was scanned here, photo by Maggie Limbeck, University of Tennessee Masters Candidate. And the 3D printed version


Learn more about the spotted eagle ray and it’s teeth below!

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Gregarious gars, surprising crocs, mustachioed monkeys, ocean wilderness, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: July 30, 2018

Logo for Monday Morning Salvage.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

A gar wearing a red cap.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

 marine biologist Melissa Cristina Márquez

Marine biologist Melissa Cristina Márquez

The Gam (conversations from the ocean-podcasting world)

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2 minutes to midnight, 3D printed turtle eggs, awkward fiddlers, Egyptian welders, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: January 29, 2018.

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Despite the fact that we live in extremely dangerous times, the scientists in charge of the clock said there is hope. The clock has been wound backwards before, in the wake of the Cold War or during times when nuclear superpowers expressed interest in not mutually assuring destruction.

The scientists argue that civil society should turn the screws on government to reduce carbon emissions and push for even more ambitious climate action than what the Paris Agreement calls for. That sounds like a more fruitful plan than huddling in a bunker.


Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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How to support your favorite Southern Fried Science writers in 2018

Southern Fried Science is growing! Thanks to Patreon and a few passive income streams, for the first time in almost a decade, we’re able to begin paying our volunteer writers for their outreach efforts. This year, we’ve established the Southern Fried Science Writers’ Fund to begin paying out compensation for all the incredible work that David, Amy, Chuck, Kersey, Chris, Sarah, Solomon, and Michelle have put in to making this website one of the most read marine science and conservation blog on the internet.

With the exception of a few weird months in 2010, this site has always been 100% free and ad free. But that doesn’t mean it’s free to run. Support from our fans keeps the lights on and the server humming, and now, with the Writers’ Fund, fan support also goes towards getting your favorite ocean writers compensated for their work. There are currently 3 ways to support your favorite Southern Fried Science writers in 2018.

Subscribe to our Patreon Campaign. My Patreon campaign, Andrew Thaler is creating tools for ocean science and conservation, is, by a very wide margin, the primary source of funding for Southern Fried Science. Patreon supporters get exclusive, behind the scenes access, a few surprises, and, of course, the legendary Jaunty Ocean Critter stickers. We now have a subscription tier just for the Southern Fried Science Writers Fund, so if you want to ensure that 100% of you contribution (minus Patreon fees) goes towards supporting our writers, sign up for the $5 per month subscription. There’s also options to cover server costs, support Oceanography for Everyone, or contribute to our general project fund. Even $1 a month makes a huge difference.

Use our Amazon Affiliate Link. Occasionally you might find an Amazon Affiliate link embedded in an article, if, for example, we’re talking about a book or a new tool or presenting a bill of materials for a new project. When you use these links to buy something, we get a small kickback from Amazon. This is the closest thing to an ad that you’ll see on Southern Fried Science. You can also use this Amazon Affiliate Link to go straight to Amazon and we’ll get a tiny percentage of anything you buy from them. So when you’re ready for a 3D printer or a new hagfish textbook or a $36,000 Wyland original oil painting of dancing orcas, consider using our Amazon Affiliate Link. It doesn’t cost you anything, and it helps us out a ton.

Send a one-time PayPal donation. If Amazon isn’t your jam and you’re not ready to commit to a monthly subscription or you’d just rather send one lump sum, you can send a contribution to me via PayPal. Just make a note that it’s for the Southern Fried Science Writers’ Fund or Southern Fried Science in general.

Unfortunately, because of the way we’ve structured Southern Fried Science, Oceanography for Everyone, and other properties that fall under the same aegis, contributions to Southern Fried Science are not tax deductible. 

There’s only one way to get these exclusive, limited-edition Jaunty Ocean Critter stickers!

Note: The following is a plug for my Patreon campaign. Funds raised in this campaign go towards keeping the Southern Fried Science servers running as well as research and development for Oceanography for Everyone

Behold the Unflappable Mola Mola!

Soon after the completion of Jacques Week 2017, I realized that I now had a collection of ocean animals wearing jaunty red cap doodles that were almost purpose made to be turned into stickers. So after a bit of research, a lot of redesigns, and a few test runs, the Jaunty Ocean Critter collection was born! Every month for the next year, I’m releasing a new, limited-edition run of Jaunty Ocean Critter stickers for your amusement, bemusement, and sea-musement. Die-cut on heavy vinyl, these stickers will hold up in the water, on your laptop, or attached to your favorite piece of oceanographic equipment.  Read More

How to support Southern Fried Science

One of these magnificent chompers could be yours!

One of these magnificent chompers could be yours!

Southern Fried Science is entering its 8th year of continuous posting. During that time we’ve grown from a single author to eleven writers and have published over 2,000 articles. While we did briefly flirt with ad-support, we ultimately decided that, in order to best serve the ocean community, Southern Fried Science would be ad free and never charge for content.

Hosting this site isn’t cheap, and every year our audience and our bandwidth demands grow. Last year we switched to a Patreon funding model. If you’ve enjoyed Southern Fried Science’s content and found value in our analyses, debunkings, humor, and guidance, please consider subscribing to my Patreon page so that we can keep the servers humming along.

But, wait, there’s more. I’ve revamped the rewards system to include some awesome 3D printed ocean objects. If you missed out on the Megalodon teeth from David’s sunglass campaign, this is your chance to get one. Head on over to Patreon and check it out. 

How you can help support Southern Fried Science

Image courtesy of the Love Lab.

Image courtesy of the Love Lab.

Earlier this summer, we switched funding models from an ad hoc Paypal-based donation system to Patreon, a crowdfunding style service for authors, musicians, writers, and, thanks to us, scientists. Thanks to our wonderful Patrons, Southern Fried Science is, for the first time in history, financially sustainable.

We’re still growing. As many of you witnessed during the last Shark Week, our servers are spinning at full capacity and our bandwidth is consistently maxed out. We need to upgrade to a bigger, dedicated server. That costs money.

Southern Fried Science is, and always will be, free and ad free. With the exception of the rare Amazon affiliate links that appears if we mention specific products, we don’t post ads. There are no awkward pitches for weight loss supplements; no pop-ups encouraging enticing you to check your car insurance; no dehumanizing images of Walmart shoppers. Just pure, safe, wholesome marine science and conservation.

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Exploring new models to fund ocean science and outreach

It’s an open secret that I’ve been struggling over the last few years to keep Southern Fried Science growing while making it financially sustainable. Ocean outreach matters, because the oceans matter. Many of us believe that protecting the oceans is the most important thing we’ll ever do. Our survival depends on a healthy ocean. So we write about overfishing and shark finning, climate change and ocean acidification, mining and trawling and bycatch runoff. And, since, as St. Jacques once said, “people protect what they love”, we do what we can to make people love the ocean as much as we do.

For most of its existence, Southern Fried Science and my other outreach projects have been funded by science. Research grants, outreach fellowships, even graduate student stipends went towards keeping our servers running. But science funding is in crisis, and that model is no longer valid. In a disturbing reversal, today, income from outreach related work–selling articles, consulting for NGO’s, running workshops–is being used to fund my scientific research. Neither model is viable.

It’s time to try something new.

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