Playing in the Mud (And Planting Mangroves)

By Ben Scheelk, Program Associate
Volunteering in Costa Rica Part III

There is just something about playing with mud, which makes you feel primal. Rubbing big globs of greasy, coarse-grained earth batter in your hands, letting it ooze through your fingers as you squeeze it into an amorphous ball—just the thought of such a messy act seems verboten. Perhaps we can attribute some of that to childhood conditioning: scolding parents, always ruining new school clothes on the first day, and the nightly chore of having to scrub under dirt-encrusted fingernails until red and raw before eating dinner. Perhaps our guilty pleasure traces back to memories of bombarding siblings and the other neighborhood children with mud grenades. Maybe it was just indulging in too many mud pies. Continue reading

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Participate in research in Cuba

PastedGraphic-1PastedGraphic-1PastedGraphic-1 copyEver dreamed of seeing Cuba? Wonder what keeps those old rat rod cars running? What about all the hype about Cuba’s well-preserved coastal habitats? This year The Ocean Foundation received its people to people license from the Department of Treasury, which allows us to bring US travelers to experience the island’s culture and natural resources first hand. Since 1998, The Ocean Foundation’s Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program has worked alongside Cuban scientists to study and preserve natural resources shared by both countries. These include coral reefs, fish, sea turtles and hundreds of species of migratory birds that stop in Cuba on their annual migration from American forests and pasturelands southward. Continue reading

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“King Tides:” The wave of the future?

By Mark J. Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation

Raise your hand if you have heard the term “king tide.” Raise your hand if the term sends you rushing to the tidal charts for your part of the coast.  Raise your hand if it means you’ll change your daily commute to stay out of flooded areas because today there will be a “king tide.”  Continue reading

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West Coast, Best Coast? Not for Starfish

By Alexandra Kirby, Communications Intern, The Ocean Foundation

A mysterious disease is sweeping across the West Coast, leaving a trail of dead starfish behind.

Photo from pacificrockyntertidal.org

Photo from pacificrockyntertidal.org

Since June 2013, mounds of deceased sea stars with detached limbs can be seen along the West Coast, from Alaska to Southern California. These sea stars, also known as starfish, are dying by the millions and no one knows why. Continue reading

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Translating urgency into technology

By Mark J. Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation

On 25 September 2014 I attended a Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X-Prize event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Monterey, California.

Continue reading

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Swept up in a Turtle-nado

By Ben Scheelk, Program Associate, The Ocean Foundation
Volunteering with SEE Turtles in Costa Rica – Part II

If only there was a turtle week. Granted, sea turtles may not inspire the same potent mix of fear and wonder as their razor-toothed elasmobranch neighbors, and the thought of a waterspout sweeping up a bale of jellyfish-slurping, sea grass munching turtles may not be a compelling reason for mounting a chainsaw-defense worthy of the cheesiest B-movie, these ancient reptiles are among the most awe-inspiring creatures to inhabit the sea and certainly worthy of a week of prime-time TV. But, despite that sea turtles were around to witness the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, and they have shown an incredible ability to adapt to a changing ocean, the precipitous decline of sea turtles in the 20th century put their ongoing survival into serious question. Continue reading

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In Conservation We Trust

By: Ben Scheelk, Program Associate, The Ocean Foundation

In July 2014, Ben Scheelk of The Ocean Foundation, spent two weeks in Costa Rica volunteering on a trip coordinated by SEE Turtles, a project of The Ocean Foundation, to see firsthand some of the conservation efforts taking place throughout the country. This is the first entry in a four-part series on the experience.

Volunteering with SEE Turtles in Costa Rica: Part I Continue reading

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Ocean Acidification from Domestic to International

By Mark J. Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation
A version of this blog originally appeared on National Geographic’s Ocean Views

The other week was bookended by talking about ocean acidification. I was in Minneapolis for the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and a few days later, I was at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State. Continue reading

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A Wake-Up Call in Alaska’s Waters

This editorial is drawn from a study published July 29 in the science journal, Progress in Oceanography. It originally appeared in the Alaska Daily Dispatch.

A new study shows, for the first time, that ocean acidification is driving changes in waters vital to Alaska’s commercial fisheries and traditional subsistence way of life.    Continue reading

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Looking Back: Blue Learning and Green Living

By: Alexandra Kirby, Communications Intern, The Ocean Foundation

Photo by Alexandra Kirby

Photo by Alexandra Kirby

When I left for Shoals Marine Laboratory on June 29th, 2014, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I am from upstate New York, I am majoring in communication at Cornell University, and I can honestly say that, in my life, seeing open fields with grazing cows is more common than seeing marine life by the ocean. Nevertheless, I found myself headed to Appledore Island, the largest of the nine islands in the Isles of Shoals archipelago, six miles off the coast of the Maine, to learn about marine mammals. Continue reading

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