oceans

DON RHODES KEYSINFONET.COM

Although scuba diving might seem like a great adventure and snorkeling a stress-free, almost Zen-like activity, both still carry certain risks. In the last month, five people died in separate diving and snorkeling incidents in the Florida Keys. All but one were over the age of 55.

The largest habitat for life on Earth is the deep ocean. It's home to everything from jellyfish to giant bluefin tuna. But the deep ocean is being invaded by tiny pieces of plastic — plastic that people thought was mostly floating at the surface, and in amounts they never imagined.

The death of a baby dolphin over the weekend off Fort Myers Beach may have been caused by plastic that filled its stomach. The news comes at the same time moves by cities to ban single-use plastics may be killed by state lawmakers.

Updated at 5:44 p.m. ET

Darrell Blatchley received a call from the Philippines' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources early Friday morning reporting that it had a young Cuvier's beaked whale that was weak and vomiting blood.

Within a few hours it was dead.

Blatchley, a marine biologist and environmentalist based in the Philippine city of Davao, gathered his team to drive two hours to where the whale had washed up.

A diver in California has stumbled on an unexpected source of plastic waste in the ocean: golf balls.

As the balls degrade, they can emit toxic chemicals. And there appear to be lots of them in certain places underwater — right next to coastal golf courses.

For a brief moment last week, just off the coast of southwestern Canada, the typically grim outlook confronting orcas took on a hopeful hue. A whale watch operator, staring through binoculars, had caught sight of a healthy calf swimming beside its mother — a rare beacon for a population that had not seen a healthy infant in years.

It was not to last, however. By the time experts with the Center for Whale Research arrived, just half an hour later, the calf had already died.

But that's not the end of this story.

Scientists think they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tweaking the food that cows eat. A recent experiment from the University of California, Davis suggests that adding seaweed to cattle feed can dramatically decrease their emissions of the potent gas methane.

Washed Ashore

Guests for Sundial for Tuesday, May 8, 2018:

 

Ryan Petty is the father of Alaina Petty, one of the victims of the Parkland shooting. He sits on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which had its first meeting last month. On Sundial, Petty discussed what happened at the meeting and the process of making high schools safer for students.

An outbreak of red tide is killing fish off the southwest Florida coast.

Miami Herald

Miami commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to oppose drilling for gas and oil off Florida's coasts.

The vote follows confirmation by the U.S. Department of the Interior that Florida is among states where drilling could be expanded, despite a statement to the contrary by Interior  Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Rajanish Kakade / AP via Miami Herald

By 2050, the world’s oceans are on track to contain more plastic than fish, by weight.

The composer John Luther Adams calls himself "deeply, deeply Alaskan." That's where the 62-year-old lived almost his entire adult life, and he still has his cabin in the woods where he's written so much of his music. But now he and his wife split their time between an apartment in New York City and a house in Mexico right next to the Pacific Ocean.

Could Your Sunscreen Be Harming Ocean Life?

Sep 10, 2014
Creative Commons / Photo: Flickr user David Trawin

  While sunscreen is essential in protecting South Florida beach goers' skin, a new study from the Spanish National Research Council shows the skin protectant might also be killing off life in the ocean.

The study focuses on an aspect of sunscreens rarely looked at for its environmental impact: the nano-particles that block ultraviolet rays from baking our skin, including titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Those chemicals can be found in sunscreens available at any corner drugstore.

Zooniverse.org

Planktonportal is a new online citizen science project to engage the public’s help in identifying planktonic creature images collected by an underwater robotic camera.

Plankton is the basis of our ocean ecosystem. No plankton, no life in the ocean. By understanding the mechanisms underlying plankton distribution both locally and globally, we can better assess the health of the ocean and better manage this precious environment. And now we can all do it together!

Miami Researcher Stars In TV Special On Great White Sharks

Apr 12, 2013
Hermanusbackpackers / Flickr Creative Commons

Miami-based shark researcher Neil Hammerschlag, whose work WLRN has covered in the past, is getting international attention with his latest study on the feeding habits of the ocean's most feared and misunderstood creature: the great white shark.