Whale Graveyard
Whale Graveyard
On a remote peninsula in Chile, over three hundred sei whales beached themselves. An expedition is setting off to recover some of the bones

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On Monday, February 6, 2017, around 1:30 a.m. CST, a sonic boom shook residents of the Midwest as a bright green fireball streaked through the night sky. The sound was that of a meteor, nearly the size of a minivan, entering our atmosphere. After its fall to Earth, radar spotted the end of its journey over Lake Michigan, approximately 10 miles off the coast of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Teen explorers from Chicago, led by scientists from the Adler Planetarium's Far Horizons program, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Field Museum, team up to take on this Underwater ROV Meteorite Hunt. Interested explorers wanted!
70posts
I'm a sketch biologist sketching my way through the "seabird capital of the world"—New Zealand. I'm living out of a car and tent, hitching boat rides to remote islands, climbing down sea cliffs, and being chased by sea lions while pursuing penguins, prions, storm-petrels, shearwaters, shags, gulls, gannets, mollymawks, and more. Meanwhile I'm joining New Zealanders in their extraordinary efforts to save seabirds, the fastest declining group of birds worldwide.
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For the next year, I will be living and fishing with the Sama-Bajau sea peoples in the Banggai Archipelago, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. These fishers are renowned for their traditionally nomadic lifestyles, living only in boats, and their incredible freediving abilities. However, the fishers I will be working with have been settled in stilt houses over the water for several generations now. How is this affecting their perception of time, which has historically, as with other nomadic groups, been present-focused? Is it now shifting to a future-oriented perspective as they become more permanently settled? How does their perception of time influence their fishing practices? These are the questions I seek to answer during my time in the field to understand why marine conservation efforts in areas with Sama-Bajau fishers have had relatively little success and why use of destructive practices, like cyanide and dynamite, are still widely-used. These fishers are both subsistence, fishing for their own consumption and dietary needs, as well as small-scale, selling to local and international markets via the aquarium fish trade (e.g. blue tang, emperor angelfish, etc.) and live food fish (e.g. grouper and coral trout). Therefore, it is critical to understand their decision-making processes, daily motivations, and how they relate to their environment on a philosophical level in order to understand how marine conservation efforts that involve the Sama-Bajau might be more fair and effective moving forward.
8posts

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What lies beneath the murky waters of the Port Royal Sound's waterways is somewhat of a mystery due to its turbid silty waters. We hope to capture what the benthic ecosystem of the sound consist of in order to educate and preserve.
1post
When a tsunami rocked the Crescent City Harbor in 2011, the aftermath included the displacement of large swaths of underwater meadows, or eelgrass beds. These underwater meadows, which are important to ocean habitats, are now rebounding.
1post
Our mission is to understand the current Galapagos research priorities and challenges. Natalia wants to learn about local mangrove conservation, and Hannah is interested in applying conservation to recreational scuba diving.
7posts
California, United States, Nov 4 to Nov 29 2018
Exploring a New White Shark Hotspot
We have discovered a new adult and subadult white shark hotspot in the Northeastern Pacific. By tagging individuals at this site we have discovered that this may be a sub-population of individuals that have not yet been studied or accounted for in previous estimates of white shark abundance.

Recent Observations

We've made it to the Galapagos! We left Guayaquil gray and rainy, and arrived in the Galapagos with excitement and sunshine! First of all, getting to the islands is quite a process. At the airport in Guayaquil we had to purchase tourist transit cards, and get our bags inspected. Once we arrived in Barco, we had to pay another tourist fee, and get our bags inspected again. Then you get on a bus. To a ferry. To another bus. At which point we finally arrived in Santa Cruz town. Our first impression was that we had landed on Mars. The whole area around the airport is barren, red and black with Dr.Seuss-like cacti poking up every so often. But as we drove towards town the island got progressively greener, and we were shocked to see how lush these desert islands can be. We were so excited, but had limited time, so we checked into our very cute airbnb, and had a quick lunch and then it was off to the Charles Darwin Foundation for our first meeting with researchers here. We met with two of the chief scientists of the Charles Darwin Foundation, Patritcia and Maria, in the beautiful National Park Reserve on Santa Cruz. They were both rushing around, and apologizing for being late, etc, while Natalia and I were just mesmerized by all of the surroundings. Maria explained that with the new year arriving, their office is very busy submitting end of the year reports, and planning for next year, so we really appreciated them taking the time to meet with us. Natalia and I each presented our research, and the women were really receptive to our ideas and the potential for future collaborations. They also gave us some good tips on other scientists we could reach out to from the Charles Darwin Foundation while we are still in the islands. After our meeting, we walked around the foundation / national park grounds, and saw our first marine iguanas! terrestrial iguanas! and giant tortoises! We also posed with lots of statues of Charles Darwin, attempted to crawl into a (model) giant tortoise shell, and even saw a marine iguana sneeze! We left the park in the later afternoon, and walked to town for the first time. The whole town is just restaurants, travel bookings, and souvenir shops, but behind all of it you see the mangroves, the iguanas, the sea lions playing in the street; there is no divide here between where the people and the animals inhabit. Despite the obvious tourist-vibe, we found the town fairly charming, and the whole thing took about 10 minutes to walk around. In the evening we stopped at a bar and had a drink and caught up on all that happened today, and all we want to accomplish tomorrow. It is 100% surreal to be here right now, and we are so grateful for the opportunity, and pinching ourselves every second.
Great News!I learned yesterday morning that our expedition has been selected for a grant through the Open Explorer S.E.E. Initiative for an OpenROV Trident ROV! This is great news! We still need some more followers (and we always welcome more!), so if you are reading this and haven't followed us, please do! If you are following us, thanks, and please share this site with your friends! Now that we know we'll be getting a very capable ROV (I am building another ROV, but it will not be as robust as the Trident), I've reached out to one local school to see how we can team up. More news on that as it develops. I'm also exploring contacts with other schools. Given the rich history and the cultural changes that have occurred in our expedition area, and the technical aspects of how we are conducting it, I think we can engage with a broad range of grades and fields of study. I'm excited to talk to the teachers I know and to engage some at other schools as well. Most of the Expedition Team will be having a planning meeting this weekend, so look for some more content after that. Hopefully some posts will be from new contributors. In the meantime, have a great holiday season and thanks for sharing my excitement! Dave
We got the Trident in the water! Test dive #1 done!On a quick trip to Punta Allen we tested the Trident out on the sea grass. All went well, easy to pilot and control. Left the plastic cover on the lense by accident so image a little blurry. Can´t wait to get back in the new year to see some groupers!

Pristine Seas

Exploring and protecting the last wild places in the ocean