This weekend saw the official launch of theBlu, a globally shared art and entertainment experience. Inspired by the world’s oceans, “theBlu” is a living and breathing digital art exhibit of ocean habitats and species, created by artists and developers from all over the world. Its aims are to:Use the power of the internet to connect geographically disparate people in a meaningful way. Empower a global community of artists and developers to create an extraordinarily beautiful and high fidelity series of apps. Support non-profit collaborators in their efforts to better understand and protect the world’s oceans.
It’s not easy to get an idea of what theBlu is exactly from the description, but we’ve tried it and it’s definitely worth checking out! theBlu is available as a free download for PC and Mac.
From social gaming to social responsibility
“theBlu” turns the internet into a globally-connected 3D digital ocean wherein every species and habitat is an original work of art created by a worldwide community of artists, animators and developers, including Academy Award winners Andy Jones and Kevin Mack, and students alike.
Exploring “theBlu” is as easy as browsing the web and includes information about species, exploration of geo-located…
Many shark populations have plummeted in the past three decades as a result of excessive harvesting – for their fins, as an incidental catch of fisheries targeting other species, and in recreational fisheries. This is particularly true for oceanic species. However, until now, a lack of data prevented scientists from properly quantifying the status of Pacific reef sharks at a large geographic scale.
In a study published in the journal Conservation Biology, an international team of marine scientists provide the first estimates of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean. Using underwater surveys conducted over the past decade across 46 U.S. Pacific islands and atolls, as part of NOAA’s extensive Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (http://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/cred/) the team compared reef shark numbers at reefs spanning from heavily impacted ones to those among the world’s most pristine.
The numbers are sobering.
“We estimate that reef shark numbers have dropped substantially around populated islands, generally by more than 90 percent compared to those at the most untouched reefs”, said Marc Nadon, lead author of the study and a scientist at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) located at the University of Hawaii, as well as a PhD…
￼Time to pack our kits: 1000 shark books, prizes and shark outfits, and fly to the enchanting island of Pohnpei and meet more than 650 fifth graders in various schools around the island. Tova Harel Bornovski, president of the Micronesian Shark Foundation, Timothy Oikong AKA Shark Ranger Tim, and Ken Tarkong AKA Finny flew last week to Pohnpei to continue the shark education program sponsored by Save Our Seas Foundation. With local support from Conservation Society Pohnpei – Mary-Linda Salvador and Angel Johnathan – the group went to 12 schools in Pohnpei and conducted the shark program with fifth graders. Based on the photos, it looks to have been a great success!
Scientists conducting deep-sea research around the Galapagos have discovered a previously unknown species of catshark, which has been named Bythaelurus giddingsi. It’s roughly the size of a house cat and sports chocolate-brown coloration with pale, irregularly distributed spots on its body that appear to be unique to each individual.
John McCosker of the California Academy of Sciences collected the first specimens of this new catshark while diving to depths of 1,400 - 1,900 feet aboard the Johnson Sea-Link submersible.
“The discovery of a new shark species is always interesting, particularly at this time when sharks are facing such incredible human pressure,” said McCosker, Chair of Aquatic Biology at the Academy and lead author on the paper. “Many species have become locally rare and others verge on extinction due to their capture for shark-fin soup. The damage to food webs is dramatic, since sharks provide valuable ecological services as top-level predators—when they disappear, their niche is often filled by other species that further imbalance ecosystems.”
McCosker goes on to note that while deepwater sharks such as this one are generally not as susceptible to overfishing as other species, this species may be particularly at risk
“Most deepwater shark species are…
A new study by University of Miami scientists, just published in the journal Marine Drugs, has discovered high concentrations of BMAA in shark fins, a neurotoxin linked to neurodegenerative diseases in humans including Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig Disease (ALS). The study suggests that consumption of shark fin soup and cartilage pills may pose a significant health risk for degenerative brain diseases.
This follows a SOSF-sponsored study done by Prof. Mahmood Shivji, a marine scientist and director of the Save Our Seas Shark Centre at Nova Southeastern University, Florida. This study revealed that 86%-100% of all tested fins contained heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, and lead. More importantly:
Over 45% of the fins exceeded maximum permitted safety standards for total mercury, lead or total arsenic as promulgated by the Hong Kong government, despite these safety standards being amongst the most liberal (i.e., least conservative among national standards that we have been able to obtain) for lead and total arsenic.
The new University of Miami study adds to this growing body of literature on the health risks of shark fin consumption by humans.
The new study found levels of between 144…
Last week, the head of the World Bank Robert B. Zoellick announced the establishment of a Global Partnership for Oceans to confront widely documented problems of over-fishing, marine degradation, and habitat loss. Speaking at the Economist World Oceans Summit in Singapore, Zoellick described the initiative:
This Partnership will bring together countries, scientific centers, NGOs, international organizations, foundations, and the private sector to pool knowledge, experience, expertise, and investment around a set of agreed upon goals. These goals can sharpen our focus, encourage common and reinforcing efforts, and compel us to measure performance. Together, we will build on the excellent work already being done to address the threats to oceans, identify workable solutions, and scale them. We can also mobilize financing where there are gaps.
There are an estimated 350 million jobs worldwide that are linked in one way or another to the oceans, so it’s not surprising that the World Bank has taken an interest, bringing together major NGOs, regulatory bodies, and private funding to tackle these issues. But what about the specifics? The Partnership has identified four major goals for the next 10 years:Rebuilding at least half the world’s fish stocks identified as depleted:…
Semporna, Malaysia is home to many species of shark, from the extremely rare and elusive Borneo and hammerhead shark to the largest fish in the sea, the graceful whale shark.
A local group of conservationists and divers are petitioning the local state government to set up a Semporna Shark Sanctuary, which would cover some 83 islands, including the world renowned diving haven of Sipadan and its neighbouring Mabul island. Mabul-based divemaster and campaigner Oliver Ostick tells us that:
If we get 10,000 signatures then we can go to the government and have a great chance of succeeding.