Saturday, February 27, 2010

Twitter coverage of the Hawaii tsunami

The very large 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile today has prompted tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific Ocean.  An interesting way to follow the effect of tsunamis on Hawaii has been on twitter.

You can also find news updates on the The Lede blog.  This site has links to live footage of the tsunami's effects.

Interestingly, some of the best reporting of the Hawaii tsunami was from a science blogger using Twitter.  You can read her thoughts about the event here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin tuna plays a crucial role in the marine ecosystem as well as in the consumer market(which has grown to become a $7.2 billion industry). Upon reading a New York Times article reporting the decline of bluefin tuna populations, I was interested in the fate of this threatened species. I have obtained journal articles (listed below) which focus on current methods of tracking this species, as well as studying the behavior of bluefin tuna and its ecology. A better understanding of the bluefin tuna will help save this species and ultimately benefit marine ecosystems and preserve its role in the world economy.

-Measurement of the size, shape and structure of Atlantic bluefin tuna schools in the open ocean, Nathaniel K. Newlands (Fisheries Research Volume 91, Issue 1)

-Habitat mapping of the Atlantic bluefin tuna derived from satellite data: Its potential as a tool for the sustainable management of pelagic fisheries, Jean-Noël Druon (Marine Policy Volume 34, Issue 2)

-Spike dives of juvenile southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii): a navigational role?, Willis, Jay(Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Volume: 64 Issue: 1 )

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kelp Forests

Macrocystis pyrifera is a species of kelp found off the shores of Western America in the Pacific Ocean. These kelps are some of the largest kelps on the Earth. These giant kelp may grow up to 60 meters in height (200 ft). My research will focus on :

How the kelp grow so tall.

What kind of life is supported by the kelp forests.

What impact the forests have on the environment.


I would like to do my presentation on the diatom Pseudonitzschia. This species produces the neurotoxin domoic acid. If this toxin makes its way into mammals or birds it can cause short term memory loss, brain damage, and possibly death.

Presentation Topic

I would like to do my presentation on whales and how they communicate with one another as well as with other marine animals. Whales use different strategies for communication and each sound or action has a different meaning which can be distinquished by other animals. I find this to be of great interest and would like to learn more about it as well as provide some information to the class in my presentation.

How whales can distinguish sounds in the water

How they can hear

Do the sounds change throughout time?

These are a few questions that I am beginning to research.

Presentation Topic

I would like to do my presentation on the dinoflagellate Pfiesteria. I would be exploring the harmful effects it has on marine ecosystems. It has been called a "fish killer" and also can affect human health. Some references I may use are:

Harmful Algal Blooms

Neural Behavior in Rats

Pfisteria Toxin and Learning Performance

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Presentation Topic

I would like to present on the symbiotic relationship between bioluminescent vibrio fischeri and the squid Euprymna Scolopes. The bacteria colonizes the light organ of the juvenile squid and feeds on nutrients supplied by the host while providing the squid with valuable bioluminescence for nocturnal activities.
-->Research on LitR, a transcriptional activator important to regulating luminescence as well as colonization of the light organ.
-->What is the role of Vibrio fischeri in the development and colonization of the light organ?
-->What are the effects of temperature and salinity on Vibrio fischeri?

Presentation Topic

The topic that I would like to present on is Sea Urchins and their relevance to many medical mysteries such as cancer, and a few others. I have found a couple sources so far that have given valuable information on this subject.

Arguments for sequencing the genome of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus Durpuratus

Sea Urchins Reveal Medical Mysteries

I find this topic very interesting because my goal for the future is to go to medical school and become a doctor.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Presentation Topic

I would like to present on global warming and the effects of El Nino's on Coral Reefs. Specifically, i would be looking at coral reef bleaching and most likely some ecological impact that bleaching has.

Here are three sources that i have found so far.

Climate change and coral reef bleaching: An ecological assessment
of long-term impacts, recovery trends and future outlook

The coral reef crisis: The critical importance...

Poorly cemented coral reefs of the eastern tropical
Pacific: Possible insights into reef development
in a high-CO2 world

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sea urchins enter the genetic spotlight

Sea urchins are really quite awesome.

The California purple urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)

Not only do they look really cool, but they are our closest invertebrate relatives on the ol’ evolutionary tree, genetically speaking. Good thing too, now that the entire genome has been coded for humans and sea urchins. This revealed that sea urchins are actually more closely related to us genetically than fruit flies.

Professors Gary Wessel and Sorin Istrail at Brown University plan to use this information in research on Huntington’s disease and muscular dystrophy.

They found a few surprises along the way, too. Apparently, sea urchins have a very sophisticated innate immune system. They also have genes associated with taste and smell, hearing and balance. They even have a robust gene set for visual perception…on their feet!
I’ve been looking at these organisms for 31 years – and now I know they were looking back at me.” says Gary Wessel.

These echinoderms live on rocks and shells in the saltwater of low-tide to deeper water (up to 750 feet) areas. They mostly eat green algae, and move around on their small tube feet.

See also: Braccini, S. 2001. "Arbacia punctulata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 20, 2010 at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jaws can't be held captive

We have all seen the movie Jaws where an enormous great white shark attacks a beach and causes mass panic. In order to better understand these deadly predators, Monterey Bay aquarium held a great white shark for a record of six months. The shark after being released after its 198 day stay was tagged with a sensor that measures depth, dives, and preferred water temperature. The shark weighed in at 154 pounds and was released because she was killing the other animals in her tank. Another article using a similar tag followed a great white shark from the coast of California to the coast of Hawaii. The shark stayed in the warmer Hawaiian waters for nearly four months. During its oceanic voyage to Hawaii, the great white shark was observed to have made several very deep dives which is not very well understood by scientists. with more time, great white sharks will be better understood and hopefully less threatening to humans.

Presentation topic

I would like to claim Red Tide as my presentation topic. I guess I would talk about patterns in the blooms or the effects it has on the surrounding ecosystem.

Some sources:
Is inorganic nutrient enrichment a driving force for the formation of red tides?

Ability of marine eukaryotic red tide microalgae to utilize insoluble iron

Toxicity of clay flocculation of the toxic dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis, to estuarine invertebrates and fish

Cold Erases Color

Coral colonies off the coast of the Florida keys were hit with so much cold recently, they turned white. It turns out, this idea is called "coral bleaching" and it occurs because of a major fluctuation in temperature. Between January 2nd and January 13th, the water temperatures around the keys were astonishingly lower than average. Normal winter averages for this area are somewhere between 18 and 23 degrees celsius. During this time, the temperature reached a low of 11 degrees celsius.
So where did the color go? Well, the beautiful coloration of coral comes from the algal organisms living on coral, creating a mosaic of colors depending on the algae species. So, when the temperature gets too cold, the algae die, leaving the coral a "bleach white" color. Not only did the cold snap affect the coral, many sea turtles and manatees reportedly died, along with an abundance of fish.
The recovery of a traumatic event such as this varies. Sometimes, the coral will make a complete, or almost complete recovery; however divers in this area are reportedly seeing many dead patches in the colonies.

The entire article can be found here

The African penguin gets some help finding its food.

The African penguin, Spheniscus demersus, has been endangered since 2001. The penguin is endemic to South Africa, and its diet consists solely of fish. Which is why Africa's only penguin is being threatened, the fish populations it normally feeds on are being either fished up or the fish populations have simply moved due to many different reasons.

The African Government in association with researchers closed fishing around the largest of the African penguin's colonies in 2009. An area next to this "no fish zone" remained open to fishermen so that researchers could compare the effects on the penguins' feeding behaviors. Similar to the murre study discussed in class, the goal was to determine the amount of energy spent searching for food. With GPS trackers and some sophisticated equipment the researchers were able to determine that when the penguins had a 20 km (radius) of open non-fished waters they expended 40% less energy and time devoted to foraging was decreased by 30%.

The Study showed that there is an extremely significant immediate benefit to establishing marine life protected zones in areas where the endangered species hunt. The long term benefit may be the reclaiming of marine ecosystems that had been over fished. The penguins most don't know exist are, in fact, being saved.

To read the original article click here

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scientists Are Still Finding Nemo

In 2003, the movie Finding Nemo was released to great success around the world. This film which grossed a total of $850 million and won an Academy Award for best animated film, centralizes around the adventures of a clownfish. Although these fish are popular in marine aquariums and commonly seen peaking through an anemone, the biological and ecological aspects of these fish are surprisingly complex. An article published by James Prosek in National Geographic titled Beautiful Friendship ( explores the life of these creatures made famous by the film industry.

Scientists have discovered twenty-nine different species of clownfish, and still have the potential to identify more. The most common species, Amphiprion percula, has the bright orange coloration with white stripes, as depicted in Finding Nemo. However, clownfish may come in an array of colors ranging from the classic orange, to yellow, red and purplish-brown. The normally white stripes may be black in some species. Although there is a wide variety of clownfish, all species are restricted to reef environments, ranging from East Africa to French Polynesia and Japan to Australia.

The life history of clownfish (also referred to as anemonefish by scientists) revolves around the ability to successfully locate an anemone. Clownfish eggs are laid by adults and receive parental protection until they hatch. For up to a few weeks the larvae will drift in ocean currents, when the larvae finally come to reach the bottom of the reef, each individual has only a few days to find an anemone, or else it will die. One anemone may house multiple individuals however, when more than one clownfish lives together a hierarchy is developed, headed by a dominant male and female. Clownfish are unique in which the female is the largest individual in each group. Following her death, the dominant male takes her role and becomes a female. This is especially unique in fish to have a male change into a female. Rather, it is more common to have a female change into a male.

Although wildly popular, the fame of the clownfish has come with a price. Overfishing of this species is a growing concern along with new more dangerous methods involving cyanide. This human behavior is destroying the natural habitat of clownfish. Luckily, more individuals are becoming informed of these practices and there is an increase of raising reef fish in captivity.

What's a ctenophore?

Last week we examined cnidarians in lab.  Another animal phylum traditionally thought to be closely related to corals, anemones and sea jellies are the comb jellies, or ctenophores.  What is a ctenophore?  Check out the video from the CreatureCast:

CreatureCast - Comb Jellies from Casey Dunn on Vimeo.

While many textbooks state that combjellies and sea jellies are sister taxa (each other's closest relative), current work suggests that they are more distantly related.

You might also enjoy some additional information on barnacle sex from the same site.

Warmer waters accelerating glacial melting in Greenland

Oceanographers are finding subtropical waters near Greenland that is likely accelerating glacial melting. This is the first time scientists have detected water this warm near Greenland. Greenlands ice sheets are about two miles deep and are about the size of Mexico. Accelerated melting of ice sheets this size have and will continue to greatly contribute to rising water levels. Scientists expect that the greatest contribution to Greenland's glacial melting is the change of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, which cause warmer waters to be driven towards higher latitudes. This hypothesis has not yet been confirmed. Experiments have found waters as warm as 4 degrees Celsius near Greenland, and while waters are warmest from July to December, the water is warmer than usual year round. More experiments are required to understand the mechanism behind the warming of colder water and better predict the rise in sea level for the future.

Sea Stars Develop a New Strategy

New research has been conducted on sea stars that has proven that they have a back up strategy that helps them stay cool when the tides recede leaving them on the rocky shorelines absorbing massive amounts of sunlight. This strategy is one that scientists were unfamiliar with, but many scientists knew that sea stars had a way of protecting themselves from the heat. Sylvain Pincebourde, the author of this study, and his team conducted an experiment to test their hypothesis that the sea star strategy has something to do with fluid-filled cavities that are found on a sea stars arms. The experiment required the sea stars to be placed in aquariums in varied water levels to have different tidal patterns. Some sea stars experienced hotter temperatures than others with the use of a heat lamp. The results showed that sea stars that experienced hotter temperatures a lower tides had a higher body mass after the high tide occurred. Pincebourde and his team concluded that hot low tides seem to be a cue for sea stars to soak up more water during the next high tide so when the next low tide occurs they will have enough water consumed in their bodies to keep themselves cool. The amount of water sea stars can hold is a remarkable amount, but the only issue Pincebourde and his team are concerned about is the fact that climate change may negatively influence this cooling strategy because sea water has to remain cooler than air for the strategy to be successful.

The source I used for this post is below and reading the full article will give more information on this new strategy.
Photo is from NOAA/National Marine Sanctuary Web Site- Ochre sea star

Is Commercial Fishing Endangering Dolphins?

Local fish populations have been decreasing over the last 60 years. Scientists wanted to analyze the top predator relationship between Bottlenose Dolphins and the Trawlers.

Commercial fishing in the Mediterranean appears to be having a detrimental effect on dolphins; however, the problem is not caused by the fishermen catching the food sources the dolphins eat. Recent studies have been analyzing the gut content of dolphins accidentally caught in the nets and ones that have washed upon the shore to confirm their diets. Fisherman were relieved to find commercial fishing in the Mediterranean does not affect the nutrition of the dolphins.

It has been found that dolphins are swarming around the fisherman boats to eat the smaller schools of fish that cannot be caught in the net. This behavior is causing a decline in the dolphin population, because they accidentally get caught in the nets. On average 8 dolphins die off the coast of Israel each year, about half are accidentally caught in the nets.

The behavioral change in the female dolphins and their young catching food by commercial fishing boats have led scientist to believe they are getting an insufficient amount of nutrients and are having problems finding adequate food sources. The dolphin population have found a relatively stable environment off the coast of Israel, and fishing regulations are being imposed to keep the dolphin population stable.

Is Commercial Fishing Endangering Dolphins?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Massive Jellyfish Swarms

Many Fisheries and tourist destinations are becoming cluttered with these Cnidarians. Areas that have been hit hard by these swarms include Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the east coast of the U.S., the Bering Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Australia, the Black Sea, the Sea of Japan, the North Sea, and Namibia.
Some of these swarms cover hundreds of square miles. Many water enthusiasts have been injured and a few have died. These swarms have also wreaked havoc on fisheries, fish farms, marine mines, desalination plants, ships, and nuclear power plants. It is estimated that jellyfish swarms have cost fishing and tourism industries hundreds of millions of dollars since the 1980s.
Some swarms consists of jellyfish the size of refrigerators such as the ones found in the Sea of Japan and other swarms off the coasts of Australia consists of jellyfish the size of peanuts. The cause of these swarms is unknown but it is hypothesized that they are human caused. Pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native organisms, overfishing, and the presence of artificial structures, such as oil and gas rigs have all been put to blame. Whether or not it was one of these or a combination has yet to be determined.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fireworms up close

I mentioned that one of our Biology alums - Neeley Meyers - had a far too close run-in with a very large fire worm in our marine tank last year.  You can read all about it on Neeley's blog Haggis.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photosynthetic animals?

Sure, there are protists that can eat when sunlight is low, and turn on the solar panels on a nice sunny day.  But those single-celled protists are so "simple".  Surely no animal can pull off this metabolic feat?  Leave it to marine slugs (gastropod mollusks) to eat algae and use their chloroplasts as photosynthetic engines.  But even cooler, these sea slugs are able to make their own chlorophyl because algal genes have moved horizontally into their genome.

This is the first evidence that chlorophyl encoding genes can be transferred from a protist into a eukaryotic genome.  This type of horizontal gene transfer is common among bacteria, but rare in animals.  You can hear an interview with the lead author of the paper on the best science show on radio.

Friday, February 5, 2010

El Nino wrecks havoc on U.S. weather

Apparently the current El Nino in the Pacific Ocean is the strongest since 1997-1998 (the years I mentioned that you could see snow-capped mountains ringing the Los Angeles basin all winter. And its effects have already led to one major blizzard on the East Coast of the U.S., and another will be hitting this weekend. Christopher Joyce of National Public Radio gave a great explanation yesterday of El Ninos and their effects on the weather. This would be great review for your exam on Monday.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Overfishing of the Bluefin Tuna

Although commercial fishing does have its benefits, mostly economical, it has gotten out of control in some areas. One example of this was in the New York Times recently. Apparently the bluefin Tuna is in danger. According to European officials, the bluefin tuna is in fast decline. Some experts were quoted as saying it is "on the verge of extinction."

So, why is this specific tuna becoming increasingly endangered? The fatty belly of the bluefin tuna is sought after as a major ingredient in sushi. Not surprisingly, 80% of the bluefin tuna caught is exported to Japan. The bluefin Tuna is found in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.
France has just now jumped on the bandwagon of the European Union's crusade to list the species under "Appendix 1" of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. What does this mean? Appendix 1 would put them on the same list as Pandas and Whales. May see this as the only option to save the tunas from extinction. Although the motion to have the bluefin placed on the list was approved, of course there were conditions per the French agriculture and fisheries minister. The biggest of all being that they would have to have an 18-month delay before implementation. The minister stated that this was to gather additional scientific data. Of course, those opposed to the 18-month delay believe there is more than enough scientific data to support their solution.

Interestingly, the US fishing industry is against the listing on appendix 1. Rich Ruais, the executive director of American Bluefin Tuna Association, believes that if the international fishing ban is placed, a huge black market will be created for the bluefin tuna, "In fact, we believe a listing has the possibility of doing more damage than good." Of course, its not surprising that he is opposing the proposition since his job depends on it.

Fear the Sea Otter

Sea otters have survived near extinction and helped maintain the integrity of the giant kelp forests off the the Western Coast of the United States, particularly California. Sea otters are considered a keystone species because they help keep the ecosystem they live in balanced. These cute creatures are very smart and use tools to help eat their prey. Most sea otters eat crustaceans and mollusks such as the sea urchin. Sea otters love to eat sea urchins, which in turn, who otherwise would eat and destroy the kelp forests. In order to consume the sea urchins, otters have been observed to use rocks and other tools to crack open the urchins. The sea otter is a very adorable species and plays a major role in protecting the giant kelp forests.

Water Movements Can Shape Fish Evolution

Studies done at the University of Minnisota's Institute of Technology discovered that the hydrodynamic environment of fish can shape the evolution of their physical form and their swimming style. Two sets of robotic fish were made. The first set was shaped like a mackerel but one swam like a mackerel and the other swam like an eel. The other set was built like an eel but one beat its tail like a mackerel and the other the other swam like an eel. They then placed the fish at standing starts and raced them and recorded the results.
The results indicated that the shape and swimming style of fish were based off of the speeds at which they swam, further giving hints to the evolutionary histories of particular species.

Dynamic Skeletal Structure of Coral

Coral reefs have received increased attention due to the fear global warming will decimate this fragile ecosystem. Currently, the skeletal shape of coral, such as branching, is used to distinguish one species from another. In 2009, an article published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, proved this method to be inaccurate. Instead, the skeletal shape of reef building coral may change due to divergent evolution or reproductive isolation. Being able to distinguish between two species is crucial for scientists. Marine biologists strive to learn which species may coexist and possibility interbreed, as they may apply this knowledge to rebuilding coral reefs. In response to this dilemma, researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology carried out molecular studies to further understand biodiversity as well as the evolution of coral. With the reef building coral genus Porites, receiving the most attention. By using genetic markers, it was determined some corals which appeared to be phenotypically different were nearly genetically identical. Team leader Zac Forsman, hopes this novel research will recognize the loss of coral life and conserve its biodiversity.

Iron rich soil in Australia plays a part in the growth of destructive Algal blooms

Australians are well aware of how algal blooms negatively effect their economy. Many scientists are studying how Australia's iron rich soil contributes to the growth of this foul smelling, fish killing algae. It is known that iron is a factor in the growth of these algal blooms, but the mechanism is not entirely understood. Scientists are approaching this question with a team of microbiologists, geochemists, and hydrologists using each of their fields to understand the growth of the destructive algae. Microbiologists are studying two types of bacteria in the water that feed on iron. One type of bacteria changes the iron into a dissolved state and the other oxidizes the iron into an insoluble form that can settle on the bottom of a creek. The oxidizing bacteria seems to make the iron less available as a contributor to the algal blooms. The two bacteria usually balance each other, but sometimes this balance is upset. This is still under investigation. Geologists are studying the iron content in the soil in search for possible mechanisms that contribute to algal growth. Hydrologists are studying the water flow to figure out how the iron gets from the soil into the water and the chemical reactions that take place when the soil hits the water. The efforts to understand the mechanism behind algal growth and how iron rich soil contributes to it may help improve Australia's economy as well as aquatic life.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shark repellent

If you're a shark freak like me, you have already seen the movie Jaws. You have probably also heard that the best way to fend off a shark is to "punch it on the nose". But if you think like me, you also believe that by the time the shark is close enough to punch, you're probably already dead. That got me to thinking, "But what if there is a way to keep sharks away from you altogether?"

I knew that sharks can "zero in" on their prey by sensing electrical currents. I figured that meant that maybe, if you can mess with that process, you can drive them away instead of allowing them to get closer. I started my search with these things in mind.

Well, it turns out there is a way...but it isn't quite what I had in mind.

Eric Stroud and Robert Brill, a scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has come up with a disk that emits electric volts, repelling sharks. But, Brill says, "This alloy is not meant to protect humans from sharks, this is meant to protect sharks from humans." More specifically, it is designed to be attached to fishing gear to repel sharks, leaving only game fish such as tuna and swordfish on the lines. (Statistics show that 4.3 people die of unprovoked shark attacks on average each year, while humans kills an estimated 73 million sharks each year.)

The half-dollar-sized metal alloy reacts with saltwater to let off a 60 cm radius of 1.2 to 1.5 volts of electricity for up to 72 hours. So far, it has been shown to reduce shark by-catch by 64%.

The disk is very effective because the ampullae of Lorenzini on a shark's nose are extremely sensitive. "The shark was expecting the electrical impulse from a heart beat," Stroud says, "and we are giving it eight or nine times what it was expecting. It's like shining a flashlight into their eyes."

However, Bill also notes that the device does have drawbacks.
  • It works best on solitary and slow-moving species such as the sand bar shark. It won't be much use against a high-speed, visual predator like a great white shark.
  • Effectiveness also decreases as the number of sharks around that area goes up.

But just because it wasn't designed for personal use doesn't stop a few people.
"We don't advocate personal use," said Stroud, "but people do buy them online and modify them for personal use."

Well, that's what I would use it for.

For the original article, click here.

Blue Crabs and the Possible Reasons Populations are Declining

The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, population is declining because of different pathogens such as viruses and bacteria which are limiting their metabolic processes.

Tests have been formulated to be run using NMR spectroscopy to test the effects of different bacteria and chemicals on the ability of crabs to take up oxygen. These bacteria and specific chemicals were injected into the crabs in order to determine what the effect(s) would be.

Based on these experiments, it was determined that these bacteria and chemicals have an effect on the oxygen uptake of the blue crabs. The NMR tests are useful because some of these pathogens have subtle effects and are not easily detected by normal anylsis procedures. The NMR spectroscopy helps to be able to more easily detect these metabolic effects.

Photo courtesy of the Science Daily website.

The website that I used to obtain this information is listed below as well as the site for the full report that it was adapted from.

Old Theory rejected by Modern Science

It was hypothesized that life in the ocean originated from "primordial soup", which was a mixture of organic compounds which fermented and the cells germinated. The fermentation process provided the ATP energy needed for growth. This theory has been accepted for many years, but scientists are now taking a second look.

Current research has proven that this hypothesis is not possible at all. The current thinking is cells harnessed geothermal energy from gasses leaking from the earth's crust. The geothermal energy provided an energy gradient for harnessing ATP.

Because of energy constraints on the earliest forms of life the energy must have been harvested through chemiosmosis, because sufficient ATP cannot be made during fermentation.

New Research Rejects 80-Year Theory of 'Primordial Soup' as the Origin of Life

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The meaning of Biodiversity

Tom Zeller Jr. published an article in the New York Times in the Global Business section on January 31, 2010, where he discussed the current topic of biodiversity and the failed efforts in protecting biodiversity. The year 2010 is the Internaitonal Year of Biodiversity whcih many people do not know this, as well as myself. Most people do not even understand what the word means or have not ever heard the word before. There is a lot of evidence that shows how society is losing it's connection with the natural world by not being able to recognize different organisms all around their enviromnment such as beetles and certain trees. According to Ahmed Djoghalf who is the executive secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity, understanding biodiversity can have positive affects on our world such as "medical discoveries, economic development, and adjusting to new challenges as climate change." Djoghlaf and his team are trying to find achieveable goals for the nation in fixing the "significant reduction" in biodiversity loss. In the end, a continueds loss of biodiversity will lead to major consequences for our planet and how it works, but only us as humans can make a change in fixing this problem.

Reading the full article will show how Ahmed Djoghlaf and his team are planning to achieve their current goals for the nation on saving biodiversity and show efforts that other environmentalists are taking to fix the biodiversity problem.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gaint Squids off the coast of Orange County, California

Starting on Friday, January 29th the elusive Humboldt squid invaded the waters off the coast of Newport Beach.

Dosidicus gigas or the Jumbo squid is a very aggressive squid that hunt in packs of up to 1,200 according to the national zoo's website. Around 400 of the squid have been caught by fishermen.

Also according to the Smithsonian's web page on the species it is speculated that over fishing of the squid's predators has lead to its ability to increase the area in which they live and hunt.

The squids currently in the waters of Orange County range from 40 to 60 lbs, but some have been weighed in at 90lbs. The species can grow up to 6ft, and weight up to around 100lbs.

The only impact so far of the appearance of the squids has been to increase tourism in the area, and sport fishing.

The cause of the sudden appearance is unknown.

Photo from the Associated press