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Oceans Deadliest Marine Biology Assignment

Ocean Resources

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The ocean is one of Earth's most valuable natural resources. It provides food in the form of fish and shellfish—about 200 billion pounds are caught each year. It's used for transportation—both travel and shipping. It provides a treasured source of recreation for humans. It is mined for minerals (salt, sand, gravel, and some manganese, copper, nickel, iron, and cobalt can be found in the deep sea) and drilled for crude oil.


Oil Rig off Santa Barbara. © Wolcott Henry 2001

The ocean plays a critical role in removing carbon from the atmosphere and providing oxygen. It regulates Earth's climate. The ocean is an increasingly important source of biomedical organisms with enormous potential for fighting disease. These are just a few examples of the importance of the ocean to life on land. Explore them in greater detail to understand why we must keep the ocean healthy for future generations.

Fishing Facts

The oceans have been fished for thousands of years and are an integral part of human society. Fish have been important to the world economy for all of these years, starting with the Viking trade of cod and then continuing with fisheries like those found in Lofoten, Europe, Italy, Portugal, Spain and India. Fisheries of today provide about 16% of the total world's protein with higher percentages occurring in developing nations. Fisheries are still enormously important to the economy and wellbeing of communities.


Fish Market in the Philippines. © Wolcott Henry 2001

The word fisheries refers to all of the fishing activities in the ocean, whether they are to obtain fish for the commercial fishing industry, for recreation or to obtain ornamental fish or fish oil. Fishing activities resulting in fish not used for consumption are called industrial fisheries. Fisheries are usually designated to certain ecoregions like the salmon fishery in Alaska, the Eastern Pacific tuna fishery or the Lofoten island cod fishery. Due to the relative abundance of fish on the continental shelf, fisheries are usually marine and not freshwater.

Although a world total of 86 million tons of fish were captured in 2000, China's fisheries were the most productive, capturing a whopping one third of the total. Other countries producing the most fish were Peru, Japan, the United States, Chile, Indonesia, Russia, India, Thailand, Norway and Iceland- with Peru being the most and Iceland being the least. The number of fish caught varies with the years, but appears to have leveled off at around 88 million tons per year possibly due to overfishing, economics and management practices.

Fish are caught in a variety of ways, including one-man casting nets, huge trawlers, seining, driftnetting, handlining, longlining, gillnetting and diving. The most common species making up the global fisheries are herring, cod, anchovy, flounder, tuna, shrimp, mullet, squid, crab, salmon, lobster, scallops and oyster. Mollusks and crustaceans are also widely sought. The fish that are caught are not always used for food. In fact, about 40% of fish are used for other purposes such as fishmeal to feed fish grown in captivity. For example cod, is used for consumption, but is also frozen for later use. Atlantic herring is used for canning, fishmeal and fish oil. The Atlantic menhaden is used for fishmeal and fish oil and Alaska pollock is consumed, but also used for fish paste to simulate crab. The Pacific cod has recently been used as a substitute for Atlantic cod which has been overfished.

The amount of fish available in the oceans is an ever-changing number due to the effects of both natural causes and human developments. It will be necessary to manage ocean fisheries in the coming years to make sure the number of fish caught never makes it to zero. A lack of fish greatly impacts the economy of communities dependent on the resource, as can be seen in Japan, eastern Canada, New England, Indonesia and Alaska. The anchovy fisheries off the coast of western South America have already collapsed and with numbers dropping violently from 20 million tons to 4 million tons—they may never fully recover. Other collapses include the California sardine industry, the Alaskan king crab industry and the Canadian northern cod industry. In Massachusetts alone, the cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder industries collapsed, causing an economic disaster for the area.

Due to the importance of fishing to the worldwide economy and the need for humans to understand human impacts on the environment, the academic division of fisheries science was developed. Fisheries science includes all aspects of marine biology, in addition to economics and management skills and information. Marine conservation issues like overfishing, sustainable fisheries and management of fisheries are also examined through fisheries science.

In order for there to be plenty of fish in the years ahead, fisheries will have to develop sustainable fisheries and some will have to close. Due to the constant increase in the human population, the oceans have been overfished with a resulting decline of fish crucial to the economy and communities of the world. The control of the world's fisheries is a controversial subject, as they cannot produce enough to satisfy the demand, especially when there aren't enough fish left to breed in healthy ecosystems. Scientists are often in the role of fisheries managers and must regulate the amount of fishing in the oceans, a position not popular with those who have to make a living fishing ever decreasing populations.

The two main questions facing fisheries management are:

  1. What is the carrying capacity of the ocean? How many fish are there and how many of which type of fish should be caught to make fisheries sustainable?
  2. How should fisheries resources be divided among people?

Fish populate the ocean in patches instead of being spread out throughout the enormous expanse. The photic zone is only 10-30 m deep near the coastline, a place where phytoplankton have enough solar energy to grow in abundance and fish have enough to eat. Most commercial fishing takes place in these coastal waters, as well as estuaries and the slope of the Continental Shelf. High nutrient contents from upwelling, runoff, the regeneration of nutrients and other ecological processes supply fish in these areas with the necessary requirements for life. The blue color of the water near the coastlines is the result of chlorophyll contained in aquatic plant life.

Most fish are only found in very specific habitats. Shrimp are fished in river deltas that bring large amounts of freshwater into the ocean. The areas of highest productivity known as banks are actually where the Continental Shelf extends outward towards the ocean. These include the Georges Bank near Cape Cod, the Grand Banks near Newfoundland and Browns Bank. Areas where the ocean is very shallow also contain many fish and include the middle and southern regions of the North Sea. Coastal upwelling areas can be found off of southwest Africa and off South America's western coast. In the open ocean, tuna and other mobile species like yellowfin can be found in large amounts.

The question of how many fish there are in the ocean is a complicated one but can be simplified using populations of fish instead of individuals. The word “cohort” refers to the year the fish was born and is used to gather population statistics. Cohorts start off as eggs with an extremely high rate of mortality, which declines as the fish gets older. Juvenile fish close to the age where they can be fished are called "recruits". Cohort mortality is tied in with the species of fish due to variances in natural mortality. The biomass of a particular cohort is greatest when fish are rapidly growing and decreases as the fish get older and start to die.

Scientists use theories and models to help determine the number and size of fish populations in the ocean. Production theory is the theory that production will be highest when the number of fish does not overwhelm the environment and there are not too few for genetic diversity of populations. The maximum sustainable yield is produced when the population is of intermediate size. Yield-per-recruit theory is the quest to determine the optimum age for harvesting fish. The theory of recruitment and stock allows scientists to make a guess about the optimum population size to encourage a larger population of recruits. All of the above theories must be flexible enough to allow natural fluctuations in the fish population to occur and still gather significant data; however, the theories are limited when taking into account the effect of humans on the environment and misinformation could result in overfishing of the ocean's resources.

Other factors that must be taken into account are the ecological requirements of individual fish species like predation and nutrition and why fish will often migrate to different areas. Water temperatures also influence the behavior of ecosystems, causing an increase in metabolism and predation or a sort of hibernation. Even the amount of turbulence in the water can affect predator-prey relationships, with more meetings between the two when waters are stirred up. Global warming could have a huge economic impact on the fisheries when fish stocks are forced to move to waters with more tolerable temperatures.

In many countries, commercial fishing has found more temporarily economical ways of catching fish, including gill nets, purse seines, and drift nets. Although fish are trapped efficiently in one day using these fishing practices, the number of fish that are wasted this way has reached 27 million tons per year, not to mention the crucial habitats destroyed that are essential for the regeneration of fish stocks. In addition, marine mammals and birds are also caught in these nets. The wasted fish and marine life is referred to as bycatch, an unfortunate side-effect of unsustainable fishing practices that can turn the ecosystem upside-down and leave huge amounts of dead matter in the water. Other human activities like trawling and dredging of the ocean floor have bulldozed over entire underwater habitats. The oyster habitat has been completely destroyed in many areas from the use of the oyster patent tong and sediment buildup draining from farm runoff.

Shipping

The word “shipping” refers to the activity of moving cargo with ships in between seaports. Wind-powered ships exist, but more often ships are powered by steam turbine plants or diesel engines. Naval ships are usually responsible for transporting most of trade from one country to another and are called merchant navies. The various types of ships include container ships, tankers, crude oil ships, product ships, chemical ships, bulk carriers, cable layers, general cargo ships, offshore supply vessels, dynamically-positioned ships, ferries, gas and car carriers, tugboats, barges and dredgers.

In theory, shipping can have a low impact on the environment. It is safe and profitable for economies around the world. However, serious problems occur with the shipping of oil, dumping of waste water into the ocean, chemical accidents at sea, and the inevitable air and water pollution occuring when modern day engines are used. Ships release air pollutants in the form of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Chemicals dumped in the ocean from ships include chemicals from the ship itself, cleaning chemicals for machine parts, and cleaning supplies for living quarters. Large amounts of chemicals are often spilled into the ocean and sewage is not always treated properly or treated at all. Alien species riding in the ballast water of ships arrive in great numbers to crash native ecosystems and garbage is dumped over the side of many vessels. Dangerous industrial waste and harmful substances like halogenated hydrocarbons, water treatment chemicals, and antifouling paints are also dumped frequently. Ships and other watercraft with engines disturb the natural environment with loud noises, large waves, frequently striking and killing animals like manatees and dolphins.

Tourism

Tourism is the fastest growing division of the world economy and is responsible for more than 200 million jobs all over the world. In the US alone, tourism resulted in an economic gain of 478 billion dollars. With 700 million people traveling to another country in the year 2000, tourism is in the top five economic contributors to 83% of all countries and the most important economy for 38% of countries. The tourism industry is based on natural resources present in each country and usually negatively affect ecosystems because it is often left unmanaged. However, sustainable tourism can actually promote conservation of the environment.


Dive boat with recreational divers, Key Largo, Florida. © Wolcott Henry 2001

The negative effects of tourism originate from the development of coastal habitats and the annihilation of entire ecosystems like mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands and estuaries. Garbage and sewage generated by visitors can add to the already existing solid waste and garbage disposal issues present in many communities. Often visitors produce more waste than locals, and much of it ends up as untreated sewage dumped in the ocean. The ecosystem must cope with eutrophication, or the loss of oxygen in the water due to excessive algal bloom, as well as disease epidemics. Sewage can be used as reclaimed water to treat lawns so that fertilizers and pesticides do not seep into the ocean.

Other problems with tourism include the overexploitation of local seafood, the destruction of local habitats through careless scuba diving or snorkeling and the dropping of anchors on underwater features. Ecotourism and cultural tourism are a new trend that favors low impact tourism and fosters a respect for local cultures and ecosystems.

Mining

Humans began to mine the ocean floor for diamonds, gold, silver, metal ores like manganese nodules and gravel mines in the 1950's when the company Tidal Diamonds was established by Sam Collins. Diamonds are found in greater number and quality in the ocean than on land, but are much harder to mine. When diamonds are mined, the ocean floor is dredged to bring it up to the boat and sift through the sediment for valuable gems. The process is difficult as sediment is not easy to bring up to the surface, but will probably become a huge industry once technology evolves to solve the logistical problem.

Metal compounds, gravels, sands and gas hydrates are also mined in the ocean. Mining of manganese nodules containing nickel, copper and cobalt began in the 1960's and soon after it was discovered that Papua New Guinea was one of the few places where nodules were located in shallow waters rather than deep waters. Although manganese nodules could be found in shallow waters in significant quantities, the expense of bringing the ore up to the surface proved to be expensive. Sands and gravels are often mined for in the United States and are used to protect beaches and reduce the effects of erosion.

Mining the ocean can be devastating to the natural ecosystems. Dredging of any kind pulls up the ocean floor resulting in widespread destruction of marine animal habitats, as well as wiping out vast numbers of fishes and invertebrates. When the ocean floor is mined, a cloud of sediment rises up in the water, interfering with photosynthetic processes of phytoplankton and other marine life, in addition to introducing previously benign heavy metals into the food chain. As minerals found on land are exploited and used up, mining of the ocean floor will increase.

Climate Buffer

The ocean is an integral component of the world's climate due to its capacity to collect, drive and mix water, heat, and carbon dioxide. The ocean can hold and circulate more water, heat and carbon dioxide than the atmosphere although the components of the Earth's climate are constantly exchanged. Because the ocean can store so much heat, seasons occur later than they would and air above the ocean is warmed. Heat energy stored in the ocean in one season will affect the climate almost an entire season later. The ocean and the atmosphere work together to form complex weather phenomena like the North Atlantic Oscillation and El Niño. The many chemical cycles occurring between the ocean and the atmosphere also influence the climate by controlling the amount of radiation released into ecosystems and our environment.

The atmosphere directly above the ocean does not absorb much heat by itself, so in order for it to warm up, the temperature of the ocean has to rise first. The two other ways for the atmosphere to warm near the ocean are by reflection of light off of the surface of the ocean or by the evaporation of water from the ocean surface. The temperature of the ocean controls the climate in the lower part of the atmosphere, so for most areas of the Earth the ocean temperature is responsible for the air temperature.

The main forms of climate buffering by the ocean are by the transport of heat through ocean currents traveling across huge basins. Areas like the tropics end up being cooled and higher latitudes are warmed by this effect. Air temperatures worldwide are regulated by the circulation of heat by the oceans. The ocean stores heat in the upper two meters of the photic zone. This is possible because seawater has a very high density and specific heat and can store vast quantities of energy in the form of heat. The ocean can then buffer changes in temperature by storing heat and releasing heat. Evaporation cools ocean water which cools the atmosphere. It is most noticeable near the equator and the effect decreases closer to the poles.

Oxygen Production

Gases in the atmosphere like carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and oxygen are dissolved through the water cycle. The gases that are now crucial to all ecosystems and biological processes originally came from the inside layers of the earth during the period when the earth was first formed. The rate of flow for oxygen as well as other gases is controlled by biological processes, especially metabolism of organisms like prokaryotes and bacteria. Prokaryotes have been around since the beginning of the Earth, have evolved to be able to use chemical energy to create organic matter and are capable of both reducing and oxidizing inorganic compounds. Bacteria that can reduce inorganic compounds are anaerobic and those that oxidize inorganic compounds are aerobic. Aerobic bacteria release oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis.

Approximately two billion years ago, aerobic bacteria began producing oxygen which gradually filled up all of the oxygen reservoirs in the environment. Once these “sinks” were filled, molecular oxygen began to build in the atmosphere, creating an environment favorable for other life to inhabit the Earth. Sinks included reduced iron ions and hydrogen sulfide gas. Evidence of this process can be found in the banded iron formations created when iron minerals were precipitated. The oxygen started to fill the atmosphere up and new bacteria evolved that could use oxygen to oxidize both inorganic and organic compounds. Bacteria that were accustomed to an oxygen-poor atmosphere only survived in anaerobic environments like sewage, swamps, and in the sediments of both marine and freshwater areas.

Phytoplankton account for possibly 90% of the world's oxygen production because water covers about 70% of the Earth and phytoplankton are abundant in the photic zone of the surface layers. Some of the oxygen produced by phytoplankton is absorbed by the ocean, but most flows into the atmosphere where it becomes available for oxygen dependent life forms.

References

Wikipedia: Fisheries
Wikipedia: Shipping
U.S. Global Change Research Information Office - How Bountiful are Ocean Fisheries? by Brian J. Rothschild
United Nations Atlas of the Oceans
GESAMP on environmental aspects of tourism 'The world's biggest industry ever — but poorly managed for the environment'
Oceanlink | Oceanmatters: Undersea Mining
WHOI : Oceanus : Ocean Resources
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University
Global Marine Oil Pollution Information Gateway • Facts • SHIPPING - NOT JUST OIL POLLUTION

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Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences.

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With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.


MarineBio Projects



MarineBio is an advocacy and educational conservation organization for all marine life. We provide information to people from all walks of life — students, journalists, policymakers, scientists.... You protect what you love. Many areas in the ocean are still amazing, rich in biodiversity and vital to our own survival, but a large part is in deep trouble (pardon the pun). One of our main goals is to help people learn about marine life and ocean conservation so that they will love the ocean too and help protect it, if not restore it to a healthy state.

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org if you'd like to help with any of our current projects described below.

Join the MarineBio Conservation Society and help support the following projects and our mission:

Project 1: Marine Species Databases

Online databases for the most common and endangered ~12,000 marine species to include referenced taxonomic, morphological, behavioral, dietary, habitat, reproductive, and conservation status information. To also include high quality photographs, video or access to video, as well as a variety of online resources for deeper species research. Species include marine alga and plants, marine worms, hard and soft corals (and other cnidarians such as jellyfish, etc.), plankton (phytoplankton and zooplankton), echinoderms, crustaceans, cephalopods, commercial, reef, and deep-sea fishes, sharks, marine birds, sea turtles (and other marine reptiles), and marine mammals.

Status:UNDERWAY (ongoing, 70% completed): Species launched »

Importance: various forms marine species data exists online but it is usually scattered with bits of data about different aspects at different locations, photos of species and behaviors at others, and video and other important information at yet other locations or missing altogether. By tying existing data together and filling in the remaining gaps, we hope to provide the most complete picture possible of each marine species that we discuss. Then, using various Web technologies, we will allow users to connect that data together in various ways to show, for example, relationships between species in terms of taxonomy, habitats, predators and prey, reproduction details, and conservation threats and status. Once we complete the most common and endangered ~11,000 marine species, we plan to offer that data in other ways for multiple uses to students, the general public, and researchers alike, especially to help promote marine conservation and marine conservation research.

Required: to achieve the above, ideally we need a small dedicated staff. Also, we are in need of Directors for various marine species groups. Please contact David Campbell at David@marinebio.org or us at +1 (713) 248-2576 if you would like to volunteer as a Director for a specific group.

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Project 2: Marine Conservation Information

We need to generate more interesting and in-depth information covering the main conservation issues concerning ocean life: global warming, the lack of a Sea Ethic, the solutions to overfishing (sustainable fishing), the threats to and an understanding of the importance of biodiversity, habitat conservation, ocean pollution, alien species, and sustainable ecotourism. Expert-reviewed sections on each topic with a focus on solutions while highlighting current efforts and the obstacles involved.

Status:UNDERWAY (ongoing, 50% completed): Marine Conservation section introduction

Importance: marine conservation essentially began with the save the whales campaign in the '70s and the dolphin-safe tuna boycott in 1986. Since those times, we have learned much more about what lives in the ocean and subsequently that much of it is struggling, if not disappearing, due mainly to our presence. Like marine species data, marine conservation data exists online but it is usually also scattered with bits of data about different aspects at different locations, hidden in various books and journals, or written about for various reasons for a wide number of audiences. By researching and tying the existing data together and filling in the remaining gaps, we hope to provide the most complete picture possible of each marine conservation issue online. Then, also using various Web technologies, we will connect that data together in various ways with the above species to show, for example, relationships between species and the various conservation threats and their status. We should also be able to show and share various data on conservation issue solutions to the widest possible number of people, groups, agencies, and governments (knowledge is power and time is wasting). In doing so, these efforts should help to further promote marine conservation and marine conservation research.

Required: to achieve the above we also need staff. An important goal for MarineBio is to generate adequate funding to hire Marine Conservation Researchers to work on the very latest issues in the places where they are needed most. Of all research, and especially conservation research, marine conservation research is severely lacking (~30:1 according to Dr. Norse) and ocean life, which so many of us depend on, is quickly paying the ultimate price, extinction. And now with global warming as the number one marine conservation issue, there has never been a time when marine conservation research was more needed.

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org if you'd like to help with this project.

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Project 3: Marine Life Sciences (Marine Biology)

Entails exploring and describing the alien world that marine life inhabits to assist with the understanding of the various marine conservation issues and their related efforts. This effort also interests and assists students around the world interested in studying Marine Biology, Biology, Zoology, Marine Conservation, Biological Oceanography, etc. We need to be able to offer at least a current entry-level Marine Biology course's worth of information online to help students with career and job decisions, etc. as well as to help increase the global awareness of marine life and its conservation. By helping to ultimately produce teachers in the marine life sciences and the vital researchers that ocean life needs at this crucial time in history, we hope to help improve things for marine life (and ultimately ourselves) in countless ways.

We need help expanding this section asap. If you have ideas how this section could be more useful and would like to help, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org.

Status:UNDERWAY (ongoing, 27% completed)

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Project 4: Marine Conservation and Research Support

MarineBio provides substantial exposure for effective marine conservation and research groups such as the Marine Conservation Institute, Blue Ocean Institute and others.

Status:UNDERWAY (ongoing, 62% completed)

Suggestions for volunteers:

  1. Review the groups listed at /oceans/conservation/organizations, /oceans/conservation/organizations/species and /oceans/conservation/organizations/issue (some orgs will be listed multiple times) and compare their descriptions against what they currently have at their sites. Email suggestions for updates to volunteers@marinebio.org.
  2. Search for missing or new groups by species and the various issues involved, email urls and suggested descriptions to volunteers@marinebio.org. These pages should list ALL "effective" groups worldwide involved in marine conservation (look for signs of research, publications, etc. — effectiveness should be able to be verified, contact them if you have any questions).
  3. Contact each group to let them know they are listed on our pages with an offer to suggest updates, send us material concerning their latest efforts and to participate in our various social networking efforts, provide interviews, announce events, meetings, etc. If they are making a difference, we want to know and will do what we can to help. Period. All correspondence should at least be cc'ed to volunteers@marinebio.org.
  4. Keep in mind that these pages should serve multiple purposes, as:
    • a current complete list of those groups worldwide that are actually making a difference for marine life for the benefit of the public, as well as ourselves,
    • a list to help everyone determine what species, issues and areas are receiving the proper amount of attention and which are not, and
    • a selected list of groups worthy of our and the general public's support depending upon what species, issues and areas are of the most concern, etc.

There are literally hundreds of orgs of various kinds and trying to determine which groups are worth supporting has always been an irritating issue for us. This project, if successful, should help us (and others) see through the noise and support those groups making the greatest changes that are so desperately needed today.

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org if you'd like to help with this project.

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Project 5: Ocean Online Communities

The MarineBio Conservation Society (MarineBio) maintains various dynamic communities of worldwide members involved and interested in marine life, marine conservation and marine biology. Members include high school and college students, marine biologists, marine conservationists, ocean sports professionals, marine science professionals and academia, etc.

The MarineBio Conservation Society runs the following dozen websites as part of our growing online presence supporting Our Mission:

MarineBio.org: since about 2000, we have averaged about 300K unique visitors and served about a half a million pages per month. And all without any significant external funding, thanks mainly to the countless visitors offering advice, pointing out mistakes and pitching in in various ways over the years. We read all feedback and will always welcome comments and suggestions concerning anything we offer. See the projects mentioned elsewhere on this page to see what we mainly need help with concerning the main site:

MarineBio @Facebook: currently reaching ~1 million people per week with >250K+ likes, our main Facebook page is becoming very popular as a great source of marine life photos and alerts concerning the latest issues in marne conservation here on Planet Ocean. Any and all feedback concerning our Facebook presence is highly appreciated:

MarineBio's Facebook Group: named the "Friends of MarineBio.org" and started about two years ago by our Director of Cephalopods, Dr. James Wood, our Facebook Group page currently has 8K+ members (including the likes of ocean heros such as Amos Nachoum, Andy Murch, Carl Safina, Cathy Church, David Doubilet, David Helvarg, Fabien Cousteau, Joe Romeiro, Richard Ellis, Sylvia Earle, and Wallace "J." Nichols, to name a few, and many others from all walks of life and all around the world...). Any and all feedback concerning our Facebook Group presence is also highly appreciated:

MarineBio @Twitter: our Twitter presence currently stands at about 2,300+ tweets with 6,677+ followers and the latest are shown on our home page:

MarineBio Blog: we welcome guest bloggers who write about any interesting subjects related to the ocean, its life and marine conservation especially. Ideally we would like to post daily blog posts — the blog uses the latest tech from Wordpress:

MarineBio @Pinterest: a very recent endeavor as well (900+ Pins and 500+ Followers), we look forward to seeing what's possible for marine life on Pinterest. If you have experience on Pinterest and would like to help us push the limits there, please let us know!

MarineBio's YouTube Channel: we consider our YouTube Channel a very useful resource to help us promote the best YouTube videos concerning marine life and its conservation as well as a way to link species to videos about them and improve our Video Library on the main site. With broadband speeds and availability improving all the time, online video has finally become a very important part of rich online experiences:

MarineBio's Amazon Shop: due to the popularity of Amazon and their giant selection of almost everything, we've been an affiliate of theirs for many years. We use the shop for multiple purposes, as a way to list the books we reference and recommend most, to offer movies that support our Mission, to offer and send donor/membership gifts, and to allow users to make their normal Amazon purchases (at no additional cost to them) with a small percentage of the profits donated toward our efforts. As with all our online efforts, if you have any ideas and would like to help us improve our efforts there, please let us know!

MarineBio @Google+: also a recent endeavor, we've begun by duplicating some efforts between our Facebook pages and Google+ though, from what we understand of plus so far, that is just barely scratching the surface of what's possible. If you have experience on Google+ and would like to help us do better there, please contact us today!

MarineBio @Flickr: our Flickr site is in its infancy and we'd love help making it outstanding (Flickr rocks). If you have experience on Flickr and would like to help us do better there, let us know!

Where else should we be (LinkedIn, tumblr, StumbleUpon, reddit, deviantART, LiveJournal, Tagged, Ning, Meetup, Badoo, Dropbox, foursquare...)? We have a minor presence on Wikipedia and over 65K other webpages (various news sites, marine-life related groups, etc.) link to us in various ways.... Each site we're on should primarily contribute to the important efforts by all effective groups toward spreading the proper awareness and making the changes needed NOW concerning the various marine conservation issues involving marine life (the ultimate uphill battle it seems).

If you have specific experience with any of the type of sites above and would like to help us keep them active and useful to all, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org with your specifics, including any related Web addresses, and your estimated weekly availability.

Status:UNDERWAY (ongoing)

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Project 6: Ocean Strandings Database

The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act falls short of requiring a central global database to store and analyze data concerning worldwide reports of marine mammal strandings (including unusual mortality events), necropsies results, etc. We plan to rectify that and also combine data about the stranding of sea turtles, fish, sharks, squid, etc. to help find out what trends may be hiding in the data to assist conservation efforts and research and to see if further work is needed involving investigations, especially in terms of the pathology involved and the common causes of strandings.

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org if you'd like to help gather the initial data for this project (NMFS Level A data reports, etc.).

Potential sources of U.S. stranding data (there are "over 120 organizations partnered with NOAA Fisheries Service to investigate marine mammal strandings" alone...): California Academy of Sciences Department of Ornithology & Mammalogy | Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Department of Vertebrate Zoology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History | Florida Strandings! | Institute for Marine Mammal Studies: IMMS Animal Rescues | Louisiana Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Marine Animal Rescue | Marine Mammal Center | Marine Mammal Center Rescue (Stranding) Network list | Marine Mammal Conservancy | Mote Marine Laboratory | NOAA NMSF Nationwide (U.S.) Marine Mammal Stranding Network Participants | NOAA NMFS Alaska Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network | NOAA NMSF NW Regional Office: Marine Mammal Stranding Network Maps & Area Contacts | NOAA NMFS Pacific Islands Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network | NOAA NMFS SE Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network (STSSN) | NOAA NMFS SW Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Pacific Marine Mammal Center | San Juan Islands Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network [Statistics] | Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network | Various Universities, Marine Science Centers and Aquariums | British Columbia, CA: Marine Mammal Research Group Stranding Hotline - 800-665-5939 | Canada Stranding Hotline - 800-465-4336 | Whale stranding FAQs

Project main purposes: to display simplified and referenced metadata concerning strandings of marine life from 1825 to the present in a central place online to help with efforts to understand and hopefully minimize or prevent such events in the future. The application will be very simple to use, utilize Google Maps and allow for detailed searching and reporting. It will hopefully help answer some basic questions surrounding marine life stranding events, such as:

  • Which species strand the most often, where and why?
  • Are stranding events increasing or is it just that reporting is improving? Where are they increasing the most?
  • How are strandings related to natural events such as El Niños and other weather phenomena?
  • What are the leading causes thought to cause stranding events? Do they differ by area?
  • How many fin whales have stranded in the Atlantic Ocean since 1990? In the Pacific?
  • What percentage of strandings have causes that are unknown? What is the likely reason...?

The project will also allow the public to submit new events as well as updates to existing events at any time for review and approval... we'll also provide information to answer questions such as, what are you supposed to do when you find a stranded cetacean?

Project 6 Related News
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Status:UNDERWAY (Design phase completed, alpha phase in progress. Projected launch date: Late 2016).

Contact our Founder at David@marinebio.org if you have any technical questions or are interested in collaborating. If you would like to donate to help with the costs of this project, join us as a MarineBio Conservation Society member.

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Project 7: Marine Conservation Laws Reports

Research is underway to determine the extent of marine conservation laws worldwide. We need to research the details, species involved and areas currently protected to compare to what we find reported and recommended by other projects such as Project 6 above. This should help us define which laws appear to be working, why, which are not and what needs to be changed.

Status:UNDERWAY (10% completed)

Volunteer suggestions:

  1. Starting with Marine Mammal Protection Act (and the various agencies, etc. included on that page) and then searching throughout the Web using searches such as this, we first need an easy to use and complete outline page listing all applicable marine conservation related laws in force around the world (as well as those laws effecting marine life such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the US, etc.). We can start with English-speaking countries but to be truly useful we'll need pages about the relevant laws for all non-English speaking countries as well.
  2. Each law would then have its own page. We might start with listing all International Laws first and then list those applicable in each countries' exclusive economic zone (EEZ)... we're open to suggestions at this point. A sysinct summary of each law followed by relevant resource links may be enough, let's see what we find.
  3. Ultimately, we'd like the section to be able to tell users very quickly which laws apply depending upon where they are and what activity they are interested in pursuing (recreational and commercial fisherpeople come to mind here as the primary audience).

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org if you'd like to help with this project.

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Project 8: MarineBio Kids!

We need to expand what we offer for kids of all ages (and especially their parents!) starting with the page at: MarineBio Kids. We first need to decide on the appropriate age groups (0-4? 5-7? 8-11?...) and then research all that's available online that would be interesting for the various groups (no need to reinvent the wheel, if someone else offers wonderful lessons or games or movies, etc. then we need to know about it). Contact us today to get involved!

Volunteer suggestions:

  1. Have a look at our only current page specifically for kids at /marinebio/games/. It will be split into games only and then needs to be replaced with a home page showing specific pages for different age groups.
  2. Search the Web and make a list of all the amazing resources for kids (and their parents and teachers) that you can find. Group them by age groups and look for those that offer the best materials for teachers too. There are tons of great materials online, let's gather them all in one place and see what's missing!
  3. Send us what you find with any remarks and suggestions you may have. Let's start with English resources, etc. first and then look for Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Russian, etc. We have unlimited space and will make all the pages needed to offer the best resources available online for kids, their parent and their teachers.

Status:UNDERWAY (1% completed)

If you are a teacher or have experience as a parent with online things for children that you would like recommend, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org to help with this project.

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Project 9: Marine Conservation Technology (Status Reports)

We need to identify the most useful and cost effective online and offline technologies being used to assist with marine conservation efforts today. To be posted online and updated frequently, this should provide a central place for marine conservation researchers, groups and others involved to most effectively take care of the business of restoring and protecting ocean life.

Volunteer suggestions:

  1. We've started it at /oceans/submarines/ but it is far from complete. Using primarily online research, make up an outline of the specific tech being used in the various marine conservation efforts. For example, note the various tech involved in marine protected areas (MPAs) regarding delineation, determination, evaluation, monitoring and enforcement. Might break the tech down by issue or by species....
  2. Look for new tech (search news and research journals) such as AUVs, etc.
  3. If tech is used in marine conservation efforts, we need at least a page about it.
  4. The ultimate goal is to provide a simple to use area where those involved in marine conservation can review and make effective decisions regarding what tech to use to help them with their efforts.
  5. Once completed, we'd like to provide a monthly report about the latest developments in this field.

Status:UNDERWAY (10% completed)

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org if you'd like to help with this project.

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Project 10: Planet Ocean Content

We need to offer more pages regarding all interactions between humans and the ocean and its life. We have come a long way but still have much to do. If any of the following topics interest you, please let us know if you'd like to help us create pages about them (this list evolves over time, suggestions are more than welcome, and each topic should be covered in more depth than at least at Wikipedia...):

Topics Needed ASAP (in no order of importance...):

  1. Ocean Acidification: the science, the cause, the risks, etc. Tie into /oceans/conservation/global-warming
  2. Aquaculture: status, species, pros/cons, future, etc. Tie into /oceans/conservation/sustainable-fisheries
  3. Coral Bleaching: history, causes, prevention, the science involved, the future, etc. Tie into /oceans/conservation/global-warming
  4. Red Tides: history, causes, prevention, the science involved, the future, etc. Tie into /oceans/ocean-dumping
  5. Ocean Diseases: types, prevalence, species, causes, solutions, the future, etc. Tie into /oceans/ocean-dumping
  6. Marine Parasites: types, prevalence, species, causes, solutions, the future, etc. Start with /oceans/symbionts-parasites and expand...
  7. Marine Protected Areas vs. Marine Reserves: differences, benefits, cons, alternatives, current status, resources, etc. Tie into /oceans/conservation/sustainable-fisheries
  8. Ecosystem Management vs. other processes: what is it, pros/cons, etc. Tie into /oceans/conservation/sustainable-fisheries
  9. Research Vessels: ships, subs, aircraft, ROVS, AUVs, etc.
  10. Shipping: vessels, history, challenges, etc.
  11. Whale Watching: history, pros/cons, resources, etc.
  12. Diving: we have /oceans/scuba/ but it's mainly about the History of Scuba and it's rather old, let's put History on its own page and make this section cover every aspect of scuba diving: types (snorkeling, free diving, sport, tech, commercial, military...), training, safety, best diev spots, where to see which species, underwater photography, videography, tech and commercial diving, gear (regs, BCs, computers, rebreathers...), etc. The more divers there are, the more people there will be that care about the Ocean and its life (and diving's never been safer or more fun than now).
  13. Living Underwater: habitats history, current, future, challenges, etc.
  14. Living on the Sea: boats, sailboats, motorboats, yachts, etc.
  15. Water Sports! surfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, etc.
  16. Oil & Gas from the Sea: drilling, platforms, exploration, history, challenges, tech, environmental issues, future, etc.
  17. Ocean Mining: history, status, future, etc. (e.g., China plans nuclear deep-sea mining base)
  18. Extraterrestrial/Extrasolar Oceans: starting with extraterrestrial liquid water, Mars, Europa, Callisto, Titan, Ganymede, Rhea, Titania, Oberon, Triton, Pluto, Eris, Sedna, Orcus, Ceres and possibly even Enceladus? For example, "Uranus and Neptune may possess large oceans of hot, highly compressed, supercritical water under their thick atmospheres, though their internal structure is not well understood at this time." and "there is evidence that rocky planets hosting water may be commonplace throughout the Milky Way."
  19. Shark Finning: (not shark fishing), include mantas being killed for just their gill rakers, etc. Tie into /oceans/conservation/sustainable-fisheries
  20. Plastic Pollution: best stats, status, efforts, alternatives, garbage patches, etc. Tie into /oceans/ocean-dumping
  21. Need to expand Ocean Pollution: this section should cover every type of pollution in detail (from all sources, industrial, commercial, residential, etc.) that effects marine life, every source, and all suggestions regarding solutions. Tie into /oceans/conservation/global-warming which is mainly about CO2 as a pollutant with various effects: warming, ocean acidification, etc.
  22. Commercial Fishing: everything... including TEDs, bottom trawling, etc. Start from /oceans/conservation/sustainable-fisheries
  23. Recreational Fishing: everything... what should every fisherperson know? What would they like to know?
  24. Captivity: all aspects concerning the controversial subject of keeping marine life in captivity, pros/cons, history, etc.
  25. Intelligence: what is it, who has it (marine mammals, cephalopods, fish?), who might have it...?
  26. We require pages for basically all ocean-related topics mentioned throughout the network such as the Great Barrier Reef or Oceania, etc. (any terms which are currently linked to Wikipedia).

Status:UNDERWAY (~3% completed)

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteers@marinebio.org if you'd like to help with this project.

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