One recent spring day, John Durban, a NOAA Fisheries marine mammal biologist, stood on the California coast and launched an unmanned aerial vehicle into the air. The hexacopter—so called because it has six helicopter-type rotors—zipped over the ocean and hovered above a gray whale mother and her calf. The pair was migrating north from their […]

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A draft World Heritage Committee decision released today by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) cautions that significant threats to the Great Barrier Reef remain, and calls on Australia to report back on progress in 18 months. While the draft decision recognizes recent promises by Australia to strengthen protection of the Great […]

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A decade-long scientific debate about what’s causing the thinning of one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves was settled the week of May 13th with the publication of an international study in the journal The Cryosphere. The Larsen C Ice Shelf — whose neighbours Larsen A and B, collapsed in 1995 and 2002 — is thinning […]

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Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Fifty miles out to sea from San Diego, in the middle of April, under a perfectly clear blue sky, NOAA Fisheries scientists Tomo Eguchi and Jeff Seminoff leaned over the side of a rubber inflatable boat and lowered a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle into the water. That turtle was a trailblazer—the first of its kind […]

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NOAA Fisheries wildlife biologist Sharon Melin describes conditions at the sea lion rookeries on the Channel Islands, where pups are going hungry because unusually warm water along the Pacific coast has made it more difficult for their mothers to find food. For a few months now, sea lion pups have been stranding on the coast […]

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Manta Ray rescue

Jane Headley and her husband save an entangled Manta Ray on their scuba trip in the Philippines. Source: GoPro Channel | Manta Ray Rescue Mission

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Pocket Shark

A quite tiny and rare species of shark is making its way through scientific literature. But don’t worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting through your swimsuit is extremely slim, because if you ever spotted one you’d be the third person to ever do so. This species common name is the “pocket shark,” though […]

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The ocean’s wealth rivals those of the world’s leading economies, but its resources are quickly eroding, according to a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report. The analysis, Reviving the Ocean Economy: The Case for Action, conservatively estimates the value of key ocean assets to be at least $24 trillion. If compared to the world’s top […]

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Baja California Sur

In 2009, the year she won the Nobel Prize for economics, Elinor Ostrom proposed a framework to integrate both the institutional and ecological dimensions of a pervasive global challenge: achieving sustainability. Now researchers have put Ostrom’s social-ecological systems theory into practice in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. The result is a map of […]

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