March 29, 2012

Something About Cats and Tuna ..

I couldn’t resist the title.  This is a clip of dolphins Shiloh and Thunder having quite the interactive session with Arthur the cat at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada, Florida.  The clip is pretty old – back from 1997 – but it sure does make me raise an eyebrow or two.  What about you?  Harmless and enchanting clip?  Or possibly encouragement to otherwise-well-meaning Floridians to go out and interact with wild dolphins?  (Particularly since its not too obvious until you see the bridge – the whistle – that these are trained animals.)

March 28, 2012

Make Way for the Crabs!

The horseshoe crabs are back into spawning season and FWCC is asking, once again, for sharp eyed naturalists to keep an eye out for mating pairs and satellite males.  New and full moons, along with the high tide, tend to be the best days to view the animals as they emerge onto the beach to dig, lay, and fertilize their delicate eggs.  The upcoming full moon on April 6th will likely be a day for high activity, particularly with the warm welcoming weather we’ve been experiencing in Florida lately.

You can report sightings online or even email findings to  Pay particular attention to details like:

  • Number of crabs, whether paired or satellite males near a paired couple
  • How big the animals are (4″ or less is a juvenile)
  • Date, Time, Location, Habitat type, and Weather Conditions (including moon phase) where you observed them

I’m hoping to catch some crabs in action this weekend near my usual stomping grounds on the Indian River Lagoon.  As ever, I’ll be out on trash pickup duty, and hope to have some photos for curious readers to see exactly how the debris situation has improved (or worsened) since I was last out in the fall.

August 23, 2011

More On that Penguin Spill in 2000

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August 17, 2011

Awaiting the Spawn

Lunar cycles have a profound effect on the timing of events, often ones involving reproduction, in wildlife.

In the winter times in the Caribbean we have Grouper Moons, and in the late summer, we hold our breaths waiting for the coral to spawn a few days following a full moon.  We had such a full moon on August 13th, and researchers all across the Caribbean are camped out waiting, taking measured breaths on SCUBA tanks hoping to prolong their bottom time, to see the release of eggs and gametes from the coral heads.

So far, not a single watched site from Florida, to Mexico, to the farthest fringe of the Western Atlantic islands, has documented any spawning event.  SECORE, a group of researchers including professional aquarists from Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii, are one such group watching a patch of reef in Curacao, hoping to secure samples of coral larvae for later work in laboratory conditions involving rearing the little ones.  Another group from the University of Pennsylvania is also hoping to take home larvae, and even dedicated some of their updates recently to the on-site tank builds involved.

Maybe tonight will be the night!  We’ll have more here on the updates from the lab groups as the news continues to come in.  Cross your fingers!

August 16, 2011

Drool… (An Afternoon of Etsy Gazing)

If you think Etsy has nothing available to we marine nerds, think again!  I found numerous beautiful examples of marine themed art and oddities worthy of a place in any ocean-lover’s home.

Locket @ Chloesvintagejewelry


Vinyl Wall Art Herd of Seahores @ Twistmo



Tropical Fish Print on Vintage Dictionary Page @ Kiintage

Hint: Christmas is coming!

August 16, 2011

Name This Fish!

How are your skills at deep water fish identification? Know what this guy is? Researchers at the Caribbean Marine Biology Institute sent the photos, previously submitted by locals, out asking for assistance in identification. The photos are not very clear unfortunately, as I’m sure non-science-geeks were the ones who took them. You get a great impression of some elongated white “fangs” near the front of the jaws in the shot above though!

The animal was pulled up from 100m in Curacao, Netherland Antilles, and the depth may indicate why there is a pink blob of something hanging near its jaws. It may have forcefully decompressed upon rising on the lines.  Unless that’s supposed to be there.. hmm.  IDeas?

August 15, 2011

Not Partying Like 1999 On Long Island

The post 1999 era in Long Island has been a terrible one for the Sounds’ long tradition of lobstering and it’s slowly dwindling community of lobstermen. Bacterial invasions, pesticides, global warming; just what is going on with the lobster population and how are the people and families that depended upon this resource surviving such lean times? A great read.

August 14, 2011

Lightning McQueen to Win!

The Tour de Turtles is back in force this year and Sea Turtle Conservancy’s 17 satellite-tagged competitors are out churning through surf and making some bubble tracks!  The official race starts tomorrow!

But this year it’s not solely about who wins or loses.  Each of the competing turtles has a cause they’re swimming for as well as corporate and nonprofit sponsorship!  My favorite – Lightning McQueen – has Disney backing her!  And her cause?  Light pollution and its effects on natal nesting beaches for future turtle generations.

The website is fantastic, fast, and regularly updated, so be sure to check in, find a favorite racer, and follow along.  You can of course “like” Sea Turtle Conservancy on Facebook and get regular updates through social media as well.  Enjoy!  And GO LIGHTNING MCQUEEN!

August 13, 2011

Josh Lucas Joins Oceana

You may remember Josh Lucas as the adorable down-home old flame to Reese Witherspoon’s city-fied character in Sweet Home Alabama, or perhaps from his appearance in A Beautiful Mind.  From now on, I’ll remember him, and score his reputation right up there, with the likes of other actors that have joined forces with wildlife nonprofit groups to further the cause and campaigns on behalf of ocean conservation.  And yes, for the record, that puts him up there with Leonardo DiCaprio, January Jones, Adrian Grenier, Ted Danson, Kate Walsh and plenty of other recent spokespeople to stand by Oceana‘s side.

What about you?  Want to be a Wavemaker?  Oceana makes it incredibly easy, and they won’t overwhelm you with emails either!  Join up.

August 12, 2011

Manatee Release Photos Part II

FWC posted a few more fantastic photos from yesterday’s release of a four year old male at Kars Park in Merritt Island, FL.  In them you can easily view the panel truck that SeaWorld Orlando uses for transport of injured and rehabilitated manatees (note the extensive styrofoam padding) and get a sense of the overall procedure for releases.   You can also see in a few photos where the FWC biologists do last minute health checks to ensure the patient is ready and rarin’ to go and to do finalized photographs of scar patterns for future identification purposes.

In some cases released manatees are tagged with satellite trackers so that movements can be detected.  The belt is worn at the tail stalk where the paddle meets the body.  This individual doesn’t appear to be carrying one.

Also, I see some familiar faces from the SeaWorld crowd in these photos!  The Animal Care team pictured here represents decades worth of vested time and experience in caring for marine mammals.  And they’re all quite fabulous off the clock as well.  Cheers again for both teams’ hard work in the hot sun!