Posts tagged ‘marine debris’

June 16, 2011

It's World Sea Turtle Day!

Hawksbill sea turtle in the Caymans, Photo: M. Vinciguerra

It’s World Sea Turtle Day! Wonderful people like those at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society here in Florida are celebrating the day (it’s also famed turtle researcher Archie Carr’s birthday) by hosting open houses with book signings, food, and fun for the kids.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center further down the state is continuing their turtle nest surveys, summer camps, and open houses.  (Over 2,000 loggerheads have nested already on their 9.8 mile stretch of beach.  And I definitely recommend you find out how Kahuna the sea turtle got the same star treatment as Terrell Owens and Michael Jackson from LMC staff!)

What are you doing for the day?  Remember to keep refusing those plastic bags and other items if you can avoid them and if you’ve got the means, consider supporting LMC or STPS by joining them as a member.  Or perhaps you’re local enough to consider a turtle walk?  Both organizations are permitted through the state and run these night time beach adventures and with yesterdays full moon (and lunar eclipse!) I bet the turtle activity is pretty strong out there right now.

UPDATE:  On a visit to Canaveral National Seashore today we counted 103 nests along a 1.5 mile stretch of beach!  Nearly all of them loggerheads.

June 10, 2011

WOD: Success. Sarah: Not So Much.

Whew, what a week it has been! Our World Oceans Day gamble at cleaning several areas did in fact pay off in the form of many many buckets of trash.  However I have two failures to report: 1) we dunked the camera in the lagoon and electronics and saltwater really don’t mix (sigh!), and 2) I caught a pretty wicked cold.

How anyone manages to catch a cold in a Florida summer baffles me quite a bit but nonetheless, it put some of my posts on the back burner.   For our cleanups we caught/collected/saw:

  • A manatee mother and calf pair
  • Two five gallon buckets worth of monofilament and assorted tackle, nearly all of which we were able to recycle
  • 142 plastic bottles (mostly water bottles)
  • Half a five gallon bucket’s worth of nurdles (gahhhhh!)
  • So many plastic bags I had to stop counting to stave off misanthropic attitudes
  • A dolphin pod in the Lagoon chasing down some delicious jumping mullet
  • Johnson’s seagrass fragments washed in
  • Five flip-flops
  • One cell phone battery
  • And a small assortment of plastic Hawaiian leis

This isn’t the first time we’ve picked up batteries or leis, I hate to say.  Parties on the beach and on the Lagoon seem to feature common luau themes.

The Johnson’s seagrass was another matter entirely.  It was very surprising!  This species is a Florida endemic and is reported in the Lagoon, but almost always from areas far south of us starting at an hour’s drive away at the Sebastian Inlet.  It prefers a steady near-ocean-strength salinity that the upper Lagoon doesn’t usually offer.  Perhaps a pelican brought it with him?  Or maybe there is a patch nearby!

Did anyone get a chance to catch Enric Sala’s address to the Smithsonian Institute on Wednesday night?  If you didn’t of course you can catch him on TED as I posted.  The Smithsonian was up to other tricks for World Oceans Day; definitely take a time out and look at this somewhat-silly “Splash” Mob they hosted in the Hall.

You can tell there’s not a whole lot of organization going on here as you’d find with the typical Flash Mobs, but I love the idea.  Show up to SI, wear some blue, rock out to surf-themed music and don’t be afraid if a giant orange roughey shows up to swim along in the waves next to you.  (I think that’s the artistic angle they were going for in choreography.. waves.  That or they were told to bounce around like a bunch of harpatiicoid copepods do in my plankton tow samples out of the Lagoon!)

June 8, 2011

Happy Ocean Day! Now Go Get Wet!

It’s World Oceans Day!  Are you up to anything special for the Big Blue this year? I am!  I’ll be out on the Canaveral National Seashore picking up as much trash as possible to help protect this years’ sea turtle nests and the hatchlings we’ll see later in the season.

I know what you’re thinking: “Sarah, you do that every week!”  Touche my fishy friends, touche.  In addition to my pickup on the sand in the morning I’ll be taking my walk to the Indian River Lagoon to intensively clean my homestretch near the Max Planck causeway (with it’s new bridge) as well as hoping to hop down to Kelly Park – a favorite manatee haunt – to do some cleaning and monofilament recovery as well.

If you don’t have the day off and can’t manage to get out to a waterway for the Oceans you can still do plenty for them online.  Oceana is asking people to Be An Ocean Hero by making a simple pledge to recycle, eat sustainable seafood, or clean a waterway in the future.  I say pick one, sign up to receive great updates from the Oceana team, but plan to do all three.

And you needn’t stop there of course: green your personal care products, your home cleaning products, your sunscreen, and try to eat organic where you can.  Everything eventually rinses down the drain and towards the Ocean.. remember that!

The WOD main page is also hosting a Twitter party (not that I’m really sure what that is..) using the hashtag #WOD and you could possibly win prizes.  And if you’re a Florida local and actually do find yourself twiddling your thumbs tomorrow, practically every nonprofit in the state is hosting a WOD event.    Even Nemo over at Disney!

With all these amazing Ocean events going on I’m almost overwhelmed and absolutely psyched to get to work!  By tonight I’m going to be needing a nap, a shower, and a well deserved meal.. maybe alongside a tasty oyster stout?  Ok, maybe not.  But there is one more ocean activity for the evening!

The Smithsonian Institute is hosting National Geographic Ocean Fellow Enric Sala and will webcast his talk “The Last Wild Places in the Ocean” at 6:30pm EDT.  Do not miss this!  I’ll be taking some cliff notes, but I have a feeling the images he’ll show and discuss about the oceans pockets of vibrant life will give us all some real hope for the future of our little blue planet’s Blue.