Oceans of Life for World Oceans Day!
Welcome back for our second Oceanic Blog-A-Thon! With 3/4 of the planet Earth covered by these interconnected seas and oceans... I've always wondered who chose Earth as our name? Ocean would be much more appropriate! Must be due to the bias of some long-lost land-lubber...
To celebrate World Oceans Day we (a random group of bloggers who care about our oceans) have decided to take a moment and reflect upon the importance of the oceans, for us personally, for our planet, for our future, for our past. We're sharing information, memories, feelings, wishes... about the Oceans with our readers.
With the current on-going oily catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico there has never been a more pertinent time to stop and think and act. What can we do for our Oceans? Reduce our waste? Volunteer in coastal clean-up projects? Be more careful of the seafood we buy to consume for ourselves by finding out if it comes from sustainable fisheries? At the very least we can "Wear Blue and Tell Two!" as Ocean Project suggests. So on June 8th, WOD, I suggest you deck yourself from head to toe in the colour blue and share at least two facts about this wonderful environment or the critters who inhabit it to those around you. Need help with the kind of information you can share with people? I'm afraid I haven't had time this year to write a whole post of oceanic factoids, but last year's are still valid so check them out! Ocean Project also has some good ideas on their website (click on the Wear Blue link above) such as the impact of global warming on loss of diversity in coral reefs or links to sustainable seafood guides.
|Antarctic krill (photo by CrazyCris)|
Aha! Thanks to two of our participants I just thought of another factoid I could share with you: the oceans' largest animals eat some of the smallest! The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) are the largest mammal and fish in our oceans, measuring up to 33m (108ft) and 12.6m (41.5ft) respectively, and they both survive on a steady diet of krill or similar zooplankters... shrimp-like animals that are so small (a few centimetres) we need a magnifying glass to see them in all their detail!
Read on for more fascinating, inspiring, educational oceanic tales brought to you from Bloggers around the Globe!
- As the inhabitant of an over 7'000 island archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, Al from Caramel Macchiato is someone who understands how important the Oceans are to the people whose livelihood depends on them. She shares with us a tale of Ocean's Gentle Giants in the coastal town of Donsol in the Philippines. It's a tale of how education and environmental programs involving the local population were successful in protecting that largest and gentlest of all sharks: the whale shark.
- In Oiled Seabirds: To Kill Or Not To Kill? What is the Ethical thing to do? GrrlScientist over at Living the Scientific Life exams the question of what to do with oiled birds after catastrophes like the one currently taking place in the Gulf of Mexico. She tells us exactly why being covered in oil is such a problem for seabirds (clue: it has to do with their unique feathers, that and: poison!). She analyses statements by various scientific sources each giving a different answer: to clean or not to clean (but euthanise) in light of its usefulness for the birds' survival rate.
- Along those lines GrrlScientist sent me a link to an older post - Deepwater Horizon Day 14: $? - by Mike over at the Oiled Wildlife Care Network Blog who asks the question: How much is a turtle worth? He addresses the fact that "the issue that more frequently raises its head during oil spills is the cost of conducting oiled wildlife rehabilitation efforts versus the results that come from this activity" and that people wonder if that money shouldn't be spent elsewhere but that they don't realise that although expensive, since the bulk of effort for rehabilitating animals often comes from "volunteer man-hours" that the actual monetary cost is a fraction of what an oil company loses as a total.
- Maya from Completely Coastal takes a look at what happens to trash in the oceans (and on our beaches) by reviewing the book Tracking Trash - Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns.The book profiles scientists, volunteer groups and beachcombers who track trash (plastic) throughout the oceans or help clean up our beaches. Never has trash sounded so interesting!
- Over at Pop Classics Juliette was searching for a "representation of a Classical idea about the ocean in modern popular culture" and then remembered this year's topic: favourite animal. This led her to the Blue Whale and from there to Pinocchio! She dives into this childhood favourite and talks about its whale-swallowing-people predecessors in Classical literature and mythology (as well as the Bible) as well as more current versions like the TV show Farscape or the movie Finding Nemo. She notes that these tales demand a certain suspension of disbelief since -the whole whale-swallowing people/ship aside- how could anyone survive a whale's stomach acid?
- CrazyCris from Here and There and Everywhere (a.k.a. yours truly) dives into the world's Oceans thanks to the wonderful camera work of French documentary film-makers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud in Movie Magic: Océans. Words and images and music all combined to try to express the poetry of the oceans and the animals that inhabit them and the dangers they face at the hands of humanity.
- DJan from DJan-Ity has decided to Wear Blue and Tell Two for World Oceans Day! Her two involve glowing footprints in the sand and a mighty whale of a tale! She thinks we are making the ocean creatures pay for our environmental crimes and wonders what the future holds...
- Hungry? You will be after gazing at some of the delicious looking photos Rhonda has posted at the Tikki Hut! If you like OYSTERS that is! Rhonda chose oysters as her favourite sea animal for today because they're so much more important than just a delectable meal: "oyster reefs provide important functions which include water quality filtration, shoreline erosion control and essential fish habitat." So go on over to the Tikki Hut to learn more about oysters and see if you can follow the excellent example of a conservation group which has been restoring oyster reefs along the Georgia coast!
- A Mountain Mermaid has decided to join in and share with us some beautiful photos from the Gulf of Mexico (pre-catastrophe). In Celebration she reminds us of something quite simple we can do to protect our coasts: clean up after ourselves! There is absolutely no excuse for litter to accumulate on the beaches (and risk being washed out to sea), if you take it in then take it out! And if you see something lying around, how hard is it to bend down, pick it up and add it to your own trash?
- CrazyCris wants you to take a moment to think about Seagrasses, and how they're much more than "ugly weeds stinking up your beach", but on the contrary very important ecosystems with a high diversity of life and a crucial role to play in protecting our coastlines.
- Ever stop to wonder who might be the "jumping king" of the animal kingdom? Kelsey from Mauka to Makai introduces us to a teeny tiny candidate from the ocean realm, one who is so ubiquitous he frequently finds himself as someone else's meal, and yet can perform some massive jumps (relative to his own body length) to escape (or jump for his own food): the COPEPOD! Kelsey will actually be blogging about the Ocean all month so be sure to check her blog regularly for more marine tidbits as they appear. ;o)
- In Gulf Oil Spill Disaster: Spawn of the Living Dead for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna? GrrlScientist examines the possibility that current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico could mean the end for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna! This already endangered species is very faithful to its spawning ground where it heads each Spring to lay millions of eggs of which only a small percentage usually survive. Since this preferred spawning ground is in the midst of this oil mess, the odds of this year's larvae surviving are even lower...
Be sure to return throughout the day for updates (new entries)! There is still plenty of time to participate, instructions can be found here. Links will be posted a.s.a.p. (in other words as soon as I see them and read the posts)! And remember to Wear Blue and Tell Two! ;o)