JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Scientists using cutting-edge technology to explore waters off Indonesia were wowed by colorful and diverse images of marine life on the ocean floor – including plate-sized sea spiders and flower-like sponges that appear to be carnivorous.
They predicted Thursday that as many as 50 new plant and animal species may have been discovered during the three-week expedition that ended Aug. 14.
Activist Ric O'Barry first shocked the world by exposing Japan's annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins when he made the Academy-Award winning documentary, "The Cove," with Louie Psihoyos. Now, O'Barry returns to Japan with his filmmaker son, Lincoln O'Barry, appalled to discover that even with the worldwide attention "The Cove" garnered, the brutal dolphin hunting continues.
"Blood Dolphins" is a new three-part miniseries from Animal Planet, continuing Ric's journey advocating for dolphins across the world. First, the O'Barrys return to Taiji, Japan -- site of "The Cove" -- and then head to the Solomon Islands, where they try to put a stop to a lucrative and inhumane captive dolphin trade.
"The most important thing I can do...that my son can do...is show the world through projects like 'Blood Dolphins' just how threatened dolphins are so we can all do something about it," says Ric O'Barry.
"Blood Dolphins" premieres Friday, August 27 at 11PM ET/PT on Animal Planet. The network will also be premiering the cable television premiere of "The Cove" on August 29.
Whether we like it or not, our nation's beaches are not as clean as we would prefer them to be. Ocean water contaminated with sewage, storm run-off and oil carries bacteria, parasites, and viruses, which can cause a variety of diseases. From Staph infections to earaches, hepatitis to skin rashes and respiratory issues, America's waters are an environmental hot bed for infection. For the last five years, there have been 18,000 beach closings across the United States. 2009 brought 18,682 days of closures and notices as a result of water contamination and pollution at beaches throughout the United States.
As summer ends, we here at HuffPost Green decided to explore the range of possible illnesses that can be contracted at our nation's beaches due to environmental contamination. While oiled beaches are making the most headlins this summer, there are numerous other contamination that can be found at the beach. Recreational water illnesses can be caught by swallowing contaminated water, inhaling infected mist, and swimming in polluted waters. Check out our slideshow of nine surprising infections that are found in the nation's oceans. As always, we want to hear from you. Tell us what you think in the comments.
After Thai fisherman petitioned for help in solving their overfishing problem, the Thai Queen has responded by dumping 25 decommissioned army tanks, 273 old train cars, and 198 garbage trucks into the ocean to create artificial reefs, Al Jazeera reports.
The abandoned vehicles will create a total of 72 artificial reefs, which are hoped to increase local fish stocks by attracting new marine life populations to inhabit them.
NBC Philadelphia reports that tens of thousands of dead menhaden fish washed ashore Wednesday on a New Jersey beach along Delaware Bay.
The incident is strikingly similar to an occurrence from Monday, when thousands of dead menhaden also washed ashore over 200 miles away in Fairhaven, MA (see video HERE).
N.J. Department of Environmental Protection officials say initial tests show no signs of toxic phytoplankton, like red tide, in the water, and they are still examining oxygen levels. Fisheries in Massachusetts alleged low oxygen from warm waters was the cause of the mass kill in Fairhaven, according to CNN.
Strangest of all, seagulls aren't going near what would normally appear to be a free lunch for the area's birds.
On Monday, vacationing beach residents awoke to a foul smell when thousands of dead fish washed ashore on a small island on the east side of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, CNN reports.
Marine fisheries explained that the fish were killed due to a lack of oxygen caused by warm waters. All of the fish were Menhaden, which are especially sensitive to such changes, and they may have been dead for days prior to washing up on the beach.
Sylvia Earle has spent decades studying the vast life in our planet's oceans and advocating for its protection. She is Chair of the Deep Search Foundation and is an Explorer-In-Residence at the National Geographic Society, has set a record for solo diving, and has even blogged for HuffPost.
In this video from CNN, Earle recounts highlights from her history in oceanography. She talks about the 1969 program that was simultaneously working to put women under the sea while also putting men on the moon.
In 1979, she worked on a book for National Geographic, using a new diving suit that she likens to a "walking refrigerator," letting her individually explore the ocean floor. She tells CNN, "It was just an extravaganza of life, and I had a chance to just walk among these creatures for the first time, and bring back the news of what was there."
Earle stresses the importance of protecting our oceans, saying that we need to "try to inspire an awareness of what the problems are, and to inspire those who have the capacity to solve problems to do just that." She tells CNN that these next ten years may be the most important out of the next 10,000 "to secure for us an enduring future on this little blue planet that is already in serious trouble."
Since the smell test doesn't really cut it, we decided to investigate the chemicals in seafood that you might not know about. We all know that mercury is often found in fish and are careful about our mercury consumption but did you know about the presence of pesticides, flame retardants or arsenic in the world's seafood?
2.6 billion people obtain 20 percent of their animal protein from eating seafood. Contaminants leak into the world's water supplies from industrial and municipal waste, storm water runoff and even agricultural practices causing serious environmental, animal and human health issues. Check out our slideshow of seven toxic chemicals in fish that you don't know about. As always, we want to hear from you in the comments.
The 30 bottles of pre-French Revolution champagne recently recovered from the bottom of the Baltic Sea were a pretty awesome find. But the latest thing to show up in the far northern body of water is hardly anything to pop a cork over: a potentially toxic algae bloom covering 377,000 square kilometers, an area larger than all of Germany.
The Plastiki, a boat made from 12,000 plastic bottles, has successfully reached Australia after its 8,000-mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. The voyage has been a means to raise awareness about plastic pollution, especially in the oceans.
In this video, CNN catches up with David de Rothschild, the expedition leader, and Jo Royle, the skipper, to talk about their journey. They discuss the challenges and pitfalls they faced with the Plastiki, from trying to steer it against demanding currents to keeping all the plastic parts attached, or even getting some shut eye, which Rothschild describes as "like trying to fall asleep on a bucking bronco."
Magellan Penguins annually leave their colonies in Patagonia and Antarctica to undertake a thousand-mile journey in search of food. But in recent years, the penguins have been increasingly washing up on Brazilian shores, mysteriously sick, disoriented, and unable to return home.
Giselda Condiotto, president of Niteroi Zoo, has been rescuing stranded penguins since 1999. At first she would only receive two or three a year. That number escalated to 100 penguins in 2004, exponentially rising to 700 penguins in 2008, she tells CNN in the video below.
Unfortunately, many penguins don't even survive long enough to make it into to Condiotto's care, AP reports. Recently, over 500 penguins turned up dead on Brazilian beaches in the span of just 10 days, an extremely startling number.
Thiago do Nascimento, a biologist at the Peruibe Aquarium in Brazil, thinks overfishing is primarily to blame, diminishing the penguins' food supply. Nascimento said only about 10 dead penguins shows up on the beach in the average year. Autopsies revealed that many of those penguins had empty stomachs, and may have starved to death.
Scientists are looking into other factors that may be at play. Climate change could be adversely affecting ocean conditions for the birds, while Maria das Gracas de Souza of Brazil's environmental agency, IBAMA, believes pollution is affecting the penguins.
Some of the rehabilitated penguins are returned to their natural habitats, but others become so accustomed to human care that experts are afraid they won't be able to survive on their own.
In this video from Reuters, Maurizio Porfiri, an Assistant Professor of Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU, is working on a robotic fish designed to lead schools of real fish away from dangers, such as oil spills or turbines.
The hardest part for Porfiri and his team has been discovering exactly what traits fish look for in a leader, so that their robot can successfully mimic these to gain the followers. Experimenting with small schools of fish, Porfiri has been fine tuning his robot to swim with the fast and erratic behaviors that fish would perceive a leader, or mate, to have.
Eventually, Porfiri would like to program his robotic fish to autonomously lead schools without any human control necessary, and to one day also be equipped with sophisticated sensors that can collect data on fish and their interactions with their environment and other species.
In this clip from CNN, underwater photographer Gavin Newman heads out to sea with Greenpeace aboard their vessel, Esperanza.
Known for his cave and cave diving photography, on this adventure Newman takes to the Arctic, exploring the mysterious sea bed--now accessible below melting ice--with robotic underwater cameras that he has built. Newman discusses the wonder and excitement of exploring this new frontier, "Nobody has any idea what's below us."
Expecting sights little more exciting than sand and mud, everyone was shocked to find a stunningly colorful ecosystem of living creatures on the Arctic seabed. Newman describes it as "one of the most colorful places I've dived," going on to say, "It really is very unexpected."
Newman also talks about the horrors of bottom trawling, a destructive fishing method now making its way to this untouched location due to the melting ice. "It's like somebody's just plowed a field," Newman says, describing the areas where rich coral systems and seabed life are ripped entirely off the ocean floor.