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WATCH: Sylvia Earle On How To Protect Our Planet 'In Serious Trouble'

Travis Donovan   |   August 9, 2010    3:32 PM ET

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."


Barbara Fenig   |   August 9, 2010    9:06 AM ET

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.

Find the right meal for you with the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector or use the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide.

The EDF and the Monterey Bay Aquarium even boasts sustainable seafood recipes from famous chefs.

Evaluate the seafood in your next meal before you order by using the Blue Ocean FishPhone app or texting option.

  |   August 3, 2010    1:14 PM ET

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  |   August 2, 2010    2:13 PM ET

NEW ORLEANS — Scientists say this year that the "dead zone" area that forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the largest ever measured.

The large area of low oxygen that chokes marine life comes in addition to the massive BP oil spill.

SETH BORENSTEIN   |   July 29, 2010   11:03 AM ET

WASHINGTON — Despite their tiny size, plant plankton found in the world's oceans are crucial to much of life on Earth. They are the foundation of the bountiful marine food web, produce half the world's oxygen and suck up harmful carbon dioxide.

And they are declining sharply.

  |   July 26, 2010    4:04 PM ET

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.

WATCH: 'Plastiki' Boat Made From 12,000 Plastic Bottles Makes 8,000-Mile Journey Across Pacific

Travis Donovan   |   July 23, 2010    9:58 AM ET

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."

Check out blogs by both Royle and Rothschild on HuffPost, and visit the Plastiki website where you can pledge with others to help beat the waste.


Travis Walter Donovan   |   July 22, 2010    2:47 PM ET

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.

WATCH the rehabilitation of the penguins on CNN:

  |   July 16, 2010    8:26 AM ET

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.

WATCH building a robot to save fish from danger:

Travis Walter Donovan   |   July 14, 2010    8:13 AM ET

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.

WATCH a colorful paradise beneath the Arctic ice:

  |   July 9, 2010    4:04 PM ET

Scientists recently spent six weeks in the Atlantic and have now returned with more than 10 samples of possible new species.

One group of creatures found on their deep sea exploration could be a missing piece in the evolutionary puzzle between invertebrates and back-boned animals.

Check out this clip from CBS, which has incredible images of these exciting, new discoveries.

WATCH new deep sea species:


Barbara Fenig   |   July 8, 2010   12:14 AM ET

While we may like to think that the world's most beautiful beaches are always the cleanest, this is simply untrue. In reality, many of the world's cleanest beaches are located in the most unlikely of places. From New Zealand to Croatia, Iceland to South Africa and Spain, check out HuffPost Green's slideshow of the world's cleanest beaches.

In the aftermath of the gulf oil spill, we at HuffPost Green wanted to scope out some of the world's cleanest beaches for a refreshing outlook. Don't forget to vote on your favorite!

Evaluate your local beach:
Check the water quality at your favorite beach from the NRDC's "Testing the Waters" program in your state. There are 3,500 beaches in the United States and the Clean Beaches Council estimates that Americans take over 2 billion trips to the beach each year.

For international ratings of beaches, the Blue Flag program, composed of a committee of specialists from the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the European Union for Coastal Conservation, checks the water quality and lack of hazardous waste of sites from around the world. Currently, 3,450 beaches have been awarded blue flags.

The Environmental Protection Agency offers tips on how to preserve the nation's beaches.

  |   July 7, 2010   12:42 PM ET

Chinese authorities have dispatched a flotilla of more than 60 ships to head off a massive tide of algae that is approaching the coast of Qingdao.

  |   July 6, 2010   12:02 PM ET

While the BP oil spill has been labeled the worst environmental catastrophe in recent U.S. history, a biofuel is contributing to a Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" the size of New Jersey that scientists say could be every bit as harmful to the gulf.