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Ocean Conservation Society
helping the oceans and their inhabitants through research & education
helping the oceans and their inhabitants through research & education


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Animals eat ocean plastic because... it smells like food

A new study sheds light on why so many seabirds, fish, whales, and other critters are gobbling up so much marine plastic debris. And it's not quite what scientists thought.... It just smells like food.

Algae are consumed by krill, a small crustacean that is the primary food source for many sea birds. As algae breaks down naturally in the ocean, they emit a stinky sulfur odor known as dimethyl sulfide (DMS). Sea birds in the hunt for krill have learned that the sulfur odor will lead them to their feeding grounds.

It turns out that floating plastic debris provides the perfect platform on which algae thrives. As the algae breaks down, emitting the DMS odor, sea birds, following their noses in search of krill, are led into an “olfactory trap,” according to a new study published November 9 in Science Advances. Instead of feeding on krill, they feed on plastic.

image: ©getty

#plastic #oceanpollution #seabirds #birds #birdseatingplastic #oceanplastic
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good news of the week:
30 illegally captured Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are released back into the wild
After being illegally captured and destined for a life of captivity, 30 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are being released back into the wild.
These dolphins were held in pens before their planned export into other countries where they would be used as public display. They had also been subjected to the same barbaric and cruel round up techniques as dolphin hunters use in Taiji. This evidence had been uncovered by the International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP).
Due to the intervening of the government, the Solomon Islands Fisheries Ministry concluded that the captures were in fact violating the current laws. These laws ban the capture and export of live dolphins.
Thankfully, because the government had taken a look that these findings, the dolphins were successfully released back into the wild where they belong.
read more here:…/
#bottlenose #captivity #released #capture #dolphincapture #captivedolphin
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Good Vibrations: Scientists discover new component of whale songs

The beautiful, haunting sounds made by humpback whales are one of the most distinctive noises in the natural world. But now scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, writing in the scientific publication Biology Letters, have discovered that there may be more to this form of communication that originally thought.

It is already known that the sounds made by humpbacks, and other baleen whales, can travel great distances under water. But as well as the sound you can hear (made up of pressure waves), there is also another component to the sound called "particle motion" which is the vibration of the noise as it passes through something, similar to what you will feel if you stand close to a speaker emitting noisy music. If you move away from the speaker the feeling fades.

However, using specialist recording instruments in Hawaii, the scientists noticed that when they floated 200m away from humpback whales, the vibrations could be recorded just as loudly and clear. It's unclear exactly how far they might be able to travel but it could be that the whales are using this as a form or communication.

The discovery also highlights once again the threat of noise pollution, in the form of activities such as oil and gas exploration, which poses major issues for these amazing creatures.

Original article: Singing whales generate high levels of particle motion: implications for acoustic communication and hearing?
T. Aran Mooney, Maxwell B. Kaplan, Marc O. Lammers
DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0381

article from:

image: ©Scott Portillo

#science #whales #acoustic #whalesongs #humpbackwhale #humpbacksongs #soundinthesea #sound
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World's largest marine park created in Ross Sea in Antarctica in landmark deal
EU and 24 countries sign long-awaited agreement to protect 1.1m sq km of water in Southern Ocean, ensuring that fewer younger fish will be caught.
The Ross Sea is known for its biodiversity: home to 95 species of fish, 1000+ invertebrates, 10 mammals and 6 bird species. The Ross Sea is also represents one of the last regions of ocean relatively undisturbed by human activities, making it an ideal candidate for an MPA.
read more here:…/worlds-largest-marine-park-cr…
Image source:
#rosssea #protectedarea #marinepark #antarctica
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Look into this dolphin's eyes and tell me that's not grief!
Watch the truly touching video of this dolphin grieving and read the National Geographic article by OCS President Dr. Bearzi for more insights. Feel free to share video+article with others so more people can be aware of how incredible and emotionally aware these animals really are!
The article is based on a recent and amazing dolphin sighting by the Dolphin Biology & Conservation research team in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece.
‪#‎dolphin‬ ‪#‎nationalgeographic‬ ‪#‎emotions‬ ‪#‎intelligence‬ ‪#‎oceans‬
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National Aquarium to create first U.S. dolphin sanctuary
Today marks a huge turning point, the National Aquarium in Baltimore announced plans to build a seaside sanctuary and to move all eight of the dolphins currently at the aquarium to the new sanctuary by 2020.
This is a major decision and the first of its kind by an aquarium or marine park in North America.
image: bottlenose dolphin swimming free in our study area off California (©maddalenabearzi/ocs)
read more here:…/national-aquarium-p…/
‪#‎sanctuary‬ ‪#‎captivity‬ ‪#‎dolphins‬ ‪#‎aquarium‬ ‪#‎dolphinarium‬
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Dolphins in the desert?
Yes, in the middle of the Arizona desert concrete is already being poured at the future site of "Dolphinaris". This dolphinarium will house 8 to 12 dolphins. It will allow visitors to see, touch and even swim with the animals.
In an interview about this new project for 91.5 KJZZ, OCS President Dr. Bearzi talks about the cons of Dolphinaris.
Meanwhile, an online petition is going around and it has been signed by more than 135,000 people against Dolphinaris:
Listen to the entire interview here:…/dolphins-desert-process-bringing-dolphins…
‪#‎captivedolphin‬ ‪#‎captivity‬ ‪#‎delphinarium‬ ‪#‎dolphins‬ ‪#‎arizona‬
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Gray whales are moving to the ocean next door
For the first time in thousands of years, these leviathans of the Pacific are finding their way across the Arctic to the North Atlantic due to climate change. But trouble may await them...
Potential risks include, among many others, ship traffic, oil and gas drilling, deafening sonar, and challenges of finding prey
read more here:…/13-why-are-gray-whales-moving…
image: A gray whale finds its way amid the ice off the Alaskan coast
©Michio Hoshino/Minden Pictures
‪#‎whales‬ ‪#‎migration‬ ‪#‎climatechange‬ ‪#‎globalwarming‬ ‪#‎marinemammals‬ ‪#‎arctic‬
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Polar bears don't have only climate change to worry about...
Polar bears are becoming more endangered every day due to climate change, but in addition to losing their homes, they’re also threatened by our trash.
Although the North Pole is typically thought of as a pristine environment, untouched by humans. The reality is that scientists believe there could be trillions of tons of plastic trapped in Arctic sea ice.
Tragically, this polar bear is only one of many animals who fall prey to plastic and other human trash every single year. Currently, it’s estimated that around 700 marine species are threatened with extinction due to entanglement, ingestion, and exposure to toxins. Perhaps what is most troubling about this fact, is that as animal populations are declining in the oceans, the amount of plastic is only increasing. A recent study found that if we don’t act to curb the amount of trash in our oceans, plastic will outnumber fish in the near future (read OCS previous post on this issue).
read more here:…/polar-bear-struggling-in-p…/
‪#‎polarbears‬ ‪#‎climatechange‬ ‪#‎trash‬ ‪#‎plastic‬ ‪#‎oceanpollution‬ ‪#‎oceanconservation‬
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