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Bag It For The Birds!
Written by Ava

Children can make a difference.  We're so proud of Alexa BeMent who is using her Oceans 4Ever blog to speak about protecting the world's oceans.  We're HUGE fans!

Alexa told her readers that she would celebrate World Oceans Day (June 2) by baking chocolate cakes with blue frosting.  But she actually did so much more!

With the help of a new ocean friend named Melissa, who creates custom made bags at Borsa Bell Designs, Alexa cooked up a new project called the Borsa Bella Oceans 4Ever Wristlet Collection, for Gulf Birds!

Last year, Alexa and mom Cindy had Melissa create some custom-made bags just for them after trying to figure out a place to store all their new Christmas electronics.  They were pleased with the process which spawned into Alexa's GREAT IDEA.  Alexa decided to ask Melissa if she would be interested in creating some bags to raise money for the future of the oceans.  Melissa liked the idea.

But life happened and unfortunately, the two didn't stay in touch and the project didn't take off.  That is, until the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill of April 20th. Alexa felt horrible and got back in touch with Melissa, who not so surprisingly, felt as badly as she did.  

 
The Oil Spill's Victims: Seen and Unseen
Written by Emily Fisher

As of this writing, at least 22 million gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. In the few minutes it takes you to read this blog post, more than 1,000 gallons more will have gushed into the ocean.

There have been many reports of oiled marine life in the more than 40 days since the spill began, but there are countless creatures affected by the spill that may never be seen. Oil is extremely toxic to all wildlife, and the toxic effects began as soon as the oil hit the water.

Here are just a few examples of marine creatures affected by the oil spill in the Gulf:

 
More on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Written by Greg Laden
I am annoyed with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

I'm annoyed for a lot of reasons that I won't go into now, but mainly for one aspect of this problem: The idea of a mat of solid garbage extending across a portion of the Pacific Ocean that is the size of Europe (or whatever) is startling. It is the kind of thing that attracts attention, brings people to the table to discuss and consider conservation issues, and makes people want to be more aware of the environment, and to do something positive.

But, when people find out that there is no Pacific Garbage Patch, that they've been lied to by conservationists, by Greanpeace, the UN, and various private entrepreneurs, they get annoyed, walk away from the conservation movement, and become right wing Republicans.

That is terribly annoying.

So, what I'd like to do right now is to put an end to this whole Pacific Garbage Patch idea. There is no Pacific Garbage Patch. Yes, yes, there is a bunch of plastic, in tiny tiny itty bitty bits, floating around in various "gyres" in the world's oceans. That may or may not be a problem. It is being studied. We may learn that there are some issues to deal with here. Or we may learn that this is like the one hundredth or the one thousandth most important thing to deal with regarding the environment.

 
Ocean Woes
Written by Doreen

Mom Goes Green blogger Doreen is upset about the overabundance of pollution on our beaches and in our oceans and for good reasons.  Read what she has to say about a travesty called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The other day I talked about my frustration over seeing an excessive amount of ‘plastic bag trash’ littering one of our favorite Cleveland lakeside parks.

I feel I would be remiss without mentioning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  I was honestly surprised by how many of my friends had not heard of it before, but it’s something I cannot stop thinking about.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is essentially seven million tons of floating plastic waste, roughly twice the size of Texas (and some say, twice the size of the entire US).  It swirls through the ocean between the continental US and Japan, and contains everything from plastic bags to Legos to footballs.  One fifth is believed to come from trash dumped from ships and oil rigs, and the rest comes from land and all of the plastics we discard on a daily basis.

 
Thriving Ocean Conservation
Written by Ava

"Why so involved in wildlife and ocean conservation?" I asked Scott Artis, conservationist extraordinaire, with 8 years in the Biotech realm and a degree in Environmental Sciences and Fisheries & Wildlife.

"Well, it's a calling that can't be fully or simply explained..."Scott answered, continuing to reiterate his love for marine and wildlife.

Regardless of how well he himself can explain his reasoning, Scott is proving to The Reef Tank and the rest of the world, that he loves it and he's in it to make a difference.  With two online conservation resources under his belt, it looks like he's going places.

Scott is the creator of JournOwl, a site that started as an online record to post his daily activities at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum and turned into a wildlife conservation log dedicated to promoting wildlife conservation and wlidlife news.  He also continues his own volunteerism to promote wildlife conservation.

This doesn't seem to be enough for Scott, as he also created Thriving Oceans.  Originally the online site of a nonprofit conservation organization, it evolved from an NGO to a website disseminating ocean news, opinions, conservation efforts, and research in a blog format.

The Reef Tank interviewed Scott to ask him about this very website and his latest efforts to promote ocean and marine conservation.
 
Top 5 Earth Day Actions For Our Marine World
Written by Ava

Can you believe this April 22 is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day? I couldn't believe it either!

What can I believe? The Nature Conservancy's attempts to educate the world about making a difference for marine life and the oceans.  I can believe it because this leading organization always impresses me year after year with their ways to make the world a better place, especially where it concerns our marine world.

This year is no different.  

Our favorite conservation organization has come up with their Top 5 Earth Day Actions and the list certainly doesn't disappoint.  

The list includes:

 
Arctic Seabed Methane Stores Destabilizing, Venting
Written by Coby

The following was written in the beginning of March by climate change blogger Coby Beck.  I felt it would appeal to TRT readers and was kindly granted permission to repost.  I still think the news at hand is quite pertinent.

From up north, we have some more troubling news. Actually very troubling. Catastophic release of methane hydrates is a prime suspect in a few events dramatic enough to show in the earth's geological records, coarse and obscured as that record may be. (Our actions today will be featured prominently in that record for anyone looking back a million years from now.) It has been a worry for many years that humanity is running the risk of triggering such a release again, which would truly pile disaster on top of calamity.

New research coming out in Science Today indicates that this most dire of feedbacks may well be underway already. Below is the text of a press release I received about it last night.

Fairbanks, Alaska--A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov.
 
The Abundant And Diverse Viruses of The Sea
Written by Vincent
What is the most abundant biological entity in the oceans?

Viruses, of course! The quantity and diversity of viruses in the seas are staggering. Each milliliter of ocean water contains several million virus particles – a global total of 1030 virions! If lined up end to end, they would stretch 200 million light years into space. Viruses constitute 94% of all nucleic-acid containing particles in the sea and are 15 fold more abundant than bacteria and archaea.

Because viruses kill cells, they have a major impact on ocean ecology. About 1023 virus infections occur each second in the oceans; in surface waters they eliminate 20-40% of prokaryotes daily. Viral lysis converts living organisms into particulate matter that becomes carbon dioxide after respiration and photodegradation. Cell killing by viruses also liberates enough iron to supply the needs of phytoplankton, and leads to the production of dimethyl sulphoxide, a gas that influences the climate of the Earth. Because of these activities, marine viruses have a significant impact on global microbial communities and geothermal cycles.

 


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