The ocean covers 70% of the Earth and is home to more than a million different species, which live throughout the water column, from the surface to the deepest trench, the hottest vents to the coldest polar seas. Similar depths and diversity exists in the oceanic blogosphere, where scientists of all shapes, sizes, interests, and bizarre personal habits write, learn, and make bad puns, all in the name of sharing their love of marine science with the world. Many of them are actively engaged in research, in academia as scientists or graduate students, and at government labs. Other have dedicated their lives, or at least an appreciable amount of their free time, to teaching about the ocean. In Plumbing the Depths, the FIRST edition of a new recurring feature at Brave Blue Words, we’ll embark on a tour of these sites. So, adjust your mask and fins, check your dive gauges, and give me the OK sign, and we’ll start our descent into the strange and exotic watery world of the ocean-loving web.
- Our first stop is close to shore: the Beach Chair Scientist. The tagline for this online home of three ocean enthusiasts, is “bringing a simplified perspective to the questions you have while relaxing on the beach.” The scientists at this beach are experienced educators, and it shows in their content, which is fun, interesting, and accessible. In true educational style, their posts often start with a cool question that you may have wondered about yourself: how much salt is there in the ocean? What is the fastest fish in the sea? A number of posts have focused one animal, such as manatees, hagfish, and my favorite, the chambered nautilus. Like me, one of the beachchair scientists, Jim Wharton, was drawn into marine science through the biography of Eugenie Clark, the “Shark Lady.” (I read the Scholastic version too!)
- Mark Powell, author of the Blogfish “grew up with fishing and the ocean, became a scientist, and now [he’s] a conservationist.” (Happens to the best of us, eh?) Mark writes about fish, ocean science, conservation efforts, and climate change from his home in Lower Jura, Switzerland. His post topics are quirky and informative, with a mix of information and irony that’s fun to read. Some of my favorite recent posts include Mother Nature Hedges Her Bets, and the Scuba Diving Cat. Due to a previous (concurent?) residence in the Pacific Northwest, Blogfish is a great source for information about fisheries and conservation efforts in and around (and underwater!) Washington State. Mark is a very active blogger (and inspiration to me!), posting every couple of days.
So what are you waiting for? Dive in, the water’s warm – and go check out these ocean-focused blogs. Don’t forget to tell ’em I sent you!
Speaking of ocean blogs, next time on Brave Blue Words, we’ll explore more of the wet biosphere with another post about the riches unearthed (unoceaned?) in the Census of Marine Life.
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