Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: Carnival of the Blue & Round of Words Check-in

Who doesn’t love a carnival? The sights, the excitement, the sounds. This week I’m honored and excited to host The Carnival of the Blue, a monthly round-up of ocean-related posts from around the web.

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Carnival of the Blue # 48

Seafood at risk: Dispersed oil poses a long-term threat —  Allie Wilkinson

This April marks a year since the Deepwater Horizon spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and almost 2 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit were dumped to “clean” it up. In a guest blog at Scientific American, Allie Wilkinson asks: “With all federal waters currently reopened, the question still remains— is the government responding appropriately to ensure not only that the present levels of oil and dispersants are not toxic, but also that those levels won’t build up over time through the accumulation of toxins in the tissues of seafood, contaminating Gulf seafood for generations to come?” Great question – and the answers are far from reassuring. Check out the post here.

Marking the Oil Spill Anniversary In Washington DC — The Beacon: Oceana’s Blog

Oceana marked the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with an event in Washington, DC featuring actress and supporter Kate Walsh (“Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Aaron Peirsol (gold medal-winning swimmer). Also attending was Patty Whitney, a Louisiana resident-turned-activist whose home was affected by last year’s disaster. Couldn’t make it to my backyard to attend? You can watch a video of the event here.

Awesome Orcas All Around — Amanda Banks

Author Amanda Banks describes an exciting encounter with a pod of orcas offshore of Monterey Bay, CA. I’ve only seen orcas close up once (further north of where she was, but also with a group of whale researchers) and it’s an experience I’ll never forget. Check out her play-by-play of the amazing behavior and victorious hunt of these incredible animals here.

The Ways of Whales —  Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog: http://daniellemeitiv.com

As a complement to Amanda’s orca post, I’m including one of my own about the evolution of whales, some of their unique characteristics and the threats they face today. Check out the fabulous photos – and a link to a life-sized encounter with a blue whale, the largest creature to ever live on Earth – here.

Hiding the doomsday device: camouflage and venom in stonefish — Zen Faulkes, Neuro Dojo

Zen Faulkes writes about the stonefish one of the most venomous creatures in the sea. Interestingly, the stonefish don’t appear to use their awesome powers for anything – good or evil. They’re ambush predators, so their venom isn’t used to capture prey, but neither is it used to ward of predators. As Faulkes notes, it sounds like a good subject for a dissertation! Check it out here.

Squid Have Mirror Eyeballs — Danna Staaf, Squid A Day

Many sea creatures use camouflage to hide themselves from predators – but their eyes remain a dead giveaway. Squid use smoke and mirrors – ok, maybe just the mirrors – to hide in the open ocean. Their eyes reflect ambient light like a special kind of mirror called a ‘dielectric.’ When the light hits them a certain way, their eyes don’t appear to be there at all! Don’t take my word for it, check out Daana’s post here.

Ping-pong paddle worm — Susannah, Wanderin’ Weeta (With Waterfowl and Weeds)

Wanderin’ Weeta brings us a video of a tiny paddleworm that hitch-hiked a ride to her home in an empty thatched acorn barnacle shell. I love the music! Who knew that invert biology could be so entertaining. Watch how this critter wriggles to the music. Ok, maybe the wriggling came first, but it’s still fun to watch here.

The fun continues  – just head on over the the blogs listed above and see what these ocean authors have in store for you for May!

What are your favorite ocean topics? Let us know below!


Round of Words Mid-Week Check-in

My progress has been somewhat inconsistent this week, but still pretty good so I’m pleased.

  1. Writing/revising: my good friend, the talented literary agent Louise Fury, convinced me to take on a cool new writing project (complete with deadlines!) so I’m psyched about that. I’m still revising my WIP and received incredibly supportive and valuable feedback from my new writers’ group. I have yet to do my ‘Morning Pages’ today – and it’s after 9pm. Sigh.
  2. Learning: Working through Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel (while I do just that), but haven’t done much on The Artist’s Way. Hope to go on an artist’s date tomorrow – Friday at the latest.  Perhaps a hike?
  3. Blogging: I’m here, aren’t I? 😉 I’m pretty happy with my new Sunday feature – a mash-up called ‘Beachcombing.” That brings me to twice weekly. I’m hoping to add a third on Fridays, but I’m not committing just yet…

Check out everyone else’s progress here.

How are your goals coming along?  Steaming along, dragging your feet?  It’s all good. Let us know so we can cheer you on – below!

Marine Mammal Poster Giveaway

I’ll announce the winner of last month’s drawing soon, I promise!  just haven’t compiled the names yet.

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, science geek, gardener, and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Brave Blue Word’s End of the Year Ocean Round-up 2010

2010 was a hard year for the oceans. The biggest disaster was, of course, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which raged on for a mind-boggling, stomach-curdling three months. While BP and the Feds are alternating between pointing fingers, and patting themselves on the back for saving the Gulf, the true impacts of the disaster will be making themselves known for a generation or more.

However, not all the news was bad news. 2010 also saw some major victories and discoveries that furthered our understanding and protection of the Big Blue:

  • Census of Marine Life: In 2010, more than 2,700 researchers from 81 countries completed a decade-long survey of the world’s oceans. More than 540 expeditions culminated in the discovery of thousands of new species. Researchers found life everywhere they looked, from the coldest to the hottest waters, from the water’s surface to depths with pressures high enough to crush steel. Ocean geek that I am, I get positively giddy thinking about the wealth of scientific information and journal articles available on their website. I’ve blogged about this amazing effort here, and here, and definitely will again.
  • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The California Fish and Game Commission voted to establish 36 MPAs along the state’s southern coast, from the Point Conception to the Mexican border. More than 20% of U.S. lands are protected in national parks and the like, but less than 1% of the ocean has any comparable protections. A recent study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University (Christie et al., 2010) found that fish larvae from MPAs can help rebuild overfished populations more than 100 miles away.
  • Shark Conservation Act: Shark finning is the barbaric practice of cutting off the fins of a shark for the Asian delicacy of shark fin soup. The shark is often tossed back in the water still alive to bleed to death. “Of the 307 shark species assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 64 are listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered due to shark finning.”*  Back in April, Hawaii banned shark finning in state waters. Early this month, Congress followed up with a ban on new shark finning in all U.S. waters. (Last year, the EU closed a loophole in their finning ban to effectively stop the practice in European waters).
Grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)

My round-up wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few of my favorite ocean organizations, which did fabulous work in 2010. Check them out and support their efforts in 2011 and beyond. I’ve put my money where my mouth and keyboard are to support each of these amazing groups.

  • Ocean Champions is the only political voice for the oceans. They work on politics, not only policy, pushing ocean legislation, and supporting candidates from both parties who support the ocean. They’re incredibly savvy about the workings of Capitol Hill, and know how to get things done. Fed up with gridlock? Support a group that works hard to ensure that ocean issues are heard in our nation’s capital.
  • Sylvia Earle Alliance. I can describe Sylvia Earle in one word: hero. But why stop there? How about awesome, incredible, cool, fun, adventurous, dedicated, passionate, and smart. I had the pleasure of meeting her back in 1997, and she lived up to everyone of those words and more. She was recently named Treehugger’s Person of the Year. Check out Sylvia’s awesome TED speech here.
Dr. Sylvia Earle sits on a tiny one person submersible called the Deep Worker. ©KipEvansPhotography.com
  • Wallace J Nichols. Wallace is a one-man ocean revolution. He’s a researcher, educator, and activist, working in a dozen different ways to communicate his love, passion, and concern for the seas to people all over the world.  His motto is to “live like you love the oceans,” and there’s no doubt that he’s walking the walk in more ways than you can imagine. 100 Blue Angels is a campaign he’s recently launched to support his work. You can check out his 2010 Top Ten list here.

Next month I’ll blog about some of the legislative battles on the horizon for 2011.  So stay tuned for more Brave Blue Words, and have a Happy New Year!

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*Historic Shark Fin Ban Passes in Hawaii – Posted on: April 29, 2010 4:16 AM, by Christie Wilcox

Mark R. Christie, Brian N. Tissot, Mark A. Albins, James P. Beets, Yanli Jia, Delisse M. Ortiz, Stephen E. Thompson, Mark A. Hixon. Larval Connectivity in an Effective Network of Marine Protected Areas. PLoS ONE, 2010; 5 (12): e15715 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015715

Historic Shark Fin Ban Passes In Hawaii

Posted on: April 29, 2010 4:16 AM, by Christie Wilcox