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Friday, October 29, 2010

Sea lice treatment kills adult lobsters on east coast

High-profile drama seems to always surround B.C. open net-pen salmon aquaculture, so it's easy for West Coasters to sometimes forget that there are open net-pen salmon aquaculture operations in Atlantic Canada as well. We should definitely be paying attention to what's been going on out there in the past few days, though, where an outbreak of sea lice has precipitated a flurry of activity.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Startling coral discovery, Newfoundland beats B.C., and more

Hola amigos. It's been a few days. You've likely been wondering "What's happened to John? Has the law finally caught up with him?" And the answer to that is no, it hasn't: thanks to convenient loopholes in Canada's extradition agreements, the government of Guatemala can't touch me.

Actually, I've been traveling a bit for work lately and I feel a bit out of the loop when it comes to the latest oceans-related developments. So grab an oil-black coffee - it should almost have a slick on top, but not quite - put some tunes on, and let's take a spin.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carbon Dioxide – 3, Water – 0

It has been a pretty exciting couple of weeks for carbon dioxide. The infamous gas celebrated a stunning victory last week against its long time rival, water vapor, for control of the Earth's climate. According to a study published at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which examined the role that various gases play in the greenhouse effect, the planet's temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. Better luck next time, water! Water vapor and clouds still play a major role in global warming, but without non-condensing gases like CO2 and methane, they cannot uphold the Earth's greenhouse effect. This leaves water in distant second place, a loss as crushing as that suffered by Carolina in Sunday's 5-1 Vancouver game.

Friday, October 15, 2010

How I became an Environmentalist

Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Jake, I have been working for Living Oceans Society for about a month, and I am an environmentalist. This last point might not be such a surprise, considering the context in which you're reading it, but it isn't a word with which I have always been that comfortable. For many, environmentalism conjures up images of people who have long hair, live in trees, and listen to whale music. And while I admit that these may all have been accurate descriptions at various times in my life (especially during university), they are not the basis I use for applying the term to myself.
Let me back up a bit. To start with, my parents are lighthouse keepers, and I spent most of my childhood here:

Okay, so perhaps I was doomed to be an environmentalist from the start. But let me explain...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Coho, sea lice, and massive pieces of styrofoam litter

I don't know how to preface what you're about to see. My knowledge of the English language, or any of the other 12 languages I can speak fluently, doesn't allow me to express the vastness of the piece of styrofoam that my colleagues and I cleaned up from a local beach the other day. The only unit of measurement I can think of is based on this photo: it is approximately 1.9 Marias x 0.8 Marias x 0.3 Marias. That's...what, 0.456 cubic Marias. That's a HUGE piece of styrofoam.

Styrofoam and reference Maria
On to the seriousness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday links: threats of hatchery salmon edition

Today, Water Blogged is kicking back at LOS World Headquarters, sippin' coffee and takin' a spin around the world wide net for oceans-related links.

LOS World Headquarters is somewhere in there. Pretty cool, eh?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Demon pigs and ocean acidification

I had a terrifying experience last week! It involved a pig.

See, I was traveling for work, and I stayed in a hostel to save some money. By the time I got to bed I'd been awake for more than 36 hours, so the second I hit the pillow I dropped into one of those abyss-like slumbers. At some point in the night something woke me up - some kind of commotion. I woke up, but I was severely confused - I had no idea where I was or what was going on. I couldn't see much in the darkness - just a mass moving around across the room. The whole thing quickly took on a nightmarish feel. I thought that I was in a cabin, looking through a window into a misty night, watching a large pig trying to break in. At this point my survival instinct kicked in. Obviously I needed to scare the pig away! I tried yelling, but found I couldn't make a noise (thank goodness, in retrospect). So I did the next best thing: I started wildly flapping my arms at the demon pig, beating them against the mattress as loud as I could. Then I fell back asleep. The whole thing took maybe 15 seconds.

Anyway, turns out that what I thought/dreamed was a pig - it was just somebody tossing in their sleep in another bunk. So long story short: if you would have walked into that hostel room at that particular time, you would have seen one guy tossing and turning in his sleep, and another guy staring at him wild-eyed, madly flapping his arms.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Finding honest signals in the midst of the noise

Apologies to professional biologists if I muck this up, but there are things known to biologists as 'honest signals' - cues that the receiver understands to reliably correlate with some aspect of the sender. Large male elephant seals can bellow louder than small ones, for example, so in their competitions for females, the bellow is an honest signal of the size and therefore fighting ability of the male. In this way, potential disputes between males can be avoided if one recognizes that the other is the superior fighter through its bellowing. (And then the larger one gets all the females, even though he's probably a jerk and the smaller one is probably a really nice guy with a good sense of humor). it out first.
So I set out this morning to think of some honest signals - not from huge males, which as a 5'9" guy myself I am inclined to think are overrated. No, I set out to try to think of information that just might be sending a direct, unmistakable message about the status of our current social and environmental conditions. And so, without having exerted myself too much because I'm kind of jet-lagged, here are some that struck me (note - the term 'signal' may technically not be the correct word to use here, but I'm using the term anyway).