Fifteen minutes into the open ocean from Oahu’s north shore the great Pacific rolled beneath a gray sky. The warm, moist air was smooth and smelled of salt and diesel fumes from the boat’s rumbling motor. The motor puttered to a hush as Nick secured the bowline to the mooring and the sound of light wind returned to our ears. Around and below us the ocean stretched forth, rich and solid. Within her, gray shapes passed below.
Category: Published and Polished
Hotspot for Fishes! Researchers Find More Than Half of All California Fish Species in La Jolla
A new study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, marine biologist Philip Hastings and colleagues reveals that over half of the fish species found in California waters have been found in the immediate vicinity of the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego.
The research team used specimens collected over several decades to document the diversity of fishes in and around the region’s marine protected areas (MPAs) and diver surveys to quantify the abundance of kelp forest fishes.
Hungry Bear: A Circle of Eating
The thin branches of a huckleberry tree fluttered slightly, then shook unexpectedly; teardrop green leaves brushed each other with a soft rustling as their delicate homes shifted up and down. A moment of stillness, then the rounded head of a black bear appeared, following a sniffing wet nose towards the dark, round berries.
Idea Exchange at the UN Climate Change Conference
Lima welcomed us with a pale sky, bustling streets and a promise of being unforgettable. Through the taxi window, flat topped rectangular buildings of tan brick blurred together as our driver shifted into a higher gear, accelerating us down the bumpy road, weaving freely between a towering blue bus and a dented sedan. The building edges crumbled slightly, bare rebar extended from the walls, reaching for the sky as if waiting for another level to be added. The neighborhood shifted with added wood facades painted only the brightest colors—lavender, pink and yellow, green with orange trim. We passed under an arching pedestrian bridge with a sign reading: Peru, lleno de creatividad.
De-Oxy What Now?
Most people think of climate change in terms of warmer average global temperature, melting glaciers and more extreme storms. But what about the oceans? Carbon polluted into the atmosphere also enters the oceans and is making them more acidic. Heating is also occurring in the oceans which can stress organisms and cause them to shift their distribution patters. Heating has another effect: deoxygenation. To find our more watch the deoxygenation video that I put together with friends and colleagues to shine a little light on the issue.
Can Ocean Temperatures Aid Disaster Relief?
The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a natural climate cycle of fluctuating ocean temperatures and changing storm patterns over the tropical Pacific and is the dominant interannual signal of climate variability, affecting weather patterns worldwide. The two extreme phases of ENSO are El Niño and La Niña, which influence severe weather events like hurricanes, flooding, and drought.
For California, an El Niño year often yields rain, but how does it affect the rest of the world?
Cheryl Peach: It’s All About Connections
They say enthusiasm can be infectious. This surely seems to be true when you talk with Cheryl Peach about her work in education outreach.
Peach has worked unrelentingly to connect scientists and graduate students to underserved communities in San Diego. Peach was one of the 18 awardees of the annual UC San Diego Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards Program. The program honors staff, faculty, students, departments, and organizational units or groups that make outstanding contributions in the areas of equal opportunity, affirmative action, diversity, and the UCSD Principles of Community during the year.
One Bird! Two Bird! Big Bird! Blue Bird! All the Birds of Lake Naivasha, Kenya
We departed from Vish and Sunita’s house while the morning sunrays were still soft and long. Nairobi quickly faded behind us. Dwayne navigated the roads with a slightly terrifying confidence: the safari van’s top-heavy nature wobbled around the turns as we rose along a winding road, northwest to the edge of the Great Rift Valley. Below us, the valley stretched solid green, sprawling out for miles, further than the eye could see, vanishing in the distance. The forested slopes gave way to grasslands specked by acacias and cut by thin brown roads that connected modest dwellings. Two baboons straddled each other, unabashed, fornicating on the roadside, obstructing a perfect view. Their accusatory eyes glared sideways at passing tourists and their unapologetic clicking cameras.
The Good and the Ugly: A Lesson in Humanity from Rwanda
A country known in the western world for having one of the most horrible genocides in recent history blew my expectations out of the water with its beauty, cleanliness and infrastructure. Plastic bags, the long-lasting litter of the ‘third world’—and much of the ‘first world’ as well—have been outlawed in Rwanda. Plain and simple: plastic bags are illegal. In the city and along the country roadways the ground is free of the heaps of trash so commonly seen littering the landscape.
San Bushmen, the Oldest People on Earth
In the heart of the Kalahari Desert live a small, strong people with slanted eyes, wide noses and caramel skin. Their slender bodies are adapted to moving through this arid yellow land. Women gather nuts, fruits and roots, knowing what each plant has to offer: food, medicine, dye, building material. The men hunt, mostly antelope, with poison arrows in multiple day pursuits: stocking the animal until they are close enough to shoot, then running after it as it flees, arrow lodged in its body, for days until finally the poison sets in, slows the animal and it can be sacrificed.
Big Men in Gray Suits: Diving with Great White Sharks, Gansbaai, South Africa
Shark! Coming in from the front. Divers get ready— Divers down.
Five eager tourists stuffed into neoprene suits pushed on the bar of the metal cage and submerged their faces in the icy water, ready to see the magnificent animal approaching from afar.
Ostriches on the Beach? Must be in Cape Town!
I am in love with Africa, although it’s probably too soon to say that. I am in love with Africa the way teenagers fall in love with an enticing prospect—beautiful, intriguing and lustful. Cape Town has left me enamored and wanting more, eager to discover all of Africa, infatuated by what she has shown me so far.
Gili Air, Indonesia
Imagine a flat, green island ringed by white sand beaches with views of blue mountains across the water. A warm, clear sea laps quietly at the sand, its color ever changing from aquamarine to deep turquoise with the light. Beneath the waters lay outcrops of sea grass waving gently in the shallows, and mounding stoney corals swarming with vividly colored fish. Narrow walking paths criss-cross the island and intersect with a circular one that outlines the circumference and takes a mere 90 minutes to walk at a leisurely pace. Most everyone walks. The only ‘vehicles’ are carts painted bright blue and pulled by small horses.
Guided by the Currents of the Gili Islands, Indonesia
Dynamite fishing has been a problem in the Gili Islands and the evidence underwater is overwhelming. Huge sections of the reef turned to vast graveyards of shattered corals, virtually absent of life. Pocketed amongst these battle zones are rare oasis of corals that were missed by the bombing.
Canangsaris and Penjors
Balinese Hindus place beautiful offerings, known as canangsari, in front of their houses. Mixtures of flowers, leaves, fruit, rice and crackers are laid out in handmade boats or trays of betel leaves, called a porosan. Each offering must be in a porosan and contain an areca nut and a lime. These key items represent the three manifestations of the Hindu supreme spirit, Sanghyang Widhi: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. Offerings are set out on shrines, to appease the good sprits, and on the ground, to appease the evil sprits. Often lighted incense is placed in the canangsari, sending beautiful fragrances out into the morning air.