Author: Bethanie Hestermann

Chasing Glowworms

We donned our striped thermals, rubber boots, and helmets and tramped down a muddy hillside to the entrance to Mangarongapu Cave. If we wanted to see glowworms in their natural environment, we were going to have to work for it. Most bioluminescent organisms live in the sea, particularly in the deep. On land, bioluminescent species include glowworms, a catch-all term that refers to luminescent insects like fireflies (winged beetles) and the fungus gnat of New Zealand, among others.

A Colossal Deep-Sea Find

Ten years ago, the crew of the San Aspiring fishing vessel, which was on the hunt for Antarctic toothfish, pulled in a longline and discovered they had caught something unexpected. It was a huge, red blob—a deep-sea-dwelling colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) that had also been hunting for toothfish more than a mile below the surface. Recognizing they had something unique on their hands, the crew hauled the now-deceased squid onboard and froze its body.

Through the Lens of Shannon Wild

From her early career as a graphic designer to traveling the world as a freelance photographer/videographer for clients such as National Geographic, Australian Shannon Benson of Shannon Wild is proof positive that hard work, dedication, and passion can open doors to unique careers in wildlife conservation. Like most of things in life, though, Shannon’s success hasn’t been handed to her.

Grim Update on Endangered Vaquita Porpoise

Since we last blogged about the vaquita, the world’s most endangered marine mammal, in July 2016, the situation has become grimmer for these tiny porpoises living in the Gulf of California. Just yesterday, the IUCN-SSC Cetacean Specialist Group provided an update on the decline of the vaquita due to continued illegal gillnet fishing in the vaquita’s habitat.

Penguin Fun Facts for Penguin Awareness Day

Penguins are flightless seabirds that get around by swimming and diving, waddling around on land, and, sometimes, slipping and sliding on their bellies. Scientists have identified more than a dozen penguin species, and each one has an outer layer of waterproof feathers, webbed feet, and flippers for swimming. Penguins frequently preen (groom) and spread an oil-like substance on their feathers, which helps keep their bodies dry and insulated against water and wind.

Introducing Marine Science for Kids

After Zoology for Kids was released in March 2015, we were blown away by the responses we received from reviewers and bloggers, parents and grandparents, teachers and homeschoolers, and kids of all ages. From start to finish, it took about two years to bring Zoology for Kids from pitch to published work, and it had been a long journey indeed.

5 Ways to Use Less Plastic in 2017

Happy 2017! If you’re setting New Year’s goals to help keep you focused on positive action throughout the next 12 months, consider sharing our resolution to use less plastic. Just like committing to be more frugal, eat less junk food, or exercise more regularly, the quest to use less plastic in 2017 won’t be easy. However, it’s an opportunity to create life-long changes that will help the environment and set an important example for our children, families, friends, and coworkers.

‘Tis the Season: Wonderfully Wintery Creatures

‘Tis the season for freshly fallen snow, warm blankets, and holiday cheer (and scraping ice from car windshields). For humans in the northern hemisphere, it’s the time of year for sledding and ice skating, cookie baking and ugly sweater parties, and cuddling up by the fireplace to watch classic movies. Unlike humans, many animal species—particularly in Arctic regions—are simply built for wintery conditions. Some of them even seem to embody the season itself (ahem, reindeer). Grab a cup of hot cocoa, and let’s take a look at just a few of these wonderfully wintery creatures.

Saving Peanut the Sea Turtle

On December 6, 2016, a sea turtle named Peanut was released back into the wild after a seven-month rehabilitation period at Florida’s Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. We got the scoop on this coordinated and collaborative effort from Jordan Hennessey, the president and founder of Shark Sentinels, a conservation organization that works to protect sharks and other marine life in Florida. Here’s your chance to go behind the scenes of Peanut’s rescue and release!

Q&A with Dylan Fryer: Never Too Young to Make a Difference

Back when he was just eight years old, Dylan Fryer knew he could make a difference for wildlife conservation. He started out small, raising money wherever he could—$100 for San Diego Zoo Global by participating in a recycling program called Cans for Critters, $500 by participating in a fundraising effort called I ___ for Wildlife (Dylan chose to read for wildlife), and so on.