Majestic. Powerful. Awe-inspiring. Intelligent. These are just a few of the words that may come to mind when you think of a fully grown African or Asian elephant. But for farmers who are trying to make a living in places where elephants also roam, these iconic mammals can be more like giant pests.
Whether you’ve been waiting a year, a month, or a week, the time has nearly come. Tomorrow, August 21, 2017, many people in the United States will be in the direct path of a total solar eclipse, and many more people outside of this path of totality will be able to experience the phenomenon in some way or another.
Rebecca “Bec” Wellard is a marine scientist currently focusing her research efforts on orcas in Australian waters. Building on her past research studying bottlenose dolphin communication and how boat noise affects this communication, Bec is now working on her PhD by researching orca population dynamics and acoustic behavior in Western Australia.
One of the best parts of writing Marine Science for Kids (which officially releases tomorrow, June 1), was interviewing marine scientists, finding out what inspires them, and getting a glimpse into their cool careers. While we don’t want to give away all the fun tidbits we uncovered in these exclusive interviews, here’s a preview of the inspirational people we included in our latest book.
Solomon David once considered becoming a medical doctor. He spent time in college as a pre-med student, but his deep-rooted interests in biology ultimately won out after he took ichthyology (the branch of zoology dealing with fishes) in his senior year. That’s when Solomon discovered his true path. As he puts it, “my future was with the fishes.” He decided to pursue a PhD in aquatics resource ecology and management.
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.
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.
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!
Along with pandas, penguins, orcas, and skunks, zebras are well-known for their striking black-and-white coloration. But why do they have stripes in the first place? The short answer from the scientific community is: We don’t really know. But by asking questions and seeking answers through research, the scientific community is getting closer to the truth and learning more about zebras in the process.
Research and conservation are like peanut butter and jelly—they’re simply better together. Marine conservation biologist Simon Pierce, co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, has seen firsthand how important research can be in conserving species. Just this summer, Simon’s research on whale shark populations helped prompt the species’ reclassification from “vulnerable” to “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).