Google Earth 5.0 ? Now With Genuine Ocean!

The ExpeditionCasts podcast is back! The series returns with the video version of the Ocean Doctor’s popular blog post, “Attacked by the Giant Squid’s Cousins.” (You can access the video version below.) That’s big news. But the GINORMOUS news is that ExpeditionCasts returns along with a new version of Google Earth. Version 5.0 of Google Earth allows you to explore the other 70 percent of the planet — the world’s oceans — and access stunning underwater video content from around the world.  We have been privileged to be a contributor to this enormous, er, GINORMOUS project, and you’ll find five ExpeditionCasts videos among the others Google Earth 5.0. Look for them in Alaska’s Bering Sea and off the northwestern coast of Cuba.

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Expedition to Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico: Preparations Underway

Exploring Cuba's Gulf of MexicoHAVANA, CUBA – Final preparations are now underway for an August expedition to explore and map one of the least known areas of the Gulf of Mexico — Cuba’s northwestern coastal waters, including Cuba’s spectacular Los Colorados barrier reef. A joint effort of the University of Havana’s Centro de Investigaciones Marinas (Center for Marine Research) and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, this, the fourth expedition in a multiyear project entitled, Proyecto Costa Noroccidental (Project of the Northwest Coast). (See Exploring, Studying Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico for details on this important effort.) The fourth expedition will concentrate study on Los Colorados, an area with remarkably healthy  coral reefs, despite the alarming decline in the health of coral reefs elsewhere in the Caribbean. This research is providing the most comprehensive biological picture yet of this little-explored region, and Cuba’s healthy corals may offer important clues for protecting and restoring corals elsewhere. (See Can Cuba’s Mysteries Help Save the World’s Coral Reefs? in OceanDoctor’s Blog.) [Read more…]

Can Cuba’s Mysteries Help Save the World’s Coral Reefs?

Healthy elkhorn coral in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico (Photo by Abel Valdivia)Until that tranquil morning in late June 1974, the sum total of my SCUBA diving experience had been in a landlocked state, in a stifling, moldy indoor YMCA pool in the Philadelphia suburbs and a Pennsylvania quarry, flooded with icy soup-green water. Barely comprehending the new world of pungent humidity, mountainous afternoon cumulus clouds, and lush tangles of flowering succulents I experienced at water’s edge during my first visit to the Florida Keys, I was wholly unprepared later that morning when I found myself seated in sugar-white sand with 40 feet of warm, clear aquamarine water above my head. As impossibly multi-colored fish passed slowly within reach before my wide 15-year-old eyes, my gaze broadened as I marveled at the towering jetties of coral around us, living layer cakes of corals upon corals, brown and mustard rock-like structures, encrusted with brilliant red, violet and orange coralline fans and branches, swaying in the warm, nourishing current and, like eager spring blossoms, reaching toward the dancing sunlight scattered on the surface above. [Read more…]

Blogus interruptus

Guanahacabibes, Cuba Read any authority’s advice about blogs and you’ll see at the top of the list: “Blog regularly.” Even for someone who enjoys writing as much as I do, I don’t believe in writing for writing’s sake — I like to share original experiences and ideas, not just rehash stale news. Still, I’ve experienced quite a few blog-worthy adventures in the four months since my last post shortly after the Bering Sea Expedition, but haven’t written a single word. [Read more…]

Historic Meeting Unites Cuba and the U.S., Taking Collaboration on Ocean Research & Conservation to a New Level


Cubans and Americans display the flags of both nations following a historic 2-day meeting in Cancún, México on collaboration in marine science & conservation

CANCÚN, México — In a historic meeting co-organized and led by the Washington, DC-based Center for International Policy and the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, a group of 15 Cubans and 15 Americans met in Cancún, Mexico to develop a plan for taking joint marine research and conservation activities between the U.S. and Cuba to a new level. Collaboration between U.S. and Cuban scientists has been exceedingly difficult because of the decades-old U.S. embargo, even though research is a permitted activity and U.S. scientists are allowed to travel to Cuba. Complicated logistics and ever-changing politics have prevented all but a few U.S. institutions from successful collaborative projects in Cuba. [Read more…]

Exploring, Studying Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico

Proyecto Costa Noroccidental research team aboard Cuban research vessel Boca del Toro, second expedition

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the University of Havana’s Center for Marine Research (CIM) [Centro de Investigaciones Marinas] are leading a collaborative effort, Proyecto Costa Noroccidental [Project of the Northwest Coast], a comprehensive multi-year research and conservation program for Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico coast. Dr. David E. Guggenheim, president of 1planet1ocean, is a member of HRI’s Advisory Council and also serves as HRI’s Cuba Programs Manager and is co-principal investigator of the project with Dr. Gaspar González Sansón of CIM. [Read more…]