New Species Found, New Records Set Beneath the Bering Sea
On August 1, 2007, Kenneth Lowyck took his tiny sub to one of the expedition’s “shallower” dives, to about 700 feet into the Bering Sea’s Pribolof Canyon, where he extended the sub’s manipulator arm and collected rock containing a tiny, unassuming white sponge. Months later, there would be no doubt: This was a new species, named Aaptos kanuux, the word “kanuux” being the Aleut word for “heart,” in honor of the Bering Sea’s canyons, considered to be the heart of the Bering Sea. It was the first time the genus Aaptos has ever been documented in the Bering Sea.
The discovery comes on the heels of Earth Day and will likely herald future announcements of new species discovered during last summer’s Greenpeace expedition to the Bering Sea’s two largest canyons. 1planet1ocean president David Guggenheim participated as a science advisor and submarine pilot. Analysis continues, but already it has been noted that half of the 14 deep sea corals documented during the expedition were never before seen in the Bering Sea. Nor were two thirds of the 20 or so sponge species documented. And the expedition provided the first record of black coral of any kind and the first record of stony coral in the Bering Sea. NOAA biologist Robert Stone participated in the expedition and co-authored a recent paper with Greenpeace scientist John Hocevar presented the new findings at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium. You can see a copy of the report online. The expedition was undertaken to collect information needed to inform conservation policies by the North Pacific Fisheries Council. The expedition team documented numerous examples of extensive damage to corals by fishing trawlers, which essentially clearcut the bottom with their nets.
You’re Invited! See Never-Before-Seen Video from the Bering Sea Expedition
To celebrate the Marine Fish Conservation
Network’s 15th anniversary, David Guggenheim will be the featured
speaker aboard a cruise along the Potomac River in Washington, DC on May 7. As the first human being to pilot a submarine into the Bering
Sea’s two largest canyons he will show rare footage from Greenpeace’s
recent scientific expedition to these extraordinarily beautiful and
mysterious ocean depths. The Marine Fish Conservation Network
is a coalition of over 190 national and regional environmental
organizations, commercial and recreational fishing groups, aquariums,
and marine science groups dedicated to conserving marine fish and to
promoting their long-term sustainability. Download Invitation (PDF)
Preparations Underway for Second Historic Cuba-USA MeetingIn 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 Canc?n, Mexico to develop a
plan for taking joint marine research and conservation activities
between the U.S. and Cuba to a new level. (This event was the lead story in the New York Times Science Section. Read the article online.) 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. A follow-up meeting in Mexico is now being planned and will fully engage Mexican participation as well.
No, I’m not at sea, but the new title of the 1planet1ocean newsletter, ExpeditionDispatch , is at the ready, in anticipation of future expeditions, the first of which is hopefully just a few short months away. It’s been a busy and exciting time since returning from Greenpeace’s landmark expedition to the Bering Sea last summer. This newsletter provides just a taste of what’s transpired. For more details, visit 1planet1ocean, check out my blog, my Twitter micro-blog, and stay tuned for future Dispatches. Until then, wishing you full sails and calm seas.
David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.
P.S. For my personal commentary from at sea or behind my desk, I invite you to read OceanDoctor’s Blog
Was this copy of ExpeditionDispatch forwarded to you? Get your own subscription by subscribing here.
The New Green
president David E. Guggenheim was recently featured on “Philadelphia Agenda”
with Brad Segall on WOGL-FM/CBS Radio in a 30-minute interview about ocean conservation
during Earth Month
The ExpeditionCasts podcast made its debut from the Bering Sea aboard the Esperanza last summer. Thanks to your positive feedback, the series resumes in May 2008, with new features and interviews, bringing you dispatches from expeditions, research and conservation projects around the world. And remember, you don’t need an iPod to subscribe to a podcast, and it’s always free.
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