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Seagrass Protects Coral Reefs from Ocean Acidification

turtle grasses near Munson Rocks

The BBC reports on research pointing to the importance of seagrasses to protecting coral reefs against the impacts of ocean acidification, caused by carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions dissolving in seawater, causing unprecedented increases in the ocean’s acidity.

Dr. Richard Unsworth of Swansea University, along with a team of scientists from Oxford University and James Cook University in Australia, found several types of seagrass which may reduce the acidity of water around reefs, protecting them from erosion from acidifying seas. Read more

Saving the Oceans from Acidification Starts With an End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Great Barrier Reef 008

We’ve described ocean acidification as potentially the “the gravest and most immediate planetary threat yet,” and as more and more research results become public, it appears that this threat is, indeed, every bit as potent as we had feared.Yet it has been a painfully slow process for ocean acidification to gain traction in the media and is still far from being a “mainstream” issue. So when the San Francisco Chronicle recently called for action to deal with the issue, we took notice. Read more

VIDEO: Is it Getting Hot in Here? Considering Social Media’s Impact on Climate Change (Social Media Week 2012)

Is It Getting Hot In Here? Considering Social Media's Impact on Climate ChangeWatch the video…

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A Fragile Empire: National Geographic Examines Threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

"A Fragile Empire" can be found in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine on newstands April 26

“A Fragile Empire” can be found in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine on newsstands April 26 (Photo: National Geographic)

Earlier this year, World Resources Institute released its “Reefs at Risk Revisited Report” (featured on The Ocean Doctor Radio Show) which spelled out a rather grim future for coral reefs due to both local and global threats, should we fail to take action. One of the bright spots in its report was Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which has fared better than many other reefs around the world and has in place strong protections and management practices. But even this massive and remote reef system isn’t immune from the impacts affecting coral reefs worldwide. In “A Fragile Empire” National Geographic Magazine (May 2011) writer Jennifer S. Holland explores the various factors that are threatening Australia’s monumental reef. From rising water temperatures, to bleaching, massive flooding and high levels of acidity, the reef is in danger of collapsing and the prospect for recovery is uncertain.

A warming climate is pushing corals against the upper limit of their thermal tolerance, evidenced by mass bleachings like the one in 1997-98. A 60-year decline in ocean phytoplankton — microscopic organisms that form the base of the food chain — may also be playing a role. Recent flooding in Australia washed enormous plumes of sediments and toxins far offshore to the reef tract. And now, thanks to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, the oceans are becoming more and more acidic as more of this atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater. As the oceans become more acid, limiting the ability of organisms, like corals and shellfish, to build their limestone shells and skeletons.

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Aboard the Cape to Cape Expedition: In Shackleton’s Footsteps on South Georgia Island

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March 14, 2011: Join the Ocean Doctor aboard the Prince Albert II as he reports from the Cape to Cape Expedition, traveling from the tip of South America to the tip of South Africa. This week we follow Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps on South Georgia Island where he found rescue for his doomed Antarctic expedition. We also get up close — very close — to the splendid Antarctic wildlife of this beautiful island, encountering penguins, seals, albatross and learn about the legacy of whaling here.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

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Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

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Aboard the Cape to Cape Expedition: Ushuaia and the Falkland Islands

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March 7, 2011: Join the Ocean Doctor aboard the Prince Albert II as he reports from the Cape to Cape Expedition, traveling from the tip of South America to the tip of South Africa. This week, we “land in a postcard” in beautiful Ushuaia, Argentina and encounter penguins and albatross in the beautiful Falkland Islands. Also: The second of a two-part look at a newly-issued report by World Resources Institute, “Reefs at Risk Revisited” a report that history may well show is the most important report about the oceans to be released this century. It’s more than a wakeup call — it’s truly our last call to take action to save coral reefs.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook!

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. Read more

Kraken: Up Close and Very Personal With the Giant Squid

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February 28, 2011: Few animals provoke the imagination and wonder of the sea like the squid. The giant squid is thought to have been the basis of the myriad of sea monster tales that have been spun over the centuries. And while we now know more about these animals than ever before, there’s still an incredible amount of mystery remaining to be unveiled. The book is ?Kraken: The Curious, Exciting and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid? and its author and our guest today, Wendy Williams, award-winning writer and journalist. Also: First of a two-part look at a newly-issued report by World Resources Institute, ?Reefs at Risk Revisited? a report that history may well show is the most important report about the oceans to be released this century. It’s more than a wakeup call – it’s truly our last call to take action to save coral reefs.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook!

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. Read more

Where’s the Oil Now? What’s the Gulf Worth? The Tough Questions, Answered

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February 7, 2011: We tap into the best and brightest at the National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment in Washington, DC to get answers to the tough questions. An interview with Dr. David Yoskowitz, Chair of Socioeconomics at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, with jaw-dropping statistics on what the Gulf is worth. What we all assumed about dispersants that may be all wrong. And we follow the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling as it goes before Congress.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook!

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. Read more

Jean-Michel Cousteau on the Gulf, His Father and Our Oceans’ Future

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January 31, 2011: Our special guest this week is Jean-Michel Cousteau, who leads Ocean Futures Society, a nonprofit marine conservation organization which he founded in 1999 to honor his father’s legacy to carry on his pioneering work in exploring, filming and protecting the oceans.? Jean-Michel has produced over 80 films, received the Emmy and the Peabody Award among others. He was honored with the Environmental Hero Award by the White House. In February 2002, he became the first person to represent the Environment in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Jean-Michel led the effort to return Keiko, the captive killer whale of “Free Willy” film fame, to the wild. With his team, Jean-Michel has been working for months to document the impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. Also: Our in-depth coverage of the National? Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill continues.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook!

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. Read more

Saving Our Seas with an eBay Guitar: The Arts and Ocean Literacy

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January 24, 2011: Like it or not, our kids are going to inherit an oiled Gulf and a troubled ocean, and their generation will ultimately have to deal with problems we’ve created. But how do we ensure they’re up to the challenge? If you listen to multimedia artist and conservationist Mark Holmes, reaching our kids through the arts is a powerful approach and that’s exactly what he’s doing with the newly-formed Institute for Ocean Literacy. Mark formerly worked at National Geographic where he launched the NationalGeographic.com web site and designed and art directed National Geographic Magazine. His music, graphic novels, and passion are helping to inspire our next generation. Also: Our in-depth coverage of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling continues as the Ocean Doctor guides you through the highlights of its final report.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on WebTalkRadio.net. Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. See the complete list of episodes.

Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook!

Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below.

Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. Read more