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.

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I Hereby Reclaim This Land for Nature!

The Ocean Doctor on WebTalkRadio.net

December 13, 2010: Mangroves are critically important to our coastlines, to fish, manatees and other ocean wildlife we love. But in South Florida many acres of mangroves were destroyed to make way for waterfront real estate, and around the world, mangroves face a myriad of threats. Enter the Reclamation Project, a unique art, education and restoration project hosted at Miami Science Museum. Mangrove seedlings in cups are displayed as art in galleries, retail stores and schools throughout the region, and once large enough, they are replanted along the shoreline. Along the way comes lots of new awareness about the incredible wetlands residents may be only vaguely aware of, and deep appreciation for the beauty of nature. Our guests: Reclamation Project Founder and artist, Xavier Cortada and Executive Director, Fernando Bretos. Also: Attacked by the Giant Squid’s cousins and a silky shark with an appetite for video cameras.

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.

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50 Years, 50 States, 50 Stitches

I don’t feel my age, I certainly don’t act my age, and I’m delighted when people tell me I don’t look my age. But the 35,000 air miles I’ve logged since the beginning of the year have taken an unexpected toll that a younger me might have been able to simply shrug off. It’s in these circumstances that a Medical Doctor overrides an Ocean Doctor, and my orthopedic surgeon was clear with me that if I was going to be able to shed my wool suit for a wetsuit for our next Cuba expedition in June 2009, I would need to listen, obey, and lie still.

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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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50 States – Leg 1: California – The Giant Squid Problem

I suppose it was an appropriate start for an expedition about the oceans: Wet. A cold January morning rain pounded the Washington, DC sidewalks as I dashed, carry-on in tow, to catch a ride to the airport. Fortunately, a taxi driver quickly took pity on the umbrella-less, rapidly saturating figure waving his arm on the corner, and, in keeping with DC taxi cab tradition, I was soon in deep and interesting conversation about current events and, of course, politics.

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Attacked by the Giant Squid’s Cousins

Attack of the Giant Squid's Cousins!

Squid Attack!

It’s the fantasy of many a marine biologist and explorer. To catch a glimpse of the giant squid, alive,and in its natural habitat: The deep ocean. Giant squid have been scientifically documented at a size of up to an incredible 43 feet long based on specimens that have washed ashore. I’ve seen one such specimen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Laying there pickled and motionless in its sterile white display case, it was hard to imagine this animal rocketing about the dark depths, living up to its reputation as a formidable predator. During one of his talks when I first met oceanographer Bob Ballard, he compared trying to find the giant squid from a submersible to trying to find an F-15 jet racing by, on a mountain top, at night, in a driving rainstorm, with a flashlight. Yesterday I had second thoughts about looking for the giant squid when one of its cousins, less than 2% of its size, disabled my sub and aborted my dive as I was descending through 1,300 feet.

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