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Why Dolphins Must be Freed — A Plea from Ric O’Barry (“The Cove”)

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November 14, 2011: He was the former trainer of the most famous dolphin of them all, Flipper. There were actually five “Flippers” in all, and when the most well-known of them all, Kathy, died in Ric O’Barry’s arms, he made the profound transition from training dolphins in captivity to combating the captivity industry. His work was featured in the Academy Award-winning film, The Cove (2009), which used covert techniques to expose the brutal dolphin hunt that persists in Taiji, Japan. Ric shares his powerful message with us. Also: What would you do if your nation was going to disappear off the face of the Earth? We get a dramatic answer from ten warrior dancers of the tiny Pacific coral atoll nation of Tokelau.

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. Or listen to us on your iPhone, Android phone, WebOS phone, BlackBerry or tablet, including the iPad, with the free Stitcher SmartRadio app. 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...]

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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Oil Now Surrounds World Heritage Site, Inaccessible Island. Thousands of Endangered Penguins, Seabirds at Risk

Inaccessible Island, a World Heritage Site

Inaccessible Island, a World Heritage Site

ABOARD PRINCE ALBERT II: I spoke today with Katrine Herrion, a project officer of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) stationed at Tristan da Cunha.

Katrine was camped on Inaccessible Island last weekend and reports that as of Sunday, oil completely surrounded the island. She and her team observed nearly 100 oiled penguins just before they departed. Clearly many more are being impacted.

Trevor Glass, Director of the Tristan da Cunha Department of Conservation was planning to return to Tristan da Cunha from Nightingale Island with around 750 penguins for rehabilitation. This represents a small percentage of the number of birds estimated to be impacted at this point, conservatively estimated at more than 10,000.

Because penguins cannot fly, it is impossible for them to avoid the oil when entering and exiting the water. Oil impacts the waterproof properties of their feathers and makes them vulnerable to hypothermia by reducing their feather’s insulation abilities. Oil can seriously impact the birds’ eyes and other tissues and can poison them if they ingest the oil while attempting to clean their feathers. A number of oiled seals have also been observed on Nightingale Island. [Read more...]

Aboard the Cape to Cape Expedition: Disaster at Nightingale Island

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March 21, 2011: The Prince Albert II finds itself in the middle of a rescue mission as its expedition team comes to the rescue of a cargo ship that has run aground at one of the most remote islands in the world, Nightingale Island, part of the Tristan da Cunha island group, an area that is home to the second largest population of seabirds in the world, including half of the world’s endangered Northern Rockhopper penguin population. When the ship breaks up and begins spilling its 300,000 gallons of heavy marine oil, it becomes clear that this may rank as one of the most serious environmental disasters of its kind.

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: 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.

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...]

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...]

Filmmakers Honored for Film, Arctic Tale

Breathtaking Imagery, Touching Story Brings Awareness of Global Warming’s Arctic Impacts to Millions

Sarah Robertson and Adam Ravetch are presented with the Lowell Thomas Award at The Explorers Club in New York (Photo by David E. Guggenheim)

NEW YORK, New York — Our good friends and colleagues Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson of Arctic Bear Productions and the Arctic Exploration Fund made their Hollywood directorial debut this year with the hit, feature length, theatrical film ARCTIC TALE. They were recently honored for this important achievement, and the important conservation message the film conveys, with the presentation of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award at the Explorers Club in New York. The award is named in honor of famed adventurer and broadcast journalist Lowell Thomas and is awarded to those who have pushed the limits of discovery, knowledge and human endurance and have excelled in communicating the importance of exploration and the field sciences to the general public. [Read more...]

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