Harnessing the Power of the Web as a Tool for Conservation, Not Sensation

Early newspaper with a sensational headline reading “Jersey Shark-Hunters Out for Big Man-Eaters on Jersey Coast.” This was written in response to a string of shark attacks off the coast of New Jersey in the early 1900’s.

By Kevin Reagan, SRC Intern Meet the pygmy slow loris, one of the world’s most threatened primates and star of one of the most popular animal videos uploaded to YouTube. The video featured Sonya, a female pygmy slow loris, being tickled in a bedroom in Russia. It accumulated 9,338,000 views between April 2009 and January 2012 (when it was removed due to animal rights concerns) and received 12,411 comments over that time (Nekaris 2013).  Since pygmy slow loris’ are endangered, trade in any of the eight species is prohibited by CITES, and it is illegal to keep them as pets. … Continue reading

Catalysts Behind the First Shark and Ray Sanctuaries in the Philippines

Figure 2. Research divers deploying quadrat for photo capture along the cleaning station. Large teams are used per quadrat, thus impact to the coral surface is minimalized.

Jeff Palumbo, SRC Intern The Philippines – one of the few places in the world where pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) sightings are a common occurrence, happening daily. These rare sharks ritualistically travel to seamounts in order to be cleaned of parasites, all just within reach of scuba divers.  Malapascua, a spit of land less than two miles long boasts the closest proximity to these sunken-island reefs. Due to this unique ecotourism opportunity, the island has exploded in popularity for science and sport. Renowned researchers from all over the globe make their pilgrimage to the Philippines to study this incredible … Continue reading

Shark Tagging with the Children’s Wish Foundation

Our volunteers gathered around one of our Nurse Sharks after taking data and measurements, with interns Jake Jerome, team leader David Schiffman, and intern Emily Nelson

By Tim Hogan, SRC Intern On the morning of Friday, April 8th, a crew of 10 SRC interns and their captain gathered together to prepare for a day of serendipity and many sharks. Our guests, associated with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, came along to meet our team leader, David Shiffman, and get some hands-on experience with the boat and sharks. The volunteer’s enthusiasm and eagerness to learn made them fit right in with the rest of the crew. After preparations were made, the Diver’s Paradise made its way to the Sandbar Palace, a deep reef with high productivity. … Continue reading

Fishes that rule the world: circumtropical distributions revisited

Nurse_shark_with_remoras

By William Evans, SRC Intern Fishes that rule the world: circumtropical distributions revisited (2015) by Gaither, Bowen, Rocha, and Briggs reviews and updates the list of circumtropical fishes that was published in1960. The term circumtropical is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “surrounding or distributed throughout the tropics”. Circumtropical fishes represent less than 1% of the world’s aquatic vertebrates but are a diverse group that includes common species such as tuna, remoras, sharks and lantern fishes. A majority of these species are pelagic or bathypelagic. Through recent updates in technology and the availability to access information using resources like Fishbase and … Continue reading

Portrayal of sustainability principles in the mission statements and on home pages of the world’s largest organizations

The percentage of company home web pages depicting an awareness for poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation, sustainable practice, responding to climate change and gender equity. Each group consists of 30 large organizations.

By Dana Tricarico, SRC Intern The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro showed a wide span global agreement to change attitudes and behavior regarding sustainable development- an increasingly important idea beginning in the 1970’s. Conventions and commissions such as these led to terms like “corporate social responsibility (CSR),” i.e. the concept that companies should take into account not only economic objectives, but also social and environmental objectives. By 2010, all Fortune 500 companies reported on CSR. However, despite the CSR efforts and the growing awareness of sustainable practices, there has been some concern … Continue reading

Buoyless Nets Reduce Sea Turtle Bycatch in Coastal Net Fisheries

As seen above: A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) stuck in a fishing net. Turtles often get stuck in nets that have broken free and are floating in the currents throughout the ocean, these nets are termed “Ghost nets”.

By Ryan Keller, SRC Intern Bycatch of megafauna (larger organisms) is a serious negative side effect that stems from the practice of commercial fishing worldwide. Often fishing practices such as long lines or using nets are effective at catching the target species but also will entrap many other organisms. Often for organisms that breath air this means mortality as they may be stuck underwater for a longer period of time then they able to hold their breath.  Baja California Sur, Mexico has some of the highest recorded megafauna bycatch rates of anywhere in the world due to heavy use of … Continue reading