Environmental News February 5 - February 27, 2015

Quote for the week

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
—John Muir

To protect wetlands, reach for your toolbox
Date: February 11, 2015
By: The Center for International Forestry Research
In the midst of alarming losses to the world’s wetlands and mangroves, which store huge quantities of carbon and can help mediate the effects of climate change, researchers with the Center for International Forestry Research are putting their knowledge and skills to good use – providing people with a toolbox of easy and accessible information they need to know to help policy-makers, academics, and the general public better understand the issues and solutions available.
Read more here.

SeaWorld Orlando: wild Arctic beluga whale dies
Date: February 20, 2015
By: Dewayne Bevil and Sandra Pedicini
Publisher: Orlando Sentinel
Nanuq, a male beluga whale on loan to SeaWorld for breeding purposes from the Vancouver Aquarium, died this past week. Although reports are yet to be confirmed, it appears that the male beluga whale died after an infection related to an injury it most likely sustained by interactions with other belugas in captivity.
Read more here.

Salinity changes affect sea level more than scientists thought
Date: February 9, 2015
By: Jon Cartwright
Publisher: Environmental Research Web
Comparing recent ocean salinity data with that of the 1950s, Dr. Paul Durack and his team discovered that sea level changes were much larger than previously predicted. Asides from glacial melt due to global warming, salinity is another important factor that should also be considered when examining the issue of sea level rise.
Read more here.

Indonesian government sinks Vietnamese shark poaching boat, creates new dive site
Date: February 10, 2015
By: Dr. Mark Erdmann
Publisher: Conservation International
Shark fin poaching, as well as other forms of illegally-harvesting marine resources, is a severe problem. The Indonesian government aims to counteract poaching and protect its already-depleted fish stocks..
Read more here.

Nearly 200 Whales Stranded on New Zealand Beach
Date: February 13, 2015
By: Brian Clark Howard
Publisher: National Geographic
Nearly 200 pilot whales were stranded on South Island of New Zealand. This distressing number of stranded pilot whales is attributed to their social nature – these whales live as a group, and also become stranded as a group, according to marine mammal biologist Trevor Spradlin. The shallow waters surrounding South Island also tend to confuse cetaceans such as these pilot whales, hindering navigation.
Read more here.

Second orca baby gives hope for endangered group of killer whales
Date: February 13, 2015
By: Michael Casey
Publisher: CBS News
A new baby orca from an endangered group of orcas in Puget Sound has been discovered. The orca population in this region is threatened particularly by the lack of food availability – Chinook salmon.
Read more here.

New Sea Dragon Species Flaunts Ruby-Red Skin
Date: February 18, 2015
By: Laura Geggel
Publisher: LiveScience
A new species of sea dragon, Phylloteryx dewysea, has been discovered! This sea dragon flaunts a stunning red hue that is reminiscent of rubies (hence its common name, the Ruby seadragon).
Read more here.

Handheld sensor identifies seafood fraud
Date: February 20, 2015
By: Emily Tripp
Publisher: Marine Science Today
Seafood fraud is an umbrella term that describes any practice of hiding the origins of seafood (such as where it was caught and what the species is). Researchers from the University of South Florida have invented a handheld device that helps consumers better identify their seafood.
Read more here.

600,000 Baby Salmon Head to the Pacific, With a Little Help
Date: February 24, 2015
By: Cynthia Gorney
Publisher: National Geographic
Juvenile salmon face many obstacles such as dams and drought when making their journey out to sea. To help them circumvent these obstacles, workers from the Livingston Stone hatchery captured and later released 600,000 juveniles in the Sacramento River, during a heavy rain event.
Read more here.

Obama vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline, only 3rd in Presidency
Date: February 24, 2015
By: Alex Rogers
Publisher: Time
The Keystone XL Pipeline, if constructed, will transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast. President Obama issued his third veto on the pipeline bill, triggering much protest from the Republicans.
Read more here.

“Shark Lady” Eugenie Clark, famed marine biologist, has died
Date: February 25, 2015
By: Andrea Stone
Publisher: National Geographic
Prominent marine biologist Eugenie Clark has passed away. Clark made remarkable contributions to marine science, such as her discovery of the first effective shark repellant, derived from Moses sole secretions. We honor Clark for her dedication to scientific research, and her profound love for sharks and marine life.
Read more here.

Newly-discovered algal species helps corals survive in the hottest reefs on the planet
Date: February 27, 2015
By: ScienceDaily
Scientists have discovered a new, highly-heat tolerant species of algae in the Persian Gulf. This algae is crucial for helping corals thrive in their extreme environment, preventing them from undergoing bleaching.
Read more here.