Category: Environment

Surfing on Mars

The swell rises slowly from the depths as it begins to feel the jagged, rocky seafloor. You notice a darkening in the distance against the red horizon as the wave jacks quickly up to 10, 20, then 30 feet. As you scratch outside the wave begins its slow cruise towards you, giving you plenty of time to turn…

The Search for Monster Great White Sharks

You’re gonna need a bigger boat. — Chief Martin Brody (Jaws) First of all let’s get something straight: Great white sharks are not the biggest shark in the ocean. That distinction belongs to whale sharks (40+ feet) and basking sharks (30+ feet). However, since these are gentle plankton-munching giants most people don’t focus on their huge size.…

The Last Song of Mother Earth

The planet is teeming with life, all literally bursting with sound. On land we hear these sounds every day and most people are familiar with the noises of the forest: the hooting, chirping, moaning, howling, tweeting, clucking, whistling, squawking and hooting that creates a complex sonic melody. The sound of nature is everywhere but we don’t always take the time to listen.

Science and Ethics in the Hawaii Marine Aquarium Trade

Conservation and conflict are irreparably linked as we address human’s widening impact on the planet. From a broader perspective we are moving forward as our new values and perspectives clash with the old. However, for those in the conservation trenches in may not seem like progress when being attacked at public meetings, creating enemies and, in some cases, receiving…

The Giant 200-Foot Wave at Trinidad, California

One hundred years ago, on Dec. 31, 1914, the lighthouse at Trinidad Head was assaulted by a wave of monstrous proportions. Although the details are unclear, we know that the storm that produced the waves was unusual and that the wave was greater than 100 feet and perhaps much more. The only eyewitness was the keeper of the lighthouse at Trinidad Head at that time, Captain Fred Harrington, and here is his account of the notorious wave.

Managing Nemo: Conservation and Conflict in the Hawaii Marine Aquarium Trade

In early 2012 I traveled with Washington State University Science Journalist extraordinaire Eric Sorensen to Hawaii so he could write an article on my research on the Hawaii aquarium trade, which has been ongoing since the mid-1990s. At the time of the article things were heating up between aquarium collectors and Snorkel Bob’s crusade to shut…

Deep Impact: Five Reasons Why Surfers Should Care About Global Warming

As a marine biologist I am often asked what is the greatest threat to the oceans. It’s a easy answer: global warming. As a surfer I am surprised how few surfers seem to know, or care, about our assault on the oceans. I am often met with “why should I care” or worse “the surf will get better, so what?”  I feel compelled to speak up as a surfer and a scientist, and the discuss the most recent scientific evidence of what global warming, and more broadly, global climate change, means to surfers and the ocean.