Category: Marine Biology

SmartFin: Environmental Wave of the Future

As the world’s environmental problems expand the challenge is to keep up with the increasingly larger scale of the issues. Decades ago we worried about individual beaches, now we are focused on whole coastlines, and indeed entire oceans are at risk.  To keep pace marine biologists and oceanographers have deployed huge arrays of sensors across the…

Crush Depth: Adventures with Scientific Submersibles

“What’s your depth?” echoed down from the surface radio, unanswered for the third time in a row and sounding increasingly desperate. It was 2002 and I was riding inside the scientific submersible Delta, heading towards the seafloor off Anacapa island in an area known simply as the “footprint,” a deep-water fish, coral and sponge hot spot…

Find the Kraken! The Search for Giant Squid

The idea of the Kraken appears in Melville’s Moby Dick in 1851; played a major role in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1870; and appeared as the Watcher in the Water in Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, lurking in a lake beneath the western walls of Moria. The truth is that the giant squid, which may have been the basis for most of these myths and legends, has a real-life story almost as mysterious as unicorns and dragons.

Chasing the Wild Abalone: Confessions of a Field Biologist

To be honest, I love abalone and have always been fascinated by this most unusual of snails. In college I truly began to “chase the abalone” which led me to become a field biologist. So these are my confessions; some of my adventures while chasing abalone. Things I normally wouldn’t admit to but looking back were just part of the lore of being a field biologist.

Eight Experiences that Honor the Forces of the Ocean

  Today is Earth Day, 2016: a moment when we should do something to honor the importance of the earth in our lives. Here is my contribution. While watching the new version of Point Break I was fascinated with the concept of the Ozaki Eight: eight ordeals that honors the forces of nature. According to…

Peril on the Sea: Nautical Nightmares

As a marine biologist and surfer I have spent a lot of time on and in the ocean. And while surveying the shore, riding waves, scuba diving, or being underwater in a submersible, I have developed a great respect for the sea. She is all-powerful, magnificent, unpredictable, inspiring, and terrifying all at once. And there are moments you face the realization that you are helpless, the sea is in control, that you may die; all you can do is surrender to its power. It is a completely sublime, humbling but ultimately a life changing experience.