Category: Marine Biology

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.

Paleozoic Puzzle: the Origins of Abalone

Abalone Around the world they are  called abulón, awabi, bàoyú, ormer, ormeau, pāua, perlemoen, pauhi, and haliote, but all are abalone. Abalones (family Haliotidae) are all in the genus Haliotis (“ear shells”) a worldwide group of snails known for their beautiful iridescent shells and incredibly tasty meat. In many places of the world abalone are (or…

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…

World’s Deadliest Snail: The California Red Abalone

It doesn’t sting or bite. It doesn’t have fangs or sharp teeth. No toxins, venom or poisons, It is not swift of foot, on a good day it may travel a few feet. In fact it spends decades sitting peacefully in cracks and crevices quietly munching on kelp. Among animals it is one of the…

5 TV shows that inspired me to become a Marine Biologist

Becoming a marine biologist is hard work. It takes dedication, perseverance, intellect and inspiration. Growing up in the 1960s I regularly watched some classic TV shows that were the source of that early inspiration and helped compel me to pursue a career as a marine biologist. If you were conscious in the 1960s and 1970s then you likely remember these…

The Gentle Rains of Hilo

For all I’ve been blessed with in my life There was an emptiness in me I was imprisoned by the power of gold With one kind touch, you’ve set me free Let the world stop turning, let the sun stop burning Let them tell me love’s not worth going through If it all falls apart,…

What Lies Beneath: the Waves, Reef and Marine Life of Maverick’s

The wave at Maverick’s is unique in many ways: its location, the geology and geomorphology of the reef, and the massive swells that surfers ride. In many ways Maverick’s allure is the story of its reef, which is legendary for creating both a perfect large wave and a reef seemingly designed to punish those attempting to ride it . As if the reef and wave weren’t enough you can add the fact that great white sharks frequent the area and occasionally clear the lineup with their presence. In the early days, before it became popular, surfers knew it would eventually kill people with its strong currents, long period swells, 10-15 wave sets and multi-layered inner reef full of valleys, holes and crevasses leading into a boneyard of exposed, jagged rocks. And it has.

How to Become a Marine Biologist

When I tell people I am a marine biologist a common response is “I wanted to do that when I was younger!” Among possible careers it is both high on the list of desirability but low on success rate. Why is that? In my experience many people love the ocean, and hence the marine part, but…