Every day around the world there are positive ocean news stories, from the latest marine science research, to evidence of animal populations recovering through conservation efforts. Here is our top 10 positive ocean news stories from our daily social media feed from October 2020 to give you some #oceanoptimism.
Blue Whale songs can show whether they are feeding or migrating. When male blue whales are swimming along the coast, they sing during the day. But when they stay in one area to feed on krill, they mostly sing at night. Their vocalizations can travel for 100s of kms underwater and likely helps each other find food. Listening for whale song to predict their movement will also help reduce ship strikes.
Read the story: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Photo by Australian Antarctic Division.
Endangered Vaquita Porpoises have a genetically healthy future if their population is given a chance to recover. They’re the world’s most endangered marine mammal with less than 30 left in the wild. However, a new study proposes that there is little sign of inbreeding or other risks often associated with small populations. Their isolated habitat in the far northern Gulf of California has sustained roughly 5,000 vaquitas for around 250,000 years.
A rescue dog’s poop-sniffing skills is helping to save endangered killer whales. Eba almost died as an abandoned puppy. Now as a Conservation Canine she helps marine biologists study Southern Resident Orcas off the coast of Washington State, USA. She can smell their poop, or ‘scat’, up to a mile away. Once collected and analysed, it gives vital information on the health of the orcas.
Decoy sea turtle eggs are helping to track the illegal trade in Costa Rica. The 3D-printed, ping-pong ball shaped, ‘InvestEggator’ is fitted with a satellite tag. It is then buried in existing nests and can be tracked from thief to trafficker to consumer. A high proportion of those stolen remain in the local area and help to target conservation and policing efforts.
The Galapagos Islands has reported a record increase in their Penguin population. Galapagos Penguins, who live on the Earth’s equator, went from 1,451 in 2019 to 1,940 in 2020. The reason is attributed to the La Nina climatic phenomenon, which helps to provide more food for the birds. The pandemic has also meant a dramatic drop in tourism which has limited disturbances to nesting areas. The population of the other island’s endemic bird species, the diving flightless cormorant, has also increased.
Read the story: Phys.org / Charles Darwin Foundation
A new baby-making strategy has been discovered for sharks – behold the Sarawak Swellshark. From live birth, to egg laying, to asexual reproduction, sharks have an amazing diversity of reproductive strategies. Dubbed ‘sustained single oviparity’, this shark’s mother has fewer, but larger and more developed, baby shark eggs that appear to have a better chance of survival. While most shark egg cases are opaque, these shark eggs are transparent.
Read the story: Hakai Magazine / Taiwan’s National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
Image by Cheng-Chang Lee.
Fish scales are inspiring aerodynamic materials that could reduce aircraft drag, and so increase speeds and reduce fuel consumption. Biomimetics, or biomimicry, is the power of imitating nature to solve complex human problems.
Read the story: Phys.org / City University London
A massive coral ‘skyscraper’ taller than the Empire State Building has been discovered in the Great Barrier Reef. The base of the blade-like reef is 1.5km-wide, then rises 500m (1,600 feet) to its shallowest depth of only 40m below the sea surface. This newly discovered detached reef adds to 7 other tall reefs in the area off the Cape York Peninsula of Northern Australia.
Watch the story: The Guardian / Schmidt Ocean Institute
Image by James Cook University, Australia
Fossil Hunting Fans
Mary Anning, a 19th century fossil hunter & godmother of marine paleontology, is the subject of new movie “Ammonite” staring Kate Winslet. At 12 she discovered a 5m long ichthyosaur, and later the world’s first complete fossil of a plesiosaur. She was the inspiration for the children’s rhyme “she sells sea shells by the sea shore.”
Could swimming in the cold sea hold a clue to a dementia cure? A ‘cold-shock’ protein found in the blood of regular winter swimmers has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and could even repair damage. Previous research also shows cold water swimming can help with pain relief, depression and other mental health conditions.
Read the full story: BBC News / Cambridge University
Photo by Frank PR/PA.
So that’s our top 10 positive ocean news stories from October 2020
Have you seen any uplifting news about the ocean and marine life? Please share them in the comments below. Want to learn more about the ocean? Check out the different ways you can learn today.
Positive Ocean News
We know the ocean is in trouble. But we also know that there are people doing great things to protect it. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where we celebrate the positive side of marine conservation. Or join the Sea Fans facebook group to share your own love of the ocean.