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What We’re Reading 10/6


A thresher shark was killed after becoming stuck in a gillnet.
Credit: 

Brian Skerry

Welcome to October, where there’s a lot going on in ocean news!

Protecting Sharks & Rays

Just Monday there was news from the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that the silky shark, thresher shark and devil ray have been added to the Appendix II listing, meaning that additional limitations are placed on the trade of the species and fisheries must prove they are sustainable, “meaning they can recover from large-scale fishing, before they can be taken or traded,” the Washington Post explains.

What’s That Blob?

The Atlantic’s Ed Yong wrote a wonderful piece on the mysterious ocean “blobs” that captivate Internet audiences. Turns out, there’s a handful of scientists who don’t find them all that mysterious. Karen Osborn, Research Zoologist and Curator of Polychaetes, Peracarids and Plankton at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, is one of those researchers who focuses on animals in the mid-water. It can be hard to study the fragile creatures living in the space between the seafloor and the surface without specialized technology—“You need the proper toys, and they’re expensive, ” Osborn tells Yong.

Go To the Movies

If you want to head to the movies you have a few options with ocean themes.

Jago: A Life Underwater is currently streaming on Smithsonian Earth. The film features the story of an 80-year-old diver from the Togean Islands of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Rohani, known as jago or master, has spent a lifetime at sea, plunging into the darkest corners of the ocean—often as deep as 120 feet below the surface. Like generations of Bajau before him, Rohani hunts underwater with a hand-built harpoon gun, maintaining a way of life that has persevered among his people for thousands of years.

Screenshot of Gulf oil spill interactive.

Trace the path of the oil in this interactive, based on scientific research from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

Credit: 

Screenshot from Ocean Portal

Deepwater Horizon was released September 30 and tells the story of the horrific events of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. The disaster occurred about six and a half years ago, killing 11 people and dumping 4.9 billion barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. You can explore our "Anatomy of an Oil Spill" interactive to see what happened during the disaster, cleanup and beyond.

Earth Optimism

This week we began an informal partnership with World Ocean Radio to address ocean solutions and innovative projects in the context of the Earth Optimism Summit to be held Earth Day Weekend 21-23 April 2017. The Smithsonian will convene thought leaders, scientists, philanthropists, the media and more to discuss and share solutions. In this episode, the ideas behind the Earth Optimism Summit are introduced and the subsequent series of radio broadcasts will profile exemplary people and projects, new visions, new ideas, inventions, and new behaviors that are transforming and improving our relationship with the natural world. 

Categories: News