When Scientists Geek Out.

Science, Thoughts

Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico, Scuba Divers, Nurse Shark

As a marine biologist, I can’t even begin to list the amount of times I gleefully screamed or screeched underwater when I saw something astounding right before my own 2 blue eyes. Some underwater face to face encounters that stand out are: having a whale shark come straight towards me in Mexico, a giant cuttlefish staring at me in Australia, and multiple manatees in Puerto Rico. Heck, I couldn’t even form a sentence when I saw a huge manatee moving underneath me!

Yes, I totally was that nerd who sat on the floor in-front of the TV a couple of years ago after the Super Bowl to watch the first footage of a live giant squid caught on camera. And of course, I shed tears of happiness because cephalopods are some of my favorite animals on the entire planet. If there is ever an opportunity for me to go into a submersible 1000’s of feet below the surface, YOU BET I WOULD BE ON THAT SUCKER IN AN INSTANT!

So when I saw this video yesterday, I knew I would have gone just as crazy as one of those scientists operating the ROV. Can you imagine starting at a screen for HOURS and even DAYS just hoping that something interesting passing in front of your camera and lights 600m underwater? Then, BOOM! Check out what puts on quite a little show for these researchers 🙂 (Here’s the article if you want to read it as well)

I Wish I Were A Mermaid.

Photography, Science, Thoughts
(c) Ted Grambeu/ Barcott USA

(c) Ted Grambeu/ Barcott USA

You know when people ask you for fun –

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

If you had any super power, what would it be?

My answer never seems to change. I would be any oceanic animal (blue whale, dolphin, shark, etc.) and my super power would be to have gills so I could breathe underwater. I know many people would want to be an animal that flies in the air, but when you think about it, everything flies through the water in the ocean. It’s just a different medium/element.

I came across these photos last week and instantly connected with them. It’s on my Bucket List to swim with whales in the wild. And after seeing these photos…I may have to change that Bucket List item to include being dressed as a mermaid 😉

(c) abcnews.com

(c) abcnews.com

These photos are of the beautiful Hannah Fraser, a 36 year-old professional underwater swimmer, ocean activist, artist and model. She’s an Australian native, but resides here in Los Angeles. She’s been practicing free diving since she was a child, and even created her own mermaid tails from scratch utilizing flippers, plastic boomerangs, and duct tape.

Hannah is currently working on a project with Cetacean and Whaleman Foundations to discontinue the slaughter of thousands of dolphins and whales across the globe. She creates her own mermaid tails , and a percentage of her earnings as a mermaid goes towards charity for anti-whaling drives. After watching the tear jerking documentary The Cove in 2009, I’ve been a strong activist against the killing of dolphins and whales.  They are one of the SMARTEST creatures to live on this planet, and it pains me to think of all the horrible methods people use to kill them.

(c) Shawn Heinrichs

(c) Shawn Heinrichs

“The ocean is the birthplace of life on Earth, and if I can be a visual link to inspire other humans who have become disconnected from this amazing world, I feel I have done something worthwhile.”

 

(c) elitedaily.com

(c) elitedaily.com

The ocean is the only place where I feel fully at peace. There is no doubt I was put on this planet to help conserve our seas and ocean animals. I am currently in the process of looking for a new job – a job where I can work with/around/near the ocean. I won’t give up until I wake up to the smell of salt water coming through my window, and watch the sun setting over the sea every evening. I know what where I need to be – what I’m meant to do – and it’s time to find that pathway to get there.

Follow me on Facebook : Photography + Science = Chanel
 Follow me on Twitter : PSChanel
Check out my Pinterest : PhotoScience

 

Clever Whale Shark Sucks Fish Out of Net!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Credit: National Nine News

This video is absolutely amazing! Check out this smart whale shark sucking out helpless silverside bait fish caught in a fishing net off of Indonesia. These gentle sharks use their vacuum-like mouth to gulp up these little fish. Guess they were doomed either way, but I think getting consumed by a “natural” marine predator beats humans each time.

Conservation Internationalwas the environmental group that caught this awesome video footage. This group has been trying for a while to place satellite tags on whale sharks, and finally they got this perfect opportunity when they started feeding on the baitfish. Luckily the fishermen in this case think the whale sharks are good luck, even though they eat most of their catch (oops).

Enjoy those fish you wild Whale Sharks!

WORLD OCEANS DAY!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Yesterday, June 8th, marked the 20th anniversary of World Oceans Day! Unfortunately I was super busy with work all week, so I wasn’t able to write a blog post yesterday- but now I have all the time in the world this morning so here  we go:

World Oceans Day was created in 1992- it’s meant to call attention to ocean pollution and combating global warming so our oceans and its creatures will be around for many decades to come. Currently, 16% of U.S. fish populations have been overfished (AND THE NUMBER KEEPS GROWING). There are so many more statistics I could post about how we are horribly and irresponsibly treating our oceans…I’ll refrain for the time being for another blog post rant 😉 But- here are some of my favorite ocean protection organizations which have plenty of statistics that will blow your mind:

If you couldn’t tell already from my blog thus far, I’m in love with the ocean. A piece of my heart will always belong to the marine environment ever since I went to Sea World when I was 4/5 years old:

Little Me!

My love for the oceans has lead me to some great accomplishments! I’ve swam with almost every creature at Sea World, researched on the Great Barrier Reef, swam with a Whale Shark in Baja, seen more whales than I can count, got Advanced and Rescue SCUBA Certified, and hopefully this list will continue until the day I die.

I am hoping that next year I can fulfill the marine science void that I’ve been experiencing working 40 mins from the ocean in a working in a totally different field than marine biology. But, life deals us the cards it does and all we can do is make the most out of them- and right now I’m going with the flow and providing a great life for myself. I’m just itching to move to a tropical island for 6 months or so 🙂 I’ll keep you updated!

LOVE THE OCEAN, LOVE YOURSELF

A Gray Whale Mom and Baby Get Up Close and Personal!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

My grandma sent me this link today on Facebook and it truly made me all warm and fuzzy inside! I’ve never had an experience like this before with whales, but I hope to one day!

I’ve been close to a whale shark down in Baja Mexico- and I was definitely in awe and freaking out a little too from the boat. I took a couple videos- so I’ll share one with you. Don’t mind the commentary though- you really don’t think about what you’re saying when you’re completely and utterly enthralled with what’s in front of you 🙂 I actually got to swim with one that got close to shore from where we stayed-and I WISH that I had footage from that because it was incredible. Animals that are that big and swimming around you are quite intimidating as well…

But here’s the whale video that touched my heart. It inspired me put a new item on My Bucket List 😉

Here’s my whale shark video!

Sharks worth more ALIVE than dead.

Thoughts

Fancy that..an animal being worth more being alive than dead?!

If people would stop killing sharks for their fins, they could essentially make more money in the end by letting them live free without harm in their environment! Sharks are a great incentive (for some) to visit a particular location. Such as: whale sharks in Baja Mexico, and great white sharks in South Africa.  If nations are willing to protect these creatures- then they can ultimately benefit from them- up to 2 million dollars in tourist revenue!!

My aunt has been diving in Palau- one of the most destined diving spots in the entire world. Although her experience was quite different than most (cliff jumping into the ocean and not quite landing properly and breaking her back), she saw many sharks. Although they are on the top of her “fears” list, believing that one day she will be killed by a shark, she still enjoyed being able to see them naturally (alive) in their environment.

In Palau- 80% of their GDP (gross domestic product) comes from shark diving! In 2009, the country was the first to declare ALL of its waters to be a shark sanctuary. Other countries that have caught on are the Honduras and The Maldives.

Unfortunately- the International Union for the Conservation of Nature disclosed that 1/3 of open water sharks face extinction. Undoubtedly because of human action-finning, by-catch… Please don’t buy shark-fin soup, or purchase any item with shark in it. You’ll be thanked for your actions in one way or another (like scuba diving and actually SEEING those sharks!).

Picture of my friend Nick at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Here is a picture I took last year at the Monterey Bay Aquarium-my friend Nick Kova is in the middle shooting with his camera too. I was playing around with the settings on my camera- and thought that this turned out pretty cool. I love the scalloped hammerheads- they look like they are floating in the air.

a Whale of a Shark

Photography, Science

Whale Sharks. The largest fish in the entire OCEAN!

I wanted to share this image I discovered today. It’s taken by this man who wandered into my work office- which is perfect because were are looking for local artists for a fundraiser for the California Philharmonic. The photographer’s name is Tommy Ewasko.

Credit: Tommy Ewasko/ GettyImages

Obviously..I loved this photo. It was taken at I assume the Georgia Aquarium-which I still have yet to see! (Ooo I should put that on my Bucket List!)

I swam with a whale shark in Baja Mexico years ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Brought me to tears of excitement and joy in my snorkel mask in the middle of the ocean! I unfortunately don’t have pictures or video of when I swam with the whale shark, but I do have some from when we spotted a couple in the middle of the ocean on a boat. Here are some pics and videos I took.

Ahoy! There's a Whale Shark!

Whale Shark Feeding

I am going to Palm Springs this weekend- for some much needed time in the sunshine 🙂 I will take some photos and share them with you all when I get back!

“Her Royal Deepness”- Sylvia Earle’s Take on The Oil Spill

Photography, Science

Sylvia Earle is a world renowned marine biologist-seabed explorer- author- and former to US government scientist. She is definitely a figure to look up to for me in particular.

In  a recent interview- she discussed her opposition of the new method being used for the Gulf’s oil spill.

Currently- dispersant chemicals are being released into the open ocean to break up oil into small droplets that sink into the water column. Sylvia brought up a good point that ” IF they put dispersants into any body of water without the presence of oil, people would be up in arms about the release of such toxic substances.” –Which is very true.

Federal government biologists who approved the dispersants say that they are toxic to some extent, bu they keep the oil from reaching sensitive wetland habitat along the coast. But as I see it- the government feels that the area (coastline) where more people live is more important than the health of the marine life in the open oceans.

Below are some pictures I wanted to share from a trip I took to Bahia de Los Angeles in the Sea of Cortez within the Baja Peninsula in 2007. I took an intensive Marine Biology course down there- and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Although this isn’t the Gulf of Mexico per-say –>I just wanted to show the beauty of the ocean and it’s creatures and how important it is to protect the open ocean as well as the coastlines.