Posted on March 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Hammerhead sharks received much-needed protection from unsustainable trade. Photo courtesy Florida Museum of Natural History.
International group sanctions restrictions on trade of endangered species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Years of efforts by ocean conservation advocates yielded results last week, as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species adopted new protections for five species of highly traded sharks, as well as two species of manta rays and one species of sawfish.
Japan, Gambia and India unsuccessfully challenged the Committee decision to list the oceanic whitetip shark, while Grenada and China failed in an attempt to reopen debate on listing three hammerhead species. Colombia, Senegal, Mexico and others took the floor to defend Committee decisions to list sharks. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, CITES, Hammerhead sharks, IUCN Red List, manta rays, Oceanic whitetip shark, oceans, sawfish, Wildlife Conservation Society | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Parts of Patagonia‘s spectacular coastline will have more protection following the designation of two new marine preserves.
Isla Pingüino and Makenke Coastal Marine Park provide habitat for seabirds and marine mammals
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Dolphins, penguins, seabirds and sea lions along the coast of Patagonia will get more protection in a pair of new marine protected areas designated by Argentina this week.
Both areas were identified as priority conservation sites under the collaborative Patagonia Coastal Zone Management Plan project, covering an area where Charles Darwin traveled, and where Ferdinand Magellan executed and marooned a group of mutineers intent on aborting what would become the world’s first circumnavigation of the globe.
Darwin first described the wildlife of Isla Pingüino in 1833, during his seminal voyage aboard the HMS Beagle — now, the Isla Pingüino Coastal Marine Park will protect about 720 square miles, including habitat for large populations of South American sea lions, red-legged cormorants, and one of the largest colonies of imperial cormorants found anywhere (with more than 8,000 breeding pairs). Isla Pingüino also boasts one of the only colonies of rockhopper penguins on the coast of Patagonia. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Argentina, Charles Darwin, HMS Beagle, Isla Pingüino, Makenke Coastal Marine Park, marine protected areas, Patagonia, Wildlife Conservation Society | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 2, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
In 2007, these Acropora corals in the Tumon Bay Marine Preserve in Guam bleached, likely due to higher-than-normal water temperatures caused by global climate change. Photo courtesy Dave Burdick/NOAA.
Simplified assessment could help resource managers decide where to focus efforts
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming has spurred dire warnings about the future of coral reef ecosystems, with warnings that many reefs could be wiped out by bleaching, sending biologists scrambling to develop conservation strategies.
A sometimes bewildering array of coral reef environments makes the task daunting, but a new study may illustrate a way to streamline coral reef conservation decisions.
Heat-tolerant species living in areas with continuous background temperature variability have the best chance of surviving climate change, according new studies by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other researchers. These corals should be the focus of conservation efforts, the study concludes. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, global warming | Tagged: coral reef conservation, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, oceans, Wildlife Conservation Society | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 25, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Aqua shows Fiji’s second-largest island, Vanua Levu, and the Cakaulevu Reef that shelters the island’s northern shore.
Local communities on the front line in marine protection
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Local grassroots efforts to protect marine habitat are paying off in Fiji, which is making progress toward the goal of protecting at least 30 percent of Fiji’s inshore habitats.
A new study by researchers from the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, and the Wildlife Conservation Society outlined some of the successes — along with some of the remaining challenges.
“The results of the study are remarkable given that locally managed marine area networks in Fiji and the Western Pacific region are generally established only to meet local objectives, most notably to improve food security,” said Dr. Morena Mills, lead author of the paper. (more…)
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: Environment, Fiji, James Cook University, marine conservation, Marine protected area, Wildlife Conservation Society | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 15, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
New study to help inform conservation policy
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — While images of manta rays are ubiquitous on brochures and websites for popular seaside tourist destinations, very little is known about where the ocean giants live and what they need to survive.
But that’s starting to change, thanks to an international study that used satellite tracking technology to study manta rays off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula over a 13-day period. The tracking devices were attached to the backs of six individuals —four females, one male, and one juvenile.
“The satellite tag data revealed that some of the rays traveled more than 1,100 kilometers during the study period,” said Dr. Matthew Witt of the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. “The rays spent most of their time traversing coastal areas plentiful in zooplankton and fish eggs from spawning events.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Gulf of Mexico, manta rays, ocean conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Bowhead whales. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Impacts to marine mammals a big concern with more traffic in Bering Strait
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation experts and indigenous people in the far north urged caution as trans-Arctic shipping increases in the formerly ice-choked waters of the Arctic ocean.
The rapid increase in commercial ship traffic poses a significant risk to the region’s marine mammals and the local communities that rely on them for food security and cultural identity, according to Alaska Native groups and the Wildlife Conservation Society, who convened at a recent workshop.
“The disappearance of summer sea ice from the region’s coastal areas is leading to major changes in this part of the world,” said Dr. Martin Robards, Director of the World Conservation Society’s Beringia Program and one of the event’s organizers. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic Ocean, Arctic shipping, Bering Strait, climate, global warming, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Marine mammal, Wildlife Conservation Society | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 27, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Study sheds light on Indian Ocean humpback whales
Humpback whales are slowly recovering from near extinction and new research on Indian Ocean populations may help inform conservation efforts. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Humpback whales on opposite sides of the Indian Ocean are singing different songs, a team of marine biologists say, explaining that that their findings are unusual because humpbacks in the same ocean usually all sing very similar tunes.
The differences in song between the Indian Ocean humpback populations most likely indicate a limited exchange between the two regions and may shed new light on how whale culture spreads. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, Uncategorized, wildlife | Tagged: humpback whales, Indian Ocean, whale conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation biologists hope to rebuild regional population
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —In an age when global biodiversity is collapsing at an astounding rate, it’s good to celebrate small conservation victories, like last week’s release of a rare southern river terrapin to the Sre Ambel River in Cambodia.
Working with government agencies in the region, the Wildlife Conservation Society last week said biologists released one of the most endangered turtles on earth into the wild in an area where the reptiles may be able to re-establish a stronghold.
The female turtle weighs about 75 pounds and has been equipped with a satellite transmitter that will allow conservationists to track its whereabouts – the first-ever satellite monitoring study for this species. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: biodiversity, Cambodia, envionment, Southern river terrapin, Wildlife Conservation Society | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 24, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Predatory fish bouncing back, but populations of critical algae-eating fish lag
Glover's Reef, Belize. PHOTO COURTESY THE GLOVER'S REEF RESEARCH STATION. Click on the image for more information.
Conservationists are hopeful that Belize's nation-wide ban on catching parrotfish may help degraded reef systems rebound. PHOTO COURTESY WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Fishing closures in protected marine areas around the spectacular Mesoamerican reef near Belize have helped recover populations of barracuda, groupers, snappers, and other predatory fish, but herbivorous fish that clean algae from the coral are not faring as well.
Results of a long-term study by the Wildlife Conservation Society show that parrotfish an surgeonfish in the Glover’s Reef study area make only sight recoveries — not enough to reverse the degradation by caused by algae overgrowing the reefs and replacing the coral that once covered 75 percent, but now represent less than 20 percent, of the seafloor cover. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: barracuda, biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Glover's Reef, Parrotfish, Wildlife Conservation Society | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 15, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife group tracks pinniped as part of Patagonia study
A NOAA photo of northern elephant seals on the coast of California.
By Summit County
SUMMIT COUNTY — A southern elephant seal nick-named Jackson astonished researchers when it swam more than 18,000 miles during the past year, about equal to a round trip from New York to Sydney and back again.
The Wildlife Conservation Society tracked the giant pinniped through the rugged fjords of Patagonia as a part of a research project for a new model of private-public, terrestrial-marine conservation of the Admiralty Sound, Karukinka Natural Park (a WCS private protected area), and Alberto de Agostini National Park. It will help build a broader vision for bolstering conservation efforts across the Patagonian Sea and coast.
“Jackson’s travels provide a roadmap of how elephant seals use the Patagonian Coast and its associated seas,” said Caleb McClennen, Wildlife Conservation Society director for global marine programs. “This information is vital to improving ocean management in the region, helping establish protected areas in the right places, and ensuring fisheries are managed sustainably without harming vulnerable marine species like the southern elephant seal.” (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, national parks, Summit County news, wildlife | Tagged: Admiralty Sound, biodiversity, elephant seals, Environment, Karukinka Natural Park, Patagonia, Southern Cone, Tierra del Fuego, Wildlife Conservation Society | Leave a Comment »