Eating Our Way Out

Lionfish pose a threat to native species as their numbers are skyrocketing out of control. The best way to solve the problem of invasive lionfish? A fork.

A diver uses a ZooKeeper containment device to safely store a speared lionfish.

The Case of Catastrophic Kelp Loss

For more than five years, divers and scientists along the U.S. West Coast have watched a disaster play out before their eyes. Sunflower sea stars fell victim to a wasting disease, which wiped out roughly 90 percent of the global population in 2013. Seven years later, scientists see no signs of recovery. Without the sea stars, the population of purple urchins that sea stars eat has exploded and mowed down entire forests of bull kelp. The West Coast experienced intense ocean warming from 2014 to 2017, and by 2015 divers began seeing urchin barrens — vast swaths covered in piles of spiny creatures and little else.

Purple sea urchins attach to feed on giant kelp.

Celebrating Seagrass

The benefits of protecting seagrass cannot be overstated. Seagrass purifies the water, helps protect against coastal erosion, helps sustain small-scale fisheries that support communities, and increases fish populations and biodiversity. It sequesters much more carbon per area than terrestrial forests and reduces ocean acidification. Healthy seagrass means a healthier ocean.

bonnethead shark amid seagrass

Chasing Weeds

How many times have you noticed the line of weeds out of the corner of your eye and driven past, around, or through it without a second glance on your […]

The Ocean Less Traveled

TALK TO ANY HUMAN UNDER THE AGE OF 13, and they have probably been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was just 3 years […]

Rewilding Mustique’s Reefs

IT’S NO SECRET THAT CARIBBEAN REEFS ARE IN CRISIS. Many stony coral species face an uncertain destiny, and some scientific predictors point toward extinction in the near future for some species.
What is the value of a dead reef compared with the value of a living marine ecosystem?

Offshore Platforms

Offshore platforms actually house a lot of marine life and are popular dive sites because of it. Several oil platforms, however, are scheduled to be removed from the Gulf of Mexico. Read more about the platforms’ importance.

Offshore platform in the ocean at sunset

Watch My Garden Grow

In late 2019 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a cadre of state, federal, university, and restoration practitioner partners launched Mission: Iconic Reefs (MIR), a two-phased, 20-year, ecosystem-scale restoration initiative for the Florida Keys that focuses on restoring seven high-value, iconic reef systems.

A diver prepares the seafloor for coral outplants

Protecting Hawai‘i’s Fishes

CHARLES DARWIN’S FIVE WEEKS IN THE GALÁPAGOS Islands were crucial to the development of his theory of evolution, likely due to the Galápagos having the world’s second-highest proportion of endemic species. What if Darwin had instead visited the islands with the world’s highest rate of endemism?

To Eat or Not To Eat Fish

SEAFOOD HAS LONG BEEN AN INTEGRAL PART of the human diet, and some people consider it to be an inexhaustible food source. Fish-finding sonar, satellite locating systems, 100-mile-plus longlines with […]