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Douglas Croftnopin

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Goliath Grouper – Habitat, Diet, and Reproduction

Aug 3, 2018.
Florida Keys' Goliath Grouper

Swimming through the stunning waters of the Florida Keys is always an amazing experience. What if during your next dive you came face-to-face with a 10-foot long, 700+ pound Goliath grouper? These gentle giants, also known as Epinephelus itajara, are a critically endangered species due to overfishing in the past. Today, the populations of these massive groupers…

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Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks – Facts and Conservation

Jul 27, 2018.

Hammerhead sharks have a distinctive profile and are one of the easiest sharks to identify. Physical description Scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna Iewini) have a thick, wide head shaped like a double-headed hammer with its eyes and gills on the end. Different from other hammerheads, they have an indentation in a central location on the front part…

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Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2018

Jul 26, 2018.
Capitol Hill Week 2018

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation wrapped up Capitol Hill Ocean Week, concluding three days of deep dives on the most pertinent ocean science, policy and conservation issues. 16 panels, including a keynote address by NOAA’s RDML Gallaudet, delved into our changing ocean, working together for sustainable waters, and  the exploration of marine ecosystems. To see…

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New Legislation Introduced to Fight Ocean Acidification

Jul 26, 2018.
In laboratory experiments, this pterapod shell dissolved over the course of 45 days in seawater adjusted to an ocean chemistry projected for the year 2100. Photo credit: NOAA

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici and Congressmen Don Young and Derek Posey introduced HR 6267 to amend the Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act (FOARAM) at the end of June. This bill expands upon the 2009 Act, which established the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification and coordinates acidification research and management activities across the Federal…

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Plastic Pollution: One of Ocean Conservation’s Grand Challenges

Jul 25, 2018.
Marine debris

More than 300 million tons are produced each year, yet only 10% of plastic products get recycled. The rest goes into the trash and much of it ends up in the ocean. It is estimated that as much as 7 million tons of plastic are added to waterways each year. The New York Times recently reported on one study…

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Laysan Albatross – The Heavy Hawaiian Seabird

Jul 20, 2018.
Laysan Albatross

Large, heavy seabirds, the Laysan Albatross can fly great distances with short wing strokes and a long period of graceful soaring. They glide on the winds and can rise for miles with the slightest change in the wing position. Ashore, they will plod along before running into the wind to take off. Nearly three feet…

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The Marine Mammal Protection Act Helps Protect Species

Jul 18, 2018.
Dolphins (NOAA)

Signed into law in October of 1972 by then-President Richard Nixon, The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was partially in response to concerns in the scientific community and the public that certain species of marine mammals were at risk for depletion or extinction as a result of human activity. The intent of the law was…

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Spiny Dogfish – Habitat and Management

Jul 13, 2018.

While it’s called the Spiny Dogfish, it’s actually a shark. With grey or brown coloring on top and white below, they often are seen with white spots on their sides. Small and thin, males can grow to 3.3 feet while females can grow to 4 feet. They are aggressive and relentless pursuers. Along the front…

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What is the difference between Seals and Sea Lions?

Jul 11, 2018.
California Sea Lion

Seals and sea lions are found in many of America’s national marine sanctuaries. At first glance, they may look fairly similar. They are actually different animal families under the order “pinniped,” which means “fin-footed” in Latin. Taking a closer look, there are marked differences between sea lions and seals. Here’s how to tell them apart:…

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Gray Seal – Threat and Conservation

Jul 7, 2018.

Gray seals (Halichoerus grypus, latin for “hooked-nose sea pig) are part of the family Phocidae or “true seal”. This means they don’t have external ear flaps and have short front flippers that are great for swimming but limit their mobility on land. This species of seal is found in coastal waters in the northern Atlantic…

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