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Kate Wing’s Blog

Carnival of the Blue turns 10!

Kate Wing

Posted March 3, 2008

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Carnival of the Blue #10Let’s face it – those of us who work on, around, and in the sea are lucky people. We find the minute extraordinary and marvel at the fantastic every day. We have 2/3 of the planet as our playground. It’s great work if you can get it, and if you get it, you ought to share your dive mask view with the world. I’m pleased as punch to host Carnival of the Blue 10, highlighting the best my ocean blogging colleagues have to share from the last month. Get yourself comfy and settle in for a good read of the weird and wonderful.

The Natural Patriot reminds us that the father of all biologists, Charles Darwin, was a detailed systematist at heart, spending his post-Origin of Species years looking at barnacles. As with all NP posts, it’s beautifully illustrated. Charlie at 10,000 Birds tells you how to identify gulls, and will patiently guide you through the revelation that (1) there’s not just one grey and white bird called “the seagull” and (2) they look different at different ages. Go to the beach (or the park, or the parking lot) with new eyes.

Surf.Bird.Scribble wins best blog post title with “Molten Iron Chicken Kimchee in Space.” Those of you seeking more info about ocean iron fertilization schemes should follow this through to the recent issue of Oceanus on that very topic. Also a good post for those of you wondering how chickens got from Asia to South American (not by swimming).

I will take a tour of Mark H’s aquarium any day. He’s just acquired a very rare albino rock crab to go along with his blue lobster. Check out Rebecca Bray’s photos, accompanied by Mark’s nice understatement about the tank’s living quarters: “The divider keeps them from killing each other.” Peace in the crustacean realm is a tenuous thing.

Frank Schatzing’s “The Swarm,” is like sweet, sweet candy for marine biologists because it combines all the weirdness and devastation and change we study into one amped-up luge ride to hell with latin names. Read it now before they release the movie. The general plot is an ocean deeply irritated at humans that decides to fight back. As preposterous as parts of the book are, the author’s use of real-world organisms and problems had me doing a double take at some of the news. Shrimp with stun gun claws? Real. Tiny parastic crustaceans with invisible adults? Real. Giant methane hydrate eating worms? Fictional (or so we think). And if there is a sentient ocean, engineering cyborg sharks does seem like a sure way to get it angry. Can LL Cool J save us from the DARPA sharks, too?

Finally, let’s turn to the deliciously murky world where the waters of science and human desire mix together. Would it be better for us if we could swim with whale sharks in captivity? Would it be better for the whale sharks if we didn’t?  In the heat of a debate about tourism, technology, and tradition, will someone accidentally catch the last Napoleon wrasse ? And why isn’t The Pope working to stop overfishing? Props to Zooillogix, The Saipan Blog, and Jennifer at Shifting Baselines for pondering the hard questions. Blogfish tackles the issue head on, asking what’s the better tool for conservation: carrot or stick, praise or punishment, guilt or desire? And Sheril at The Intersection goes right to the source (of funds) to ask “what do we have to do to get a bigger investment in ocean research?”

The ocean is a big place. We’ll keep doing our best to cover the water. You keep diving in.

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Mark PowellMar 3 2008 12:24 PM

The Swarm was great, since marine biologists get to be at the center of a thriller about world domination.

Jennifer JacquetMar 3 2008 10:24 PM

Great coverage of an expanding ocean scene, Kate. Thanks! After The Swarm was released in Germany, funding actually increased for the oceans, perhaps in part answering Sheril's question...

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