Hannah Waters's blog

The Oil Spill, Two Years Later

Oiled Seaweed after the Gulf Oil Spill
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Two years ago last week, on April 20, 2010, an explosion on the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon caused the largest marine oil spill in history, gushing nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil over the course of three months.

And, since then, researchers have been hard at work to understand how the oil spill impacted life in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s too soon to say whether the ecosystem is out of the red – it’s only been two years, after all! – but many researchers have been shocked at the ecosystem’s recovery.

Earth Day, Spawned from the Sea

A Different View of Earth
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Sometimes I think that our planet Earth, named for the Old English word for “dry land” (eorthe), should get a new name. Despite our knowledge that more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface is ocean—definitely not “dry land”—we still refer to our home by an 8th century description.

The Whale Graveyard Whodunit

The Digsite at Cerro Ballena
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Often it's the tiniest organisms that do the most harm. One example is microscopic algae, which can grow rapidly to form harmful algal blooms. Such blooms (some are called "red tides") create unhealthy water conditions or produce toxins that kill other organisms in the water.

The Great Hermit Crab Migration

Caribbean Hermit Crab
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Over the last few days, a video of hermit crabs stampeding across the rocky shores of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands has taken the internet by storm. Where are the hermit crabs going, and why?

Happy 50th Birthday, FLIP – a Mobile Research Island

The Whale Acoustic Lab
FLIP Stands Tall
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Ships are well-known for their tiny rooms and tight quarters. But have you heard of a sea vessel that has toilets and sinks sticking out of the walls, and staircases and doors on the ceiling? This unique research vessel is real -- and, in June 2012, the Office of Naval Research and Scripps Institution of Oceanography celebrated its 50th birthday.

Ray Bradbury and the Sea

Sea Monster Attack
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Today Ray Bradbury died. It might seem strange that I'm writing about Bradbury here on the Ocean Portal, as he's best known for his short stories about space exploration and strange aliens. But he also considered the unexplored realms of our own planet: the ocean.

Dancing for the Oceans

Out of the Blue, an Oceans Dance
The Food Web, Through Dance
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If you were choreographing a dance about the ocean, how would you do it? Would you dart around like a lobster in a hurry? Dive like a dolphin? Float like a jellyfish?

Reef Sharks Repelled by People

Reef Sharks Passing Through
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Reef sharks rarely get any love. These sharks, comprising several species, loiter around coral reefs, snacking on small fish, squids and crustaceans. And while their size is nothing to smirk at—5-10 feet is pretty impressive in my book!—their relatively demure lifestyle just can’t compete with the seal-snatching airtime of the great white shark.

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