Sunday, July 22, 2012

Incredible Colors of Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a magical place!  The colors are simply magnificent... the seas... the sky... the sand... the greenery... !  The water is crystal clear.  Look at our picnic site above!!

We enjoyed a fantastic day trip with Mata Tours -- skippered by Mata himself and his two sons. Mata started off wearing a sarong -- and once we left the dock he suddenly whipped this off to the surprise of everyone on the boat!  The ladies had to take a second look to check out his loin cloth.  Ellen Degeneres has a clip of her experience with Mata on her TV program.  He sings, he swims like a dolphin, he dances, he has muscles... and he owns a boat.  Ladies... let's face it... he makes the rest of us guys look pretty mediocre... but, hey, who wants to spend the rest of their days on a South Pacific island in the middle of nowhere... right?... right??

The ladies love to Chat with Mata! That's Jan my wife on the right.

 It was a terrific day -- highly recommended.
The colors may look unreal -- but this is a pretty accurate depiction!

The snorkelling in the lagoon is fantastic!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Half of Our Oxygen comes from the Oceans

One of the thousands of species of Diatom via Diatoms are photosynthetic plankton (microscopic algae) ubiquitous in oceans and freshwater systems. They are a major source of nutrients for marine organisms as well as a major producer of oxygen.
Phytoplankton (photosynthetic plankton) play a huge, and largely under-appreciated, role in feeding every living creature on this planet!  And they provide half of all the oxygen we breath.  Consequently -- life on earth depends on these tiny nearly invisible organisms floating by the trillions upon trillions in the oceans around us.

Given this understanding, headlines such as the one below from Scientific American are more significant than they might first appear.

Phytoplankton Population Drops 40 Percent Since 1950

Researchers find trouble among phytoplankton, the base of the food chain, which has implications for the marine food web and the world's carbon cycle.

I highly recommend this very informative Scientific American article to put the decline in phytoplankton into perspective.

Here's a slide from one of my lectures on "Life on the Open Ocean"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mystery and Romance of Coral Reefs

One of my favourite lecture topics aims to reveal some of the Mystery and Romance of Coral Reefs. Here's my title slide for a version of this lecture that I recently gave onboard the ms Amsterdam while cruising through the Australian Great Barrier Reef.

Coral reefs are threatened by massive changes throughout the oceans of the world: with rising seas, warming oceans, ocean acidification, overfishing of fish that keep the coral ecosystems in balance... We are only beginning to grasp how dire the situation really is.

Here's an excellent short video that does a great job of putting much of this into context: “Polyps in Peril” video from WRI (World Resources Institute) is like a 101 introduction to corals. It features Celine Cousteau and the artwork of Jim Toomey. Highly recommended!!