Mexico’s Guadalupe Island is seasonal home to dozens of adult great white sharks, but as far as anyone knows, none is as large as a monstrous female nicknamed Deep Blue.
The massive predator, measuring 20-plus feet and boasting the girth of a fat hippo, was featured last year by the Discovery network, which aired part of a tagging effort that involved local researcher Mauricio Hoyos Padilla.
The shark, perhaps 50 years old, was said to be one of the largest white sharks ever tagged and videotaped, and on Tuesday Hoyos posted newly released footage of the same shark on Facebook, under the title, “I give you the biggest white shark ever seen in front of the cages in Guadalupe Island… DEEP BLUE!!!”
The footage reveals how small the divers in the cage appear to be, compared to the seemingly pregnant shark, which can be seen investigating objects around and attached to the cage, but ignoring the divers in a roof-less submerged steel cage.
Hoyos, reached Tuesday via email, said he discovered the 50-second clip this week in his computer. He could not remember who was behind the camera, only that the footage was obtained about the same time as when the Discovery crew was on site, in the fall of 2013.
That’s prime time for shark sightings at Guadalupe, which is located 165 miles west of Ensenada, in Baja California.
Divers and shark enthusiasts travel from all over the world to view white sharks in the gin-clear water beyond the island, which boasts an elephant seal colony, which is attractive to the sharks.
The clip was viewed more than 800,000 times and shared more than 16,000 times in the first 20 hours since it was posted on Hoyos’ Facebook page.
Comments, mostly in Spanish, contained terms such as amazing, wow, and beautiful.
After all, who wouldn’t want to check out one of the largest white sharks ever videotaped, and the largest ever to grace curious cage divers at picturesque Guadalupe Island?
Benjamin Thompson is a surfer.
You would know it even if I hadn’t told you, and even if you hadn’t seen
the photo of Thompson where he’s barefoot on the sidewalk, holding a
You’d know it because he says stuff like this: “Most technology is
pretty rad, like it does this cool thing to make my life easier, but at
the end of the day, we’re just growing more and more disconnected from
nature and our birthright as engaged humans and animals in our
So, yes, Thompson is a surfer, but what’s equally important to know
is that he’s also an engineer.
And now, Thompson is using this rare
combination of skills to build a new product that could radically expand
our understanding of the world’s oceans.
It’s called Smart Phin, and it’s the product of a partnership between
Thompson’s consulting startup, Board Formula, and a small environmental
non-profit called the Lost Bird Project.
Smart Phin is a surfboard fin
equipped with a special sensor that not only tracks a surfer’s location,
but also measures the temperature, salinity, and acidity of the water
to give researchers insight on the impact of climate change over time.
Watch University of California, San Diego mechanical engineering undergraduates give a tour of the surfboard they outfitted with a computer and sensors -- one step toward structural engineering Ph.D. student Benjamin Thompson's quest to develop the science of surfboards (2010)
Thompson has been developing the fin for about two years, and it’s
still very much in the testing phase, but this fall, he got a major vote
of confidence from the industry when he was selected as one of 18 teams
competing for the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.
Thompson must prove that the device can withstand the harshest—or dare
we say gnarliest—waves the world’s oceans have to offer and still
deliver accurate results.
If it works, Board Formula could help turn
surfers around the globe into a fleet of citizen scientists,
crowdsourcing information on what is, perhaps, Earth’s most opaque
In a world that grows more “Big Data”-obsessed by the day, the amount
of information we have on the world’s oceans remains curiously small.
In fact, according to the National Ocean Service, less than 5 percent of
the world’s oceans have been explored.
There’s good reason for that.
“You put anything in the ocean, and it gets pounded to death, critters
grow on them, the temperature changes, and ions corode the metal,” says
Paul Bunje, senior director of oceans at the XPRIZE Foundation.
something in the ocean, and it wants to get destroyed very quickly.”
It’s particularly tough to collect information near the shore, where
waves are crashing.
An innovation like Smart Phin could change that.
“Surfers are going in the water everyday. They’re in the most critical,
hostile zone, and they’re doing it willingly, and they’re doing it for
free,” Thompson says.
“We’re chopping of a whole section of the cost of
research, and that could be a real paradigm shift in the way data is
Thompson didn’t set out with this mission when he first founded Board
Formula back in 2010. Initially, he was simply trying to convince the
surfing industry that their boards could be greatly enhanced by a little
But no one was buying it.
What Thompson needed, he
realized, was proof.
So he started designing a sensor that would monitor
how surfboards change shape in water.
“The intention was to collect as
much information as possible on surfboards, so I’d be able to say: ‘See?
You should pay me to engineer things,'” Thompson says.
A close-up of the smart chip
Instead, this novel sensor caught the attention of Andy Stern,
executive director of the Lost Bird Project.
Stern is all too familiar
with the challenges of tracking the changing oceans, particularly near
the shore, where waves are always crashing.
“I thought: ‘We could be
sticking these fins on boards all over the world,'” Stern says.
Since then, Lost Bird Project has been the sole backer of the Smart
Phin, and will have distribution rights once the product is complete.
But it could take some time to get to a commercial product.
to the rigorous testing being done through the XPRIZE Foundation, the
sensor is also being vetted by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Once it’s complete, Thompson says the plan is to sell the fins in
stores, but open source the data so that other developers can build
their own consumer apps on top of it.
Thompson, for one, is pretty
“stoked” about the possibilities.
“Ultimately, it comes down to making
surfers stakeholders, making them part of the process,” he explains.
“We’re saying: ‘Here’s the information. You’re part of collecting it,
and you have the capacity to make a difference in people’s relationship
to the ocean.'”
Good Mag : Smartboard Turns Any Surfer Into an Amateur Ocean Conservationist
Outside : This Smart, Data-Collecting, Wave-Predicting Surfboard Will Save Our Oceans
Wired : One surf scientist's quest for a better wave of boards
A team of international scientists, led by the Marine Institute, has
completed a transatlantic sea bed mapping exercise, which has revealed
previously uncharted seabed features including mountains and ridges
taller than Carrauntoohil.
The project is one of the first to be carried out by the Atlantic
Ocean Research Alliance, set up two years ago, on foot of the signing of
the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.
It aims to use the marine research resources of Europe, Canada and
the US to better understand the North Atlantic Ocean and promote
sustainable management of its resources, particularly in the face of
Ocean life provides half of the world's oxygen and there is rising
concern about the impact that sea warming and acidification will have on
the marine ecosystem.
The Marine Institute vessel, the MV Celtic Explorer, departed Newfoundland in Canada bound for Galway on 1 June.
During the seven-day crossing it deployed its recently fitted
multi-beam sonar, which is capable of mapping the seabed to a width of
six times the water's depth.
Image of a 3D animation of a 3.7km high underwater mountain, which is more than 140km long, on the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Photograph: Marine Institute
Among the features uncovered by the team of scientists on board was a
235 square kilometre area of seabed that had been scarred by icebergs.
They also found ancient glacial moraines and buried channels of sediment on the Newfoundland and Labrador shelf.
survey also uncovered a 15km long down-slope channel, most likely
formed by melt water coming from a grounded ice cap during the ice age
20,000 years ago.
The team of international researchers were surprised to discover a
140km long asymmetric ridge, which peaked at 1,108m high, taller than
Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohil.
They also charted in 3D a 3.7km high underwater mountain on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone.
An area of cold water coral and sponges was also imaged, as well as the OSPAR designated Marine Protected Area.
The area where the first transatlantic telecoms cable, which was laid in 1857, was also targeted.
The project will now move on to map other areas of the Atlantic, with
vessels from the US and Norway due to assist over the coming years.
peaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier, Peter Heffernan, CEO of the
Marine Institute, said every time we breathe, one half of the oxygen we
consume has been produced by microscopic plants in the ocean and if we
want to help this life support system and address the risk of
acidification from climate change, then we must map, observe and
generate a fit for purpose ability to predict change that are occurring
He said this expedition is an incredibly important first start in this process.
The new NASA global data set combines historical
measurements with data from climate simulations using the best available
computer models to provide forecasts of how global temperature (shown
here) and precipitation might change up to 2100 under different
greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
NASA has released data showing how temperature and rainfall patterns
worldwide may change through the year 2100 because of growing
concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.
The dataset, which is available to the public, shows projected
changes worldwide on a regional level in response to different scenarios
of increasing carbon dioxide simulated by 21 climate models.
high-resolution data, which can be viewed on a daily timescale at the
scale of individual cities and towns, will help scientists and planners
conduct climate risk assessments to better understand local and global
effects of hazards, such as severe drought, floods, heat waves and
losses in agriculture productivity.
“NASA is in the business of taking what we’ve learned about our
planet from space and creating new products that help us all safeguard
our future,” said Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist.
“With this new
global dataset, people around the world have a valuable new tool to use
in planning how to cope with a warming planet.”
NASA climate projection for daily high temperature in the year 2100
under a "business as usual" emissions scenario.
The new dataset is the latest product from the NASA Earth Exchange
(NEX), a big-data research platform within the NASA Advanced
Supercomputing Center at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett
In 2013, NEX released similar climate projection data
for the continental United States that is being used to quantify
climate risks to the nation’s agriculture, forests, rivers and cities.
"This is a fundamental dataset for climate research and assessment
with a wide range of applications,” said Ramakrishna Nemani, NEX project
scientist at Ames.
“NASA continues to produce valuable community-based
data products on the NEX platform to promote scientific collaboration,
knowledge sharing, and research and development."
This NASA dataset integrates actual measurements from around the
world with data from climate simulations created by the international
Fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project.
These climate simulations
used the best physical models of the climate system available to provide
forecasts of what the global climate might look like under two
different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios: a “business as usual”
scenario based on current trends and an “extreme case” with a
significant increase in emissions.
The NASA climate projections provide a detailed view of future
temperature and precipitation patterns around the world at a 15.5 mile
(25 kilometer) resolution, covering the time period from 1950 to 2100.
The 11-terabyte dataset provides daily estimates of maximum and minimum
temperatures and precipitation over the entire globe.
The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA scientists. (other video)
NEX is a collaboration and analytical platform that combines
state-of-the-art supercomputing, Earth system modeling, workflow
management and NASA remote-sensing data.
Through NEX, users can explore
and analyze large Earth science data sets, run and share modeling
algorithms and workflows, collaborate on new or existing projects and
exchange workflows and results within and among other science
NEX data and analysis tools are available to the public through the
OpenNEX project on Amazon Web Services.
OpenNEX is a partnership between
NASA and Amazon, Inc., to enhance public access to climate data, and
support planning to increase climate resilience in the U.S. and
OpenNEX is an extension of the NASA Earth Exchange in a
public cloud-computing environment.
This animation portrays the flow of atmospheric water vapor around the world. Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas, but importantly, it acts as a feedback to the climate (see NASA )
NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of
our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future.
new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems
with long-term data records.
The agency freely shares this unique
knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new
insights into how our planet is changing.
The Tanmen people call their navigation log of the South China Sea “Genglubu”, which means the “Road Book”. There are numerous versions of the Genglubu, and it contains centuries of hard-won experience. Every island and its surrounding conditions are clearly described. Chinese experts believe the navigation logs are clear evidence that Chinese fishermen were the first explorers in the South China Sea. The people of Tanmen have been fishing in the South China Sea for generations. Tanmen is a very small fishing town, which has become well known as its residents work on China ‘s maritime frontier. (CCTV America)
One of the challenges for the Chinese government is the growing tensions in the South China Sea. China has proposed resolution through dialogue to its neighbors, but territorial disputes continue to arise. Today’s fishermen not only face the perils of the open sea, but also the danger of an encounter with a foreign patrol boat.
Little boats with noisy engines puttered purposefully down the river
and out toward the South China Sea.
Big vessels — ships, really, with
three or four decks, and heavy equipment — lay tied up close to the
crowded town, looming over the low buildings along the bank.
workhorse of the sea — high-bowed, about 40 feet long, wheelhouse astern
— slipped by.
It was heading out for a week, or more likely a couple of
weeks, on the open water.
Crewmen, stripped to the waist, lathered up
and washed from a barrel of water on deck as their trip began.
cleared the last bulkhead and then let loose with dozens of firecrackers
that hung in strings over the sides.
We had arrived by bus:
fifteen reporters from a dozen countries, on a tour arranged by the
East-West Center of Hawaii.
We were in Tanmen, on the island of Hainan,
at the northern approaches to the South China Sea, to talk with
fishermen. We were not going from boat to boat looking for someone with
tales to tell.
Our local escorts had arranged a meeting on the paved
walkway along the south bank of the river.
A delegation of retired
fishermen was there to receive us and tell us about their livelihoods.
and its neighbors are quarreling over the South China Sea, and
fishermen play a role in that. Chinese coast guard boats have been driving Philippine and Vietnamese fishing boats away from reefs and fishing grounds that China now claims control of.
We were here to get the Chinese water-level perspective.
Cheng Feng is 80, retired now for 11 years.
At first, after the
firecracker display died down, he was the most talkative.
He said he
didn't meet fishermen from other countries very often in the old days
when he was out at sea, before the surrounding countries' territorial
claims began to be taken seriously, because their boats were smaller
than the Chinese boats, and, frankly, their skills weren't as high.
sea, he said, was China's traditional fishing ground.
"fishermen have been fishing in the South China Sea for many, many
generations," he said.
"These are our own waters, just as natural as a
farmer going to his field."
We asked him about the past.
What was it like before the Communists came
to power in 1949, or even during the war, when he was a boy and his
father was a fisherman?
He didn't have much to say; nothing special,
nobody talked about it.
Wu Shujin, 79, Mai Yunxiu, 79, and Huang Qinghe, 82, listened in,
added a word here and there. They had all been captains.
They had fished
for wrasse, grouper and mackerel.
They dried their catch on board or
sold it to a buyer's boat that would take it back to shore.
get much help from the government
(Younger men standing nearby disputed
Then Lu Yuyong suddenly appeared.
He's 51, still active
on a boat.
He took over the conversation.
"The life on a boat is very
tough," he said.
Lu Yuyong, 51, looks up from a chart of the South China Sea on which he has placed a traditional Chinese compass. (Will Englund/The Washington Post)
He brought out a pink plastic bag and unwrapped
from it a traditional Chinese compass.
It's one of the four great
Chinese inventions, he said (along with gunpowder, paper-making and
Suddenly he was on his knees on the blacktop, unrolling a
nautical chart of the sea.
He was showing us how to use the compass on
the chart, and having a little trouble, most likely because it had
traditional markings on it and not the 360 degrees of a modern one.
got down with him, and all the reporters and local hangers-on crowded
Lu said he was glad the Chinese government is building up
some of the islands in the sea; he has lost three family members in
storms who had nowhere to go to and no one to help them.
occupation on some of the islands could save lives, he said.
But when fishermen from other countries dare to fish the South China Sea, he said, "they're invading our waters."
could go all the way to Australia if we wanted to," he said.
don't. That's not our ground. It's not about loving or not loving your
country. It's about fishing your own waters."
he said, were the first to discover the islands of the South China Sea.
"And as opposed to other countries, we are civilized," he said, again
mentioning the compass as one of the four great inventions.
He rolled up
the chart, then got out a piece of paper and drew his own map of the
sea, which he labeled the "Ancestor Sea."
He talked about the annual
celebrations in Tanmen for the Brotherhood of the 108 (also known as the
108 Stars of Destiny, or the Outlaws of the Marsh), demonic overlords
from a 700-year-old novel who were banished, repented and were reborn as
What upstart nation, he seemed to be asking, could lay claim to
history here the way China can?
Google and its partners are committed to using technology
to better understand and protect the ocean.
From Google_LatLon by Jenifer Austin and Brian Sullivan, Google Ocean Program
Covering more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean remains one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet.
Home to the majority of life on Earth, the ocean acts as its life support system, controlling everything from our weather and rainfall to the oxygen we breathe.
Yet despite the ocean’s vital importance, the ocean is changing at a rapid rate due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, making it one of the most serious environmental issues we face today.
Walk the coastline of Larsen Bay, Samoa, home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the Pacific
Mapping the ocean is key to preserving it.
Each image in Google Maps is a GPS-located digital record of these underwater and coastal environments, which can be used as a baseline to monitor change over time.
This comprehensive record of coral reefs showcases the beauty of these ecosystems and highlights the threats they face, such as the impact of increasing storms in the Great Barrier Reef and of rising water temperatures, factors causing the reefs to bleach white.
These two images taken just one year apart, demonstrate reef deterioration from ocean warming.
With just one click, you can swim underwater alongside some of the most wondrous and exotic creatures, including great white sharks in Australia.
As the ocean changes, we must change with it by creating new technologies, to help document the state of the ocean today and how it changes in years to come.
Working closely with XL Catlin Seaview Survey, we’re announcing a select group of new partnerships for our underwater Street View program to map and publish more imagery of our ocean and water systems for the world to understand and explore.
GUE’s Project Baseline: Empowering a global network of highly skilled SCUBA divers to create a lasting visual legacy of underwater conditions in oceans, lakes, rivers, springs, and caves all over the world
In addition to underwater and coastal Street View imagery, Global Fishing Watch, developed in partnership with nonprofits SkyTruth and Oceana, is producing the first public and interactive view of industrial fishing at a global scale.
With so much of what happens on the ocean going unnoticed, Global Fishing Watch will aim to empower governments, the seafood industry, research institutions and the public with new tools to better inform sustainable practices and management policies.
This World Oceans Day, we hope that you’re inspired to learn more about ocean change.
So dive into the deeps of the sea and become engaged to protect the ocean and understand how it supports us, so that all of us can better support it in return.