9. Tun Mustapha: Malaysia’s Conservation Experiment
It’s a dark night, the moon providing little illumination on the unusual procession making its way along a pristine beach on a remote island in Malaysian Borneo. Our guide and local wildlife warden, Absan Saman, pauses occasionally, searching for clues in minor indentations in the sand or behind the crowded treeline.
Tailing behind, trudging in pairs with M16s firmly gripped in their hands, a police escort follows on what seems a tame mission. Their presence is a necessity in the piracy-stricken region. Joining tonight and taking up the rear are Saman’s mentors from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
10. US Senators Learn How Sharks Might Help Cure Cancer
It might seem odd that U.S. senators just held a hearing about “innovations in shark research and technology.” But when it comes to public health, sharks might have a lot to offer us, humans. Experts told the Senate commerce committee sharks are an important lab animal, even if they are a little unorthodox. They say sharks’ biology could teach us things we can’t learn from lab monkeys or mice. Sharks are one of the only animals with immune systems that can fight cancer with few or no side effects. Researchers say shark cells could help us understand cancer responses in humans — or someday even fight human cancer in clinical trials.
11. Ditching Plastic Straws is a Good Start, But Much Work Remains to be Done
Many Environmentalists praised Starbucks’ announcement this week that it will stop using plastic straws within two years, and it’s indeed a laudable move. It also barely makes a dent in the global trash crisis. This is the part of our gotta-have-it consumer culture that people would rather not think about — what to do with the mountains of waste generated by our need to possess the best, the latest, the most buzzed-about products. Simply put, we’re running out of places to safely throw stuff away, and we’ve turned our oceans and waterways into sludge buckets for some of the most toxic materials imaginable.
12. Newly Discovered Shark Species Honors Eugenie Clark
Eugenie Clark was a pioneer in shark biology, known around the world for her illuminating research on shark behavior. But she was a pioneer in another critical way, as one of the first women of prominence in the male-dominated field of marine biology. Fondly labeled the “Shark Lady,” Clark, who founded Mote Marine Laboratory and continued studying fishes until she passed away in 2015 at age 92, will now be recognized with another distinction: namesake of a newly discovered species of dogfish shark.
13. Everything You Need To Know About All The Upcoming Plastic Straw Bans
Plastic straws have been a big topic of discussion as of late. It’s no surprise that they’re not great for the environment, but if a switch to plastic lids (à la Starbucks) is making you scratch your head, here’s what you need to know. Because of their size, plastic straws can literally slip through the cracks when going through the recycling process. They often end up in the ocean, where they can do damage to sea creatures who mistake them for food. And when they’re not recycled, they wind up in landfills. Plastic lids, while not ideal, are much easier to recycle.
14. Polar Oceans are Hot Spots for New Fish Species
The fastest rates of species formation have occurred at the highest latitudes and in the coldest ocean waters, according to a new analysis of the evolutionary relationships between more than 30,000 fish species. Tropical oceans teem with the dazzle and flash of colorful reef fishes and contain far more species than the cold ocean waters found at high latitudes. This well-known “latitudinal diversity gradient” is one of the most famous patterns in biology, and scientists have puzzled over its causes for more than 200 years.
15. Nature-Rich ‘Wonderlands’ in Antarctic Waters Given Protection
Wildlife-rich areas of the seas around Antarctica which were identified in recent submarine dives have been approved for special local protection. Research in the waters of the Gerlache Straight along the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Antarctic
Sound, carried out during an expedition by Greenpeace to the region in January, identified four “vulnerable marine ecosystems”. Video evidence of the seafloor, collected by
Dr. Susanne Lockhart, of the California Academy of Sciences, during trips in a submersible, reveals an underwater world rich in corals, sponges, ice fish, starfish and sea squirts.
16. Leading the UAE Challenge to Beat Plastic Pollution
Plastic waste is leaking into the environment at an alarming rate. In a 2018 report published by the United Nations, “Single Use-Plastics — A Roadmap for Sustainability”, it states that 400 million tons of plastics are produced every year, 36 percent of which is plastic packaging intended for a single use, with an estimated eight million tonnes entering the world’s oceans. The explosion, since the 1950s, of disposable plastic packaging designed for a single use is driving the growing volumes of plastics entering our environment in an uncontrolled way.