Save the blue whale - with mathematics. Asha de Vos is moving busy shipping routes away from Sri Lankan pods

April 7, 2014

The first time marine biologist Asha de Vos saw a blue whale, she was on a boat sailing from the Maldives to Sri Lanka; six of the enormous mammals were huddled together, hunting fish. "Blue whales usually migrate to the poles in warm weather, but these ones had stayed behind, " she says. "I was instantly intrigued. Why was nobody else curious about their presence?" Since then, de Vos has spent a decade getting to know the unorthodox blue whales that are permanent residents off the coast of Sri Lanka. Her current mission: to save them....Wired Magazine UK Edition May 2014



Counting the invisible by sound: New approach to estimate seabird populations

April 9, 2014

Many seabird species nest underground, approach their nests only during darkness, and are essentially invisible on land and impossible to count. By deploying automated sound recorders on a remote island and counting the recorded calls, a team of seabird researchers was able to estimate the size of a breeding colony of shearwaters on a remote island in the North AtlanticScience Daily



Nonprofit Targets Island Invaders to Restore World's Rare Species

April 10, 2012

ONE HUNDRED fifty miles off the coast of Baja California, jagged Guadalupe Island climbs more than 4,000 feet above the Pacific. Throughout the year elephant seals, Guadalupe fur seals and scores of seabirds call this volcanic island home. They dive for fish in the island’s rich waters and use the secluded shoreline to escape white sharks, recuperate from migration and raise their young. Today, the isolated landmass supports a thriving community of rare plants and animals. But it wasn’t always this way.... Santa Cruz Weekly



Local push to ban krill fishing embraced by federal regulators

July 15, 2009

The tiny shrimp-like krill is not a seafood delicacy. In fact, it's not even commercially fished in U.S. waters. Yet, federal regulators this week took the unusual step of banning krill fishing along the entire West Coast. The proactive measure, which takes effect Aug. 12, comes at the urging of a handful of scientists along the Monterey Bay who nearly a decade ago launched efforts here to protect the small crustaceans, a dietary staple on the high seas... Mercury News



Alien Rats Prey on Seabirds Worldwide

February 21, 2008

Bite marks in the paraffin-and-peanut butter blocks help researchers and conservationists determine how many rats are in an area and whether a poisoning program has been effective, according to Carolyn Kurle, a researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz... National Geographic News



Rats On Islands Disrupt Ecosystems From Land To Sea, Researchers Find

February 28, 2008

Seabird colonies on islands are highly vulnerable to introduced rats, which find the ground-nesting birds to be easy prey. But the ecological impacts of rats on islands extend far beyond seabird nesting colonies, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz... Science Daily



Ocean's Three

June 4, 2008

Our oceans are in crisis. How three local scientists are turning the tide... Santa Cruz Good Times



Islands Rescued From Invasive Rats

January 1, 2007

Huge gains have been made over the last twenty years in stopping invasive rats and mice from destroying island biodiversity. For centuries the rodents have stowed away on boats to settle on distant islands. So far, black rats (Rattus rattus), Norway rats (R. norvegicus), Polynesian rats (R. exulans) and house mice (Mus musculus) have colonized 80% of the world's major islands... Current Results Nexus



Santa Cruz Surfer Catches Prehistoric "Wolf Of The Sea" Fish In Shorebreak

January 8, 2009

Bernie Tershy surfed Scott Creek with his pal Joe Beek on New Year's Eve. What a great way to wind up another year. On their way back to the car, Tershy noticed a rather large and bizarre looking fish struggling weakly in the surf. Tershy has experience as a commercial fisherman and recognized it as a long-nosed lancet fish, a deep-water dweller that occasionally washes up on northern beaches... Transworld Surf



Acoustic monitoring eases studies of remote seabird populations

April 2, 2014

Among the screeching seabirds roosting on a handful of remote islands across the world, specialized microphones stand silently intermittently recording the racket. Scientists use the recording to gauge the size of colonies and the effects of conservation projects undertaken to benefit seabirds - a highly threatened group of marine animals...Environmental Monitor



UCSC graduate student's research leads to environmental victory in Coronado Islands

April 10, 2007

As part of her research for a master's degree in ocean sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, graduate student Shaye Wolf documented the large and diverse populations of seabirds that nest on the Coronado Islands, a group of small islands off the coast of Baja California, just south of the Mexican border. Now, Wolf's findings have helped save those seabirds from the potentially devastating effects of a liquified natural gas facility that Chevron was planning to build next to the islands... UC News



Treasure Island (PDF)

October, 2006

A group of dedicated scientists has succeeded in reviving the health of fragile islands on the coasts of California and Mexico as well as the endangered species that rely on them leaving little doubt that the ends justify their lethal means... Audubom Magazine



Albatross study shows regional differences in ocean contamination

April 10, 2006

As long-lived predators at the top of the marine food chain, albatrosses accumulate toxic contaminants such as PCBs, DDT, and mercury in their bodies. A new study has found dramatic differences in contaminant levels between two closely related albatross species that forage in different areas of the North Pacific. Researchers also found that levels of PCBs and DDT have increased in both species over the past ten years... UC News Room



Arctic foxes made Aleutians less green

May 18, 2005

The Aleutians would probably be a lot greener if it weren't for the arctic foxes people planted on them, researchers have found. In a study published in Science magazine in March 2005, scientists from California, Montana and Alaska compared islands with and without foxes in the Aleutians. They discovered that islands with foxes are covered mostly with tundra, while fox-free islands have patches of lush grasslands. The major difference in types of greenery could be the lack of seabirds on islands with foxes, coupled with the fertilizing power of the birds' guano on fox-free islands... SitNews



On California's Channel Islands, Native Predators Became Prey When Feral Pigs Rearranged The Food Web

December 20, 2001

Feral pigs have created ecological havoc in many parts of California, uprooting native plants and turning meadows into mudholes. But nowhere have their effects been as dramatic as on the Channel Islands, where they have caused a complete restructuring of the food web, threatening the native island fox with extinction. A team of biologists has now documented the remarkable extent to which the introduced pigs have disrupted the island ecosystem. They are reporting their findings in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (the article will be published online on December 18 and will appear in print in the January 8 issue of the journal)... Science Daily