Ocean Roundup: More Orcas Converging near Puget Sound, Hawaii’s Coral Reef Ecosystems Found in Poor Condition, and More - Oceana USA
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2014-12-02 00:00:00

Ocean Roundup: More Orcas Converging near Puget Sound, Hawaii’s Coral Reef Ecosystems Found in Poor Condition, and More

– Recently, “exotic orcas”—orcas that are typically found off California’s continental shelf—have been converging in unusually high numbers in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Scientists suspect ocean temperatures and food availability are drawing the orcas closer to the coast, but they’re still investigating the cause. UPI

– Researchers have known that Argentinian kelp gulls feed on whales by ripping off their skin, and sightings show that the occurrence has only increased recently. New observations, however, show that whales may be catching on and adjusting their form when they surface for breaths to deter gulls from feeding on them. The Washington Post  

– A new study found that just a third of Hawaii’s coral reef ecosystems are home to healthy corals and calcareous algae, while two-thirds are covered with turf algae. The researchers attributed reef declines to fish abundance, temperature changes, and land-based run-off. Phys.org

Long Read:

– For the first time, Spain has given the green light to oil drilling off the Canary Islands—a popular tourist destination—and an oil rig can now be spotted from its shores. A recent poll shows that most residents are opposed to oil drilling, and would prefer to invest in cleaner energy alternatives. NPR

Op-Ed:

– A new study suggests that offshore drilling is correlated with increase maritime disputes—particularly between nations that claim waters with oil. The study authors pinpointed a recent dispute between China and Vietnam near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, as well as other conflicts between China and various nations. The Washington Post