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@ScientificAmerican

Satisfy Your Curiosity with Our New E-Book, Can We Feed the World? The Future of Food

Future of Food Cover

Still hungry after devouring our September 2013 single topic issue: Food? Engage in some guilt-free gluttony with our new companion eBook: Can We Feed the World? The Future of Food. With global population numbers projected to increase by 2 billion by 2050, a veritable food crisis is on the horizon. In this eBook, we examine [...]

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Expeditions

Salmon farms in the Bay of Fundy worry fishermen

Editor’s Note: Expedition Blue Planet, led by Jacques Cousteau’s granddaughter Alexandra Cousteau, is traveling 14,500 miles of road over 138 days to investigate and film some of North America’s most pressing water-use and management stories. Expedition members will file dispatchs from the field for Scientific American until the expedition concludes on November 12 in Washington, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Vaquita Porpoise about to Go Extinct, Only 97 Remain

vaquita

Millions of dollars and two decades of conservation efforts have failed to protect the Gulf of California’s critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus). Two years ago this species’s population was estimated at 200. Today it has plummeted to just 97. Fewer than 25 of those that remain are thought to be females capable of reproducing [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Should We Stop Selling Nautilus Shells?

nautilus

Nautilus shells are big business. The U.S. imports more than 100,000 of the iconic mollusk shells every year, according to a recent study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The shells end up online or in stores around the country, where they sell for anywhere from $15 to a few hundred dollars. But [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sea Lion Whisker Patterns Could Be Key to Conservation

sea lion whiskers

This month marks the beginning of the breeding season for endangered Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea) as well as a great opportunity for citizen scientists to help conserve this rare species. A new project called the Whisker Patrol is asking for help with a possible new method for tracking and identifying individual sea lions. As [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Fishing Nets, Climate Change Threaten Yellow-Eyed Penguins in New Zealand

yellow-eyed penguin

It has been a rough few decades for endangered yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes). The species can only be found along a small portion of the southeastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the nearby Auckland Islands, and the isles of Campbell, Stewart and Codfish. Their total population numbered nearly 7,000 birds just 30 years ago [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Hong Kong Imported 10 Million Kilograms of Shark Fins Last Year

The appearance of a shark fin piercing the ocean surface is often seen as a sign of danger to humans. Even more dangerous to sharks is the sight of a shark fin floating in a bowl of soup. Around the world, sharks are in crisis. Many species have suffered population declines of 90 to 99 [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Citizen Scientists, Funding Needed to Help Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Project

hawaiian monk seal

Endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) have a bad reputation among some local fishermen, who accuse the 200-kilogram mammals of eating the fish that the humans catch for their livelihoods. A new project aims to find out if that notoriety is deserved and the public—in particular, teens—has a chance to participate. The National Marine Fisheries [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Just 55 Alive: World’s Rarest Dolphin Faces Extinction

Maui

The population of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins has dropped by half in the past seven years to an estimated 55 individuals, according to research released March 13 by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), the University of Auckland and Oregon State University. The critically endangered Maui’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui), which can [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Shark-finning gangsters assault celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay

If you’ve ever watched shows like Hell’s Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares, you’d know not to cross incendiary celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Well, maybe his shows don’t air in Taiwan, because a crew of Taiwanese shark-fin smugglers wasn’t too impressed by Ramsay’s reputation, holding the TV host at gunpoint and pouring gasoline over him during the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Fished out: Wildlife group objects as South Africa lifts abalone ban

Perlemoen

South Africa will lift on Friday its nearly three-year-old ban on commercial abalone fishing, a move that a wildlife group says will send the highly valued and highly poached species spiraling toward extinction. Known in South African as perlemoen, abalone (specifically the Haliotis midae species) has long been a cash cow for the nation’s fishermen, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Shell Shock: U.S. State Department bans shrimp imports from Mexico to protect endangered turtles

loggerhead turtle in net

No turtle protections, no shrimp. That’s the word from the U.S. Department of State, which ruled on Thursday to ban imports of wild-caught Mexican shrimp if they are collected in ways that threaten endangered sea turtles. The ban does not include aquacultural shrimp or those caught in shallow waters. Section 609 of U.S. Public Law [...]

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Food Matters

Move Over, Kale, The New Super Vegetable Comes From The Sea. [VIDEO]

3d-farming-posterframe

Eat Kelp. It’s chock-full of nutrients, it mitigates climate change by sequestering carbon, improves oceans by soaking up excess nitrogen and phosphorus, and has potential as a valuable fertilizer and biofuel. It’s also delicious. Bren Smith,  owner of Connecticut-based Thimble Island Oyster Company, and director of the organization Greenwave started growing kelp and shellfish as a [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How Did a Giant Octopus Lose the Battle of Seattle?

http://cuteoverload.com/2013/10/19/life-in-the-slow-lane/

This time last year, one unlucky Seattle octopus was reportedly beaten to death by a local diver and then brought home to be eaten for dinner. The story riled cephalopod fans near and far and has been covered extensively in the press, including a feature story this past weekend in The New York Times Magazine. [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

First Octopus Farms Get Growing

octopus farms

Fish farms now produce million tons of fish each year around the globe. But octopuses have largely escaped this kind of confined aquaculturing, despite a growing global demand and overfishing. Why? That’s the million-ton question. Based on their brief life cycles, prolific reproduction and efficient metabolisms, octopuses should be ideal candidates for aquaculture. They have short [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Unusual Offshore Octopods: Does the World’s Largest Octopus Only Have 7 Arms? [Video]

seven-armed octopus biggest octopus

Today we’re returning to the deep to meet an octopus that, at first glance, hardly seems to earn that eight-limbed designation. Its very name sounds like an oxymoron—or a cautionary tale from a fishing accident. But the seven-armed octopus (Haliphron atlanticus) is a real, bonafide octopod—if a little misleading in its appellation. This deep-ocean octopus [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Dolphin Societies Are Impacted By Human Fishing

bottlenose dolphin

Moreton Bay is a small patch of ocean bounded by Queensland, Australia, on the west and on the east by Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island. The bay is home, by various estimates, to between six hundred and eight hundred Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). A study conducted in the late 1990s found that the [...]

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