Category Archives: Uncategorized

Over & under

Came across this amazing image by Nat Geo photographer Daniel Botelho who was tasked to get a “urban shark photograph” by his editor. An amazing story of an amazing image.

A blacktip shark just offshore of Recife, Brazil; photo by ©Daniel Botelho

My own attempts at the over/under shot have met with varying degrees of success. Both shots below were taken with a Sony NEX-5 with a fisheye converter on the 16-mm pancake lens in a Nauticam housing.


Getting ready to dive with Maho Bay Watersports, Maho Bay, St. John, USVI.

Getting ready to dive with Maho Bay Watersports, Maho Bay, St. John, USVI.

Sombrero Key Reef Light in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Sombrero Key Reef Light in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.



28 hours at sea

This is just an absolutely crazy story. South African surfer Brett Archibald fell overboard during a storm at 3AM while on a surf trip in Indonesia. The crew, having no idea that he fell, continued sailing until morning. Brett, meanwhile, swam and treaded water for 28 hours until he was rescued by another boat.

“It was insane, was just insane. I actually gave up. I went under and said, ‘screw this, I can’t carry on’. But I couldn’t swallow water, I couldn’t get my lungs to take the water and I kept coming back up. So then I pulled myself together, said, ‘Okay, we need to keep going here’, and I kept swimming and treading water.”

– Brett Archibald

After being checked out by a doctor and reunited with his mates, Brett was looking forward to the rest of the week-long surftrip. Bloody hell, what a madman!

Beer! Only the BEST will do

A little bit ago I split up the blogs between SCIENCE and EVERYTHING ELSE. I figured it was a good move to have the science-y stuff kept somewhat at a distance from everytImagehing else I think and do. Turns out that there isn’t a whole lot that I want to write about here that’s NOT science related. That was true until today when I stumbled across a couple very interesting lists: the 20 Most Influential Beers of All Time, and the REAL 20 Most Influential Beers of All Time.

Turns out, this dude Martin Cornell took issue with the first list and decided to come up with his own, the REAL deals when it comes to influential beers. Now, not all the beers on these lists are still available. As one would expect, some of the listed breweries are long extinct. Of the breweries still listed, there are an embarrassingly high number that I’ve never heard of, let alone tasted. So here’s to a hoppy 2013, one rich in beers of influence and high of praise.

I’ll leave you this awesome map of brews by state from the lads over at Aleheads (one of many excellent beer blogs that were picked from during the making of this post), and with the remarkable finding that perhaps the best beer in America, at least according to the raw data found on is made right here in Gulfport, FL!


Aquarius in trouble

At the moment I’m working on three new blog posts – one about science education in America, one about the pace of human evolution, and an update on some fieldwork I’ve been doing this fall – but in the meantime an issue of immediate importance: the Aquarius underwater habitat is in trouble!

While the specter of sequestration looms on the horizon, funding cuts to basic science are already happening. The National Underwater Research Program (NURP) is one of the first on the chopping block, with funding slated to be cut at years end. The flagship program of NURP is the Aquarius ReefBase – an underwater habitat located 50 feet down in the Florida Keys. Aquarius has been providing support of coral reef research for 50 years but is in critical danger of losing its funding in just a few short months.

In ecology, long term data sets are critical for understanding how ecosystems change through time. Aquarius has been a critical tool in studying coral reefs here in Florida for half a century, and now they need our support. Those in charge of running Aquarius are currently searching for private donations to keep the project going in the future. One way to donate is through their indiegogo campaign – a crowdfunding effort much like the one I did through SciFlies to support my field work. So please take a moment to check out the Save Aquarius page and play a part, however small, in supporting a critical scientific mission.



Monday morning science

Two science related links for a Monday morning (what? It’s Tuesday you say? Bah!):

First off is the very excellent new series what if? from Randall Munroe, creator of the webcomic xkcd, where Randall answers your random physics questions. This week: what if everybody on earth squished up real close together and then jumped at the same time?

Next up is – a website all about aquaculture and seafood. Dr. Rafik Orhun, now of NOAA/NMFS in Miami runs this blog/news site and updates the news section almost daily. A comprehensive source for all your aquaculture and seafood related news in one spot!

That’s all for now. Goliath grouper spawning season has begun, so the FSU Grouper lab will be very busy for the next few months poking and prodding and slowly piecing together the story of how these incredible beasts reproduce.

Recent headlines

It has been a while, but here are some stories that have caught my eye recently. And there is a research update!! Click here to read about what’s been keeping me busy lately.

Good news on the endangered turtle front: loggerhead nests have been found in Mississippi for the first time in more than 20 years. This could mean, of course, that habitat degradation in their natural range has sent them searching for sub-optimal habitat elsewhere. Or it could mean that the loggerhead turtle population is increasing so much that they are expanding their range. I, for one, choose to be hopeful that it is the second scenario.

Climate change. Apparently we are still trying to convince people that it is real. Why am I convinced? Simple: I took physics and chemistry in college. All of these complicated models we hear about are based on fundamental principles of the molecules involved. Understanding these principles is, er, fundamental to understanding climate change, but that doesn’t mean they are complicated! A recent Dot Earth (an Ellissurf recommended blog) post focused on this issue and includes a nice presentation on the topic.

For those with the talent, this is a very cool way to communicate complex ideas.

Finally today, something a bit more dense: a consideration of false dichotomies and how it hurts the conservation movement. The take home message – we must recognize that there is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. But as G.I Joe taught the males of my generation years ago, knowing is half the battle. We must recognize this dichotomy (economy versus environment) in order to best chart our path to a future where both coexist. Because of course, an economy without an environment cannot exist.