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Marine Conservation

NEXT: 101+ Ways to Make a Difference »

Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Saving Ocean Life and Ourselves...

MarineBio is deeply committed to the conservation of the ocean and its marine life. The health of the ocean and marine life are so often taken for granted and due to our increasing numbers and wasteful practices, the ocean appears to be as vulnerable to harm by human activities as any other environmental realm—and maybe even more so based on the severity and scale of the threats discussed below.


101+ Ways to Make a Difference

Ways You Can Help?No matter what your economic standing, you can help save/restore/protect the environment and save money at the same time. You the consumer drive the market; products are made because you buy them. If you buy products that are better for the environment it will become profitable for companies to respond to the demand for environmentally-friendly products. It really is that simple »

Also see What you can do to save wildlife by Dr. Peter Moyle.

A Sea Ethic

A Sea EthicLaunching a Sea Ethic was Dr. Carl Safina's call for a stronger sense of right and wrong when it comes to the way we treat the ocean and marine life. It was a proposition for all to treat the ocean and its creatures with the same conservation ethic as many have for land and its creatures. It simply means that we should manage the sea's resources sustainably, that we should take strong measures to avoid destruction of habitats, species depletion, pollution, and other threats faced by the ocean that often goes unnoticed because the scars are not as evident as they are on land.

MarineBio also highly recommends Dr. Safina's books, which describe many of our ocean's problems in ways that urges all of us to find equitable solutions. These books read like entertaining travel narratives, yet they powerfully convey important messages in an objective, eloquent, and compelling manner. » more...

Marine Conservation Biology

by Michael E. Soule, Elliott A. Norse, Larry B. Crowder, Marine Conservation Institute, Island Press, 2005

Marine Conservation Biology brings together for the first time in a single volume leading experts from around the world to apply the lessons and thinking of conservation biology to marine issues. Contributors including James M. Acheson, Louis W. Botsford, James T. Carlton, Kristina Gjerde, Selina S. Heppell, Ransom A. Myers, Julia K. Parrish, Stephen R. Palumbi, and Daniel Pauly offer penetrating insights on the nature of marine biodiversity, what threatens it, and what humans can and must do to recover the biological integrity of the world's estuaries, coastal seas, and the ocean. » Find out more...

Sustainable Fisheries

~70% of the earth's commercially targeted fish species have been overfished to the point where their stocks are in grave danger of being depleted. Fish harvests have quadrupled since the 1950s and the competition for marketable catches has increased to the point where competition is driving governments to subsidize fishing vessels. Even when data is convincing, experts say, action falls short. Despite the clear risk from such long-lived large fish as swordfish, shark and types of tuna, public warnings are often not spelled out. Smaller fish rich in fat can also be hazardous, although they are seldom flagged. Norwegian researchers say Baltic Sea herring carry up to 10 times as much contamination as salmon. A growing trend toward fish-farming adds new dangers, according to the specialists. » more...

Marine Biodiversity

BiodiversityPulitzer prize winning biologist Dr. E. O. Wilson, widely known as the father of biodiversity, said that the loss of biodiversity is the "folly for which our descendants are least likely to forgive us." What will our children say when they discover that generations before them destroyed what can never be replaced? Biological diversity in the ocean is much greater than biodiversity on land—a staggering concept, considering the abundance and variety of life on land—yet much more is known about terrestrial biodiversity. The ocean is not as accessible which accounts for part of the problem, but in addition, only in recent years has interest in marine biodiversity increased, likely due to the critically low populations of several key marine species. Threats to biological diversity in the ocean abound as commercially targeted species are overfished and fishing methods remain indiscriminate against non-targeted species. The use of cyanide and dynamite to harvest reef fish is threatening those communities at an alarming rate. » more...

Global Warming/Climate Change

Global WarmingThe debate is finally over (and actually has been since at least 2001). Global warming is happening and is primarily caused by our fossil fuel emissions unnaturally increasing greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) in our earth's atmosphere. What impact does global warming have on the ocean? Two tangible effects are the sea level rise from the melting of ice sheets and glaciers at record levels and the overall acidification of the ocean. If this trend continues, sea level rise will impact the densely populated coastal areas all over our planet, and ocean acidification has worldwide possible impacts that include a complete breakdown of most marine food webs. What are the current theories on global warming and what is being done to reverse the trend? » more...

Threatened and Endangered Species

Threatened and Endangered SpeciesUntil recently, humankind seemed to view the ocean as a source of infinite resources. Its apparent vast size and unlimited depth made the ocean appear invulnerable to overexploitation. The truth is that the populations of many species are decreasing at an unsustainable rate, and the number of species listed as endangered from marine life families such as whales, dolphins, manatees and dugongs, salmon, seabirds, sea turtles, and sharks to name a few, are on the rise. Although it is difficult to perceive because marine life is not as visible as animals on land, it is equally if not more vulnerable to problems such as habitat destruction and overexploitation. » more...

Habitat Conservation

Habitat ConservationEveryone knows that the northern spotted owl is threatened because of destruction to the forests of the Pacific Northwest - but what will happen to the Pacific seahorse if its habitat continues to decline? Due to the lack of a strong public sea ethic, marine life doesn't appear on the conservation radar screen as much as its terrestrial counterparts, but ocean habitats are in decline as well, and therefore the creatures they support are too (which in turn support us). Most marine habitat destruction is caused by pollution, commercial fishing equipment, coastal development, and other human activity. Much of it can be avoided with simple measures. » more...

Alien Species

Alien SpeciesThe introduction of non-native species to an ecosystem is one of the major causes of decreased biodiversity. Termed alien species, they are also known as exotic, introduced, non-indigenous, or invasive species. As the names imply, these species do not belong to ecosystems in which they are either intentionally or unintentionally placed. They tend to disrupt the ecosystem's balance by multiplying rapidly. These species are often plants, fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, algae, bacteria or viruses. » more...

Ocean Pollution

Ocean Dumping GroundsAlthough the ocean covers over two-thirds of the surface of the Earth, it is surprisingly vulnerable to human influences such as overfishing, pollution from run-off, and dumping of waste from human activity. This kind of pollution can have serious economic and health impacts by killing marine life and damaging habitats and ecosystems. Toxins from pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals used on farms contaminate nearby rivers that flow into the ocean, which can cause extensive loss of marine life in bays and estuaries, leading to the creation of dead zones. The dumping of industrial, nuclear and other waste into oceans was legal until the early 1970s when it became regulated; however dumping still occurs illegally everywhere. » more...

Ocean Resources

Ocean ResourcesThe ocean is one of Earth's most valuable natural resources. It provides food in the form of fish and shellfish—about 200 billion pounds are caught each year. It's used for transportation—both travel and shipping. It provides a treasured source of recreation for humans. It is mined for minerals (salt, sand, gravel, and some manganese, copper, nickel, iron and cobalt can be found in the deep sea) and drilled for crude oil. The ocean plays a critical role in removing carbon from the atmosphere and providing oxygen. It regulates Earth's climate. The ocean is an increasingly important source of biomedical organisms with enormous potential for fighting disease. These are just a few examples of the importance of the ocean to life on land. Explore them in greater detail to understand why we must keep the ocean healthy for future generations... » more...

Sustainable Ecotourism

Sustainable TourismSustainable tourism, also known as ecotourism, is defined as leisure travel that provides tourists with an educational and adventurous experience visiting complex and fascinating ecosystems and their associated cultures and traditions. The concept of ecotourism began in the late 1980s and increased in popularity in 2002 during the United Nations "International Year of Ecotourism." According to environmental and other organizations, ecotourism should have a minimal impact on both the environment and the culture. Ecotourism should inform tourists about what's needed to sustain the environment they're visiting, and should also help local populations understand the importance and value of their home. » more...

Marine Conservation Organizations

Marine Conservation OrganizationsMarineBio has compiled an evolving list of conservation organizations working on a variety of issues related to marine conservation. We encourage you to read through them and support the organizations doing work in areas that you feel strongly about. In our increasingly conservative economic climate, funding by private foundations and institutions is scarce. Making a donation is one of the best things you can do to help make sure these organizations are able to accomplish their goals. You can also write to your elected representatives to encourage them to support legislation that will protect marine life and the ocean. Many of the organizations listed will help you compose a letter, and can even tell you who your representatives are! » more...

The Future

From our beaches and coastlines to the remotest reaches of the open oceans, human actions are despoiling the sea no less than the land. Scientists have documented the disappearance of species from whale-sized Steller's sea cows (Hydrodamalis gigas) to fingernail-sized eelgrass limpets (Lottia alveus), but this is just the tip of the iceberg. » more...

Essays on Wildlife Conservation

MarineBio is proud to present Essays on Wildlife Conservation written and edited by Dr. Peter Moyle, et al. for an introductory course on wildlife conservation taught at the University of California, Davis. The essays were written for students who are not only biology majors and are broad in scope. These chapters provide an introduction to the history of wildlife in North America, biodiversity, natural selection, conservation biology, ecology, conservation legislation, alien species, wildlife and pollution, and things we can all do to save wildlife. We think you will find that they are not only fascinating to read but also very useful toward understanding the myriad of issues concerning conservation efforts today. » more...

Man has become by far the greatest predator of all time. As populations mount and land-grown food supplies are unable to feed the growing numbers of the hungry, man is turning more and more to the sea for his food. On land man has slowly learned to conserve the soil lest it stop producing crops. But on the ocean, man is a hunter only. He takes but returns little. If the bounty of the sea is not to be exhausted, man must learn to farm it as he farms the land, by sowing as well as reaping. - The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau, 1975

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. Rachel Carson

He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. - Immanuel Kant

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth. - Henry Beston, 1928

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Help Protect and Restore Ocean Life

Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences. Join us today or show your support with a monthly donation.

With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.