You may see a piece of driftwood at the beach or on the shore and wonder about its journey from land to water, and back to land again. Driftwood is not only beautiful, it’s a critical piece of the marine ecosystem that offers vital sanctuary to breeding insects and invertebrates on shore and in the sea, who in turn feed species all the way up the marine food chain.
It wasn’t necessarily Herschel the sea lion outside the locks with a very hungry tummy; the decline of steelhead salmon in Puget Sound in the last couple of decades could be due to many factors including whales, hake, pollock, and sculpins, though as Katharine Gammon reports at Hakai, humans needed someone to blame for depleting fish stocks.
As Bruce Grierson reports in this fascinating piece, clear-cut logging has much deeper repercussions than simply denuding the land of trees — it also affects a critical underground ecosystem of dissolved rock called karst as well as the organisms that depend on it.
Grooming beaches to rid them of the tons of trash that careless humans leave behind is a necessary evil — but one that compromises habitat for sand fleas who subsist on kelp, which also feeds flies, which feed shorebirds like plovers and killdeer, and so on and so on. By making beaches too clean, we’re destroying miles upon miles of natural seaside habitat that compromises an entire ecosystem.
The history of colatura — a fermented anchovy-based sauce produced in Italy — goes back millennia. Now, overfishing and rapidly warming waters threaten its future.
Shanna Baker reports on the ongoing bid to preserve C. rhombifer, the breed of Cuban crocodile beloved of Fidel Castro, who was known to send living and embalmed versions of the animal to allies around the world. The Cuban croc is endangered, not only due to shrinking habitat, but also to hybridization as its gene pool gets polluted by natural encounters with the bigger, shyer American crocodile.
In Maine, a strange legal debate is raging over rights to the state’s most important seaweed. At least, it seems to be a seaweed.
By protecting a third of its landbase, Costa Rica built itself into a leader in ecotourism and resource conservation. Offshore, the government gave too much of the country’s fisheries away to foreign fleets, and things have gone haywire.
What do humans and corals (and numerous other marine creatures) have in common? We all seem to find the moon irresistibly romantic.