The Case of Catastrophic Kelp Loss

For more than five years, divers and scientists along the U.S. West Coast have watched a disaster play out before their eyes. Sunflower sea stars fell victim to a wasting disease, which wiped out roughly 90 percent of the global population in 2013. Seven years later, scientists see no signs of recovery. Without the sea stars, the population of purple urchins that sea stars eat has exploded and mowed down entire forests of bull kelp. The West Coast experienced intense ocean warming from 2014 to 2017, and by 2015 divers began seeing urchin barrens — vast swaths covered in piles of spiny creatures and little else.

Celebrating Seagrass

The benefits of protecting seagrass cannot be overstated. Seagrass purifies the water, helps protect against coastal erosion, helps sustain small-scale fisheries that support communities, and increases fish populations and biodiversity. It sequesters much more carbon per area than terrestrial forests and reduces ocean acidification. Healthy seagrass means a healthier ocean.

Chasing Weeds

How many times have you noticed the line of weeds out of the corner of your eye and driven past, around, or through it without a second glance on your way to a dive? In our case, most of the time. On a calm day off Jupiter, Florida, a wide weed line at the edge […]

Bonaire Inspires Hope for the Future of Coral

DESCENDING THE LIMESTONE STAIRS OF BONAIRE’S famous 1,000 Steps dive site in full scuba gear is challenging. It’s just 64 steps down, but it feels like many more. Once you make it down, you’re rewarded with a Caribbean reef teeming with life …

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