MATH Marine Anthropology Modules

Nov 19

The Posts on this page are the summaries for the courses developed by Marine Archaeologist Yvonne-Cher Skye while living aboard the Mary and Bill of Rights in Chula Vista, California, U.S.A.. It consists of 21 aspects of Marine Anthropology which can be taught in a seminar single-day format or over an 18-week semester.

The supplemental materials will be available for purchase via paypal or credit card on her webpage located at the YGFI- Your Girl Friday International Website.  Links to individual modules and their introductions will be posted on this page, as well as on the Skye Research Page on YGFI’s website.

To gain a better understanding of the courses that are offered, please read the introduction page here.

Follow the links to the other posts which will provide links to the specific page on the website to purchase that module.  At the present time, they are provided as an entire package, which includes:

  • Course Outline
  • Glossary
  • Module
  • Notes
  • References available
  • Websites
  • Summary of course to promote to students and the public
  • Handouts
  • Video list of related topics

As well as each document is available for single purchase.

The purpose of these modules is to provide an unique educational opportunity which does not require formal educational training to conduct the course.  The idea of providing so many supplemental materials is to ensure satisfaction of the attendees of the course, as well as the boards or governing bodies of any organization that chooses to add these courses to their existing programs.  As stated in the introduction module this is only the skeleton of the courses, and it can stand alone as an introductory course, further more advanced courses will be developed in the future.

Ms. Skye has also developed modules for Climatology, Marine Science, and soon to be announced.

MATH 001 In the Beginning – Summary

MATH 002 Fabled Lands – Summary

MATH 003 Legendary Voyages – Summary

MATH 004 Sea Quests, Famous Expeditions and Explorers – Summary

MATH 005 Maritime History – Summary

MATH 006 Nautical Custom – Summary

MATH 007 Life at Sea – Summary

MATH 008 Famous Captains – Summary

MATH 009 Mutinies – Summary

MATH 010 Big Ships – Summary

MATH 011 Death and Disaster – Summary

MATH 012 Navigable Waters – Summary

MATH 013 Castaways and Survivors – Summary

MATH 014 Criminals – Summary

MATH 015 Myths – Summary

MATH 016 Mysteries – Summary

MATH 017 Monsters – Summary

MATH 018 Wraiths of the Sea – Summary

MATH 019 Superstitions and Beliefs – Summary

MATH 020 Famous Ships – Summary

MATH 021 Battles – Summary

Gulf fisherman: “There is no life out there”

Oct 29

Gulf fisherman: “There is no life out there”

By (cross-posted from Grist post at http://grist.org/news/gulf-fisherman-there-is-no-life-out-there/)

Fried oyster sandwich
jshyun
There are many ways of preparing oysters. BP has the recipe for destroying them.

If it’s true that oysters are aphrodisiacs, then BP has killed the mood.

Louisiana’s oyster season opened last week, but thanks to the mess that still lingers after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, there aren’t many oysters around.

“We can’t find any production out there yet,” Brad Robin, a commercial fisherman and Louisiana Oyster Task Force member, told Al Jazeera. “There is no life out there.” Many of Louisiana’s oyster harvest areas are “dead or mostly dead,” he says.

 

In Mississippi, fishing boats that used to catch 30 sacks of oysters a day are returning to docks in the evenings with fewer than half a dozen sacks aboard.

It’s not just oysters. The entire fishing industry is being hit, with catches down and shrimp and shellfish being discovered with disgusting deformities. One seafood business owner told Al Jazeera that his revenue was down 85 percent compared with the period before the spill. From the article:

“I’ve seen a lot of change since the spill,” [Hernando Beach Seafood co-owner Kathy] Birren told Al Jazeera. “Our stone crab harvest has dropped off and not come back; the numbers are way lower. Typically you’ll see some good crabbing somewhere along the west coast of Florida, but this last year we’ve had problems everywhere.”

Birren said the problems are not just with the crabs. “We’ve also had our grouper fishing down since the spill,” she added. “We’ve seen fish with tar balls in their stomachs from as far down as the Florida Keys. We had a grouper with tar balls in its stomach last month. Overall, everything is down.”

According to Birren, many fishermen in her area are giving up. “People are dropping out of the fishing business, and selling out cheap because they have to. I’m in west-central Florida, but fishermen all the way down to Key West are struggling to make it. I look at my son’s future, as he’s just getting into the business, and we’re worried.”

Ecosystem recovery is a slow process. Ed Cake, an oceanographer and marine biologist, points out that oysters still have not returned to some of the areas affected by a 1979 oil well blowout in the Gulf.  He thinks recovery from the BP disaster will take decades.

Date with disaster: Adventurers sail through wave of tsunami debris

Aug 7

shared via WordPress “ShareThis” plug-in:
from http://grist.org/pollution/date-with-disaster-adventurers-sail-through-wave-of-tsunami-debris/

By Jim Meyer

Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen

The Pacific Ocean is a pretty darned big place. The hull of the 72’ former racing yacht, Sea Dragon, not so much, especially when crammed full of research equipment and 14 full-sized human-type people not necessarily accustomed to the rigors of the open ocean. But that’s just what the intrepid team of oceanic avengers from the 5Gyres Institute are up against as they race across the Pacific on a collision course with the great field of debris washed away from Japan by last year’s devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

Imagine cramming into an RV and driving from Nome, Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego with the cast of Road Rules Season 9. (That would be the Maximum Velocity Tour, but I’m sure you knew that, gentle reader.) Now try to imagine that the I-5 is heaving 30 to 40 feet into the air, is full of sharks, and generally wants you dead. Add to that, Theo won’t stop spraying you with the super soaker he brought for some reason, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the potential horror involved here.

Scientist, adventurer, and Gulf War veteran Marcus Eriksen previously floated the length of the Mississippi on a raft made of plastic bottles and sailed from California to Hawaii on a boat made of trash to raise awareness of the pollution problem facing us all. What he saw changed his life. “I couldn’t believe how much waste was littering our coast lines,” he says.

Eriksen and his wife, Anna Cummins, co-founded the 5Gyres Institute in 2009 to study the Earth’s 5 great subtropical gyres – enormous, slow-moving whirlpools on the ocean’s surface – and raise awareness of the horrifying levels of garbage floating within. These great pelagic depressions (I think I just named Jimmy Buffet’s next album) serve as the Earth’s mighty bellybuttons, collecting all sorts of unwanted refuse, the vast bulk of it, plastic.

The most infamous of these gyres holds The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and while the notion of an island of garbage a thousand miles across is an exaggeration, what is actually out there might be far more insidious. “Those 5 gyres make up about 21 percent of the planet’s surface, and they are covered in this thin confetti of plastic,” says Eriksen, who has trolled for trash across the high seas.

This confetti, made of particles the size of fish-food, is often coated with a thin layer of industrial chemicals and petroleum, creating little poison pills that fish in turn eat and absorb. But very little is known about how this stuff travels, and that’s where the tsunami debris comes in.

Some of the debris has already made landfall in North America, most notably a Harley Davidson discovered on a Canadian beach earlier this year (perhaps the first time a Harley has made it over 4,000 miles without breaking down) and shockingly, a 66 foot-long concrete dock covered in millions of invasive organisms that washed up on the Oregon coast.

But according to Eriksen, this debris is only the vanguard. “The stuff washing up in British Columbia right now, that is the stuff affected by wind,” he says, speaking via satellite phone, noting that anything peeking above the surface of the Ocean acts as a sail, speeding its journey east. “But what’s subsurface, what’s beneath the waves, hasn’t made its way across yet.”

For an organization dedicated to studying the effects of plastic pollution in the sea, last year’s catastrophe provided a unique opportunity. “You don’t often get a chance to take an entire city, put it in the ocean, and see what happens to all the stuff,” Eriksen says. “That’s what happened here.”

Eriksen and his team of scientists, journalists, and environmentalists sailed from Yokahama Japan on June 10. They sailed half way across the ocean until finding their first piece of tsunami debris on June 17, then turned south to travel the length of the debris field. “What’s left behind is going to be plastics and anything that’s trapping air, say lightbulbs, car tires still on the rim, insulated refrigerators, boat hulls,” Eriksen says.

Eriksen says the stuff should help answer some questions: “What’s the impact on marine life? How much is out there, and what kind of pollutants are sticking to the materials that are left behind? Are there going to be mountains of trash washing up along the Hawaiian beaches a year from now?”

In the meantime, Dr. Eriksen and his shipmates are bunking a foot from their boat-mates, spending a goodly portion of their days heaving along with their storm-tossed decks, and all in the name of a cleaner, plastic-free sea. Follow the adventures of these ocean adventurers at the fantastic 5Gyres blog.

Jim Meyer is a Baltimore-based stand-up comedian, actor, retired roller derby announcer, and freelance writer. Follow his exploits here.

Radioactive bluefin tuna crossed the Pacific to US – Yahoo! News

May 29
crossposted by WordPress “PressThis” from Yahoo! News ~  

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan‘s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.

Previously, smaller fish and plankton were found with elevated levels of radiation in Japanese waters after a magnitude-9 earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that badly damaged the FukushimaDai-ichi reactors.

But scientists did not expect the nuclear fallout to linger in huge fish that sail the world because such fish can metabolize and shed radioactive substances.

One of the largest and speediest fish, Pacific bluefin tuna can grow to 10 feet and weigh more than 1,000 pounds. They spawn off the Japan coast and swim east at breakneck speed to school in waters off California and the tip of Baja California, Mexico.

Five months after the Fukushima disaster, Fisher of Stony Brook University in New York and a team decided to test Pacific bluefin that were caught off the coast of San Diego. To their surprise, tissue samples from all 15 tuna captured contained levels of two radioactive substances — ceisum-134 and cesium-137 — that were higher than in previous catches.

To rule out the possibility that the radiation was carried by ocean currents or deposited in the sea through the atmosphere, the team also analyzed yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and bluefin that migrated to Southern California before the nuclear crisis. They found no trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s.

The results “are unequivocal. Fukushima was the source,” said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who had no role in the research.

Bluefin tuna absorbed radioactive cesium from swimming in contaminated waters and feeding on contaminated prey such as krill and squid, the scientists said. As the predators made the journey east, they shed some of the radiation through metabolism and as they grew larger. Even so, they weren’t able to completely flush out all the contamination from their system.

“That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing,” Fisher said.

Pacific bluefin tuna are prized in Japan where a thin slice of the tender red meat prepared as sushi can fetch $24 per piece at top Tokyo restaurants. Japanese consume 80 percent of the world’s Pacific and Atlantic bluefin tuna.

The real test of how radioactivity affects tuna populations comes this summer when researchers planned to repeat the study with a larger number of samples. Bluefin tuna that journeyed last year were exposed to radiation for about a month. The upcoming travelers have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period. How this will affect concentrations of contamination remains to be seen.

Now that scientists know that bluefin tuna can transport radiation, they also want to track the movements of other migratory species including sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.

Researchers: Ocean garbage gyre impacting sea life – Yahoo! News

May 10
Posted by lfpl Filed in Environmentalism

SAN DIEGO (AP) — An increase in plastic debris floating in a zone between Hawaii and California is changing the environment of at least one marine critter, scientists reported.

Over the past four decades, the amount of broken-down plastic has grown significantly in a region dubbed the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” Most of the plastic pieces are the size of a fingernail.

During a seagoing expedition, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography found that a marine insect that skims the ocean surface is laying its eggs on top of plastic bits instead of natural flotsam like wood and seashells.

Though plastic debris is giving the insects places to lay eggs, scientists are concerned about the manmade material establishing a role in their habitat.

“This is something that shouldn’t be in the ocean and it’s changing this small aspect of the ocean ecology,” said Scripps graduate student Miriam Goldstein.

The finding will be published online Wednesday in Biology Letters, a journal of Britain’s Royal Society.

Goldstein led a group of researchers who traveled 1,000 miles off the California coast in August 2009 to document the impacts of the garbage on sea life. For three weeks, they collected marine specimens and water samples at varying depths, and deployed mesh nets to capture plastic particles.

The team previously found that nearly 10 percent of fish studied during the trip had ingested plastic. The voyage was partly sponsored by the University of California and National Science Foundation.

Thousands of tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year and break down into smaller pieces over time. Some wind up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vortex formed by ocean and wind currents.

The garbage patch cannot be seen by satellite. Most of the plastic pieces are confetti-sized flecks spread across thousands of miles of ocean and are hard to see with the naked eye.

A similar plastic trash gyre was recently discovered in the Atlantic between Bermuda and Portugal’s Azores islands.

2 years later, fish sick near BP oil spill site – Yahoo! News

Apr 19

BARATARIA BAY, La. (AP) — Two years after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, touching off the worst offshore spill in U.S. history, research into the disaster’s environmental effects is turning up ailing fish that bear hallmarks of diseases tied to petroleum and other pollutants.

Those illnesses don’t pose an increased health threat to humans, scientists say, but the problems could be devastating to prized species such as grouper and red snapper, and to the people who make their living catching them.

There’s no saying for sure what’s causing the diseases in what’s still a relatively small percentage of the fish, because the scientists have no baseline data on sick fish in the Gulf from before the spill to form a frame of reference. The first comprehensive research may be years from publication. And the Gulf is assaulted with all kinds of contaminants every day.

Still, it’s clear to fishermen and researchers alike that something’s amiss.

— A recent batch of test results revealed the presence of oil in the bile extracted from fish caught in August 2011, a year after BP’s broken well was capped and nearly 15 months after it first blew out on April 20, 2010, leading to the rig explosion that killed 11 men.

“Bile tells you what a fish’s last meal was,” said Steve Murawski, a marine biologist with the University of South Florida who was chief science adviser for the National Marine Fisheries Service until November 2010 when he began working on oil spill studies for USF. “There was as late as August of last year an oil source out there that some of those animals were consuming.”

Bile in red snapper, yellow-edge grouper and a few other species contained on average 125 parts per million of naphthalene, a compound found in crude oil, Murawski said. Scientists expect to find almost none of the toxin in fish captured in the open ocean.

“Those levels are indicative of polluted urban estuaries,” he said.

— Last summer, a team of scientists led by USF conducted what experts say is the most extensive study yet of sick fish in shallow and deep Gulf waters. Over seven cruises in July and August, the scientists caught about 4,000 fish — from Florida’s Dry Tortugas to central Louisiana — using miles-long fishing lines dragged from close to shore out to depths of 600 feet. The work was funded with a federal government grant and help from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

About 3 percent of the fish they caught displayed gashes, ulcers and parasites symptomatic of environmental contamination, according to Murawski, the lead researcher. The number of sick fish rose not only as scientists moved west away from the relatively clean and oil-free waters of Florida but also as they pushed into deeper waters off the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and especially Louisiana, near where the Deepwater Horizon sank.

About 10 percent of mud-dwelling tile fish caught in the DeSoto Canyon, to the northeast of the well, showed signs of sickness.

“The closer to the oil rig, the higher frequency was” of sick fish, Murawski said.

Past studies off the Atlantic Seaboard found about 1 percent of fish suffering from diseases, Murawski said. For now, he’s taking that as a historical reference point; but he says it’s not possible to directly apply that baseline to the Gulf, which is warmer and because of that an incubator for bacteria and parasites that could be the cause of lesions and sicknesses. Other important differences are that oil and natural gas have been pouring out of fissures from the floor of the Gulf for centuries, and the muddy waters of the Mississippi River flush into the same spots where scientists and fishermen are finding sick fish.

— Laboratory work over the past winter on the USF samples indicates the immune systems of the fish were impaired from an unknown environmental stress or contamination. Other researchers say they have come to similar conclusions over the past year.

“Some of the things I’ve seen over the past year or so I’ve never seen before,” said Will Patterson, a marine biologist at the University of South Alabama and at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. “Things like fin rot, large open sores on fish, those were some of the more disturbing types of things we saw. Different changes in pigment, red snapper with large black streaks on them.”

All of this has biologists — and many fishermen — worried.

James Cowan, a reef fish expert at Louisiana State University doing long-term sampling for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, received his first report of fish with what looked like ulcers in November 2010. He began reading up on what scientific literature was available on oil spills and fish.

“There is so much in the literature that links exposure to PAHs (the compounds in oil) to exactly what we are seeing: sicknesses, lesions and everything else,” Cowan said.

Even if oil could be pinpointed as a contaminant, however, it’s difficult to definitively tie it to BP’s Macondo well. The Gulf is littered with natural oil seeps, pipelines and oil wells and pollution from passing ships. In addition, there are the discharge of the Mississippi River, salinity and temperature fluctuations and other ecological factors to consider.

These early findings with fish are not out of step with what researchers are turning up all over the Gulf two years after the spill: The oil disaster whacked the Gulf. In the past year, research has emerged showing deep-water corals, seaweed beds, inshore bait fish, dolphins and other species were injured by the spill.

“There is lots of circumstantial evidence that something is still awry,” said Christopher D’Elia, the dean of LSU’s School of the Coast and Environment. “On the whole, it is not as much environmental damage as originally projected. Doesn’t mean there is none.”

Last year, as a string of fishermen reported problems with lesions, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advised fishermen to throw suspicious-looking fish back into the water. Fishermen say they’ve been doing just that to make sure bad fish don’t get to dock.

While portions of a few bays remain closed because of the spill, the Food and Drug Administration and state agencies say they’ve undertaken the most thorough testing ever of seafood from the Gulf and found no problems or concerns of contaminated fish, and researchers agree there is little cause for concern.

“It’s not a people issue, and people should not be concerned about fish entering the market,” Murawski said.

For the second year, fishermen like Wayne Werner, a 53-year-old Louisiana captain who catches red snapper commercially, are calling in with reports of lesions.

He and other fishermen said they want to get to the bottom of a problem that’s forcing them to take longer trips to fishing spots outside the spill zone and perpetuating their fear for their livelihoods.

“Every time we talked about bad fish, everybody kind of went nuts on us. Just like, ‘You’re hear-saying,’ you know? And we’re saying, ‘Well, they’re there,'” he said this week.

“They’re still there. Now that the water is getting warm again, we’re starting to see more and more again.”