Posted by: Chris Laughlin

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There’s no doubt about it, it’s going to be a tough election and some of our ocean champions are at stake.  I’ve already voted here in California, and I hope many of you have been able to take advantage of early voting.  If you haven’t, don’t forget to vote next Tuesday!  To help prepare you, we wanted to make sure you’ve seen our endorsements and to encourage you to spread the word far and wide to all of your friends and family to get out the vote and vote the oceans.  As we love to say, elections matter.  Every vote matters – so help us get hopping next Tuesday.

I recently discovered a , that allows you to view the status of each race collectively and by individual state via multiple sources.   Other great sites include , Huffington Post’s LIVE 2010 Updates, and CNN’s Election Center that has a feature which will allow you to follow specific races on election day.  Also, a couple more great political sites to check out before and after the election:  Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and the Daily KOS.

At a fundraiser Co-Hosted by Ocean Champions last week for strong ocean champion Senator Barbara Boxer, she reminded everyone there are so many who would give everything they have to be here, and to have the right to vote, and how much each vote really does matter.  Senator Boxer is a perfect example of an incredible ocean champion in a tight race, facing an opponent who says we should “drill baby, drill” and open California’s pristine coastline up to new offshore oil drilling. Each vote is going to make a difference.   JOIN US TUESDAY by exercising your right to vote and encouraging all those around you to do the same, and remember to VOTE THE OCEANS.

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Date Posted: October 29, 2010 @ 4:26 pm Comments Off

Posted by: Amanda Sackett

This year the finished it’s decade long survey of life in the oceans. It has been quite a remarkable achievement. Roughly 2,700 scientists from 90 countries set to sea and were able to get information on about 6,000 new species and brought to light the incredible microbial diversity in magnitudes most had not expected. They even found a few species that were thought to be extinct such as the Jurassic Shrimp.

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The census gathered an immense amount of data from places well explored as well as uncharted territory. The data reinforces what most people who have spent time on or around the sea have always intuitively felt; that our oceans are vast, complex, diverse and interdependent systems. In an effort to organize the data, the Census has so far been able to load about 1,200 new species onto the Encyclopedia of life. They also launched its own system for sharing Ocean Biogeographic Information, where one can search marine species datasets from all over the world.

The vastness and complexity however does not make the oceans unsusceptible to human disturbance. In fact, our actions are having huge impacts on biodiversity in the oceans that needs to be considered. The value of biodiversity comes from the fact that all species are interdependent in a “web of life” that makes ecosystems thrive. The loss of one species may have far reaching effects for other members of the community. Using Paul Erlich’s metaphor for biodiversity loss, species can be seen as rivets on an airplane wing. Once one gets loose and falls out, it becomes more likely others will pop out as well and suddenly too many have been lost to keep the wing intact and it falls off. Diversity is a life support system and should be intrinsically valued as well as the economic value derived from exploitation.

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Every action on ocean issues and sustainable development in Congress matters. The census reinforces the need to consider how our actions impact ocean life and has identified several biodiversity hotspots that require special attention and conservation. In my studies of this planet’s top environmental issues of the day, the rate of biodiversity loss is always the most striking current issue. It is not an isolated problem; it is interrelated to all human development and actions.

So much remains to be discovered. For every documented marine species, an estimated three or four remain to be discovered. The census estimates that there are about one million species and ten to 100 million microbial varieties in the oceans, based on known taxonomy. In total, scientists have classified about 250,000 species from the oceans. There is a lot we don’t know about life in the oceans. Ecosystems and creatures are being affected or destroyed that we have yet to discover.

This recent survey proves that the oceans are diverse and abundant but obvious signs of decline are evident.  It is up to the public to reflect our value of marine life in politics. Biodiversity loss should be addressed by sustainably managing fisheries, establishment of effective Marine Protected Areas, addressing climate change and accurately incorporating ecosystem services into cost benefit analyses for development projects. Please support those politicians who will ensure ocean health and biodiversity by checking out Ocean Champion’s endorsements for this year’s elections.

Date Posted: October 19, 2010 @ 10:46 am Comments Off