February 2010 Archives

island.JPGIn 2010, Seacology joins the United Nations and many international conservation organizations as a partner of the "International Year of Biodiversity," with the purpose of celebrating and safeguarding the variety of life on earth. Working within this worldwide network, we hope to highlight the importance of preserving biodiversity, and particularly the ecological richness found on islands where Seacology works. 

One Cubic Foot of Biodiversity

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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending an exhibit of photographer David Littschwager's work at Cavallo Point Lodge near Sausalito, California. Littschwager is known for his images of flora and fauna around the world. His most recent work, known as "One Cubic Foot," depicts wildlife from ecosystems worldwide. In each location, Littschwager photographed every species he could find in a cubic foot. The resulting images are a lifelike index of biodiversity. When blown up in proportion, the tiny beetles, crabs, and centipedes are revealed in their true glory; many of these creatures boast vibrant colors and patterns that would be unnoticed without Littschwager's perceptive lens.

Conservationists and snorkeling fans alike will be excited at one of the newest marine reserves--Lundy Island, off the southwest coast of Great Britain, is now recognized as the UK's first official marine conservation zone. Dubbed "Britain's Galapagos" for the rich marine life it shelters, the island was privately owned until 1969, when it became part of the National Trust. Although it has been a protected location since then, it recently became the first protected marine area under Britain's new Marine and Coastal Access Act. With this new legislation, Britain hopes to increase protection of marine wildlife and habitat. Like oceans around the world, the waters around Britain currently face a major overfishing crisis, with many of the native fish stocks severely threatened. As the government and national conservation groups work to reverse this trend before it is too late, reserves such as the one on Lundy Island are critical to restoring natural balance in Britain's marine ecosystems. 

For those of us relatively new to island conservation, picking up on all the island lingo can be tricky. What is an atoll? (And how do you say it?) How do you know if a species is endemic or just indigenous? And why are mangroves so important?

To answer these and other questions, I've compiled an island cheat-sheet. Read on for the first post in Seacology U's Islands 101 lecture series!