Figure 1 | Potential undiscovered oil deposits worldwide and seismic survey scales. a, Estimated undiscovered marine oil deposits shown by geological province using a logarithmic colour scale in millions of barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE; source: USGS data6 for 2012), location of experiment shown by a star symbol. b, A typical 3D seismic survey area, located by the black circle in a. c, Close-up of seismic lines with individual air gun firing locations, from the area indicated by the white rectangle in b.

According to a recently published, peer reviewed, study titled “Widely used marine seismic survey air gun operations negatively impact zooplankton,” in the journal Nature seismic surveys are actually killing off zooplankton, the basis of the entire oceanic food chain.

These study results have far-reaching implications and should not be dismissed (as the seismic industry is doing). Zooplankton form the base of the food chain for almost all marine mammals. Seismic surveys are being down all over the world right now, exploding the loudest man-made noise in the world (only below the detonation of an atomic bomb at 260 decibels) every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for decades to come. These sounds travel throughout the ocean, reverberating along seafloor mountains and drowning out marine mammals vocals that they rely upon for navigation, feeding, and nurturing of their offspring.

Take action as this may be the death knell to the ocean as humans search for more and more remote undersea oil throughout the world and including the delicate Arctic region.

Plankton also supply half of the oxygen we breathe and are the base of the ocean food web – with less plankton there is less for fish to eat at a time when the world is increasingly looking to the ocean to provide food.

“Zooplankton underpin the health and productivity of global marine ecosystems. Here we present evidence that suggests seismic surveys cause significant mortality to zooplankton populations. Seismic surveys are used extensively to explore for petroleum resources using intense, low-frequency, acoustic impulse signals. Experimental air gun signal exposure decreased zooplankton abundance when compared with controls, as measured by sonar (~3–4 dB drop within 15–30 min) and net tows (median 64% decrease within 1 h), and caused a two- to threefold increase in dead adult and larval zooplankton. Impacts were observed out to the maximum 1.2 km range sampled, which was more than two orders of magnitude greater than the previously assumed impact range of 10 m. Although no adult krill were present, all larval krill were killed after air gun pas- sage. There is a significant and unacknowledged potential for ocean ecosystem function and productivity to be negatively impacted by present seismic technology.”

The search for oil and gas deposits beneath the sea uses acoustic imaging techniques that are deadly to vital marine organisms, according to new research.





The Trump Administration is pushing for seismic surveys, banned by Obama, to be re-opened along the Atlantic Coast of the US. You have fifteen days to comment on the permitting process – see link below.

Submit a Formal Comment to NOAA regarding re-opening seismic cannon survey permits on the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States here.

YOU ONLY HAVE TEN DAYS LEFT TO COMMENT! (update: Comment Period Extended another 15 days. Here.

Researchers have long known that air gun blasts can disrupt hearing in whales and dolphins, which rely on acoustic signals for everything from hunting to mating. But until now, no one had looked into what effect seismic surveys were having on plankton, despite the outsized role these tiny drifters have in marine ecosystems.

Plankton is the base of the food chain,” says Jayson Semmens, an associate professor at the University of Tasmania and lead author on the new study. “It all starts with them, so if they’re affected, that affects everything—including whales.” Semmens and his colleagues realized it was impossible to determine the full effect of seismic testing on megafauna like whales without understanding how it influenced the abundance and behavior of the organisms that make up the base of marine food chains.



New Narwhal Discovery – They Stun Prey With Their Tusk! Learn More at a Screening of The Narwhal’s Wake at The Explorer’s Club – May 31st, 2017 in NYC

Inuit have long attested that narwhal also use their tusk to tap and stun fish before eating them and recent video footage has verified that knowledge in a first for western science.

Arctic expedition videographer Adam Ravetch captured the footage of narwhal stunning and feeding on Arctic Char with the help of an aerial drone camera on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund Canada expedition.
“As soon as they saw the playback on the small screen, they knew something interesting was happening and definitely needed to be checked out further,” said Brandon Laforest, a senior specialist in Arctic species and ecosystems for WWF-Canada. Upon further reviewing the footage below, scientists were able to verifiably confirm that narwhals do indeed also use their tusks as a fish stunner, oftentimes idly swimming through a school of char and lightly bopping the fish with their 3 meter long tooth before swimming up to and eating the fish.
Narwhal primarily live in Baffin Bay – a large body of water between Greenland and northern Canada in the Arctic – where they seasonally migrate from the south in the winter to the northern reaches of the Arctic in the summer. The elusive and rare whales are often difficult to study given the remote region that they live in. But a number of studies have been mounted over the past couple of decades to decode the mysteries of this anomalous species.
Dr. Martin Nweeia, Harvard Professor of Dentistry and fellow of The Explorer’s Club and The Smithsonian Institute, has been studying the fascinating tooth for almost two decades during numerous Arctic Expeditions involving live capture of narwhals. His theory, and experiments attest, is that the tooth is also a sensory organ as it has millions of tiny holes that allow the animal to ‘see’ the chemical components of the water, as well as the temperature, allowing them to navigate in the cold, dark waters of the Arctic.
The tooth has hundreds of thousands of receptors that lead to the center of the tooth and nerve fibers that feed directly into their brain just above their auditory cortex. The theory is that they can ‘sense’ the salinity and temperature of the water allowing them to navigate from the sea floor, narwhals are the second deepest diving whales, back up to holes in the ice, called polynyas, allowing them to breath.
Dr. Nweeia is giving a talk on the characteristics of the narwhal’s tooth on May 31st at 6pm at The Explorer’s Club in Manhattan along with Dr. Christopher Clark, marine bioacoustics expert and star of the National Resource Defense Council’s Sonic Sea, after a screening of The Narwhal’s Wake, a feature documentary film currently in production. The film focuses on narwhals and the dangers they are facing from Arctic oil exploration that uses seismic cannons to map the subseafloor for hydrocarbons. These cannons emit the second loudest man-made noise, only after the detonation of an atomic bomb, at 160 decibels every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for the next five years as Baffin Bay is fully mapped. For more information, and to attend the screening and talks, go to The Explorer’s Club listing of the event.
These new discoveries are thanks to Inuit concerns regarding the future of the species and working in conjunction with western scientists to learn more about the migration patterns, social behaviors, and physiological makeup of these rare whales, often referred to as, ‘the unicorns of the sea.’
If you’re in New York City this week don’t miss this chance to have more mysteries of the narwhal revealed.

Slideshow Talk on The Narwhal’s Wake at The Studios of Key West

Check out the story of how Keep Narwhals Real! got started, what the situation is right now regarding seismic cannon mapping in Baffin Bay, and how the film, ‘The Narwhal’s Wake,’ is progressing.

Thanks to The Studios of Key West for inviting me to speak at Mark Hedden and Marky Pierson’s Slideshow series.

Original Drawings by Colter Jackson – Prints for the Holidays!

If you contribute $20, you get a signed, limited-edition print of one of Colter Jackson‘s narwhal illustrations.
If you contribute $55, you get a set of all three.
It’s 100% awesome and tax deductible and you can feel good every time you think of a narwhal. Which, in my case, is often.


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