When Dellarobia Turnbow, an Appalachian farm worker, encountered millions of butterflies in the woods behind her house, she first thought the trees were on fire but not burning up—and that this was a sign for her to stop making a bad decision. She had been wrestling with an unhappy marriage, life on an unproductive farm, and bringing up two kids on an almost non-existent income. Her overwrought mind couldn’t quite take in what was in front of her eyes. When she persuaded her busy family to take a walk up the mountain, the reality of what they were all seeing eventually sank in. Continue reading
Humanity is affecting the ocean in profound ways. In this post, I will briefly explore two of those impacts from the perspective of a professional oceanographer. First, the effects of human use of fossils fuels leading to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and so to global (including ocean) warming; and second, human disposal of plastics in the ocean. The importance of the latter was highlighted by David Attenborough in the BBC’s “Blue Planet II” in the autumn of 2017, leading to an increased public awareness of this issue. However, both issues have been of concern to oceanographers for many years. Continue reading
Let the waters under heaven be gathered into one place and let dry land appear.
Lining the upper sides of Exeter Cathedral Chapter House there are two sets of sculptures. The theme is Creation, drawing inspiration from the Old Testament on one side, and the New Testament on the other. The above quotation from Genesis captions the sculpture representing the creation of “Earth and Water”. Continue reading
How do you imagine a coral reef? Have you had the privilege of seeing one through your own dive mask, or have you sat in the comfort of your living room watching beautifully shot images set to dramatic full orchestra soundtracks?
Healthy coral reefs are a festival of colour, shape, sound, and activity. They are full of interesting characters, each playing their part in the functioning of the ecosystem – from the sponge that filters out harmful viruses from the water column to Continue reading
It’s been a scorching summer and you may have found yourself down at the beach a few times. But how much do you know about the wildlife that lives on our beaches and in our seas? Last year I was introduced to Sea Watch: a programme that encourages the public to help those who work in the field learn more about the species that use our seas. Exmoor National Park were running a Sea Watch Training Day for anyone interested and had asked Lee Abbey to host it. As a member of the Lee Abbey community, and soon to be their Environmental Coordinator, I got the opportunity to join in. Continue reading