Category Archives: Celebrate

Seashells of Georgia and the Carolinas

A Book by Blair and Dawn Witherington

Published by Pineapple Press Publishing

Seashells of Georgia and the Carolinas is a beachcomber’s guide to the seashells and living mollusks of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

This book displays the diversity of seashells that can be found along the 600 miles of Atlantic beaches in Georgia and North and South Carolina. They are pictured in the way they come to us on beaches. Knowing the names, stories, and varied appearances of seashells can sharpen a beachcomber’s eyes to their beauty and rarity. This guide includes species common to the southeastern United States.

Descriptive accounts, maps, and color photos describe 100 species of mollusk shells as beachcombers are likely to find them.

Includes glimpses of each seashell’s former life and secrets for finding seashell treasures that many beach visitors miss.

About the authors:

Blair and Dawn Witherington are professional naturalists.
Blair is a research scientist with the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. He has a B.A. and Masters degree in biology from the University of Central Florida and a doctorate in zoology from the University of Florida. He has contributed numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sea turtle biology and conservation. His books include an edited volume on the loggerhead sea turtle and a popular book on sea turtles.

Dawn is a graphic design artist and scientific illustrator trained at the Art Institutes of Colorado and Ft. Lauderdale. Her art and design are prominent in natural history books, posters, exhibits, and a line of sea-themed greeting cards. Together, Blair and Dawn have merged their art, writing, photography, and design in a number of projects.

Living Beaches Of Georgia And The Carolinas, By Blair and Dawn Witherington

True colors : Bloom in the Barents Sea

barent sea nasa

By Mike Carlowicz and Holli Riebeek, with interpretation from Barney Balch and Norman Kuring and Sergio Signorini of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA

Brilliant shades of blue and green explode across the Barents Sea in this natural-color image taken on August 14, 2011, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite.

The color was created by a massive bloom of phytoplankton that are common in the area each August. The clear view is a rare treat since the Barents Sea is cloud-covered roughly 80 percent of the time in summer.

Plankton blooms spanning hundreds or even thousands of kilometers occur across the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans every year. Many species thrive in the cooler ocean waters, which tend to be richer in nutrients and plant life than tropical waters.

In this image, the milky blue color strongly suggests that the bloom contains coccolithophores, microscopic plankton that are plated with white calcium carbonate. When viewed through ocean water, a coccolithophore bloom tends to be bright blue. The species is most likely Emiliana huxleyi, whose blooms tend to be triggered by high light levels during the 24-hour sunlight of Arctic summer. The variations in bloom brightness and color in satellite images is partly related to its depth: E. huxleyi, can grow abundantly as much as 50 meters below the surface.

Other colors in the scene may come from sediment or other species of phytoplankton, particularly diatoms. The Barents Sea usually witnesses two major bloom seasons each year, with diatoms peaking in May and June, then giving way to coccolithophores as certain nutrients run out and waters grow warmer and more layered (stratified).

The area in this image is located immediately north of the Scandinavian peninsula. The region is a junction where several ocean current systems—including the Norwegian Atlantic, the Persey, and east Spitsbergen currents—merge and form a front known as the North Cape Current. The intersecting waters, plus stiff winds, promote mixing of waters and of nutrients from the deep.

Ice-covered for most of the year, the shallow Barents Sea reaches its warmest surface temperatures (6.6 C) in August, when ice cover is at a minimum and the water is freshest (less saline due to ice melt and river runoff) and most nutrient depleted. Those conditions, researchers have found, are perfect for coccolithophores to take over from other species and dominate the surface waters.

In a 2009 paper by Signorini et al, the researchers note:
Coccolithophores, among which E. huxleyi is the most abundant and widespread species, are considered to be the most productive calcifying organism on earth. They are important components of the carbon cycle via their contribution and response to changes in atmospheric CO2 levels…Coccolithophores appear to be advancing into some sub-Arctic Seas and climate change induced warming and freshwater runoff may be causing an increased frequency of coccolithophore blooms within the Barents Sea.

Original Article

Cakaulevu Reef, Fiji

fiji coral
Photo source: ©© Kanaka Menehune

By Holli Riebeek, NASA

Surrounded by the warm waters of the South Pacific, the Fiji Islands are often cloaked in clouds when the Aqua or Terra satellites fly over.

Also called the Great Sea Reef, Cakaulevu shines turquoise through clear, shallow waters. It is the third longest continuous barrier reef in the world, behind the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Mesoamerica Reef off Central America. When combined with the nearby Pascoe Reef, Cakaulevu Reef is about 200 kilometers (120 miles) long. On its own, the Cakaulevu Reef covers 202,700 square kilometers (77,200 square miles).

This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Aqua shows Fiji’s second-largest island, shows Vanua Levu, and the Cakaulevu Reef that shelters the island’s northern shore; July 21, 2011. Image source: Norman Kuring, NASA

The first systematic survey of the reef (in 2004) revealed a diverse marine population, including unique mangrove ecosystems and endemic fish. Twelve threatened species live within the reef: 10 fish species, the green turtle, and the spinner dolphin.

All of this marine life has traditionally supported the native population, and currently some 70,000 people depend on the reef. After seeing fish populations decline in recent decades, local leaders created a series of marine protected areas in 2005 where fishing is prohibited. Traditional customs used to manage the reef for hundreds of years permit leaders to set aside portions of the qoliqoli, or traditional fishing ground. Where the ban has been enforced, fish populations are rebounding and spilling over into areas where fishing is permitted.

From space, none of this bounty is visible. Instead, the beauty comes from the vivid shades of blue and green coral creates when viewed through water.

Original Article, NASA

Shorelines, Sandy or Otherwise, That May Not Last

The World's Beaches, book
If sea levels rise just a few feet, New South Wales would lose this sliver of beach. © Caption and photograph from The World’s Beaches

By Cornelia Dean, The New York Times

If you like a day at the beach, and who does not?, you can find lots of books that will enhance your experience by telling you about the birds, the fish, the plants and even the bugs you will encounter there.

But what about the beach itself?

What is it made of? (The answer is not always “sand.”) How did it form? How does it change? Can it be preserved? Unless you want to pack your beach bag with a geology text or a manual of coastal engineering, your options for answering these questions are not so good. Four coastal scientists, three from the United States and one from Northern Ireland, have come to the aid of the beach curious with “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline,” a comprehensive, readable guide to the physical features of many kinds of beaches and some of the threats they face.

A beach, simply, is the end product of sediment (sand or gravel or even pebbles or cobbles), wave energy to move it around and a place where it can accumulate. But beaches, as one might expect, are far from simple. In a section called “How to Read a Beach,” we learn why sand, for example, accumulates in particular ways, how ripple action turns some flat stretches of sand into corrugations, the way swash and backwash shape the beach slope, how even a few strands of sea oats can trap enough sand to start building a dune and why foam piles up at the high water line.

The explanations are accompanied by photographs — too small, but beautiful — and clear graphical illustrations. Though the authors occasionally lapse into jargon (their barnacles cling to “substrate” until the animals die and their six-plate shells “become disarticulated”), on the whole, their writing is plain and clear. For the times when it is not, the book comes with a helpful glossary.

Unfortunately, the future holds many threats to the world’s beaches, the worst from human activity, intentional and accidental. People “groom” beaches with rakes or even tractors, destroying the homes and food supplies of tiny crabs, sea birds and other animals that rely on beach habitat. Pollution — everything from giant oil spills to shorefront septic tanks — mars many beaches. But those problems are minor compared with sea level rise, induced by global warming, and the efforts people make to fight its effects.

If experts are correct and seas rise by two or even three feet by the end of the century, they write, cities like Miami, New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Lagos, Tel Aviv and places like the Gold Coast on Australia’s eastern coast will suffer significant, chronic flooding. Island nations already feeling the effects of rising water may literally disappear.

Around the world people eager to protect valuable hotels, condos and other infrastructure respond to the threat of rising seas by building concrete walls or rock revetments. When rising water reaches this armor, as it inevitably does, the beach is drowned.

The World's Beaches, Orrin Pilkey
A red sandstone cliff in southern Portugal (with a resort on top) would be easily erodible and prone to collapse if sea levels were to rise. © Caption and photograph from The World’s Beaches

Two of the authors’ many examples are Waikiki, Hawaii, where skyscraper hotels march right up to the shoreline (and where one hotel, its beach lost to armor, built what is, in effect, a giant, elevated sandbox for its guests), and Cannes, France, where the beach is so narrow that sun-worshippers pile up practically on top of one another other in arrays of rented chairs.

Pumping sand onto eroding beaches can also preserve beachfront buildings from destruction but, as the authors note, it comes at huge cost — environmental and financial.

Beaches that are unfettered by human infrastructure do not disappear when sea level rises. They simply move inland. When sand on a barrier island is washed into the lagoon behind it, or when the base of a beachfront cliff erodes and the bluff slumps down to the water’s edge, the beach, is, in effect, moving to higher ground inland.

But, the authors conclude, unless society chooses beaches over buildings the result will be a world in which parks like the National Seashores retain natural beaches, but beach resorts elsewhere are “heavily walled and beachless.” Rising seas will make sand-pumping operations “untenable,” they predict, and tourists will amuse themselves by “promenading on top of a seawall”, already the principal activity in too many coastal resorts.

If they are right, by then the beaches this book describes will be a nostalgic memory.

Original Article, The new York Times

The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide To The Science Of The Shoreline
A Book by Orrin H. Pilkey, William J. Neal, James Andrew Graham Cooper And Joseph T. Kelley.

” Beaches are the most dynamic features on Earth, constantly changing shape and providing vital ecological functions and a home to environments of amazing biodiversity. Understanding the importance of the beach’s role vis-a-vis the land, the nearshore and the ocean and its biodiversity is crucial to its protection and preservation.”
– Santa Aguila Foundation

“Take this book to the beach; it will open up a whole new world…”

La Plage, Brought To Paris, France

Paris plage. Warm sand and open air music in Paris… Photo source: ©© Gwenael Piaser

La Plage de Glazart is a unique open air summer festival situated Place de La Villette.

140 artists and bands are performing 5 days a week, the concerts being generally free or very low priced.

50 tons of sand have been brought to re-create a summer-by-the beach atmosphere, in the heart of the city.

Last year, the event attracted 25,000 beach and music afficionados.

Sable Chaud Et Concerts Sur La Plage De Glazart, Le Figaro

La Plage De Glazart 2011

Surf’s Up, An Art Exhibition

R. Nelson Parrish (left) sporting “Save The Beach” t-shirt by Coastal Care, with Jacqueline Dreager curator (center) at Surf’s Up Exhibition Opening, July 22nd 2010.

Surf’s Up, An Art Exhibition.
Curator: Jacqueline Dreager
Palos Verdes Art Center, July 22-September 25, 2011

Surf’s Up, an exhibition focusing on the art inspired by surfing opened July 22nd 2011 at the Palos Verdes Art Center‘s new, temporary location, The Promenade on the Peninsula, 550 Deep Valley Drive, Suite 261, Rolling Hills Estates (located in the former Borders Books location).

The exhibit will run through September 25, 2011. Galleries are open Mondays through Saturdays 10am-4pm and Sunday 1-4pm.

The common thread that runs through this exhibit is that most of the artists are inspired by their respect for the sheer power and energy of a wave.

These artists are practicing two physically demanding disciplines, one being expressed in the studio and the other being expressed out in the elements. Surf’s Up will not include archetypal commercial surfer scenes depicted in slick sports posters, in fact, many of the artists in this exhibit are lifelong surfers who surf every day and experience the solitude, skill and risk of surfing, as well as the silence, skill and risk they face in their studio’s. Whether waiting patiently in the studio or on the water, putting fear aside, each individual must make heart thumping decisions. The results can be awe inspiring.

The artists in this exhibit are lifelong surfers who surf every day and experience the solitude, skill and risk of surfing, as well as the silence, skill and risk they face in their studio’s.
—Surf’s Up, An Art Exhibition

The exhibition will include a mixture of fine art, painting, sculpture and photography, plus special, unique works of art. PVAC’s Exhibition Director, Scott Canty states, “When Jacqueline Dreager, our guest curator, and I began to think about this exhibition we wanted to explore a different angle and approach this as not just another surf show in L.A.” Canty and Dreager have set out to invite some artists to paint a surfboard in their style of art. The Surf’s Up exhibition will include works by Los Angeles artists: Sandow Birk, Russell Crotty, Doug Edge, Ned Evans, Anthony Friedkin, Stephen Robert Johns, Robin Lucca, Andy Moses, Ana Osgood, R. Nelson Parrish, Joni Sternbach, Stephanie Ramer, Stephen Shriver, John Severson, Rick Stich, Mark Dean Veca, Alex Weinstein and Timothy Williams. This exhibition is represented by several galleries: Koplin del Rio Gallery, Peter Blake Gallery, William Turner Gallery, Western Project, Shoshana Wayne Gallery and Edward Cella Art+Artchitecture Gallery.

The Surf’s Up Exhibition is dedicated to a dear friend and colleague, Bruce Milbury. Bruce, a long time surfer and employee of the Palos Verdes Art Center, passed away in late 2010.

Now in its 80th year, the Palos Verdes Art Center, 5504 W. Crestridge Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes, has served southwestern Los Angeles County since 1931 with a full range of visual arts programming and community art classes.

Palos Verdes Art Center

R. Nelson Parrish, Fine Art

Island of Kish, Iran and Majuro Children, Marschall Islands; By Mark Edward Harris

Kish Iran Mark Edward Harris

Kish Iran Mark Edwards Harris
Island of Kish, Iran

By © Mark Edward Harris

“On the Iranian island of Kish in the Persian Gulf, a grandfather holds up his granddaughter
as the sun sets behind the stranded Greek cargo ship the Koula F, which ran aground in 1966.”

This photograph was taken in 2008.

Harris’s uncommonly keen eye turns photos of people and their environments into seductive images that banish travel photography clichés. The viewer is left with a fresh sense of wonder at the world’s beauty and the artist’s skill.

Mark Edward Harris Majuro, Wanderlust
Majuro Children, Marshall Islands

By Mark Edward Harris

“The photograph is of children playing on the island of Majuro in the Marshall Islands in 1997.”

Majuro Children is featured on the cover of Mark Edward Harris – Wanderlust Book

Wanderlust takes the viewer to visit tribes in northern Vietnam, down China’s Yangtze River, into the tense demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, to the top of Mt. Fuji, through Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and around the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the exotic islands of the South Pacific and the Caribbean.

The Rising Sea

A Book by Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young

Published by Island Press

On Shishmaref Island in Alaska, homes are being washed into the sea. In the South Pacific, small island nations face annihilation by encroaching waters. In coastal Louisiana, an area the size of a football field disappears every day. For these communities, sea level rise isn’t a distant, abstract fear: it’s happening now and it’s threatening their way of life.

In The Rising Sea, Orrin H. Pilkey and Rob Young warn that many other coastal areas may be close behind. Prominent scientists predict that the oceans may rise by as much as seven feet in the next hundred years. That means coastal cities will be forced to construct dikes and seawalls or to move buildings, roads, pipelines, and railroads to avert inundation and destruction.

The question is no longer whether climate change is causing the oceans to swell, but by how much and how quickly. Pilkey and Young deftly guide readers through the science, explaining the facts and debunking the claims of industry-sponsored “skeptics.” They also explore the consequences for fish, wildlife—and people.

While rising seas are now inevitable, we are far from helpless. By making hard choices—including uprooting citizens, changing where and how we build, and developing a coordinated national response—we can save property, and ultimately lives. With unassailable research and practical insights, The Rising Sea is a critical first step in understanding the threat and keeping our heads above water.

About The Authors

Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. He authored and edited many books, including, most recently, “Global Climate Change: A Primer” and “The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide To The Science Of The Shoreline”

Rob Young is the director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines and professor of geosciences at Western Carolina University.