Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

April 26, 2011

In the Sunday Papers

It's very flattering to see yourself and your work in the Sunday papers. This is the second time David Maurer has interviewed me for a feature story in the Daily Progress. The first time around was 2001 when I was deeply involved in producing massive numbers of illustrations for public aquariums. Things have come a long way since then. Now, the paper is digital!

This time around came after he'd received a copy of our new book. We played phone and email tag for a few weeks prior to our interview date. When we finally connected, he arrived at my studio armed with a tape recorder and a list of questions. Being taped is a little nerve wracking -- it makes you speak in carefully-chosen, measured words. Regardless, we talked for over two hours. Dave's a very nice man who seems unscarred by his two tours in Vietnam. He's genuinely interested in the work I've done and we share a common respect and fascination for nature. It was easy to talk to him about the process, and the experience of writing and illustrating the book.

Not surprisingly, he's never lacking for material to write about. Our little county is a haven for writers (John Grisham), photographers (Sam Able), painters (Dean Daas), and actors (Sissy Spacek)... and folks like me who have found obscure but precise niches.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. CLICK HERE to read the article :)

April 18, 2011

Kristen Bell Tags Sharks - Tonight Show

Kristen Bell on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno from R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation on Vimeo.

This is great. Sharks need as many advocates as possible, and celebrities who step up to the plate can do a world of good. I don't know who Kristen Bell is (no doubt my sons would), but she does an amazing job of keeping the information clear, detailed, and on point even when Jay Leno attempts to make funny. Even better, she is clearly passionate about shark conservation and excited to be a part of tagging them. Kudos! Now, I've got to go Google her to figure out why she's on the Tonight Show to begin with...

April 17, 2011

Just Another Weather Event

I am fortunate to be blessed with many smart, witty, fun, and often geeky friends. Every one has a geeky obsession. Mine happens to be fish. My friends Heidi and Roscoe are obsessed with weather... the more violent and vile the better. Their reports are not your run-of-the-mill amateur jobs. They both have masters in mathematics and were actual 'weather people' reporting the news on legitimate news stations. They both also possess a wicked and twisted sense of humor when it comes to weather (as evidenced in the video). Their daughter is bright, inquisitive, and fearless. I am charged with teaching her to fish. Their dog is big, fluffy and (they would not mind me saying this), somewhat stupid. Fortunately, the dog does not swim. Why? The tag on her collar says: "Reward: Call Val Kells". Who knows where she'd wind up if she jumped in that creek!

April 16, 2011

Fishermen v. Amazon River Dolphins

Photo credit: Kevin Schafer

Click here for video.

It's an age-old conflict. Fishermen need to make a living. They compete with top predators for their shared prey. Often, the top predators become the fishermen's enemy and then quarry. (Think California sea lions v. Salmon fishermen). This New York Times article relates the story of the Amazon River Dolphin and the Amazonian fishermen who kill them for their flesh and bones. The bones are used to attract catfish which are then sold to customers under a pseudonym. Will the conservationists be able to convince the fishermen to use other methods (pig meat)? Or, is their loathing too deeply ingrained?

April 9, 2011

Random: World Sunlight Map

Wow. I stumbled upon this link while perusing the latest Facebook posts. I've seen many images of Earth, but none like this. I can't even begin to wrap my brain around the technology that generates this constantly updated information. No fish here, but look at all that ocean!!
Click here to view!

April 6, 2011

Sharks and Lionfish

This is an interesting National Geographic photo essay about the attempts of divers and scientists to train local Honduran sharks to prey on the invasive Red lionfish. It appears that the sharks need some coaxing, but once they 'figure it out', they'll hunt the lionfish on their own. As George Burgess accurately states, this learned behavior will help (a bit), but it will not ultimately rid the Atlantic of these "rats of the sea." From what I've read, lionfish cannot be caught by trawl but may take hook-and-line. The most effective form of irradication is by spearing. After that? Many now make their way to restaurants.