Archive for Interesting sites

New source of underwater images at no cost for non-commercial use

I received the following email and thought others might find this of interest.

Joe Wible, Hopkins Marine Station


Dear kelp forest enthusiasts,

If your photographic talents are as woeful as mine and you are constantly searching for high quality images for your lectures, presentations and publications, then you will be pleased to learn that there is now a collection of professional quality underwater images available for non-commercial use at no cost. Many of you know Ron McPeak, an accomplished natural historian, kelp biologist and underwater photographer. Ron’s photographs of the underwater biota of giant kelp forests have received numerous awards and have been displayed in many highly acclaimed publications and museums/aquariums. Ron is now retired and recently he generously made his collection of underwater photographs freely available to us for our research and teaching needs. Ron’s collection contains over two thousand 35 mm color slides of the underwater biota of giant kelp forests in California and Baja Mexico from 1965 to 1999. There also are images of kelp harvesting in California, salmon spawning in Alaskan streams, and aerial and landscape views of coastal California and its offshore islands. The entire collection of 35 mm color slides was scanned at approximately 3,300 pixels in long dimension (courtesy of the NSF funded Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research project) and images can be downloaded in jpg format from UCSB library’s Digital Collections web site (higher resolution images can be obtained by contacting the library’s Department of Special Collections). All images are well documented with captions, date and location, and subject matter, making them useful for historical purposes as well. The browse features on the library’s website are a bit clumsy, but images of a particular subject matter or species can be located rather easily by using the search commands at the top of the web page. UCSB owns the copyright to all images and photo credits should be given to Ron McPeak.

Please notify your students and colleagues of this valuable resource and join me in thanking Ron for his generosity in making it available to us.

Regards, Dan

— Dan Reed

Marine Science Institute

University of California

Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6150

(805) 893-8363 office phone

(805) 893-8062 FAX

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Will your marine lab survive when sea level rises?

For those of us working at marine labs, we are by definition on or near the ocean. Check out the following URL. You can find your marine lab on the map and then see if it will be underwater when sea level rises by 1 meter, 2 meters, 3 meters, etc.

Joe Wible
Hopkins Marine Station

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Pacific Ocean Library

The Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) Pacific Ocean Library is a unique resource housing scientific articles, reports, government publications and gray literature on the Pacific Ocean’s greatest threats, environmental and socioeconomic impacts, and potential solutions for the region. Designed for managers and researchers worldwide, regardless of affiliation, the library provides timely research and foundational readings on the Pacific.

Joe Wible
Hopkins Marine Station

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Free books from NHBS to developing countries

This may have been posted to the IAMSLIC blog before, but I don’t remember and it is probably worth repeating if only for the benefit of new members. Natural History Book Service offers a “Gratis Book Scheme”. Below is text from their web page which can be found at:

Joe Wible
Hopkins Marine Station


The aim of this scheme is to provide ecology and conservation books to those from outside Western Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand who would otherwise be unable to obtain them. The simple purpose of this scheme is to spread ecological knowledge as widely as possible.

This scheme is a collaboration between the British Ecological Society (who pay for the postage), the NHBS Environment Bookstore (who co-ordinate and organise the distribution) and the publishers and authors of the books (who provide the books for free). We plan to provide a number of books per year. They will usually be distributed three months after the book has been published. Individuals may request the book for themselves or suggest the book for others. It is likely that some of these schemes will be oversubscribed: all applications will be considered together and the available copies will then be awarded to those considered most able to benefit from them.

The first title to be distributed under the Gratis Books Scheme was William J Sutherland’s Conservation Handbook. Over 3000 copies have been donated. The number of recipients per country can be viewed here.

We regret that gratis books are not available to students currently doing degrees in Western Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. They are also not available to those from Western Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand but currently working outside those areas.

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Google Opens Books to New Cultural Studies

I found this publication to be most interesting. Try it out with names, subject topics, research trends, etc. most interesting the comparision with geographic locations.

Yours, Michael J. Gomez

Science  17 December 2010:
Vol. 330 no. 6011 p. 1600
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6011.1600

* News of the Week

Digital Data
Google Opens Books to New Cultural Studies

1. John Bohannon

In March 2007, a young man with dark, curly hair and a Brooklyn accent knocked on the door of Peter Norvig, the head of research at Google in Mountain View, California. It was Erez Lieberman Aiden, a mathematician doing a Ph.D. in genomics at Harvard University, and he wanted some data. Specifically, Lieberman Aiden wanted access to Google Books, the company’s ambitious—and controversial—project to digitally scan every page of every book ever published.

By analyzing the growth, change, and decline of published words over the centuries, the mathematician argued, it should be possible to rigorously study the evolution of culture on a grand scale. “I didn’t think the idea was crazy,” recalls Norvig. “We were doing the scanning anyway, so we would have the data.”

The first explorations of the Google Books data are now on display in a study published online this week by Science ( The researchers have revealed 500,000 English words missed by all dictionaries, tracked the rise and fall of ideologies and famous people, and, perhaps most provocatively, identified possible cases of political suppression unknown to historians. “The ambition is enormous,” says Nicholas Dames, a literary scholar at Columbia University.
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The project almost didn’t get off the ground because of the legal uncertainty surrounding Google Books. Most of its content is protected by copyright, and the entire project is currently under attack by a class action lawsuit from book publishers and authors. Norvig admits he had concerns about the legality of sharing the digital books, which cannot be distributed without compensating the authors. But Lieberman Aiden had an idea. By converting the text of the scanned books into a single, massive “n-gram” database—a map of the context and frequency of words across history—scholars could do quantitative research on the tomes without actually reading them. That was enough to persuade Norvig.

Lieberman Aiden teamed up with fellow Harvard Ph.D. student Jean-Baptiste Michel. The pair were already exploring ways to study written language with mathematical techniques borrowed from evolutionary biology. Their 2007 study of the evolution of English verbs, for example, made the cover of Nature. But they had never contended with the amount of data that Google Books offered. It currently includes 2 trillion words from 15 million books, about 12% of every book in every language published since the Gutenberg Bible in 1450. By comparison, the human genome is a mere 3-billion-letter poem.

Michel took on the task of creating the software tools to explore the data. For the analysis, they pulled in a dozen more researchers, including Harvard linguist Steven Pinker. The first surprise, says Pinker, is that books contain “a huge amount of lexical dark matter.” Even after excluding proper nouns, more than 50% of the words in the n-gram database do not appear in any published dictionary. Widely used words such as “deletable” and obscure ones like “slenthem” (a type of musical instrument) slipped below the radar of standard references. By the research team’s estimate, the size of the English language has nearly doubled over the past century, to more than 1 million words. And vocabulary seems to be growing faster now than ever before.

It was also possible to measure the cultural influence of individual people across the centuries. For example, notes Pinker, tracking the ebb and flow of “Sigmund Freud” and “Charles Darwin” reveals an ongoing intellectual shift: Freud has been losing ground, and Darwin finally overtook him in 2005.

Analysis of the n-gram database can also reveal patterns that have escaped the attention of historians. Aviva Presser Aiden led an analysis of the names of people that appear in German books in the first half of the 20th century. (She is a medical student at Harvard and the wife of Erez Lieberman Aiden.) A large number of artists and academics of this era are known to have been censored during the Nazi period, for being either Jewish or “degenerate,” such as the painter Pablo Picasso. Indeed, the n-gram trace of their names in the German corpus plummets during that period, while it remains steady in the English corpus.

Once the researchers had identified this signature of political suppression, they analyzed the “fame trace” of all people mentioned in German books across the same period, ranking them with a “suppression index.” They sent a sample of those names to a historian in Israel for validation. Over 80% of the people identified by the suppression index are known to have been censored—for example, because their names were on blacklists—proving that the technique works. But more intriguing, there is now a list of people who may have been victims of suppression unknown to history.

“This is a wake-up call to the humanities that there is a new style of research that can complement the traditional styles,” says Jon Orwant, a computer scientist and director of digital humanities initiatives at Google. In a nod to data-intensive genomics, Michel and Lieberman Aiden call this nascent field “culturomics.” Humanities scholars are reacting with a mix of excitement and frustration. If the available tools can be expanded beyond word frequency, “it could become extremely useful,” says Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. “But calling it ‘culturomics’ is arrogant.” Nunberg dismisses most of the study’s analyses as “almost embarrassingly crude.”

Although he applauds the current study, Dames has a score of other analyses he would like to perform on the Google Books corpus that are not yet possible with the n-gram database. For example, a search of the words in the vicinity of “God” could reveal “semantic shifts” over history, Dames says. But the current database only reveals the five-word neighborhood around any given term.

Orwant says that both the available data and analytical tools will expand: “We’re going to make this as open-source as possible.” With the study’s publication, Google is releasing the n-gram database for public use. The current version is available at

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New Book

The Director of Hopkins Marine Station has a new book out, “Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival”. Co-authored by Carolyn Sotka and published by Island Press, it describes the ecological history of Monterey Bay. Going back to the eighteenth century when the bay was a natural paradise, the book chronicles how it became the poster child for industrial devastation as described in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. The book goes on to tell the story of the residents who reclaimed it and how Monterey Bay became one of the most celebrated shorelines in the world.

For more information about the book go to:

Joe Wible

Hopkins Marine Station

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Student-founded law and science journal advances discussion of climate change in the ocean.

Policymakers facing complex decisions about climate change have a new resource to put marine science in their toolkits. The Stanford Journal of Law, Science and Policy (SJLSP) has released its latest issue, “Climate Change and Marine Systems, ” available for free online at

Three Stanford graduate students from programs in law and biology founded the journal in 2008 as a needed outlet for interdisciplinary, science-based papers on public policy. Their latest issue follows a symposium hosted by SJLSP in April 2009 called “Climate Change and Marine Systems: Managing for Resiliency.” The symposium attracted participants from regional NGO’s, state and federal agencies, and academia to discuss themes of ocean energy, marine reserves and fisheries.

SJLSP articles often represent the collaboration of scientists and legal scholars. In the current issue, Mark Carr of UC Santa Cruz, Meg Caldwell of Stanford and Emily Saarman of PISCO present “The role of ‘rules of thumb’ in science-based environmental policy: California’s Marine Life Protection Act as a case study.” The authors suggest an improved format for distilling scientific information into useable guidelines that policymakers can incorporate into their decisions.

Edwin Feo and Josh Ludmir of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP contributed an article called “Balancing the right regulation with the right economic incentives: government’s role in the development and financing of marine renewable energy in the United States.” They discuss how current U.S. laws impede the development of technology to harness the ocean’s enormous potential for clean, renewable energy. Other articles include a review of marine organisms’ physiological responses to climate change as a means to predict fishery and ecosystem “winners” and “losers,” and proposed guidelines for melding natural and social science to develop scientific-yet-appealing marine indicators of climate change.

The unique approach of SJSLP allows scientists to communicate the salient findings and implications of their research directly to policy makers, who can in turn draw on relevant, cutting-edge science when crafting policy solutions. More information about SJSLP and access to journal articles can be found at

New York Times Article coverage of marine energy talks from the 2009 symposium:

The above is a a slightly modified press release by Arlo Hemphill, Center for Ocean Solutions

Joe Wible

Hopkins Marine Station

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Open Access Monograph: From Seascapes of Extinction to Seascapes of Confidence

From Seascapes of Extinction to Seascapes of Confidence: Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries in Chile: El Quisco and Puerto Oscuro

Authored by Gloria L. Gallardo Fernández, Senior Researcher, Director of Research Studies, Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development, Uppsala University/SLU, Sweden, this work is  freely available in full text, online through the Social Sciences Series of Co-Action Publishing.  Link:

ABSTRACT: English: An important contribution to our understanding of the multifaceted challenges underlying sustainable solutions to ecological fisheries, the book describes how, in Chile, indiscriminate harvest of the edible shellfish Concholepas concholepas (false abalone or Loco), has been threatening not only the living of small-scale artisan fishers but also the ecosystem. Español: Una importante contribución para nuestra comprensión de los desafíos multifacéticos que subyacen bajo soluciones sustentables para una pesca ecológica es este libro que describe como en Chile, la extracción indiscriminada de la especie comestible Concholepas concholepas (abulón falso o Loco) llegó a amenazar no tan sólo la sobrevivencia de los pequeños pescadores artesanales, sino también el ecosistema.

From: Stephanie Haas

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NTIS newsletter on Ocean Science

The February 2010 issue of the NTIS Technical Reports Newsletter is now available from Featured this month are NTIS Subject Categories: Ocean Sciences & Technology and Chemistry.  It is a listing of various US reports on ocean science available through NTIS.  IAMSLIC libraries have many of the reports, so check the Z39.50 Library before ordering from NTIS.

The list in the newsletter is interesting for its variety.

-Janet Webster

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Traité général des pesches available online

The University of British Columbia Archives has digitized the two complete volumes of Traité général des pesches written in 1769-1782 by Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau and Jean-Louis De La Marre. The work contains beautiful plates of fresh and salt water fishes, fishing boats, fishing equipment and fishers.

The plates have been entered into ContentDM and are available on the UBC Library web site at:

The complete two volumes are available in the Internet Archive and Aquatic Commons.

Special thanks to Rob Stibravy at UBC Library who managed the project, Tony Pitcher who lent us the two volumes for digitization, and to University Archives and Cyamus for funding.

Sally Taylor, UBC

fish image

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