Win a new MacBook Pro with a Retina display and get some MOSF swag along the way!

 UPDATE: 12/12/2014 – We are getting much closer to our goal of 1,000 members!  Don’t miss out on your chance to get this Mac Book Pro for as little as a $5 annual membership.


What’s better than having a MacBook Pro with a Retina display, the world’s most powerful portable notebook option for those that like to take their work (or play) with them wherever the go? How about winning a MacBook Pro with Retina display from The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF)?  You can enter to get one by signing up to become a member of MOSF.

All you have to do to win a free MacBook Pro with a Retina display is head over to our membership page, sign up, like us on Facebook, and cross your fingers. If you want to get that MacBook faster, you can do so by sharing the link on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media sites.  Once MOSF has reached 1,000 members, we will draw the winner.

What are you waiting for?



To win, you must have an MOSF membership on the day of the drawing and are following us on Twitter @mosfoundation, Facebook or Google+.  Even the $5 annual membership will do!

Tweet or post about us, up to once a day, for extra entries in the contest!

10 Cool Facts about Manatees

Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation fan, 7-year-old Ava, asked us to write about her favorite underwater animal, the manatee. When we asked Ava why she liked manatees, she told us, “I like their cute faces and want to know why they are vegetarians like my momma.” Well, we don’t know why they are vegetarians, but we love their cute faces too and we’ve dug up 10 cool facts about manatees for you.

  1. ManateesManatees are large, gray mammals that live in the water. They have a flat, paddle-shaped tail and have two flippers. Manatees can grow to be up to 13 ft. (4 m) long and weigh as much as 1,300 lbs. (590 kg).
  2. Even though they live in the water, manatees are more closely related to elephants and hyraxes than sea lions and whales. (Hyraxes are small, thickset animals that resemble gophers. They don’t look anything like elephants or manatees. Crazy, huh?)
  3. Just like all marine mammals, manatees have to come to the surface to breathe air. A resting manatee can hold its breath for up to 15 minutes, but when it’s swimming, it must surface every 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Manatees have good eyesight even though their eyes are pretty small. Also, you can’t see any ears on the outside, but manatees also have good hearing. This is because they have large inner ear bones.florida-manatee
  5. Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas – especially where seagrass beds or freshwater vegetation thrive. Manatees are most commonly found in and around the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon Basin and West Africa.
  6. Although manatees typically swim at about 3 to 5 mph (5 to 8 kph), they have been known to swim for short bursts at 19 mph (30 kph).  They are acrobatic and graceful swimmers and can do somersaults, rolls, and swim upside down.
  7. Manatee moms are pregnant for about 11 to 13 months and their babies, called calves, weigh about 60 pounds (27 kg) when they are born. The mothers must take their newborn calves to the water’s surface for their first breath, but the little ones can usually swim on their own after about an hour. Calves are dependent on their mothers for about two years.
  8. Adult manatees have a big appetite – they eat LOTS of water grasses, weeds, and algae. In fact, a manatee can eat a tenth of its own weight in just 24 hours – that a lot of plants!
  9. Manatees can live up to 60 years, but their average lifespan in the wild is about 40 years.many_Manatee
  10. Manatees are a federally listed endangered species in the United States. In other words, there aren’t a lot of them left in the wild. One reason for this is that manatees reproduce very slowly – in fact, the time between generations is about 20 years. Humans need to be very careful around manatees. These gentle animals are often injured during collisions with speedboats and by accidentally getting caught in the nets of fishermen. Fortunately, we are learning more about them every day and teaching others how to live near them while ensuring their safety and health.
Learn More About The Crystal River Manatee

The Fishes In the Deep Blue Sea

they-glowOceans cover more than 71% percent of our planet – and those oceans contain 97% of all the water on Earth. More than half of that water is deeper than 1 km (that’s only about ½ mile down.) Scuba divers and explorers have never explored most of the water this deep because it would kill them. There are several reasons why deep water is so dangerous for humans: 1) It’s cold – really cold, 2) There’s no air – without air, you’d pass out in about 5 minutes; 3) The water pressure gets stronger the deeper you go – the water pressure would squish you and collapse your lungs; and 4) This one is a little more confusing, but basically all the pressure on the body causes something called “nitrogen narcosis” and it would cause you to suffocate.

barreleye2-350For all those reasons, we don’t really know much about the fish and other creatures that live in our deep oceans. We know that they don’t get much light from the sun, that they can handle lots of pressure, and that they can survive in very cold temperatures. Most of these fish also don’t have skeletons, their skin is jelly-like, they grow very slowly and live longer, they don’t reproduce as quickly as fish closer to the surface, and there are not as many of them. All these things make them very different from the fish we normally see and find in seafood restaurants.

So, why does this matter? It matters because the Earth’s population is growing every day and today more than 1 billion people depend on fish as their main source of protein. With so many people eating fish, fishermen began running out of fish that that they could catch close to land and near the surface. Naturally, they moved further out to sea, but those fish populations started to get low too. Eventually the fishermen had to try new ideas and began fishing in deeper waters. Fish like mackerel, which live close to the surface can reproduce 50% of their population in a year, but these deep see fish can only reproduce 6% of their population in that same time. Through research, we can learn more about these fish and how to fish them at a rate that keeps them from being overfished and disappearing.

fish lightHave you ever heard of aquaculture? It is the farming of fish and other underwater plants and animals. It’s a lot like agriculture, which is the farming of plants and animals for food and other products on land. Aquaculture is one important way in which we can make sure that there are enough fish for people to eat and that the fish in our oceans aren’t overfished and have time to reproduce. In the last couple of years, aquaculture has become a big business. In fact, 50% of the world’s supply of seafood today already comes from fish farms across the planet. Aquaculture is one way in which scientists and fishermen are working together to figure out how to keep our oceans healthy and our population fed.

Watch MinuteEarth’s wonderful video on this

New Non-Profit Marine Education and Collaboration Organization to Promote the Positives in Ocean Research, Conservation and Education

New Non-Profit Marine Education and Collaboration Organization to Promote the Positives in Ocean Research, Conservation and Education


Contact Information:
Jennifer Pitzer, Managing Director
Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation
15121 Concord Pike, Suite 301
Wilmington, DE 19803




Wilmington, Delaware, January 16, 2013—A new non-profit organization focusing on the successes of marine education and collaboration has just launched under the name Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation. Jennifer Pitzer, former freelance writer and senior financial analyst at the Federal Reserve Board, will serve as Managing Director.

The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF), when fully staffed by the end of 2014, will include approximately 6 fulltime researchers, writers, and editors, devoted solely to creating content-rich materials about successful marine conservation efforts and how those projects can be implemented in other parts of the world. By the end of 2014, the organization will acquire the first of a number of research vessels, which will enable them to provide education outreach services and host research scientists, educators and graduate students. The MOSF will be supported entirely by philanthropy and will provide the articles and materials it produces, free of charge, both through its own website and to other conservation organizations to maximizing the impact of each article.

“While I am not naïve to the very real issues that are affecting our planet,” states Ms. Pitzer, “I also know that for all the negative stories, there are as just as many successful projects that go unnoticed. Through research and collaboration, we can document how people are successfully making a difference in their local marine environments and share that information with a global audience. Equally important, by working with educators and young people, we can teach future generations how incredible our oceans and their inhabitants are and how much they impact our lives. It is our goal to provide tools for communities to engage in marine ecology as part of the solution. We share the planet, it is in all of our interest to seek sustainable solutions and make it a better place. Marine conversation is my passion.”

The MOSF’s Board of Directors is currently in formation. In addition to Ms. Pitzer, it will include Tiffany Moisan, Research Physical Scientist in the Hydrological Sciences Lab at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and doctoral graduate of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Rosemarie Watkins, retired, she formerly served as the director of the international policy group at the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C.; David Pitzer, Vice President and CIO of Frederick Mutual Insurance and advanced scuba diver. The MOSF will also have an Advisory Board of leaders with experience in marine conservation and related fields.

More information on the Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation can be found at


See the actual press release online. 


Barbados Turtles

With up to 500 females nesting per year, Barbados is home to the second-largest hawksbill turtle nesting population in the Caribbean. The Barbados Sea Turtle Project (BSTP) was established over 25 years ago and is working to find a sustainable balance between restoring the local marine turtle populations to healthy levels while still providing opportunities for sustainable use by the people and guests of Barbados. By incorporating monitoring, training, education, and public awareness programs, this dynamic organization is working to turn the turtle’s greatest threat, humans, into their biggest ally.


Green Sea Turtle

The primary nesting season for the hawksbill turtle runs from mid-May through mid to late October, a busy time in Barbados’ active tourist season. By partnering with the tourism industry, the Barbados Sea Turtle Project is turning a challenge into an opportunity. Sea Turtles have become a major attraction in Barbados and the BSTP is embracing this to help locals and visitors learn about the turtles and what they can do to help keep these magnificent creatures.

In addition to offering a 24-hour “Sea Turtle Hotline” to monitor sea turtle sightings and address sea turtle “emergencies,” the organization is involved in sea turtle conservation at all levels. Below is a list of some of the projects in which the Barbados Sea Turtle Project carries out:

  • Education – During the school year, BSTP volunteers make presentations to students throughout the island. Additional programs are offered to children attending various camps during the summer break.
  • Public Outreach – They offer presentations to hotel staff and visitors to help ensure that people are interacting safely with the sea turtles and can react appropriately if they find hatchlings or a turtle in distress.
  • Monitoring – The BSTP monitors the nesting beaches nightly for four months during the nesting season. The record whether the turtles attempted to nest, if there was anything that prevented nesting, if eggs were laid in a safe and secure location, and how many of the hatchlings emerge from the nest.
  • Research – Volunteers document all of the sea turtle nesting activities. They measure and weigh the females when possible, tag the animals for tracking purposes, and keep a running history of remigration intervals and results.
  • Rescue & Rehabilitation – When needed, the BSTP will step into rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles that have run into trouble by falling into swimming pools, getting caught in nets or other unfortunate circumstances.

greenseaturtlesAlthough the populations are not as high, Barbados is also home to leatherback, loggerhead, olive ridley, Kemp’s ridley, flatback, and green sea turtles. By collaborating and partnering with the government, tourism industry, and fellow NGOs like itself, the Barbados Sea Turtle Project has made great strides in successfully finding a balance between protecting it’s turtle population and meeting the needs of the local economy.

Watch People swim with the turtles in Barbados



Galapagos Penguins

I don’t know about you, but when I think of penguins, I think of cute little birds in tuxedos playing in the snow. I recently learned that there are actually penguins that live in the tropics, right near the equator in the Galapagos Islands.Tropical Penguin

There several islands in the Galapagos archipelago (a group of islands), but the penguins seem to stay mostly on the western islands of Fernandina and Isabela. They probably stay on these islands because there is a current of colder water that runs along their shores called the Cromwell Current.

Galapagos Penguin SwimmingA survey done in the 1970s estimated that there were around 10,000 of these penguins, but current surveys show that there are only about 1,000 breeding pairs left. Scientists think that about 77% of the population died in 1982 and 1983 when the islands experienced unusual weather, which caused a food shortage for the penguins. They seem to be slowly rebuilding their population.

Galapagos penguins are pretty small, they only weigh about 2 kg (4.5 lbs.) – about the weight of a pineapple. They only get to be about 49cm tall, that’s less than 2 feet. They have a large bill and a narrow white line around the face. Their backs are grey and black and their belly is white.

Galápagos Penguin Galápagos IslandsThe penguins mostly eat small fish like mullet and sardines. Unfortunately, because they are so small they have many predators. On land, crabs, snakes, owls, and hawks pick on the little penguins; in the sea, sharks, fur seals, and sea lions can attack them. It can be a rough life, but these penguins seem to enjoy their tropical paradise.


Click here for a link to a teacher resource on the Galapagos Penguin.


Watch to learn more about the Galapagos Penguins


Galapagos Penguins trying to catch dinner


Oyster Reclamation

oyster growing on peirLast year, we kicked off our summer with a Memorial Day party at a friend’s house. His home sits on the scenic South River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, just south of Annapolis, Maryland. Little did we know, that day would turn into so much more than just a fun day with old friends.

After the all the kids, and some of the adults, wrapped up their adventures out on the river in our friend’s 14-foot sailboat, we relaxed on his pier and enjoyed the view. At one point, our friend mentioned that his baby oysters, aka “spat,” were grown and almost ready to go to their new home in the bay. He pulled up one of the eight cages he was caring for and explained his role as a volunteer in the South River Federation’s oyster restoration program.

Oyster Spat

Oyster Spat

In partnership with Marylanders Grow Oysters, the South River Federation gives hundreds of waterfront property owners the opportunity to participate in hands on oyster restoration. Volunteers with access to community piers or have their own, grow millions of young oysters in cages suspended from private piers each year. The volunteers are tasked with protecting the young oysters during their vulnerable first year of life, so they may be planted on local sanctuaries where the oysters enrich the ecosystem and our oyster population.

After attending an oyster husbandry workshop, volunteers pick up their spat in the late summer or early fall. Throughout the growing season, the volunteers measure the length of spat, track mortality, and measure dissolved oxygen levels throughout the growing season. In early June, the volunteers deposit their oysters in the Glebe Bay sanctuary during the South River Days Oyster Flotilla.

Why are oysters so important? Oysters are filter feeders. This means that they feed by pumping large volumes of water through their gills and filtering out plankton and other particles. As they filter water to get food, oysters also remove nutrients, suspended sediments andbay oyster sanctuary chemical contaminants, helping to keep the water clear and clean for bay grasses and other underwater life. One oyster can filter more than 50 gallons of water per day.

The spat fascinated the kids and adults alike and we all learned so much about their importance in the bay’s ecosystem. Having grown up near the ocean, I have always been enamored with our oceans and marine habitats. In 2000, I married an avid scuba diver on the beach and our now 12-year-old son might as well have been born with gills. That Memorial Day party changed our lives; we decided that it was time to apply our skills to make a positive difference and do something we love. The Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation was sparked that weekend and has continued to grow with the support of friends, fellow ocean lovers, marine conservation organizations, and educators.

South River Federation - Kids Getting Spat

South River Federation – Kids Getting Spat

Beach Cleanup Day

Every year, on the third Saturday of September, people from across the globe gather on their shores for what has become the largest volunteer event on the planet. In 2013, volunteers in over 100 countries held “Coastal Cleanup Day” events. Although the numbers for 2013 have not been compiled yet, in 2012, over 563,000 volunteers participated in this event and picked up more than 10 million pounds of trash.

coranado coastal cleanupThe first Coastal Cleanup Day was organized in 1984 by a woman named Judie Neilson, an Oregon resident, who was frustrated with the amount of debris accumulating on the beaches. Impressed by the results of this event in Oregon, the California Coastal Commission held one in 1985, followed by The Ocean Conservancy (then known as the Center for Marine Conservation) in 1986. In later years, the Ocean Conservancy became the coordinating agency for the International Coastal Cleanup, helping to spread the concept to nations around the world.

In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the California Coastal Cleanup Day as the “largest garbage collection” ever organized, with 50,000 volunteers. Sponsored by local businesses and organized by nonprofits, people from all walks of life come out to show their appreciation of their beaches, coasts, rivers, bays, and marine habitats. This event is also a great teaching and community service opportunity for scout troops, school groups and service clubs.

ciggerette on beachVolunteers are encouraged to bring their own containers and supplies for collecting debris, including reusable buckets or recyclable plastic containers and work gloves and closed-toe shoes. Typically, organizers will provide a central location for the collected trash and containers such as a dumpster, trashcan, or large trash bags. In recent years, clean up days have expanded beyond beach sites to include inland waterway events and dive and kayak events.

Unfortunately, an estimated 6.4 million tons of trash enters the oceans every year. Each piece of paper, cigarette butt or bottle cap that isn’t disposed of properly finds its way into our streams and rivers and eventually makes its way to the ocean. Ultimately, all of this debris in our oceans compromises human and wildlife health and negatively affects our economy. Not only are our oceans beautiful, they are an essential part of our water cycle, food supply, and provide many of the ingredients in medicines and everyday products.


Common Debris Found On Beaches

Common Debris Found On Beaches

Humpback Dolphins

wp humpback dolphin locationLast month, scientists announced the discovery a new species of dolphin living off the coast of Northern Australia. While most people are familiar humpback whales, few know about humpback dolphins. Scientists have known about Atlantic and Indo-Pacific species of humpback dolphins for some time, but recent physical and genetic tests by researchers have revealed that there are actually four distinct species of this beautiful creature. Humpback dolphins are distinguishable by a peculiar hump just below the dorsal fin and are found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Humpback dolphins grow up to 8 feet in length and their coloring ranges from dark gray to pink and/or white. The species generally inhabits coastal waters, deltas, estuaries, and occurs throughout the Indian and Pacific oceans to the coasts of Australia. According to Guido Parra of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, this particular species of dolphin are very shy and keep their distance, unlike their curious and friendly cousins that most people are used to.

The scientists, who were working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and a number of other organizations contributed to the study. The researchers arrived at their conclusions after examining 235 tissue samples and 180 skulls from mostly beached humpback dolphins around the globe to define genetic and morphological distinctions among the species. These findings were published in the November 2013 issue of Molecular Ecology.

Close up of a Humpback Dolphins hump“New information about distinct species across the entire range of humpback dolphins will increase the number of recognized species, and provides the needed scientific evidence for management decisions aimed at protecting their unique genetic diversity and associated important habitats,” said Howard Rosenbaum, director of WCS’s Ocean Giants program and senior author of the paper. The Atlantic humpback dolphin is considered “Vulnerable” according to the IUCN Red List, whereas the Indo-Pacific dolphin species Sousa chinensis is listed as “Near Threatened.” Humpback dolphins are threatened by habitat loss and fishing activity.

The major threat to this newly identified species habitat degradation due to coastal development, mining, and resource exploitation. Although the new species have not been named yet, the scientists are now preparing their formal proposal for the recognition of the new species. Once the International Whaling Commission and the Society for Marine Mammalogy have accepted their proposal, this newly identified species of dolphin will be officially recognized.

Seeing Positive Impacts First Hand

students learning marine scienceThe Marine & Oceanic Sustainability Foundation (MOSF) is raising funds to acquire its first ocean-going research vessel. The acquisition of this vessel is a critical step in the success of MOSF, enabling the movement of our staff of educators, researchers, scientists, journalists, and videographers. This new vessel will allow MOSF and its guests to visit both remote and developed coastal areas worldwide.

An important element of our education mission is a program in which we will sponsor K-12 teachers and college-level marine science students to join us on expeditions. By getting out in the field, our guests will expand their understanding of marine habitats and conservation work going on throughout the world. Our goal is to give teachers and future marine scientists hands-on experience that they can take back to their students and colleagues at home.

By traveling and working with locals across the globe, MOSF can dig deeper into what is working, and what isn’t, in their marine communities.

Research VesselMOSF is committed to working with local teachers, students, and community groups. Through outreach programs like this, people will gain a better understanding of how they are affecting their marine habitats and how they can get involved to assure their long-term health and sustainability.

In our search for a vessel, we are focusing on safety, functionality, fuel and environmental efficiency, and range. The vessel will ideally be between 65 to 85 feet in length and able to accommodate 6 to 15 full-time crew. A range of 3,000 to 6,000 nautical miles is desired along with the ability to reach remote locations under its own power.

It is very important to consider the safety of crew members both in transit and upon arrival at any port of harbor. video research workFunctionality of the areas aboard the vessels for research, living, gear, and diving are paramount. In order minimize costs and impact to the environment, we are carefully considering fuel efficiency and the ability to minimize waste. While no vessel can meet 100% of any need defined, it is important to find vessels that meet as many criteria as possible.

Getting out and meeting with individuals, organizations, and businesses that are engaged in successful marine conservation projects is a fundamental goal. A second is providing educational outreach programs and working with teachers and students globally to share the wonders of our oceans and inspire future generations to be good stewards of our oceans. We sincerely hope that this vessel will be the first of many that we will bring into our organization.