Category Archives: Nature, Science, Animals, Earth

Solar Powered Sea Slug

Check out this little guy! His name is Elysia chlorotica and he looks like a sea slug but processes energy like a plant. After feeding on algae for the first two weeks of his life, he stores the chloroplasts in the cells of his gut. After that he can survive without ever eating again! Read the entire story here.

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Octopus Hijacker

I love these little hijackers, especially when they’re running away on their tentacles. Apparently this video is the first documentation of octopodes using tools. I can’t wait until they unite with orangutans and crows to take over the world.

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Seamount Expidition: Sea Creatures!

Juevenile Oreo Fish

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) recently completed a six-week expedition to the southern Indian Ocean. The crew studied six seamounts with the goal of¬† developing “ecosystem approaches to fisheries management for biologically-globally significant and commercially-important areas beyond national jurisdiction, the high seas.” They collected nearly 7,000 species, many of which are new discoveries and delightfully odd!

Check out their blog for an account of their adventures and additional photos.

Also, you can support IUCN and projects like this one by donating here.

Sea Toad

Unidentified Octopus

Unidentified Fish

Hatchet Fish

Unidentified Fish

Barreleye Fish

More about the Barreleye from a previous post.

All photos by Sarah Gotheil


There are two things that just baffle me.

1. How can Christians, who say they believe “love they neighbor as thyself”, be opposed to socialized medicine?

2. How can you have children and not become a raging environmentalist?

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Copenhagen Climate Summit and it’s just so disappointing. How do people not understand that we are dooming our own progeny to a bleak existence? I mean, the very best scenario is that they’ll be living in a world where a third of the animal population has gone extinct and rain forest are a thing of the past and cancer levels continue to rise. I don’t understand how anything you can do or buy for your children could be as wonderful of a gift as a beautiful healthy earth. Our governments aren’t going to fix this. Governments want growth.. that means they want to produce and export and import and build and see population booms. I don’t see them ever stepping in to stop this thing that is already spinning out of control. Climate change will eventually cost our countries far more than it would cost us to reduce our carbon emissions to a healthy level now.. but that’s in the semi-distant future and as much as we say that we care about posterity, it really comes down to “as long as it doesn’t cause me discomfort”.

Goal: Visit Great Aquariums

Okay, so I totally have mixed feelings about aquariums and zoos. On one hand, they pull animals out of their natural surroundings and cage them in small, sometimes miserable quarters. On the other hand, they serve to educate and hopefully inspire people to take an active role in protecting animals from becoming endangered. Further, they provide a place to preserve species who have become extinct in the wild and many, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, are leading the way with their conservation programs.

For better or worse, there are few places that make me as happy. Here are 3 aquariums located in the U.S. that I’ve read about which seem pretty amazing and I’d like to see. Any other recommendations?

1. Georgia Aquarium Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Aquarium claims to be the world’s largest aquarium with over 100,000 animals housed in 8.1 million gallons of fresh and saltwater. It is the only aquarium outside of Asia to exhibit whales sharks (of which it has two males). Other notable specimens include great hammerhead sharks, beluga whales and manta rays. The aquarium also has a 100ft underwater tunnel as well as the world’s second largest viewing window.

2. Monterey Bay Aquarium Monterey, California

The Monterey Bay Aquarium contains a 33 foot high, 350,000 gallon tank which holds the world’s first man-grown kelp garden as well as housing California coastal marine life such as leopard sharks and wolf-eels. The aquarium also boasts a 1.2 million gallon tank which is large enough to allow tuna to reach speeds of 18 miles per hour. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly nerdy, I like to check out the otters on their webcam.

3. Oregon Coast Aquarium Newport, Oregon

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a hop, skip and a jump from my brother and his cute little family, so now I have two excuses to make the trip! The main attraction here is the acrylic tunnel which allows you to be surrounded by sharks, bat rays and rockfish without ever getting wet.

The Symphony of Science

FINALLY science and the auto-tuner have gotten together! Who hasn’t been waiting for this moment? The Symphony of Science is a project started by John Boswell to “deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form”. Here’s “A Glorious Dawn” by Carl Sagan featuring Stephen Hawking. Hilarious stuff! Check his site for two other fantastic videos.

Gorilla vs. Cellphone

It can be overwhelming and confusing to be a conscious consumer. But sometimes the correlation between our motherchild_2kiMb_24429choices and another creature’s outcome is undeniable.

Take the Lowland Gorilla for instance. They’re unlucky enough to inhabit the Democratic Republic of Congo which holds 80% of the world’s coltan supply, a rare mineral that is used in cellphones and computers. As the demand for coltan has increased in the past decade, around 10,000 miners have flooded into the protected parks, slaughtering and eating thousands of gorillas. The number of Eastern Lowland Gorillas has been decimated and it is believed that only around 1/3 of the population counted in 1995 still remains.

You can help in two major ways. One, keep your cellphone for as long as possible.. until it disintegrates in your hand. Don’t buy a new iPhone¬† every time Apple comes out with something (Ugh! Huge pet peeve of mine). And two, if you do have to purchase a new phone, recycle your old one. Partners in Conservation (PIC) works with many zoos to recycle or refurbish cells phones. Proceeds go back into the region. In Salt Lake City, you can take your cellphone to the front desk at the Hogle Zoo. If you don’t live in Utah, check with your local zoo.

Lowland Gorilla

Bloodybelly Comb Jelly

You thought I just strung a bunch of unrelated words together to get your attention, didn’t you? The Bloodybelly Comb Jelly is a sea creature from the deep. What a strange and fabulous little creature.


Steampunk Insects


Yay! Two of my favorite things together at last! Mike Libby, starts with real insects from around the world which he dissects and restructures using old pocket and wristwatch parts. You can purchase his pieces at Insect Lab, for between $375 – $2200. If that’s too rich for your blood, consider one of his giclee prints. The grasshopper is my favorite (and most expensive, of course). I love the little gears and springs on his hind legs.






via Wired

Goal: Visit a U.S. National Park Yearly

Glacier Point

I’ve talked a bit about priorities and achieving goals and I think I’ll start to share mine every once in a while. One of my goals is to visit a U.S. National Park that I have never seen before, every year.

There are currently 58 parks spanning 84.6 million acres. Yellowstone was the first national park, established in 1872, however the National Park Service wasn’t officially established until 1916. In June of 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt (oh how I love that man!) signed executive orders which consolidated the various National Parks and Monuments and placed them under one federal umbrella. He vastly expanded their numbers and highly publicized his vacations to the parks, encouraging others to visit them as well.

I found this mammoth map identifying all of the National Parks Systems areas. And here is a list of the parks, their locations and the year they were established.

Right now I think my top 3 choices are the Olympic, Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks both because they look incredible and because they’re relatively close.

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park

Sol Duc Falls, Olympic National Park

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park