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oceans

Federal fishery regulators are taking back their claim that newer lobster fishing gear is harmful to North Atlantic right whales.

Right whales are one of the most endangered of all the large whales, with only 450 remaining in the wild. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently published a report on the whales’ mortality.

Nick Pyenson / National Geographic

They can weigh over a hundred tons, live their entire lives underwater, and some even hunt using sound through a method known as echolocation. Yet, whales are also complex social creatures who share much in common with humans.

This hour we talk with paleontologist Nick Pyenson about why he has dedicated his life to studying whales, or as he puts it, “Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures.” Pyenson’s new book, Spying on Whales, takes readers on a scientific quest to understand the evolutionary journey of whales from dog-sized land mammals to the ocean giants of today.

Streetwise Cycle / Wikimedia Commons

When you put your recycling into those big blue bins on the curb for garbage night, do you ever think about where all that trash goes?

For many decades, the North Atlantic right whale was a conservation success story. After being hunted to near extinction, a series of protective actions that began in the 1930s, and accelerated in the 1960s, helped the population begin to rebound.

martymcpadden / Creative Commons

With climate change come looming questions about the future of Connecticut's shoreline. Among them: How will sea level rise and extreme weather events alter the shape of the state's coast? And what will happen to the residents -- the people and native species -- who live there?

Coming up, local experts join us to offer some insight and talk about the ways municipalities are planning for the challenges that lie ahead. 

More than 180 seals have washed onto Maine beaches this month, and most of them have died. Marine mammal rescuers have been scrambling to respond and have been testing the animals to determine the cause. Thursday, federal scientists announced possible clues that could help determine what is causing these deaths.

Adam Metallo / Smithsonian Institution

They can weigh over a hundred tons, live their entire lives underwater, and some even hunt using sound through a method known as echolocation. Yet, whales are also complex social creatures who share much in common with humans.

This hour we talk with paleontologist Nick Pyenson about why he has dedicated his life to studying whales, or as he puts it, “Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures.” Pyenson’s new book, Spying on Whales, takes readers on a scientific quest to understand the evolutionary journey of whales from dog-sized land mammals to the ocean giants of today.

Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what's out there.

Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 8 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it's thrown away, it doesn't just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Sophie Zezula, 10, unveiled her “Snow Straw” at a Ridgefield invention convention five months before American cities began outlawing plastic straws and five months before lawmakers in other Connecticut towns like Hamden and Stonington revealed that they were pondering a ban.

On a quiet street by Green Hill Pond in Charlestown about a mile away from the ocean, Andrew Baer walks onto his front lawn and asks for help sliding the cap off his well. Luckily, he's having solar panels installed and there are plenty of hands at-the-ready. 

Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

It’s usually historians and scholars who get excited when a university acquires an ancient document. But in the 1960s, a map acquired by Yale University caused such a stir it divided the country.

Cousins Maine Lobster

Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis are no strangers to the Maine lobster bake. They grew up in Maine, and, although they have since moved away, their childhood memories of simple, homemade lobster rolls inspired them to start a business: Cousins Maine Lobster

NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team

The octopus has always been the stuff of spine-tingling legend, like that of the Kraken, the many-armed sea monster believed to drag ships to the bottom of the sea after dining on the crew. Or  Gertie the Pus, the giant Pacific octopus that lives under the Narrows Bridge connecting Tacoma, Washington to Gig Harbor.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Stonington could be one of the first American towns to ban the use of plastic straws.

The town’s board of selectmen has put together a committee to explore how to implement a ban on plastic straws and single-use plastic bags. Stonington first selectman Rob Simmons said the committee will be established next week and then within 90 days, he’s expecting the town to ditch the plastics.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The town of Stonington is considering a move to ban all single-use plastic bags and straws. It wouldn’t be the first Connecticut town to contemplate bagging the bag -- Greenwich recently passed a ban and Westport did away with them years ago.

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