There are two subspecies of West Indian manatees: the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) and the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) - shown above. In the US, manatees are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits the take (i.e., harass, hunt, capture or kill) of all marine mammals.

Manatees up for protection

Federal wildlife authorities are re-evaluating the classification of manatees, a move prompted by mounting issues, most notably the devastating loss of seagrass, a critical food source for these gentle marine creatures.

A Long-Overdue Review

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced its intention to revisit the categorization of manatees, contemplating a return from “threatened” to “endangered.” This potential reversal would overturn the 2017 decision to reclassify manatees.

Over the course of decades, polluted and warmer waters have bleached and killed up to 95% of Florida's corals.

Florida's Coral Reefs Under Siege from Rising Temperatures

Florida's coral reefs, a vital marine ecosystem, have been under severe threat due to extreme ocean temperatures this summer. The coral reefs, besides being biodiversity hotspots, also serve as a protective barrier against coastal erosion and are a significant source of revenue through tourism.

Efforts to protect and restore these reefs have been ongoing for decades. Coral restoration, which involves planting coral fragments, has been a primary method employed by scientists.

Newly hatched loggerhead sea turtles
Newly hatched loggerhead sea turtles

Record number of Loggerhead Turtle Nests in Florida

Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a non-profit education and ocean conservation facility located on the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The research team at LMC monitors a 9,5-mile stretch of beach from Juno Beach up to Jupiter Island between March and October. Juno Beach is one of the world's most densely nested sea turtle beaches in the world!

Health profiles of the elkhorn coral greatly differed among five examined areas, but the coral samples in the Dry Tortugas thrived compared to all the other sites

Endangered corals show encouraging resilience

In the face of daunting challenges to our planet's coral reefs, a glimmer of hope emerges from Florida's coastal waters.

Scientists from Ohio State University discovered that the endangered elkhorn coral population in the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida were highly resilient in its ability to adapt and thrive, despite adverse factors like climate change, pollution and disease outbreaks.

Florida Professor Resurfaces After Spending 100 Days Living Underwater

Professor Joseph Dituri from the University of South Florida broke a previous Guinness World Record when he surfaced after living underwater for 100 days.

A retired U.S. Navy Diving Officer and aquanaut, the 55-year-old Dituri embarked on the project in an effort to learn about the effects of hyperbaric pressure on the human body.

He hypothesises that increased pressure has the potential to help humans live longer and prevent diseases associated with ageing.

DEMA Show 2022
DEMA Show 2022

Skinny but upbeat DEMA Show

After two years of disruption because of the pandemic, DEMA Show was back in gear. Well, largely. It was still markedly more compact than the pre-pandemic editions but still a large show with far more booths than one could reasonably manage to visit during its four days. Also importantly, the mood appeared to be upbeat, with businesses eager to ramp up activities as the industry and travel activities pull away from the doldrums. 

DEMA 2022
Turtle on beach
Turtle on beach

Florida's turtles are now mostly born female

Rising temperatures are making it too hot for Florida’s turtles to enter the dating scene—literally.

The recent heat waves have raised the temperature of the sand on some beaches so much that nearly all turtles born in the last four summers have been female.

A turtle's gender depends on the temperature of the developing eggs, and this is dependent on the temperature of the sand in which the eggs are buried.

Dive Gear Express

Early in the new millennium a south Florida local dive shop located in a retail strip mall in Pompano Beach, built a website that featured technical diving products from a single brand.

The website accepted its first online order (with free shipping) on the morning of March 1st, 2003, dispatched on the same day, and delivered the next day.

Through its ethical online sales practices with customer service that focused on the consumer, ultimately the business became one of the largest retailers of technical diving products.

Bonefish (Albula vulpes)

Study finds traces of pharmaceutical drugs in bonefish and their prey

Florida’s seagrass flats used to be the place where anglers from around the world would congregate to catch the bonefish. However, this is no longer the case, as populations of the fish—nicknamed “grey ghosts”—have fallen by more than 50 percent over four decades.

In an article published in The Guardian, according to Dr Jennifer Rehage, a fish ecologist and associate professor at Florida International University (FIU), many anglers had said they could not find bonefish in the seagrass flats anymore.

Peter Sotis sentenced to 57 months in rebreather smuggling case

Sotis was the 80% owner of Add Helium, a diving equipment and training company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The charges stem from the defendants’ scheme to cause the illegal export of rebreather diving equipment to Libya in August 2016.

If rebreathers are to be exported to any countries with national security concerns, such as Libya, it requires a license from the U.S. Department of Commerce.