Fish of the Week – Post #7

By now you have heard us talk about sustainable seafood and why it is important to be mindful when choosing which seafood to eat and which options are best to avoid. Embracing the use of sustainable seafood is one of the best ways we can all contribute to our oceans’ health, and we have three easy ways you can be fish-friendly.

  1. Download the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch app on your smart phone – available at the Apple Store and Google Play.
  2. Be mindful and make smart choices about what seafood you eat and where you buy it. Several local grocery stores provide sustainable seafood options – H-E-B, Fiesta, Kroger and Whole Foods, just to name a few.
  3. If you are out enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant, you can ask them if the seafood they serve is sustainable.

This can make a huge impact on our oceans and the animals living there! fish blog


The final recipe in our Fish of the Week series is Seafood Cioppino. 

cioppino

A classic Italian dish: a great seafood stew with slices of French bread perfect for a date night with that special someone.

Ingredients:

3 tbls Olive Oil
2 tsp Garlic, Minced
6 oz Chorizo Sausage, Raw
1 cup Leeks, Diced
1 cup Onions, Diced
½ cup Fennel, Diced
2 tbls Tomato Paste
2 cups Chicken Stock, Store Bought
2 cans Diced Canned Tomato
1 cup White Wine
1 tsp Fish Sauce
16 ea Mussels, Cleaned
8 oz Red Drum
1 lb Large Shrimp (Peeled and Deveined)
1 ea French Bread Loaf

Preparing the Stew:

Clean mussels and pull beards

Cut Red Drum into 1-inch cubes

In a deep pan, brown chorizo and remove from pan. Remove half the grease.

Add leek, onions, garlic and fennel to pot. Cook until tender or for 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook until darkens to a deep brown, careful not to burn the paste.

Add white wine and reduce heat by half.

Add chicken stock and fish sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer

Next, place cooked sausage and seafood into pot. Cook until mussels open.

Add parsley.

Serve into soup bowls and enjoy with a couple slices of French bread.

Servings: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult


We hope you have enjoyed our featured meals and learned how you can help protect our oceans and the animals who call it home. Thanks for doing your part to save wildlife. And remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo, you help save animals in the wild!

Guest Blogger Carolyn Jess is Back to Talk About Ocelots

Carolyn-Jess-2014-ResizeWe have invited Carolyn Jess back to help us out as guest blogger in 2015 with a focus on native wildlife. Jess is a 13 year old student who has agreed to be our special guest blogger about wildlife conservation. Carolyn was awarded the Alban Heiser Conservation Award in 2014, presented to her by Jack Hanna. If you would like to contact Carolyn or have comments, you may send them to conservation@houstonzoo.org.

 


If you have read my other blogs, you can see that ocelots mean a lot to me.  They are beautiful yet elusive and are quickly disappearing from their natural scrub land habitat in south Texas.  Habitat loss and highways are making this mysterious animal almost nonexistent.  Last year, two ocelots were hit by cars on highway 100.  The concrete barrier between the roads caused the ocelots to get trapped and confused.  The loss of these ocelots is devastating because it  diminishes the breeding population and shrinks the genetic diversity. But, I have some exciting news!  The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to install FOUR highway wildlife crossings for ocelots this summer.  These crossings are built to go under the roads so the ocelots can travel safely without crossing the busy streets.  The barriers work by having fencing up to block the animals from crossing the highways and funnels the animal down to the tunnel under the road.  This was done in Florida to help their panther population and has been successful.

Hearing this news and knowing that people are trying to make a difference for our Texas ocelots shows that there IS hope for our ocelots and people are aware of their situation.  This is a huge step in ocelot conservation.  This is how conservation works!!

By teaching and telling others about our endangered species, you can get the knowledge out there.  That knowledge spreads quickly!  Texas Department of Transportation is helping the ocelot stand a chance at surviving and YOU can too!  Spread the word about endangered species like the ocelot.  There are many ways you can help, but being aware is the very first step.  Next, find something you can do to help.  I had my annual fundraising for the ocelot and just sent my donations over to researchers at CKWRI – they work directly with the ocelots in south Texas.  You can even adopt an ocelot  on the Laguna Atascosa website. Be an advocate for the animals.

Science Made Simple: How'd That Fish Get On Your Plate?

My name is Ryan and I love science. Join me as I try to make tough science a little less confusing.

Follow along as I research the issues, untangle the mess, and figure out what you really need to know to help animals and the environment.

 


Today’s Topic: How’d That Fish Get On Your Plate?

 

 Short Version: The way that seafood is caught matters. Overfishing has drastically reduced the amount of fish in the ocean. Supporting practices that encourage sustainable fishing and harvesting will improve the health of the ocean, allow marine populations to recover, and ensure that seafood stays on the menu.

Confusing Science: “More than 80% of the world’s fish stocks are considered fully exploited or overexploited (FAO, 2012) and the global marine fish catches have stabilized around 80 million tons annually since the early 1990s (FAO, 2012). However, the effort spent to catch fish has steadily increased after the catches peaked (Anticamara et al., 2011), and the fishing fleets have expanded toward deeper and more remote fishing locations (Swartz et al., 2010)” (Emanuelsson et al., 2014).

What That Really Means: To put it plainly, people love seafood. Whether it be shrimp, halibut, Bluefin tuna, or one of many other fish species, we’ve all got our favorite seafood choice. Unfortunately, to put these fish on your plate, many species are being overfished. Overfishing means that the fish are being taken out of the ocean much faster than they can reproduce. Even though more and more commercial fishermen are out on the oceans, the total amount they catch isn’t increasing. This is a good example of overfishing.

Confusing Science: “Ecosystem health and human health are closely connected and interdependent (Fleming et al. 2006). Therefore assessing and promoting sustainability requires a focus on both ecosystems and people, and active participation and commitment by the latter” (Micheli et al., 2014).

What That Really Means: If we don’t pay attention to how seafood is caught, many different types of fish will not only disappear from our menu, but also from the ocean. Luckily, there is a growing movement that is working to keep the ocean healthy by fishing sustainably. Fisherman and companies that provide seafood can make changes that will ease up on the pressure we’re putting on the ocean and allow fish populations to increase. However, if the average person doesn’t show that this issue is important, there’s not a reason for companies to make a change!

fish blog

Confusing Science:  “Generic seafood sustainability labels may not convey sufficient meaning to compel action, since consumers may fail to connect their purchases to contributing to a more sustainable fishery” (Gutierrez & Thornton, 2014).

What That Really Means: You can tell if seafood has been harvested sustainably by reading labels in restaurants and the supermarket. That’s important because as more people buy fish that was caught or farmed in environmentally responsible ways, we as consumers can show commercial fishermen and companies that we want to protect the oceans while still enjoying seafood.
What Can YOU Do?: You can help in the most deliciously simple way. All you have to do is eat or buy sustainable seafood. Next time you are buying seafood in a restaurant or in the grocery store, take 1 extra minute to read labels or ask if the fish was responsibly harvested. Promoting these environmentally friendly practices will allow us to keep a healthier planet and ensure a future for marine life! For more details on sustainable seafood, be sure you check out Seafood Watch.


That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more as I try to make science easier to understand. Never stop learning,
-Ryan 

 Have a topic you’d like me to explore? Post it in the comments!


References:

Anticamara JA, Watson R, Gelchu A, Pauly D (2011) Global fishing effort (1950–2010): trends, gaps, and implications. Fish Res 107(1– 3):131–136

Emanuelsson, A., Ziegler, F., Pihl, L., Sköld, M., & Sonesson, U. (2014). Accounting for overfishing in life cycle assessment: new impact categories for biotic resource use.International Journal Of Life Cycle Assessment, 19(5), 1156-1168.

FAO (2012) The state of world fisheries and aquaculture. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome

Fleming, L., Broad, K., Clement, A., ( 2006). Oceans and human health: emerging public health risks in the marine environment. Mar Pollut Bull 53: 545–60.

Gutierrez, A., & Thornton, T. F. (2014). Can Consumers Understand Sustainability through Seafood Eco-Labels? A U.S. and UK Case Study. Sustainability (2071-1050), 6(11), 8195-8217.

Micheli, F., De Leo, G., Shester, G. G., Marione, R. G., Lluch-Cota, S. E., Butner, C., & … Sáenz-Arroyo, A. (2014). A system-wide approach to supporting improvements in seafood production practices and outcomes. Frontiers In Ecology & The Environment, 12(5), 297-305.

Swartz W, Sala E, Tracey S, Watson R, Pauly D (2010) The spatial expansion and ecological footprint of fisheries (1950 to present). Plos One 5(12):e15143.

Action for Apes Groups Are Making A Difference!

There is a little over a month left in our 2015 Action for Apes Cell Phone Recycling Challenge, which means there is still time to participate!

We are up to 26 local Houston schools and organizations who are recycling cell phones to help save gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild! These 26 groups have an estimated 7,744 people participating to save apes in the wild!

AFA-Gorilla

Are you interested in participating in the 2015 Action for Apes Challenge? It’s easy and fun, and you get to save animals while you do it! Just check out our website to register your group.

AFA-gorilla-2Thank you to the following groups who have joined the 2015 Action for Apes Challenge and are working hard to save animals in the wild!

  • American Recyclers
  • Bay Colony Elementary
  • Berry Elementary
  • Birkes Elementary Student Council
  • Calder Road Elementary
  • Copeland Elementary
  • Cy Woods Student Leadership
  • East Early College High School
  • Environmental Action Club
  • George Brooks’ Office
  • Girl Scout Troop 16399
  • Go Green Club
  • Heritage of Towne Lake
  • HISD – Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School (MCLIMS)
  • Holbrook Elementary
  • HW Grady Middle School
  • Incarnate Word Academy
  • Jersey Village High School Science National Honor Society
  • Keeter Family
  • KIPP Liberation College Preparatory
  • Lake Jackson Intermediate
  • Lantrip Elementary
  • Noah Consulting
  • Smith, Seckman, & Reid
  • Sneed Elementary
  • T.H. Rogers School

If you haven’t signed up for the 2015 Action for Apes Challenge yet, it’s not too late – do it today! The Action for Apes Challenge is open to any business, community group, church, school, scout group, any group of people who would like to help save animals in the wild!

 

Science Made Simple: Is Using Recycled Paper Really That Important?

My name is Ryan and I love science. Join me as I try to make tough science a little less confusing.

Follow along as I research the issues, untangle the mess, and figure out what you really need to know to help animals and the environment.

 


Today’s Topic: Is Using Recycled Paper Really That Important?

Short Version: Trees are being cut down at an alarming rate in order to make all the different types of paper we use every day. From printer paper to toilet paper, you can help protect forests and the animals that live in them by recycling your paper and buying paper made from recycled content!
Confusing Science: “One of the most produced sanitary papers is toilet paper. The most important raw material is pulp, originates either from primary (virgin) cellulosic fibers or recovered fibers” (Vlase, 2013).

Cutting-it-down

What That Really Means: It shouldn’t surprise you that people want/need toilet paper. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, it’s pretty much recession proof and grocery stores usually devote an entire aisle to it. Wood pulp is needed to make toilet paper, and lots of trees have to be cut down as part of the production process. As we’ve talked about in previous Science Made Simple posts, anytime trees are cut down, we reduce the habitat available to animals that rely on these forests for survival.

Confusing Science: “Between 2010 and 2030, the global demand for timber products is expected to rise by 70 % (FAO 2009). In this time period, the global demand for wood-based panels will increase from 280 to 500 million tons per annum, while the production of paper and paperboard will grow from 400 to 700 million tons annually” (Obidzinksi, 2012).

What That Really Means: The amount of paper we use for writing, printing, toilet paper, etc. is astronomical. I tried really hard to find a way to put the numbers above into perspective. The picture below is a United States Navy Ford-Class aircraft carrier. The Navy specifications on this type of aircraft carrier list a weight of approximately 100,000 tons.

Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier [Media]. U.S. Navy. Retrieved from http://www.navy.com/about/equipment/vessels/carriers.html
Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier [Media]. U.S. Navy. Retrieved from http://www.navy.com/about/equipment/vessels/carriers.html
So if that ship weighs 100,000 tons, you would need FOUR THOUSAND of those ships to equal the weight of the paper currently made each year! It’s nearly impossible to think about that amount of paper.

Confusing Science: “The logging that goes toward disposable paper products is especially frustrating given how much paper continues to be wasted. Each year, US consumers dump about 35 to 40 percent of all the paper they use into dumps and landfills. According to University of Colorado’s Environmental Center, “in this decade Americans will throw away over 4.5 million tons of office paper and nearly 10 million tons of newspaper … almost all of which could be recycled” (Robbins, 2010).

wipeWhat That Really Means: In short, we are throwing away far too much paper that could be made into other products. Recycling used office paper or newspapers can reduce the number of trees needed to meet our paper demands and preserve valuable wildlife habitat.

What YOU Can Do?: Fortunately, there are lots of companies that use recycled paper in their products. You can protect forests and the animals that live in them by recycling your paper and buying paper products that are made from recycled content. Here at the  Houston Zoo, we only use toilet paper made from recycled paper, and you can help animals by doing the same!


That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more as I try to make science easier to understand. Never stop learning,
-Ryan 

 Have a topic you’d like me to explore? Post it in the comments!


References:
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) (2009) State of the world’s forests 2009. FAO, Rome

Obidzinski, K., & Dermawan, A. (2012). Pulp industry and environment in Indonesia: is there sustainable future?. Regional Environmental Change, 12(4), 961-966.

Robbins, N. (2010). NOT A SQUARE TO SPARE. Earth Island Journal, 25(3), 57-60.

Vlase, R., Viorel, I., & Gavrilescu, D. (2013). RESOURCE CONSERVATION IN SANITARY PAPER MANUFACTURING. Environmental Engineering & Management Journal (EEMJ), 12(4), 757-762.

Fish of the Week – Post #5

It’s week five of seven for our Fish of the Week blog series! This week’s meal features sustainably-sourced catfish along with a recipe provided by our very own Chef Larry. We hope you are enjoying these meals at home, and we thank you for helping protect marine wildlife and their ecosystems!


This week’s recipe is: Blackened Catfish with Corn Maque ChouxRedfish-Maque-Choux

Good ole down home cookin’ – Yum! When buying your catfish filets, the best option is going to be U.S Farmed, though most options are all Good Alternatives.

Ingredients:

Spices Blend:
3 tbls Paprika
2 tbls Garlic Powder
2 tbls Onion Powder
1 tsp Thyme, Dry
1 tbls Black Pepper, Ground
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Oregano, Dry
1 tsp Basil Dry
1 tbls Salt
4 ea Catfish Filets
3 tbls Vegetable Oil

Corn Maque Choux:
2 tbls Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Garlic Minced
6 ea Fresh Ears of Corn
1 link Andouille Sausage, Diced
½ cup Onion Chopped
¼ cup Green Pepper, Diced
¼ cup Red Pepper, Diced
¼ cup Celery, Diced
1 cups Half-and-Half Cream
2 oz Cream Cheese
½ cup Green Onion, Chopped

Garnish:
½ cup Green Onions, Bias Cut

Cooking Instructions:

Mixing the Spice:
Combine first 9 ingredients in a baking dish.
Rub your catfish filets with spice rub and hold to marinate

Making the Corn Maque Choux:
In a medium pot, heat oil. Add sausage, onions and garlic cook 2 min.
Add celery and peppers. Cool 2 min, add 1 tsp of blacken spice.
Add corn and cook 3 min. Add half-and-half and reduce heat by half. Taste for seasoning & adjust if needed.
Add cream cheese and hold for service on low heat, stirring every so often.

Cooking the Fish:
In a medium cast iron skillet, heat remaining oil to almost smoke point.
Carefully add catfish to the oil taking great care not to burn yourself. Cook 3 min each side on med high flame.
In a soup bowl or plate, place the corn maque choux in the center of dish and place the catfish on top
Garnish with bias cut green onions

Servings: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes


 

 

AA035422Here’s the low-down on sustainable seafood and a few ways you can be fish-friendly!

 

You can think of the ocean like your own heart. Just as your heart circulates blood and regulates the body’s temperature, the ocean controls the circulation of water and moisture throughout the planet, affecting both sea and land life! Texas fishermen use responsible fishing techniques to harvest your favorite seafood. They do this to ensure that fish are healthy and abundant for future generations.

 

 

How can you help, you ask? Here are a few ways:

  • Make smart choices about what you eat and where you buy it. This can make a huge impact on our oceans and the animals living there! Some of the top grocery stores in North America have public sustainable seafood sourcing policies – this list includes (but not limited to) Fiesta, H-E-B, Kroger, Target, Walmart and Whole Foods. These stores provide sustainably-sourced seafood options for you to purchase and be confident you are making fish-friendly choices.
  • If you are out enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant, you can ask them if the seafood they serve is sustainable. Choosing responsibly-sourced seafood is one of the best ways to contribute to our oceans’ health.SFW Logo
  • You can also refer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch consumer guide to learn which seafood options are best choices or good alternatives. Click here to download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Thanks for doing your part to save wildlife. And remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo, you help save animals in wild!

Science Made Simple: How Recycling Phones Helps Animals

My name is Ryan and I love science. Join me as I try to make tough science a little less confusing.

Follow along as I research the issues, untangle the mess, and figure out what you really need to know to help animals and the environment.

 


Today’s Topic: How Recycling Cell Phones Helps Animals

Short Version: “Ingredients” used to make your cell phone are destructively mined from sensitive wildlife areas. Recycling your old cell phone and other electronics like cameras and laptops can help reduce the harmful mining, allowing the materials to be reused in newer devices. You can drop your old cell phone off at the zoo!

This week, I’m taking a look at what’s inside your cell phone. Don’t worry, I’ll be focusing on the hardware, not all the selfies. I’ve found a few great articles on our topic that have been published in scientific journals that should help us get a better look at what is going on. Let’s make science simple! 

ResizeConfusing Science: “At the core of eastern Congo’s regional violence are the country’s rich mineral resources. Specifically, DRC contains substantial deposits of what are commonly known as the “3 Ts”: tungsten, tantalum, and tin, as well as gold (Enough Project, 2009).” (Veale, 2013)

What That Really Means: You might have heard the term “Congo”, which is often the used to talk about The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),  a country in Central Africa. These beautiful rainforests are  home to animals like chimpanzees, gorillas, okapis and mandrills. This area also holds lots of minerals underground which are very valuable all over the world.

Confusing Science: “More than 60% of tantalum is consumed by the electronics industry for use in electrical capacitors (Bauchman, 2010) and tin replaced lead for use in the circuitry of most electronics (Montgomery, 2011).” (Veale, 2013)

What That Really Means: Tantalum is an element that is used in all sorts of electronics, including your cell phone! Because cell phones and electronics are so popular, there is a high demand for tantalum in order to make new phones and electronics. Unfortunately, getting tantalum out of the ground isn’t easy or environmentally-friendly. Huge amounts of rainforest are cut down to make room for mining operations that are destructive to wildlife. The animals near the mines are forced out because their habitat has been destroyed and the area is stripped of nearly all wildlife.

SMS-Gorilla

Confusing Science: “Further, as roads cut into previously inaccessible forests, they will pave the way for an influx of commercial bushmeat hunting to supply major urban centers and foreign labor (Wilkie & Carpenter 1999; Cowlishaw et al. 2005; van Vliet et al. 2012), and wildlife traders, who supply the international trade in pets, ivory, or medicinal products (Stiles 2011; Luiselli et al. 2012; Maisels et al. 2013). These are major extinction threats to many large bodied mammals and traded species (Barnes 2002; Fa et al. 2005).” (Edwards et al., 2014)

cell phone recycle boxWhat That Really Means: To get deep into the rainforest where the materials like tantalum are, new roads have to be made. More trees have to be cut down, and less habitat is available for the animals. The sudden growth of people in these areas causes a rise in bushmeat hunting. Bushmeat hunting is when animals like chimpanzees, gorillas, and other rare or endangered animals are hunted for food. Even more troubling is that animals near the mining are trapped or killed so that they can be sold illegally around the world.

What Can YOU Do?: It’s simple! Recycling your old cell phone and other electronics like cameras and laptops can help protect the animals in these sensitive areas, because the materials from old electronics can be reused in newer devices, reducing the amount of mining needed. You can even drop your phone in our special cell phone recycling box at the zoo!


That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more as I try to make science easier to understand. Never stop learning,

-Ryan 

 Have a topic you’d like me to explore? Post it in the comments!


References:

A Comprehensive Approach to Congo’s Conflict Minerals – Strategy Paper | Enough Project. (2009). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.enoughproject.org/publications/comprehensive-approach-conflict-minerals-strategy-paper

Barnes, R.F.W. (2002) The bushmeat boom and bust in West and Central Africa. Oryx 36, 236-242.

Bauchman, M. (2010, December 1). Tantalum Capacitor Market Update. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.ttiinc.com/object/me-tti-20101201.html

Cowlishaw, G., Mendelson, S. & Rowcliffe, J.M. (2005). Structure and operation of a bushmeat commodity chain in southwestern Ghana. Conserv. Biol. 19, 139-149.

Edwards, D. P., Sloan, S., Weng, L., Dirks, P., Sayer, J., & Laurance, W. F. (2014). Mining and the African Environment. Conservation Letters7(3), 302-311. doi:10.1111/conl.12076

Fa, J.E., Ryan, S.F. & Bell, D.J. (2005). Hunting vulnerability, ecological characteristics and harvest rates of bushmeat species in afrotropical forests. Biol. Conserv. 121, 167-176.

Montgomery, M. (2011, January 25). Tantalum. Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://tantaluminvestingnews.com/1146/rising-tantalum-prices-wodgina-mine-back-into-production/

Roots of the Crisis – Congo. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2015, from http://www.enoughproject.org/conflict_areas/eastern_congo/roots-crisis

van Vliet, N., Nebesse, C., Gambalemoke, S., Akaibe, D. & Nasi, R. (2012). The bushmeat market in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo: implications for  conservation and food security. Oryx 46, 196-203.

Veale, E. (2013). Is There Blood on Your Hands-Free Device?: Examining Legislative Approaches to the Conflict Minerals Problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cardozo Journal Of International & Comparative Law21(2), 503-544.

Wilkie, D.S. & Carpenter, J.F. (1999). Bushmeat hunting in the Congo Basin: an assessment of impacts and options for mitigation. Biodiv. Conserv. 8, 927-955.

Fish of the Week – Post #4

We are now at the halfway mark of our Fish of the Week blog series! Each week we feature a sustainably-sourced seafood option along with a recipe provided by our very own Chef Larry. Not only will get you get to hear from one of the Zoo’s top chefs, but you can also prepare meals at home that help protect marine wildlife and their ecosystems!

This week’s recipe is: Tuna PuttanescaSpicy-Tuna-Puttanesca

A classic Italian dish – fresh tuna and a spicy, salty tomato sauce, served with pasta and bread for dipping. If you don’t like your tuna medium-rare, cook it to the temperature you like. Your best choice for sustainable tuna is going to be a Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi), US Troll and Pole. This recipe also works well with shrimp and any other firm white fish (Gulf Grouper or Red Drum).

Ingredients:

4 ea Tuna Steaks 4oz portions
1 tbls Olive Oil

Sauce:
1 tbls Olive oil
1 tbls Minced Garlic
¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Anchovy Paste
1 cup White Wine
2 can Crushed Tomatoes (14.5oz)
1 tsp Lemon Juice
½ cup Olives Kalamata
2 tbls Capers, Drained
¼ cup Chopped Fresh parsley
1 lb Angel Hair Pasta

Cooking Instructions:

Cook Pasta. Hold for service; reserve a little pasta water for reheat.

In a large saute pan, heat 1tbls oil. Salt and pepper tuna

Add tuna to your pan and cook to desired temperature, med-rare about 2 to 3 min each side. Remove and hold.

In the same pan, add remaining oil, anchovy paste, garlic and red pepper flake. Cook 1 min.
Add wine and reduce heat by half.
Add tomatoes and lemon juice. Heat to a boil. Add parsley.
Add reserved pasta water and pasta to sauce. Heat.

Served Family Style – On a serving platter, pull hot pasta from the sauce and place in center. Lay tuna steak over pasta. Pour sauce over tuna and pasta and serve with a slice of French bread.

Servings: 4
Degree of Difficulty: Moderately difficult

Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes


You can think of the ocean like your own heart. Just as your heart circulates blood and regulates the body’s temperature, the ocean controls the circulation of water and moisture throughout the planet, affecting both sea and land life! Choosing responsibly-sourced seafood is one of the best ways to contribute to our oceans’ health. Texas fishermen use responsible fishing techniques to harvest your favorite seafood. They do this to ensure that fish populations remain healthy and abundant for future generations. SFW Logo

Want to be ocean-friendly? Download the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch app to learn about “Best Choice” and “Good Alternative” seafood options. Click here to download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play. And be sure to check back next week for a new, tasty recipe to try!

Thanks for doing your part to save wildlife. And remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo, you help save animals in wild!

Science Made Simple: Ocean Plastic

My name is Ryan and I love science. Join me as I try to make tough science not so confusing.

Follow along as I research the issues, untangle the mess, and figure out what you really need to know to help animals and the environment.

 


Today’s Topic: Ocean Plastic

Short Version: Buy a reusable water bottle and reusable canvas grocery bags instead of the plastic alternatives.

This week, we’ll take a look at how plastic in the ocean impacts the environment. I have found a few great articles on our topic that have been published in scientific journals that should help us get a better look at what is going on. Let’s make science simple!

sunsetConfusing Science
“The current plastic load in surface waters of the open ocean was estimated in the order of tens of thousands of tons… The abundance of nano-scale plastic particles has still not been quantified in the ocean…although available observations point to a significant abundance of microplastic particles in deep sediments…” (Cózar et al., 2014).

What That Really Means:
HUGE amounts of plastic trash are in the ocean. This plastic pollution gets into the ocean by washing down rivers and streams, blown by the wind, or simply dumped into the water. As the plastics like bottles, containers, and bags move around the ocean, they break up into smaller pieces, but do not break down all the way. Because these bits of plastic are so tiny, it is really hard to figure out how much is out there. Plastic can take centuries to decompose and until then, the small pieces will continue to pollute the ocean or sink to the ocean floor.

Ocean-ray

Confusing Science:
The literature on ingestion (and entanglement) of plastic items in marine debris is voluminous and often repetitive, and the widely reported environmental problems identified are global in character. These include: wounds (internal and external), suppurating skin lesions and ulcerating sores; blockage of digestive tract followed by satiation, starvation and general debilitation often leading to death; reduction in quality of life and reproductive capacity; drowning and limited predator avoidance; impairment of feeding capacity; and the possibility that plastic resin pellets may adsorb and concentrate potentially damaging toxic compounds from sea water (e.g. Gregory 1978, 1991; Laist 1997; Mato et al. 2001; see also the discussions in Oehlmann et al. 2009; Teuten et al. 2009)” (Gregory, 2009).

What That Really Means:
Plastic is really dangerous to animals that live in the ocean. Small pieces are often eaten, which can make animals sick or even kill them. Other types of plastic such as fishing line can become wrapped around flippers or fins, making it hard (or even impossible) to swim. Ocean animals need to swim to eat, get away from animals trying to eat them, and reproduce. Getting tangled in fishing lines or nets is often a death sentence.
Turtle-entangelment

Confusing Science:
“Though significant proportions of meso- and macroplastics may be stranding on coastlines (where some of it could be recovered), removal of microplastics, colonized by biota or mixed with organic debris, becomes economically and ecologically prohibitive, if not completely impractical to recover” (Eriksen et al., 2014).

What That Really Means:
Cleaning up plastic and trash on the beaches is incredibly helpful, but there’s more to the problem. The big pieces can be picked up, but there’s not a good way to remove the teeny tiny pieces that pollute the water and sand. Instead, we should focus on keeping plastic from getting into the ocean in the first place!

saveaturtle_bag_260pxWhat Can YOU DO?:  You can help the animals that live in the ocean by  using reusable water bottles and reusable canvas grocery bags instead of the plastic alternatives.


That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more as I try to make science easier to understand. Never stop learning,

-Ryan 

 Have a topic you’d like me to explore? Post it in the comments!

 


 

References:

Cózar, A. a., Echevarría, F., González-Gordillo, J. I., lrigoien, X., Úbeda, B., Hemández-León, S., & … Duarte, C. M. (2014). Plastic debris in the open ocean. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, 111(28), 10239-10244.

Eriksen, M., Lebreton, L. M., Carson, H. S., Thiel, M., Moore, C. J., Borerro, J. C., & Reisser, J. (2014). Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea. Plos ONE9(12), 1-15. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111913

Gregory, M. R. 1978 Accumulation and distribution of virgin plastic granules on New Zealand beaches. N. Z. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 12, 399-414.

Gregory, M. R. (2009). Environmental Implications of Plastic Debris in Marine Settings—Entanglement, Ingestion, Smothering, Hangers-On, Hitch-Hiking and Alien Invasions.Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, (1526). 2013. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0265.

Laist, D. W. 1997 Impacts of marine debris: entanglement of marine life in marine debris including a comprehensive list of species with entanglement and ingestion records. In Marine debris, sources, impacts, and solutions (eds J. M. Coe & D. B. Rogers), pp. 99-139. New York, NY: Springer-Verla

Mato, Y, Isobe, T., Takada, H., Kahnehiro, H., Ohtake, C. & Kaminuma, O. 2001 Plastic resin pellets as a transport medium for toxic chemicals in the marine environment. Environ. Sci. Technol. 35, 318-324. (doi:10.1021/ esOO 10498

Oehlmann, J. et al 2009 A critical analysis of the biological impacts of plasticizers on wildlife. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 364, 2047-2062. (doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.02Teuten, E. L. et al. 2009 Transport and release of chemicals from plastics to the environment and to wildlife. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 364, 2027-2045. (doi:10.1098/rstb. 2008.0284)

Helping Animals Through the Action for Apes Challenge

We are into the second month of our Action for Apes Challenge and already have 22 local Houston groups participating by recycling cell phones! You too can join and help save animals like Gorillas in the wild.

Broken-Down-Raw

We have talked about why recycling cell phones is important in past blogs by talking about tantalum and how by recycling your cell phone you can help keep new tantalum from being mined. (You can see those blogs here and here). But we haven’t talked about the proceeds from reused cell phone parts. When you recycle a cell phone as a part of the Action for Apes Challenge, the parts that can be reused are sold to be put in new phones and the parts that can’t be reused are recycled.

All the proceeds from phones recycled as a part of the Action for Apes Challenge go towards the Conservation Heritage-Turambe project. This locally run program in Rwanda is located right at the base of the mountains where mountain gorillas live. They use their close proximity to gorillas to educate children on the importance of gorilla conservation and living a healthy lifestyle. When people are healthy, gorillas are healthy.

conservation-heritage-turambe-logo

So when you join Action for Apes, you are helping save gorillas in two different ways. You are protecting their habitats from tantalum mining and you are helping the people and gorillas stay healthy and safe.

If you want to join Action for Apes and make a difference in the lives of people and gorillas, register on our Action for Apes webpage. We’ll send you a collection box and a mailing label, so you can mail the phones you collect on or before April 30. Remember, whoever collects the most cell phones wins a one-of-a-kind painting by the apes at the Houston Zoo!

Thank you to the following groups who have joined the 2015 Action for Apes Challenge and are working hard to save animals in the wild!

American Recyclers

Bay Colony Elementary

Berry Elementary

Calder Road Elementary

Copeland Elementary

Cy Woods Student Leadership

East Early College High School

George Brooks’ Office

Girl Scout Troop 16399

Go Green Club

Heritage of Towne Lake

HISD – Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School (MCLIMS)

Holbrook Elementary

HW Grady Middle School

Incarnate Word Academy

Jersey Village High School Science National Honor Society

Keeter Family

Lake Jackson Intermediate

Lantrip Elementary

Noah Consulting

Smith, Seckman, & Reid

Sneed Elementary

 

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Keep the animals warm!

Why? What's goin on!?

Stay warm as you take care of our lovely zoo and it’s residents❤️

Misty Flanigan no zoo for Connor

Thank you to all the wonderful staff that went in to take care of their critter babies! Be safe!

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We are open on this beautiful Monday! Get out and enjoy the weather before it gets extra chilly this week.

 

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Giraffe feeding was awesome! Only wished we were given even more lettuce!

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Don't miss out before we turn off the lights! This is the last weekend for TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights. Bundle up, grab your friends and family and join us for Houston's favorite hoilday tradition.

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Dont miss out before we turn off the lights! This is the last weekend for TXU Energy Presents Zoo Lights. Bundle up, grab your friends and family and join us for Houstons favorite hoilday tradition. 

We even have a special discount to end the season. For just $9 per person, you get to see all two million lights, Candy the Zoo Lights Zebra, and musical reflection pool! https://zoolights.houstonzoo.org/get-tickets/

 

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My daughter lost her FAVORITE stuffed animal last night. We were there after 8:30. Please contact me if found. She is very very sad

Dianne Ramboer Dunn and Wendy Martinez we're going tonight! Maybe I'll go live for you, grandma! : )

We visited today for daughters 3rd birthday, thank you we had a great day. It was a bit cold so we bundled up and enjoyed the zoo being so quiet, we got to feed giraffes twice! Would recommend!

How is it $9?

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When is the last day to see the lights?

Lupe Mcmillon you should take Emma and Ethan

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Busca quien nos lleve jajaja Socorro Garcia Ponce 🤣😂

Patricia Lozada tomorrow at 6pm meet us there? :0)

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