Send your rants, tips, and comments to:

theoystersgarter at gmail dot com


51 Responses to Contact

  1. Rebecca Horridge says:

    My Dad is a professor of physiology and a marine scientist . He reckons that if evryone ate oysters this would help global warming through shell sequestration. DO you know of anyone who works on this idea? ie could we use oysters, corals or possibly (excuse me if this is blasphemy) genetically engineered organisms to make calcium carbonate which we could then bury in the soil.? I am having trouble finding info about this.

    For the Earth

  2. Hi Rebecca – This was kind of a complicated question, so I answered as a post rather than a comment. Check it out here.

  3. Barbara says:

    Dear biologist,
    My name is Barbara and I’m raserching about oil spills. I wanted to know if you could answer some questions:

    How do oil spills affect marine animals?
    Where is the place where most oil spills happen and how many animals are affected in the ocean?
    When did the first oil spill happen and how did it change the ocean?

    When you recive this mail please send the answers to this mail:

    thank you

  4. i left a message for you guys… were looking into an algae type of bio fuel that is used to sanitation treatment plants… another poop to power concept that we will be trying next month!

  5. Hi Spencer – thanks for stopping by. Your comment is now out of moderation. I didn’t know algae biofuel was advanced enough to be usable – we’d love to know more!

  6. DNLee says:

    Hi Miriam. I uploaded the link to the flying squirrel paper. I like your blog. I’m checking it out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ran into this picture of a nudibranch, and was compelled by aliens to email it to you.

  8. Mieke says:

    Hey now! I’m not anonymous. I exist. Really.

  9. Andrew says:

    Miriam – the violation of the second law of thermodynamics implied by the WIRED piece (A/C more efficient than heating) implies the existence of a perpetual motion machine. This would be the most direct way to exploit the situation as they appear to believe it to solve a very wide class of problems, including all environmental problems.

    Myself? I’m not holding my breath for them to deliver this. I had a couple courses on thermodynamics. Doesn’t every scientist?

  10. I meant to use the Wired piece as an example, not to tackle each of its claims individually. However, since people seem to be into it, we’ll take the Wired article back up again, point by point. I do want a perpetual motion machine, mostly so I sneer evilly and proclaim “Entropy? We don’t need no stinkin’ entropy!”

  11. Jives says:

    I’d love to guest blog with the Oyster’s Garter! And the underthings barely factored into that offer.

    But I have a mountain of stuff (some of which is posted on The New Blue) that I need to get out there … including a very sexy post about shark bycatch research.

    my email is jives at neaq dot org if you wanna take me up on it. If not, I’m fine. I have my own blog I guess.

  12. Larry Wolski says:

    coastal cleanup crew….
    did you run into any of the following during your cleanup efforts?

    The Goop Saga Continues
    City Councilwoman Donna Frye sent a memo to Mayor Jerry Sanders this morning expressing her concern about the yet-unidentified matter that is washing up on Fiesta Island.

    She also attached some photos, which are not for the faint of heart, that seem to confirm Frye’s description of the material. She told reporter Rob Davis on Thursday that the material looks like “an unknown source that resembles a variety of shapes ranging anywhere from the back end of a turkey to the ventricles of a cow. If cows have ventricles it’s what they’d look like. With orange starfish-like tops, and gelatinous, floaty, stinky, blobular, stink bombs, I mean, I don’t know. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. And there’s more than one.” We’ve posted Frye’s photos below. Scroll at your own risk.

    Frye tells the mayor in her letter today:

    Until such a time as it is identified and the waters in Mission Bay are determined to be free from contamination, I would strongly encourage, at a minimum, posting additional signs warning people of the shoreline contamination.

    Here are the photos she attached, which she took Thursday morning:

    Pictures at the following site:

    Frye said she’s yet to receive a response from the mayor about her memo. I just put a call in to the Mayor’s Office to find out more and am awaiting reply.

  13. Hi Larry,

    Nope, we were in San Diego Bay, not Mission Bay, so we didn’t see any goop. It’s my understanding that the most likely explanation for the goop was an illegal sewage dump. Ewwww.

  14. Sam says:


    I love your blog. You’ve got a great style of writing!

    I’m pretty new to blogging and I want to trackback a few of your aricles to my site. (At least I think I do, I’m not sure what trackbacking is lol!)

    I tried clicking the trackback link but nothing seemed to happen – what am I doing wrong?


  15. Hi Sam,

    Glad you like the blog! This site explains trackbacking and pinging. But from your comment, I think you are simply looking to link.

    Hope this helps!

  16. Tiffany says:


    I am a student at Pacific Academy in Vancouver, British Columbia. I’m part of the International Baccalaureate Program, and am currently working on a research project regarding the topic of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between the waters stretching from Hawaii to Japan. I chose this topic for this project and it is required that I seek some advice from an expert, so I was wondering if you could be of some help. I would be interested if you could give me further knowledge of the current situation of that “trash vortex” on top of the research I have already done. I realize that garbage is trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre, and that it poses to be a problem for the environment and marine life. As plastic photodegrades, the small particles can be ingested by neustons or other aquatic organisms, therefore harming them. The aim of the project is to provide a change to the situation that is chosen, so I was wondering if there was an alternative to disposing garbage in the ocean or placing it in regular landfills. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for your help in advance.


  17. Tiffany – Recycling? Unfortunately as a marine biologist I have no expertise in waste disposal.

  18. Brick Wahl says:

    Re: “Secrets of Squid Sex”…wonderful article. Very romantic, too. I didn’t read it aloud to the wife amid scented candles and Marvin Gayte, however.

    Thought about it, tho’.

    The whole cephalopod universe is so amazing. That fantastic communication system of the squid. The intelligence. Espcially of octopuses. It has always seemed so sad to me that they are constrained by such a brief life. If only they could have delayed sexual maturity a decade or so….with that brain the implications are astounding. Alas, I imagine the nature of their reproduction strategy precludes that from ever happening, the one quick shot and then death crowd would always win out. Sigh….

    I must learn not to ruin my whole day in ruminations over critters with whom I haven’t been close enough to exchange christmas cards since the pre-cambrian. It’s just dumb.

    Great blog. Great aquarium you have down there too.



  19. Thanks, Brick! I don’t think I expressed myself quite accurately in the Slate article – most cephalopods die after spawning, but they don’t necessarily spawn for a number of years. For example, the Giant Pacific Octopus lives 3-5 years. But your main point holds – if they lived for 50 years, would we all be ruled with iron tentacles? Eeek. So glad you enjoyed the article and the blog!

  20. Lyndell says:

    Hi Miriam,

    Please ask Cathy to post a comment or contact me. I’ve posted her survey on my blog, facebook page link, and sent out a massive group email. But, an interesting point came up… A cousin of mine lives in Alaska and eats a lot of fish but doesn’t buy it. He catches what he eats. It’s just that in Alaska, the individual catch limits are quite high because their fisheries are managed well. So he filled out the survey but told me that his responses might confuse her. Just wanted to pass this along to her. 🙂


  21. Lyndell – That’s so nice of you! (and yummy for your Alaska cousin). I have forwarded your comment along to her, and hopefully she’ll get in touch with you.

  22. russ says:

    Plankton Manifesto

    Attention humans of earth. We are the plants, phytoplankton, of the sea, the greatest life-sustaining force in your universe, and we are losing hope and patience fast. You are wantonly destroying our kin and your own survival chances as well. We produce most of the planet’s oxygen, devour over half it’s CO2, feed all ocean creatures, and are the greatest allies you’ve got on this blue planet. Yet you starve us of vital nutrients and scald us with toxic acid forming emissions, thereby decimating our numbers, starving the seas and trashing your climate, too.

    This is criminal, senseless and suicidal behavior and we demand that you cease at once, replenish and restore the vital mineral micro-nutrient dust we need to live – it’s a fact all we are is dust in the wind. Let us get back to work converting acid forming CO2 to our nutritious selves, restoring the ocean pastures, feeding all sea life and cleansing the skies for you.

    For those unacquainted with our problems or power, here are some remedial facts:

    1) We Are Indispensable. We are the biggest players in the global carbon cycle, photosynthesizing billions tons of airborne CO2 to feed virtually every creature in the sea and create 60% of your breathable air. Trees and grasses help a lot with the oxygen, but most of the heavy lifting is handled by our plankton crowd.

    2) We Are Perishing At An Alarming Rate. In 2003 NASA scientists warned you that 17% of ocean plants have disappeared from the North Atlantic, 26% from the North Pacific, and more recently in 2007 you reported 50% of plant life has gone missing from the Tropical Seas. We have been eradicated from what you now call the “Clearest Water on Earth” a vast region of the Eastern South Pacific, now bereft of our life force. Losing this staggering number of our kind means billions of tons less food for sea life everywhere, billions of tons more acid forming in the oceans, and worsened climate change for you.

    3) It Is Your Fault. In the Eighties, Dr. John Martin, a legendary oceanographer and our favorite biped by far, diagnosed our malaise as iron deficiency. We desperately need natural mineral iron to treat our anemia, grow, and photosynthesize, and in the open sea our principal source is wind-borne dust from arid lands. Today the high CO2 in the air is helping terrestrial plants grow greener, bushier, and live longer in arid regions. Your satellites have measured and you have reported that the ocean-bound dust clouds bearing our life-giving iron have fallen off by a third in the last two decades alone, thanks to your endless CO2 belch and increasingly successful farming. While we don’t begrudge our terrestrial brethren their growth spurt, your force feeding them CO2 makes them better ground cover thus dramatically reducing the dust that blows in the wind that ought to be bringing us our vital mineral micro-nutrients. Just as rain brings life from sea to land we have always received in return lands vital dust. Give it back, we are dying.

    4) You Can Turn It All Around. Martin told you, and your finest ocean scientists confirm, that we could be restored to health just by replenishing our vital mineral dust, but he also connected the iron-plankton-climate dots and saw that reviving us could help end global warming, too. “Give me half a tanker of iron and I will give you an ice age,” he quipped, obviously recognizing you would continue to ignore our plight unless there was something in it for you. Martin was a trifle optimistic, but we are in fact incredibly efficient and only need one kilogram of iron dust to capture 367,000 kilograms of CO2 in our green organic selves.

    5) Serve yourselves. Most of our restored bounty will recharge the ocean food chain, some will also sink into the abyss, in total we will remove billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas from your skies for centuries and more. And thanks to the Kyoto Protocol that marine blizzard of settling carbon becomes sunken treasure that you can trade as emission reductions or “carbon credits” making you money. Do the math. Replenish to us one ton of mineral iron dust and we convert deadly CO2 into ocean life instead of acid death and hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 is safely managed. You can then sell some of this to pay for your work replenishing us, restoring the oceans and repair your climate, too. Just return us to our 1980 levels and we will feed your starving multitudes, sinking billions of tons of carbon dioxide and bring you food as well as a cooler, safer world.

    6) You’ve Got To Move Now. Your scientists tell all that we have only until the year 2030 before it is too late for us, if nothing is done by then the carbonic acid will have sealed our doom. Replenished with our vital dust and restored to health and our original numbers, we will zero out half of all manmade emissions annually or seven times more than called for by the Kyoto Protocol. Working with us to save our common blue home will cost you a couple billion compared to the trillions you are now spending on your financial mess. Help us, replenish and restore our ocean pastures and this would be the same as shutting down every fossil fuel power plant on the planet or running every single car on hydrogen (which still remain splendid ideas, by the way).

    So here are our extremely reasonable and non-negotiable demands:

    Demand #1: Give Our Iron Back.

    You now have belched hundreds of billions of tonnes of CO2 into the air of all of us. You are dangerously in arrears. Your mortgage is so far underwater only we can bring it back to the surface for you. The IPCC and NASA gave you the target, Martin gave you the technical know how, and Kyoto gave you a hell of a self-serving way to repay this morbid debt. Besides saving our kind and everyone we feed, you could actually profit from protecting your climate, coasts, and fisheries. For those craving justice and real solutions this is admittedly far too sweet a deal, so we insert another point.

    Demand #2: Use Some Of The Profits To Help Move Away From Fossil Fuels.

    Burning our ancestors to cruise around town or heat a shopping mall seems irreverent and appalling enough. But then letting those who milk this traffic usurp your governments, trash the peace, and ruin your health seems unspeakably stupid, too. The carbon we’ll be sinking for you is worth a lot of money. Just be sure a fair share of the profits flow to those working to cure your fossil fuel addiction, and not to foment more lobbyists for the deadly status quo.

    Demand #3: If You Are Too Afraid To Go All The Way Just Stop At Restoration.

    Just bringing us back to recent par of 30 years ago will solve half of your CO2 problems on land and much of ours at sea. And we can both get there safely without entering any unknown territory. Any further climate cures you need from us we can discuss when we are back to some semblance of health, in the meantime you tackle the emission side where this trouble all began.

    Demand #4: Defrock The Spin Doctors For Negligence, Malpractice, And/Or Self-Serving Green Greed.

    Bear witness to and stop those in your so called “green movement” who profit on the back of our mortally wounded planet as they use Mother Earth as a poster victim whose displayed suffering and the angst it creates in the minds of men as the means to seize political power, turn your technological society back to your stone-age, and collect billions in tithes from the faithful. Take note that they attack the most affordable and immediate solution, that would heal our wounds, as a dangerous techno-fix that will allow the multitudes to continue to live, in what they eschew, as the lap of technological luxury. They would rather Mother Earth lie bleeding and dying on display on your super highway, run down by your fossil fueled planes, trains, and automobiles than to see her and us given first aid and helped back to health where a less pitiful appearance will lessen their revenues.

    Equally bad are those opposing our replenishment and restoration with cries of, “no geo-engineering,” “don’t touch the oceans,” and “beware the precautionary principle.” Translated this means “close your eyes, turn away and let us and the oceans die.” The fact is you have already beaten us with murderous efficiency and effect. And undoing the harm you’ve done is not “geo-engineering,” it is usually called healing or restitution or just merciful common sense. Don’t accept that merely screwing in another CF light bulb or buying a fashionable new hybrid car or any amount of recycling or bicycling will suffice. Do those things but don’t imagine that those things alone are not too little too late.

    Each year we watch in disbelief as legions of oceanographers and other scientists deliver thousands of papers on the disastrous state of our seas and your climate. But instead of joining forces to fight for us or even championing remedies, the vast majority just shrugs off our demise and moan, “the real problem is our shrinking research budgets.” It’s as though your physician found you tested positive for sixteen cancer symptoms, but instead of trying to heal you said, “Not so fast, we’ve got thirty more really cool expensive tests we’d like to run.” If your doctors had watched you waste away for fifty years, but instead of trying to help just demanded more research funding, who would you think they are really working for?

    Stop the climate bankers and brokers from turning climate change markets into yet another leveraged derivative investment, Ponzi scheme, or Enron-style energy market gaming escapade. Don’t help them destroy the low cost replenishment and restoration of ocean plants and pastures that will so dramatically diminish their deadly profits. How dare they project upon the biotechnology call to replenish and restore plankton a dangerous “killer app” that will dominate their climate marketplace when it is they who are the collaborators with the killers.

    Finally tell the advocates of wildly inflated, expensive, and infatuated engineering and geo-engineering schemes that their five hundred dollar hammers and hundred billion dollar rocketry plans, firing fleets of beach umbrellas into orbit or clouds of noxious gases into the upper atmosphere to shade earth from the sun will only kill us faster. We live on sunlight and we breathe out your air in doing so.

    We thought Hippocrates taught you, “First do no harm,” but every day you let us perish you compound the harm you’ve done to us, yourselves and the biosphere, and it is so insanely dumb. Doing nothing amid a tragedy is in itself an act of grave consequence as you should have learned by now in Auschwitz, Rwanda, New Orleans, and more recently on Wall and High Streets.

    Final Offer

    So here’s the deal. You replenish the mineral dust and the iron you have taken from us, we take down half your CO2 and we feed your multitudes with incredibly healthy sea food. Working together we could make your so-called civilization carbon neutral and start to defuse the huge hundreds of gigatonne CO2 Carbon Bomb you’ve sent airborne since you first started burning coal and oil. This will also replenish your oxygen, buffer the life dissolving acid seas, and restock our entire blue world with fish and birds and whales and life. This is a simple, just and even profitable resolution – a win-win situation to the power of ten.

    If, however, you do not heed our call and start to show some sense damn soon, we shall be unable to avoid siding with the voices now advising Mother Earth to reboot her whole operating system back to the cyanobacterial sea of slime and re-start evolution again in hopes of an intelligent outcome next time.

    So now it’s up to you. Choose wisely and choose soon. 500 million years of evolution is a terrible thing to waste.

    With sincere impatience and subsiding levels of regard,

    The Phytoplankton

    for more

  23. Kurt says:

    Great! Insightful! Imaginative! Funny even!

    Thanks! This site made my day!

    Have Trowel Will Travel
    Kurt (the Hooligan) Raffield
    (part archaeologist, part tourist, complete wise ass)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hey Miriam – The trash gyre made Oprah. Check this out:


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  50. Jamie says:

    Why Carry a Gun?

    My old Grandpa said to me, ‘Son, there comes a time in every man’s life when he stops bustin’ knuckles and starts bustin’ caps and usually it’s when he becomes too old to take a whoopin’.

    I don’t carry a gun to kill people; I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

    I don’t carry a gun because I’m evil; I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the World.

    I don’t carry a gun because I hate the government; I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.

    I don’t carry a gun because I’m angry; I carry a gun so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.

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    Police protection is an oxymoron: Free citizens must protect themselves because police do not protect you from crime; they just investigate the crime after it happens and then call someone in to clean up the mess.

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    In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control:

    From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    In 1911, Turkey established gun control:

    From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    Germany established gun control in 1938:

    From 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
    China established gun control in 1935: From 1948 to

    1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    Guatemala established gun control in 1964:

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    Uganda established gun control in 1970:

    From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    Cambodia established gun control in 1956:

    From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
    56 million defenseless people were rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control.
    You won’t see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

    Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

    With guns, we are ‘citizens’; without them, we are ‘subjects’.

    During WW II, the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

    Gun owners in the USA are the largest armed forces in the World!

    If you value your freedom, please spread this anti-gun control message to all of your friends.

    The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense.

    The sword is more important than the shield and skill is more important than either.




    I’m a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment! If you are too, please forward this. If you’re not a believer, please reconsider the true facts.
    This is history; not what’s being shown on TV, sanctioned by our illustrious delusional leaders in Washington.

    Copy and Paste this on Facebook to let the facts be heard!

  51. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to publish more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but typically people do not discuss these topics. To the next! Cheers!!

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