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Countdown to 2014: Our 13 Most Popular Stories from 2013

Take a tour of the top 13 stories from this year—from fishermen's stories to research expeditions and on to endangered species like killer whales and chinook salmon—our stories had one thing in common: our science had the spotlight. Catch up on any stories you missed below.


This Shark Week, Ask the Shark Experts
We'll start with sharks. Throughout Shark Week 2013, you met our scientists and learned about how and why we study sharks. The tweet chat was the pièce de résistance and gave you the chance to pose questions to our shark scientists, Antonella Preti and Lisa Natanson. Keep up to date with all of our Twitter activities by following @NOAAFisheries. Read more...



Dolphins Hitch a Free Ride from Migrating Gray Whale 
Take a look at this cool combination from our #12 story: dolphins hitch a ride from a migrating gray whale. Every year, almost the entire population of eastern North Pacific gray whales migrates from their feeding grounds in the Arctic down to their breeding and calving grounds off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. And most years, NOAA scientists survey and photograph the whales from the air. By analyzing the high-resolution photos, scientists can tell how well-nourished the animals are, how many females are pregnant, and how many new calves are born. Read more...

 

Endangered Species Act Turns 40
 
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) had a big birthday in 2013 when it turned 40 and our #11 most popular feature gave an overview of the Act's success. President Nixon signed the ESA into law on December 28, 1973. Congress understood that, without protection from human actions, many of our nation's living resources would become extinct. Read more...

 

Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 – Conference Recap
 
Back in May 2013, commercial and recreational fishermen, policy makers, scientists, legislators, business leaders, and ocean advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., at Managing Our Nations Fisheries 3 conference to chart a course for the future sustainability of U.S. fisheries. Read more...

 

Voices from the Waterfront: Mark Twinam
An interview with a shark fisherman topped the charts this year. Meet Mark Twinam of St. Petersburg, Florida, who fishes from Madeira Beach for large coastal sharks such as hammerhead, lemon and bull sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. He’s part of a group of fishermen who help NOAA research sharks in exchange for landing and selling a small quota of sandbar sharks. Read more...

 

Fishery Stock Assessments—It's All About the Science
 
'The ABCs of Stock Assessments' video was an innovative (and fun) way to teach the public about NOAA Fisheries’ scientific stock assessments, which are critical to modern fisheries management. Using data gathered from commercial and recreational fishermen and our own on-the-water scientific observations, a stock assessment describes the past and current status of a fish population or stock, answers questions about the size of the stock, and makes predictions about how a fishery will respond to current and future management measures. Read more...

 

Behind the Scenes: A NOAA Fisheries Research Expedition
If you've ever wondered what happens during a fisheries research expedition, dive into our #7 story. It's filled with action shots at sea and explains why sustainable seafood starts with sound science. NOAA scientists conduct fish surveys all along U.S. coasts to gather data used to set sustainable catch limits, ensuring we can enjoy a healthy supply of seafood now and in the future. Read more...
 
Turtles Have Fingerprints?
 
Studying turtle DNA created a buzz in 2013. Learn how NOAA scientist Dr. Peter Dutton leads a team that’s trying to answer some important questions about marine turtles. What will happen as sea levels rise, covering the nesting beaches turtles have used for hundreds of years? Which turtle laid this mysterious clutch of eggs on a remote beach? Where in the ocean do they mate, and how big is this population? Read more...
 
Largest Oyster Restoration Project in the Bay
 
What's happening with the largest oyster restoration project in the Chesapeake Bay? Our #5 science feature tells you. Read how Steve Giordano, a biologist with the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office’s Habitat Assessment Team, piloted the Potawaugh to Harris Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake on Maryland’s eastern shore that is the site of the largest oyster restoration project in the Bay. Biologists hope that the 377 acre site will soon be home to a self-sustaining population of Crassostrea virginica, the species of oyster that once filled the Chesapeake with vast, layered reefs so great that their peaks emerged from the water at low tide like small Pacific volcanoes. Read more...

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Whales
Take a look at how new technology will enable scientists to forecast patterns of whale traffic in the Pacific, our #4 story on the countdown. These forecasts will help ships steer clear of whales and reduce fatal ship strikes. That's good news for blue, fin, humpback and gray whales, which all migrate up and down the West Coast. Read more...

 

Status of Stocks 2012
Status of Stocks 2012 brought good news in 2013, highlighting the progress that collectively, NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, and our stakeholders have made to end overfishing and rebuild stocks. The report documents additional progress towards long-term economic sustainability of our nation’s fisheries. Recent economic data illustrates that the overall seafood industry and recreational fishing continue to generate significant sales impacts and income impacts while also supporting jobs. Read more...

 

Mapping the Dead Zone
How do our scientists map the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico? Find out from our second most popular story in 2013. Summer can be a tough time for many species in the Gulf of Mexico, when the combination of nutrient-rich river runoff and warm temperatures can rob coastal bottom waters of oxygen. Where that happens, shrimp, fish, and other creatures can be forced to flee to fresher waters, leaving a so-called dead zone behind. Read more...
 
 

When One Endangered Species Eats Another
Our most popular story in 2013 features two endangered species: southern resident killer whales and chinook salmon. When one endangered species eats another, ecosystem-based management may be the only way to save them both. Read on and meet Brad Hanson, a marine mammal biologist with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. The animals he’s studying are southern resident killer whales—the endangered population that spends much of the summer in and around the Puget Sound. There are only 81 of them, and their population is recovering very slowly. Hanson and his colleagues are trying to figure out why. Read more...