Biologist using Noah’s Ark idea to save sealife
2010 08 04

By Brent Kallestad | YahooNews.com


On the chance that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill threatens some sea creatures with extinction, naturalist Jack Rudloe hopes his laboratory can save them.


Rudloe has launched Operation Noah’s Ark, using his four-acre facility an hour south of Tallahassee to preserve more than 350 different specimens — everything from sharks to starfish, shrimp and batfish — in an environment that includes a grassland and duplicates high and low tides. And he’s not doing it two-by-two. The fiddler crabs, for instance, number around 50,000.

"We have this endless supply of critters and water out there," said Rudloe, 67, whose enchantment with the Gulf and its inhabitants date back some 40 years. "We have to get as many animals in there as we can and then if the conditions permit, be able to put some of them back and get some things started."

Though the broken oil rig has been capped since mid-July and little heavy crude is visible on the Gulf, Rudloe said he’s still committed to the project.
"I don’t believe that the oil is gone," Rudloe said. "It’s still out there in cold water, little tiny droplets that could come spilling up here in the wrong conditions of one or two hurricanes."

’Operation Noah’s Ark’

Video from: YouTube.com


Rudloe’s Dickerson Bay laboratory is about 20 miles from the easternmost point where oil has been reported on Florida’s Panhandle. Still, he worries about oil fouling his 50 tanks, which use saltwater pulled through an 800-foot pipeline from the Gulf. He is installing filtration systems just in case.

"If everything is dead, the marshes are black, the water is foul ... we still want to keep the place going," Rudloe said. "We would have to have live support systems where we can keep things alive."

Rudloe estimates the project could cost $1.2 million. He can’t afford that kind of financial hit, coming at a time his wife — noted marine biologist Anne Rudloe — is battling a serious illness. The nonprofit, licensed facility, which attracts about 18,000 visitors annually, depends on admission fees, memberships and donations.

"We’re bleeding green," Jack Rudloe said.

Rudloe said he hopes BP PLC will help fund the project; BP said it couldn’t provide information on Rudloe’s claim.

"If anybody should come to anybody, BP should be coming to him and say ’OK,’" said Robert Seidler, a Sopchoppy, Fla., filmmaker who has observed the Rudloe’s operation for decades. "Nobody has the collective knowledge of the area like the Rudloes do. Every trend, storms, floods, red tides. He knows all of that."

Rudloe, who provides specimens for university and medical research, is well known nationally among marine biologists.

A New York native who moved to Florida in his early teens, Rudloe, who is self-taught, has joined with his wife to write books on the Gulf ecosystem along with articles for National Geographic, Sports Illustrated and other publications.

Rudloe has gotten some outside help since the spill. Pennsylvania-based Martin Marine shipped a $25,000 water-oil separator that Rudloe said could save the day, sifting out petrochemicals.

"We have a way to fight back. We can clean our water and go on living."
He will also use roughly 50 large water tanks to store "healthy seawater" to maintain hundreds of other critters, including sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sponges, sea horses and spinybox fish.

The BP spill isn’t his first clash with oil companies.

In 1989, Rudloe cut his Exxon credit card in half and put it inside a plastic sandwich bag filled with oil to protest a spill created when the Exxon Valdez tanker dumped an estimated 32 million gallons of crude oil into pristine Alaskan waters after it grounded on a reef.

But that doesn’t come close to the disaster threatening the Rudloe’s lifetime of work.

"Where are the protections these companies were supposed to build in?" Rudloe asks. "I don’t think anything really has been learned. We’re just as dumb now as we were then."

Article from: news.yahoo.com



Related Articles
Government logs show delays in report of Michigan oil spill
Large China oil spill threatens sea life, water
Deepwater Horizon: New NASA images from space show oil invading Louisiana wetlands
"A Whale" Too Big To Clean Gulf Oil Spill
5 Wild Technologies Being Used Now to Clean Up the BP Oil Spill
Water Sample "Exploded" when Chemist Tested for Oil (Methane or Corexit?)
Dying, dead marine wildlife paint dark, morbid picture of Gulf Coast following oil spill


Latest News from our Front Page

People are merging with machines
2014 10 20
Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 - year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s ...
Illegal Aliens Cleared For U.S. Military Service
2014 10 18
The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday. USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training: "For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will ...
Bronze Age Sundial-Moondial Discovered in Russia
2014 10 16
A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds. The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises. The sundial might be "evidence of ...
Humans may only survive 68 days on Mars
2014 10 15
Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says. Oxygen levels would start to deplete after about two months and scientists said new technologies are required before humans can permanently settle on Mars, according to the study ...
Tom Sunic’s letter to the US Ambassador to Hungary
2014 10 14
October 11, 2014 Mr. André Goodfriend Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of the United States of America Szabadság tér 12 H-1054 Budapest Dear Mr. Goodfriend, As an American citizen I would hereby like to express my concern over the recent decision by the Hungarian government to ban the National Policy Institute (NPI) conference which had been scheduled to take place in Budapest from October 3 to October 5, 2014. ...
More News »