U.S. Markets closed

David Attenborough lying on the beach with a turtle isn't the most amazing thing you'll see in 'Blue Planet II' this week

Mandi Bierly
Deputy Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Viewers of Blue Planet II have no doubt gotten emotional during the first six episodes of the BBC America series, but Saturday’s new installment, “Our Blue Planet,” will hit home in a different way — it makes it personal.

Much has changed since the 2001 debut of the original series, starting with our understanding of how humanity is affecting the oceans. “The oceans are more fragile, perhaps, than we thought before. That’s something that dawned on us during the making of the series,” Blue Planet II executive producer James Honeyborne tells us. “What we wanted to do in the [penultimate] episode was really inspire people, not make them feel they couldn’t do anything about it. It’s an inspirational story of heroic individuals, scientists, conservationists, whoever they are, who are out there working hard, tirelessly, in pursuit of making the oceans a healthier place again. And that’s vital for us, because the planet needs a healthy ocean. That’s fundamental to life on Earth.”

As you see in the sneak peek above, change can start with one person, like Len Peters, who has worked to save endangered leatherback sea turtles, the largest of all turtles, on Trinidad. Coming ashore to lay their eggs makes them an easy target for hunters. Peters began patrolling the beach at night to protect them (and was cursed and threatened with a machete for it). He encouraged tourists to visit the turtles and trained locals to be their guides. He continues to speak in schools to cultivate the next generation’s appreciation for the leatherbacks, which have now made a comeback on the island.

Scientist Steve Simpson uses a multidirectional hydrophone to record the sounds of the reef. Scientists have recently discovered that many fish on the coral reef rely on sound at key stages in their life — and that manmade noise is interfering with this. (Photo: Roger Munns/BBC)

Another fascinating sequence shows just how much scientists still have to learn. Marine biologist Steve Simpson is studying how fish in coral reefs use sound — “pops and grunts and gurgles and snaps” — to communicate with each other. While filming the family of talkative saddleback clownfish we saw earlier in the series, Simpson floated a decoy coral trout, one of the clownfish’s main predators, near the family’s anemone and recorded the large female’s alarm calls. “But that discovery has led to a serious worry,” narrator Sir David Attenborough says in the episode. When a small motorboat travels overhead, the fish become distracted. “Unable to make themselves heard above the noise of boats, the family can’t warn each other of danger, and so they are now vulnerable to attack,” Attenborough explains.

Simpson uses a model of a coral trout to record and study alarm calls in coral reef fish. (Photo: BBC 2017)

“We’re changing that world because of the sound we’re making,” producer Orla Doherty tells us. “We didn’t know this stuff even maybe five, 10 years ago. There’s so much going on down there that we’ve just got no idea about.”

Some discoveries are particularly painful. In this week’s episode, Australian marine biologist Alexander Vail, who introduced the Blue Planet II crew to the tool-using tuskfish nicknamed “Percy the Persistent,” who we saw earlier in the series, admits he cried in his mask when he saw that 90 percent of the coral at Lizard Island had bleached in 2016. Warming seas can cause corals to lose their colorful algae, turning them white.

Scientist Alexander Vail studies the reefs around Lizard Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. While filming Blue Planet II, the team witnessed the worst bleaching event ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: Yoland Bosiger/BBC)

“I think what was so devastating for Alex was this is his backyard. This is literally where he grew up,” Honeyborne tells us. “He’s been snorkeling out there since he was an adult, and to see it devastated for the first time was shocking for him, and then to know that it was part of this huge picture of very fast change that appears to be happening — I’m sure his tears were very real. This is an unfolding situation that we’re in now. Probably half the world’s coral has been bleached to some extent in the last three years, and the impacts are great. Back-to-back bleachings [in 2016 and 2017] had never been recorded before. So for him, it was kind of an unprecedented disaster. Every time it happens, the corals become weaker.”

The “Big Blue” episode of Blue Planet II has already covered how prevalent plastic is, and how it travels from ocean to ocean, but this week, we meet Lucy Quinn of the British Antarctic Survey, who catalogs the plastic objects wandering albatross chicks have regurgitated after being mistakenly fed them by their parents. As you see in the clip above, a plastic toothpick can be fatal.

“Everywhere we went, we saw plastic. Plastics are there in every ocean, and the extent of the problem is grave and huge and far-reaching,” Honeyborne says. “The really big bits of plastic are a problem in terms of entanglement. We were filming in British Columbia when we found a whale that had been entangled in the plastic fishing lines that link those pots. We stayed with that whale for a day until the emergency services were able to come out and cut it free. There’s the ingestion issues: Plastic bags, for example, get eaten by a large number of creatures, including turtles and albatrosses, and are clearly a threat. And that one toothpick —  that was shocking what that did to that albatross chick. Every albatross chick feels so precious, doesn’t it? Just one disposable, single-use plastic killed it. Then, of course, as plastics break down, they become much smaller micro plastics, and they get eaten by all sorts of sea creatures, we’re now discovering. They’re finding plastics on the deepest trenches on the planet. We’re finding plastics inside the bodies of filter-feeders, like edible mussels and things like that. A lot of this is emerging science. Scientists are looking very intently at how the small bits of plastic interact with toxic pollutants, chemicals in the oceans, and are these plastics that are being ingested toxic? We don’t have all the answers here. We don’t know to what extent this is entering the food chain, but it is clearly a sort of cutting-edge issue that needs exploring.” (See: The possibility of a mother’s milk being contaminated posed as one potential cause of death for a newborn pilot whale calf in the “Big Blue” episode; the mother refused to let go of its body for days as she mourned.)

A scientist uses lasers to measure a whale shark, the largest fish in the ocean. In the Galapagos Islands, scientist Jonathan Green is trying to unravel the mystery of why large pregnant females arrive there every year. Protecting their migration routes is key to the species’s survival. (Photo: Jonathan Green/BBC)

Of course fishing is a danger too. In this episode, shark biologist Jonathan Green of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project says it’s estimated that thousands, or tens of thousands, of whale sharks are taken every year. To save them, he’s trying to solve the mystery of where they give birth — and what route their migration takes — to get those waters protected. “A lot of these big sea creatures are long-distance migrants. They travel over thousands of miles of ocean, like the whale sharks do. That’s on the high seas and is largely unregulated and unpoliceable,” Honeyborne says. “That’s potentially a big issue for these creatures if they’re being hunted. Marine-protected areas are, if they’re well-managed and policed, effective at being able to reestablish and repopulate populations of sea creatures.”

An orca targets the nets of a Norwegian fishing vessel looking for an easy meal. Entanglement in fishing gear — nets and lines — is thought to be the single biggest threat to whales and dolphins around the world. (Photo: Audun Rikardsen/BBC)

Saturday’s episode profiles one such success story: Back in the late 1960s, herring had all but disappeared from the fjords of Norway, and orcas were being killed because they were viewed as fishermen’s rivals for the fish. But by regulating the fishery and protecting the whales, both populations are now thriving — so much so that a billion herring pour in during the winter, attracting 1,000 orcas that strategically hunt in pods (as we saw in the first episode of the series).

The message Blue Planet II wants to leave viewers with is there is hope — if we take action. “We asked [the scientists] all the same question: ‘How do you feel about the future?’ Unanimously, they were all optimistic. You could ask yourself, is that just part of the human condition? But no, I don’t think so,” Honeyborne says. “What we do know is that the oceans have an incredible capacity to bounce back, in terms of their health. A really good example of that in the U.S. is Monterey Bay, where 50, 60 years ago, it was fished to a point where it was polluted and all the big animals in there had been hunted or chased away, and the whole ecosystem collapsed, died. Yet today, when you go there, it’s one of the greatest spectacles in the oceans. The ocean does have a capacity to recover, if we just take that pressure off it and just give it a chance.”

Blue Planet II airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America.

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:

 

  • Why Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Stock Closed 11% Lower on Friday
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Stock Closed 11% Lower on Friday

    Analyst Pierre Ferragu from financial firm New Street Research set his price target for AMD at $18 per share, arguing that the stock has been priced for a level of success that simply isn't realistic. "AMD's stock price reflects a scenario we don't believe possible," Ferragu wrote. In particular, Ferragu sees larger rival Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) getting its manufacturing act together as we speak.

  • What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?
    News
    Associated Press

    What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?

    Despite the terrible odds — one in 302.5 million for those keeping score at home — someone will eventually match all six numbers and win the Mega Millions jackpot, which now stands at $970 million. Here are some answers for someone holding that prized lottery ticket for what would be the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. Lottery officials recommend winners take a deep breath, put their winning ticket in a safe spot and consult with a reputable financial planner before popping over to the lottery headquarters.

  • Tesla slides after Elon Musk announced lower-cost Model 3 (TSLA)
    Business
    Business Insider

    Tesla slides after Elon Musk announced lower-cost Model 3 (TSLA)

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter on Thursday that a lower-cost Model 3 was immediately available for order on the company's website. The electric car will have a base price of $45,000 and is eligible for federal and state tax rebates. Tesla shares were down more than 3% Friday after — they gained as much as 2.2% earlier in the session.

  • Now is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance to invest in US pot companies, investor says
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Now is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance to invest in US pot companies, investor says

    With some Canadian pot stocks posting triple-digit return rates this year, many retail investors have looked north to pour cash into cannabis. U.S. cannabis companies are worth a lot more than their current valuations suggest since federal illegality has put undue pressure on the industry, said David Wenger, a New York attorney and senior editor of the Cannabis Law Digest.

  • Why Valero Energy, eBay, and New Age Beverages Slumped Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why Valero Energy, eBay, and New Age Beverages Slumped Today

    Some major market benchmarks managed to hang onto their gains, but the Nasdaq Composite, and Russell 2000 indexes posted losses of 0.5% to 1.25%, and the S&P 500 was virtually flat. Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO), eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), and New Age Beverages (NASDAQ: NBEV) were among the worst performers on the day. Valero Energy dropped 10% after the refinery company announced that it would buy back all outstanding units of its related MLP, Valero Energy Partners (NYSE: VLP).

  • Business
    Barrons.com

    Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu Are Down, Not Out

    Investor worries include increasing competition, potential regulation, tensions with the U.S., and China’s economic slowdown, which accelerated in the third quarter. Alibaba was the consensus favorite at Barron’s emerging markets roundtable, which featured panelists Laura Geritz, Justin Leverenz, Ruchir Sharma, and Richard Sneller. Barron’s: Investors have fallen out of love with Alibaba [ticker: BABA], Tencent [TCEHY], and Baidu [BIDU].

  • ‘You are a disaster’: Cleveland-Cliffs CEO berates analyst on earnings call
    News
    MarketWatch

    ‘You are a disaster’: Cleveland-Cliffs CEO berates analyst on earnings call

    Shares of Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. fell more than 6% Friday after Chief Executive Lourenco Goncalves slammed analysts during the mining company’s earnings call earlier in the day, accusing them of failing to understand numbers and targeting a Goldman Sachs analyst for most of his angry remarks. Cleveland Cliffs (CLF) stock hovered at its lowest since Sept. 11 and was on pace for its largest percentage loss since late June. Goncalves fired his first salvo soon after the conference call’s first remarks wrapped up.

  • Cramer's 5 favorite tech stocks right now, including Appl...
    MSFT
    CNBC Videos

    Cramer's 5 favorite tech stocks right now, including Appl...

    Jim Cramer reveals his top "power" players in the information technology space, including consumer tech plays, software giants and a fintech kicker.

  • This Refining Giant Is the Latest Energy Company to Give Up on Its MLP
    Business
    Motley Fool

    This Refining Giant Is the Latest Energy Company to Give Up on Its MLP

    The energy sector continues to experience a gigantic consolidation wave, which is causing master limited partnerships (MLPs) to drop like flies. Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO) is behind the latest disappearing act in the space after it agreed to buy out its MLP Valero Energy Partners (NYSE: VLP). Valero Energy launched Valero Energy Partners in late 2013, joining its refining rivals in creating an income-producing vehicle that would steadily buy its parent's midstream assets.

  • Here’s why you shouldn’t retire super early — even if you can
    Business
    MarketWatch

    Here’s why you shouldn’t retire super early — even if you can

    Despite the many perks of early retirement — waking up whenever you want, for example — it wasn’t the easiest decision. Earnings tend to peak around 48 for men and about 39 for women, according to an analysis by PayScale.

  • Business
    Benzinga

    Jim Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Amarin, AT&T, McDonald's And More

    On CNBC's "Mad Money Lightning Round", Jim Cramer said Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ARWR) is a great speculative stock. Cramer is willing to endorse AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), but he thinks Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) offers more safety

  • Suddenly Toxic, Saudi Prince Is Shunned by Investors He Courted
    World
    Bloomberg

    Suddenly Toxic, Saudi Prince Is Shunned by Investors He Courted

    Now Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could become the biggest risk to his own project. Everything changed when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and didn’t come out. Prince Mohammed, who’s denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate, still has his defenders -– notably Donald Trump.

  • The Mega Millions Jackpot Is Now $970 Million. Here's What That Could Buy
    Finance
    Fortune

    The Mega Millions Jackpot Is Now $970 Million. Here's What That Could Buy

    You know the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are insanely low. The jackpot for the Mega Millions drawing, set to take place Friday, Oct. 19 at 11 p.m., is currently estimated at $970 million. Generous souls will give some of their jackpot winnings to charity or start one of their own, but if you’ve got a quirky sense of humor, it’s worth pointing out that the $970 million Mega Millions jackpot is enough to pay for a McDonald’s Happy Meal (hamburger, not Chicken McNuggets) for every person in America.

  • Valero to fold logistics arm back into parent company in $950 million deal
    Finance
    American City Business Journals

    Valero to fold logistics arm back into parent company in $950 million deal

    Less than five years after it was created as a master limited partnership, San Antonio-based pipeline and storage terminal company Valero Energy Partners LP is merging back with its parent company.  Valero Energy Partners (NYSE: VLP) announced after close of market on Thursday that it is merging with Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO), its general partner Valero Energy Partners GP LLC and Forest Merger Sub LLC, a subsidiary that was incorporated in Delaware as a merge vehicle by Valero on Tuesday. Under a merger agreement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Valero will buy all outstanding shares of VLP stock at $42.25 per share in a transaction that is expected to be worth $950 million.

  • Hillary Clinton under fire over Lewinsky comment
    Politics
    Fox Business Videos

    Hillary Clinton under fire over Lewinsky comment

    Madison Gesiotto, National Diversity Coalition for Trump, and Democratic strategist Al Mottur on how former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was not an abuse of power.

  • Is CenturyLink, Inc. a Buy?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Is CenturyLink, Inc. a Buy?

    Legacy landline telecom CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) gets plenty of grief. And understandably so, considering that its legacy business, copper wire landline and internet connections is a steadily declining business while fiber and wireless technologies

  • Frustrated GM investors ask what more CEO Barra can do
    Business
    Reuters

    Frustrated GM investors ask what more CEO Barra can do

    General Motors Co (GM.N) Chief Executive Mary Barra has transformed the No. 1 U.S. automaker in her almost five years in charge, but that is still not enough to satisfy investors. Ahead of third-quarter results due on Oct. 31, GM shares are trading about 6 percent below the $33 per share price at which they launched in 2010 in a post-bankruptcy initial public offering. The Detroit carmaker's stock is down 22 percent since Barra took over in January 2014.

  • Finance
    Investopedia

    Nvidia an Exception Amid More Bearish Chip Sector Outlook: Goldman

    The recent weakness in shares of semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia Corp. ( NVDA) presents an opportunity for tech investors to buy the chip stock at a discount price, according to one team of bulls on the Street. Shares of Nvidia have lagged the chip sector since the start of the month, down roughly 17.8% compared to the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF's (SOXX) 9.6% loss over the same period.

  • The Legal Way Canadian Marijuana Stocks Are Tricking Investors
    Business
    Motley Fool

    The Legal Way Canadian Marijuana Stocks Are Tricking Investors

    Following nine decades of prohibition, recreational marijuana is officially legal in Canada, albeit the extent of who can buy, whether the plant can be homegrown, and where product can be purchased really depends on the province. The important fact here is that legalization is expected to usher in billions of dollars of added annual revenue to the industry. This expectation of a surge in sales -- Wall Street is looking for approximately $5 billion in added annual revenue once the industry is up to speed -- is what's behind the more than two-year rally in marijuana stocks.

  • This Marijuana Investment Firm's 11 Top Cannabis Picks for Explosive Growth
    Business
    Motley Fool

    This Marijuana Investment Firm's 11 Top Cannabis Picks for Explosive Growth

    The marijuana industry has become a hotbed of investment activity, and players of all sizes are looking to get into the action. On top of all the interest from ordinary investors, cannabis companies have seen demand rise from sophisticated institutional investors that have experience with deploying larger amounts of investment capital in search of high-growth opportunities. One of the most interesting marijuana investment specialists that investors can follow is Canopy Rivers (NASDAQOTH: CNPOF).

  • Business
    Motley Fool

    Why IBM’s Brief Growth Streak Just Stalled

    Unfortunately for its shareholders, there was a speed bump on the road to rebound last quarter: The company reported this week that revenue shrank, and growth in its vital "strategic imperatives" businesses slowed. Seriously, when IBM's legacy mainframe business is the strongest performer in a given quarter, one has to see that as a problem.

  • Marijuana investors may lose 90% of their money in Canada, so consider the really big prize elsewhere
    News
    MarketWatch

    Marijuana investors may lose 90% of their money in Canada, so consider the really big prize elsewhere

    Marijuana presents a tremendous opportunity for investors over the next few years. Naïve investors are excited. The reality is that professionals will pick their pockets, and many naïve investors who are excited now will end up losing 90% of their investment.

  • Why ServiceSource International Is Imploding Today
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why ServiceSource International Is Imploding Today

    Shares of ServiceSource (NASDAQ: SREV), a provider of outsourced inside sales and customer service solutions, are being obliterated today. The stock is down 46% as of 11:07 a.m. EDT on Friday after the company shared preliminary third-quarter results and revised its full-year guidance.

  • Freeport’s Q3 2018 Earnings: What’s the Word on Wall Street?
    Finance
    Market Realist

    Freeport’s Q3 2018 Earnings: What’s the Word on Wall Street?

    Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) is scheduled to release its third-quarter earnings results on October 24. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Freeport to post revenue of $4.5 billion in the third quarter. Freeport posted an adjusted EBITDA of $1.6 billion in the third quarter of 2017.

  • 5 U.S. Marijuana Stocks to Buy Before the Market Lights Up
    Finance
    InvestorPlace

    5 U.S. Marijuana Stocks to Buy Before the Market Lights Up

    As such, the full range of recreational products offered by Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) and their peers can now be sold throughout Canada. One question for American investors is how that affects U.S. marijuana stocks? What happened in Canada changes little in the U.S. The federal ban on marijuana remains in place.