The big picture
an overview of the Seafriends web site.

This page helps you navigate the Seafriends web site from what you want to know, particularly when you are in a hurry. It also tells you of our plans (in green). Just follow the questions and click on your answers. The bold links lead you to the chapters of interest while the other links navigate within this page. Use your go back button to return to this page. 


What are you interested in?

-- seafriends home -- Rev:20030710,20030922,20041210, 20050421,20050803,20070828,20090625,20101022,

How the planet works
The surface of the planet consists of sea and land. Because the sea is so much larger, it influences and stabilises Earth's climate. How the seas formed and the continents is explained in oceanography the chapter that explains how the planet works. Once you know how everything hinges together, you can much better understand why and how humans do things wrong. This chapter is rather large and goes into the details of how continents drift, how mountains are formed and on a smaller scale explains the mysteries of the atmosphere, air circulation, ocean circulation, moon tides, waves, storms and tsunamis.
Much attention is devoted on how beaches and dunes work and how we are losing them.
The ocean influences the land because most of our rains come from the oceans. As we denuded the lowlands, we also interrupted the water cycle, which changes our weather and climate. In a large chapter explaining how the world's climate system really works, you will understand why global warming is a fraud perpetrated by tens of thousands of scientists. Their scare for ocean acidification is also entirely unjustified.

There are two substances on which humans depend most: water and soil (and warmth). Both are in trouble from loss and degradation. Water may no longer be sufficiently available to irrigate agricultural lands and to feed our industries. Our soils are farmed with ever greater productivity, which has its limits. It is important therefore to understand how soil works and how we are losing it through loss of fertility and erosion. The soil chapter is very large because it is such an important subject while also the world's worst problem.
This chapter also gives a quick primer on geology, how rocks form and how these form soil. How the availability of water determines whether soil can be farmed sustainably depends on its potential evapotranspiration.
Since 1998 the world has been cooling while sunspot activity arrives at an historic low. The world may face a prolonged period of deep cooling, bringing unforeseen disasters. Suddenly we discover that warmth is a precious resource, as is CO2.

Oceanography will later be extended with estuaries, the El Niño weather patterns and the ozone hole.

If you want to know how the organisms on the planet work together, a chapter on marine biology, ecology and evolution will appear in the future. Already the chapter on biodiversity and principles of the intertidal rocky shore may give you a glimpse of what to expect.

The world's problems
The world's problems are not quite visible because they arrive slowly and because they always happen somewhere else and because we seem to be very inventive at 'solving' them with new technology. Therefore first read the alarming summary of the world's problems which lists them by how they affect people, land, sea, water and atmosphere (very scary).
This web site treats problems and their solutions as 'environmental issues' in its very large section which is still far from complete. Enrich your understanding of conservation by reading about conservation principles, resource management and biodiversity. Because this web site is about the sea, land conservation is not dealt with extensively but marine conservation is our main topic. Here you will read about how confused the situation is and how much misinformation has entered the debate. Follow the war over marine reserves which paints the present situation in New Zealand and all the things that have gone wrong with marine conservation. Appreciate our incisiveness and our courage to say the truth.

This very large section will in due time be expanded with chapters on fishing and whaling, poisonous plankton blooms, chemical pollution, introduced marine species, ballast water and more.

One of the world's largest resources, energy, is also becoming one of the world's largest problems. A separate chapter will analyse what energy is, the present situation, alternatives and how fossil fuels affect the atmosphere and life on Earth.

The problems with people
The world would not experience problems if there were no people on Earth. Problems are caused by people. And when the population is increasing, one can expect such problems to increase equally rapidly. However, because there is so little left of the natural world we depend on, new problems may announce themselves very rapidly. Read about the history of the human race which was influenced mainly by the way people used their brains to accumulate knowledge and to apply this knowledge to advantage (technology). It is this technology that gave us such large advantages over other organisms that we are now able to destroy the world. Read about science, technology and the human nature to understand how this works and whether technology can save us. However, our minds have not evolved equaloly rapidly, and we are stuck in persistent belief systems that hinder us from finding the right solutions. To make matters worse, science has descended into a dark age of group think (consensus), deceit, corruption and fraud (see Scientific Swindles below).

The human dimension will be extended with chapters on the population explosion, how the mind works and how it fools us, how to teach yourself to think better, to solve problems, and to bring about change while minimising risks.

New Zealand's problems
New Zealand is known to the world as a 'green and clean' country where the problems of the world have not yet arrived but miraculously this is not so. Having been isolated since the super continent Gondwana drifted apart, New Zealand has become a very special place with its own fauna and flora. The soils here have evolved in harmony with the slow metabolising flora, leaving it very sensitive to erosion. Read about NZ's special soil problems and how its people have to find unique solutions. Read in roadside maintenance how we experience problems in the way roads are cut and maintained.
Once the eroded soils arrive in the sea, they create new problems for our coastal seas while also threatening our beaches. It causes dense plankton blooms which degrade the coastal seas and all of its inhabitants. This threat is now larger than that of overfishing, rendering coastal marine reserves ineffective. New Zealand has set a course of protecting 10-20% of our marine environment or more, as no-take marine reserves, and is doing so in a most aggressive way (as in a war). We show convincingly that this policy is seriously flawed and offensive, and we take issue with some marine research done here about marine reserves causing urchin barrens to disappear. Urchin barrens are in fact storm barrens, caused by large storms, which have become rare as the oceans are cooling.

Because of its low population some of the problems experienced elsewhere on more populated continents are not pressing in NZ but government departments are actively ratifying United Nations agreements, waging a war for marine reserves on their people. The strong belief in perceived beneficial effects of marine reserves is not borne out by facts but supported only by extensively propagandised myths, reason why NZ marine reserves disappoint, and do not save the environment or biodiversity. Fish census at the Poor Knights and Goat Island, as elsewhere, bear this out, as also NZ's shellfish fisheries have collapsed. In our zeal for marine reserves we are making just too many mistakes.

Since October 2010, New Zealand has begun trading in carbon credits, even though NZ's carbon footprint is unknown due to its large EEZ. Those interested can learn how the world's climate system really works, and why the fear of global warming is based on fraud. Similarly the fear of ocean acidification is entirely unjustified. A vast number of scientists have become complicit due to group-think, and only independent skeptics are able to expose the fraud and bring new ideas.

This section will benefit from the planned chapters on plankton and its harmful algal blooms, and that on fishing and how to control it. There is a better way to save our seas.

The war for marine reserves
The world's oceans have proved not to be an unlimited resource for seafood as the world's fisheries have levelled off and many fisheries are overfished. The fishermen are blamed for the mistakes of fisheries managers as even well managed fisheries collapse. Now scientists take refuge in the hope that networks of no-take marine reserves will save the sea. However, their thinking is basically flawed as marine reserves are also degrading from bad to worse.
Upgrade your knowledge and read about the false logic spread by protagonists in Frequently Asked Questions. Follow the many myths and fallacies in our thinking and see for yourself how mismanaged New Zealand's marine reserves are. But the war goes on as documented by the many marine reserve proposals which are designed to mislead the public. Begin with the index and introduction into this politically hot potato.

This website we have doggedly pursued the many issues that are the real causes of the problems in the sea, as the main threat now comes from the land. Read the large chapters on degradation to become informed. Only by saving the land, can we save the sea!

Under the pretense of an integrated strategy with consultation of all stakeholders at all stages, DoC' s new Marine Protection Policy and Implementation Plan by-passes the Marine Reserves Amendment Bill and the Oceans Policy, becoming the summit of madness in the war for marine reserves.

This section will keep pace with new inventions of folly until a truly integrated policy is formed that recognises the new threats to the seas while abandoning the present policies of confrontation, deceit and secrecy.

Saving the sea
Before prescribing a cure, a medical doctor must first examine his patient, using his extensive knowledge. Likewise, we cannot save the sea without extensive knowledge and examining its problems. The necessary knowledge begins with oceanography, resource management, biodiversity , principles of conservation, and marine conservation. But since the sea's main problems now arrive from the land, one must also be familiar with geology, soil and erosion. The way these cause problems is dealt with in the chapter on degradation with many actual examples from the sea. Make sure you do not fall in the trap of myths and fallacies, and that you know the basic facts. Also read an introduction to marine reserves.

If you want to take an active role, study the latest discoveries with the Dark Decay Assay method and begin to monitor the health of the aquatic ecosystems in your area. This chapter is now in its very beginnings and will be expanded as more results come in.

An introduction to what is happening to our sea, links to all relevant chapters, a good starting point.

New Zealand's seas
New Zealand is located in a temperate sea, bounded in the north by the subtropics and in the south by the subantarctics. Both warm and cold currents flow around NZ. Read about New Zealand's oceanography. For more detail about the marine ecology, read the introduction marine habitats and what it would be like to live in the sea.
For more detail and photographs of marine creatures, visit the section on marine reserves with details of each typical marine reserve in its typical region, but much work needs to be done on this. Already you can visit the Kermadec Islands, Goat Island, Poor Knights and we are working on the Rainbow Warrior. Cool-tropical Niue Island is a de-facto part of New Zealand, with 20,000 Niueans living in NZ, and only 1000 in Niue.
Since the advent of the Seafriends web site on CD, various slide shows containing large 800x600 pixel pictures, have been produced. The large images are available on CD only, due to their long download times. But the slideshows can be examined as narrated thumbnails. Go to the autorun page to find them quickly.
Many pictures of NZ underwater have also appeared in the stock photo section. The important section on marine degradation also has many photos showing the plight of our coastal seas.

This section will be extended by detailing the habitat classification with more sample habitats. Already the rockpool habitat has been touched on and the rocky shore has been dealt with extensively, including 400 identifying photographs.

Particular things in the sea, marine creatures
Many sections will be devoted to the things in the sea, such as understanding what it is like to live in the sea (habitats), ecosystems, habitats and species. The species relevant to New Zealand have been linked into their scientific classifications, ranging from sea mammals and birds to molluscs. This part of the web site is still largely undeveloped but some fishes and crabs have already found their place. An extensive section about the intertidal rocky shore has over 400 identifying photographs.

This section will be completed at a later date, with a priority for fishes, crustaceans and echinoderms.

Niue is a small island of about 20 by 15 km lying north-east of NZ east of the Kermadec Trench. After visiting the Kermadec Islands, our interest grew in studying Niue to better understand the situation in New Zealand. But Niue and NZ are almost opposites in many ways, and are therefore a rich source of comparison, regarding their geography, ecology, society and economy. Visit Niue and slide shows of what it looks like above and under water. Ask yourself why Cyclone Heta caused so much damage there.

Underwater photography
Photography is one of the most gratifying pastimes. It can document one's life and interests and one can get better at it as one grows older, even to a ripe old age. Underwater photography is quite difficult, plagued by its own specific problems. But the newness of this environment and its many rich colours and shapes, make it quite rewarding. Study the typical photographic problems encountered under water and how to overcome these. Read about the use of film and lens, light under water, and how to use mixed light.
This section goes into fine detail on how to take macro photos, how to enhance one's opportunities, and what is found in a good underwater camera. A separate chapter adds what an underwater moviemaker must think about.
The digital darkroom section teaches you everything about digital photography and how to enhance your images with this new technology.

Enjoy the many galleries of beautiful underwater photos, a section which is gathering momentum. From this index the many galleries of photos will be found. We hoped to have many slide shows about interesting topics and beautiful photographs but have not developed this concept further.
Most of the photographs on this web site have been taken by us and they can be ordered for commercial use as also a print of any photo can also be ordered. Our posters have been pre-printed. Read the introduction to the photolibrary for the latest informaiton and pricing. Just send us an e-mail and mention the photograph's file number (e.g. f123456). Payment is done through PayPal.

This section will hopefully one day be extended by 'light is all you see' or understanding what makes a photo (on land). Also a chapter on tips and tricks is in preparation.

Reference information
The Seafriends' web site contains a wealth of supporting information for each of its chapters and sections. Such reference information may assist you in better understanding and in furthering your studies.
The Seafriends public library is one not to be missed because it contains a unique collection of books relevant to the world's problems, our oceans and New Zealand. Visit the complete catalogue on the net and borrow your book by e-mail. The library contains scientific works, popular interest and historic books.
Although we attempt to explain strange words as: the marine dictionary contains all strange words used in marine biology and ecology. The geology dictionary contains important geological terms and concepts.

If you wish to update a basic understanding of chemistry, read the periodic table of elements and what follows. It helps you to better understand our chapters. Rock and soil geology has been summarised in a compact number of tables. The tables of the abundance of the elements from humans to animals is a unique compilation containing the elements of life and world mineral reserves.

History comes at various levels. Read how the universe developed, the planets and life on Earth in the geologic time table. The history of our civilisation depended mainly on knowledge and technology as tabled in the history of mankind.
Be amazed about how easily people surrender to myths and strange beliefs in the belief systems of the world.

An amazing reference work, which is growing steadily is the table of units and measures which helps you to convert from one physical unit to another and to make your own calculations and informed estimates with the many natural constants and rule-of-thumb factors. This already formidable tool for understanding what scientists say, grows steadily.

How to do business with Seafriends
Seafriends is a non-profit organisation which depends on income from the Field Centre in Leigh. Schools come for a day with Seafriends, which usually entails snorkelling, rocky shore study, lectures and a visit to the aquariums. Day visitors to the marine reserve can hire snorkel gear before going to the beach and they can stay for a drink and a snack from the Seafriends Cafe. Your custom is highly appreciated, since it also helps us with the school programmes and the realisation of this fantastic web site. Read more about the history, location, diving , restaurant and more.

Information for schools
A separate section is devoted to information for schools, but is yet to grow. Read here about a day with Seafriends with instructions for parents, and study the Risk Analysis form. An essential snorkelling course can be found here too.
Teachers familiar with the school curriculum can easily find relevant curriculum links to weave the day at Seafriends into their own programmes at school. Remember that this web site contains electronic documents and images which can be copied whole or in part to form your own resource material. Also pay attention to our reference resources outlined above.

This section is awaiting the completion of the basic education provided in the main sections, which is taking up all of our time. The planned worksheets have not yet eventuated.

The whole web site is now available on CD, including medium resolution versions of many photographs and diagrams. The CD can be downloaded on the school computer for fast and instant access.

In-depth articles
The In-Depth section aims to document and collect news-worthy events. It can also be seen as a 'rats and mice' basket, allowing us to write about issues for which the relevant chapters and sections have not been created. Topics popular at schools qualify. Please let us know of such topics.

Challenging theories
Are you a scientifically-minded person with an interest in new ideas while you don't mind being challenged? Perhaps you'd like to investigate a number of theories (hypotheses) and discoveries formulated on this web site.

By treating the beach-dune system as a living organism (because it absorbs wind and wave energy) we discovered how beaches work and the real reasons why these are disappearing. We formulated the six basic laws that govern every beach and seaside dune system in the world. These laws make far-reaching predictions. We formulated a method to ascertain the health of any beach. We also identified missing science about this close-to-home oceanography.

Soil is the Earth's and humanity's most precious resource, yet we are losing it precipitously. Hence a large section on geology, soil formation and fertility. We identified the seven basic laws governing soil sustainability and what is perhaps the main reason for global climate change, the disruption of the water cycle.
In the extensive chapter on soil erosion, we identify a new way of looking at landscapes by considering that they are the evolutionary product of processes that result in least loss landscapes. We also identify how erosion affects the sea, and the forces that return nutrients back onto the continental shelf, which makes plausible that the shallow seas tend to saturate with nutrients.

We have observed inexplicable distributions of marine populations and equally inexplicable mass mortalities of nearly all species. Our new principles of degradation and the plankton balance hypothesis explain that one important limiting factor, found only in the sea, has been overlooked. Plankton does not only feed but it also kills by its active decomposers. It explains many apparent paradoxes and makes frightening predictions.

In January 2005 we invented a new scientific method, the Dark Decay Assay, to measure the strength of the planktonic decomposers and thus the health of any plankton ecosystem. This epoch-making discovery opens a world of interest, gives strong support for the Plankton Balance hypothesis while resolving many paradoxes. Because of its universality, accuracy, simplicity and low cost, it is of immediate practical use to many who work with aquatic ecosystems, such as aquariums, ponds, aquaculture and marine research. Why not use it yourself to keep a watchful eye on the waters in your neighbourhood? School children can do it too. The DDA could become a formidable weapon in the fight against eutrophication! Read DDA for dummies first.
The Dark Decay Assay challenges the way we think about aquatic ecosystems. It discovered that planktonic decomposers are a large part, often exceeding the biomass of producers (phytoplankton) but they are not capable of completing decomposition unless an additional high-energy food is supplied. It also discovered that the main limiting factor in aquatic ecosystems is the availability of hydrogen ions, which makes acidic lakes far more productive than basic (less acidic) lakes. In the sea the conditions for plant growth are not favourable, reason why the insufficiently decomposed biomatter in the sea (slush) may well help plants become more productive with bacteria living in symbiosis on their slimy skins (the symbiotic decomposer hypothesis or slush hypothesis). As the seaweed or phytoplankter feeds the decomposers, they provide it with hydrogen ions, carbondioxide and nutrients. Symbiotic decomposition also explains why corals can grow productively in clear waters with little phytoplankton or nutrients. It must also play an indispensable role in soil, such that a large part of a plant's intake of CO2 may come direct from the soil.

Work in this area is continuing as also aquarium studies are in place to document the process of progradation (improving water quality). The Seafriends aquariums (2, 3)have now become the world's only closed ecosystem, the salt water of which never returns to the sea. Wastes from feeding fishes is converted by bacteria to nutrients that are converted to plankton by natural sunlight. The plankton in turn feeds filter feeders such as mussels, oysters, seasquirts and sponges. Seaweeds assis in symbiotic decomposition. But time will tell . . .

When nutrients, sewage and mud enter the sea, they feed plankton blooms that have disastrous effects on the environment (eutrophication), whereas the opposite is supposed to happen (a richer food chain). The large chapter on marine degradation explains the principles behind this new and fast accelerating threat. But read what's happening to our seas first. Many images of degradation show what it looks like and what to look for. It builds further on and confirms the plankton balance hypothesis, also an important discovery. We may have entered a new era of rapid degradation of our lands and seas due to a possible vicious cycle created by di-methyl sulphide (DMS) produced by the rapidly increasing biomass of decomposers world-wide. The recent and almost total collapse of New Zealand's shellfish fishery has been predicted by us a long time ago (1987), then measured (2005) and now the data proves we were right and that much more bad news is coming. See also the timeline of degradation instances in NZ.

The world is in the grip of the fear of man-made global warming for which there is insufficient evidence, while evidence to the contrary is solid and becoming overwhelming. Read our large chapter which explains how the world's climate system works. The scare of oceans becoming more acidic, with disastrous consequences is also unfounded, as we explained with care while also debunking fraudulent science. In the ocean acidification chapter we also coin our new carbon pipe hypotheis which places the carbon cycle in perspective.

In the chapter on biodiversity we identify how problems accelerate now that we are entering the era of scarcity and we identify the seriousness of the situation with the mathematics of scarcity which makes sobering predictions.

In the large chapter on resource management, we identify the rules of resilience, derived from the survival and evolutionary strategies of living organisms. Ecologists speak of top-down or bottom-up control of populations but the economics of exploitation does a better job of explaining how populations interact.

In our own investigations of the kelpbed deaths due to dense plankton blooms, we find evidence that barren zones are created by storms, whereas urchins just maintain these. In Niue we found strong support for our barrens hypothesis as we formulated Niue's marine ecology. We also find support for the wave theory that the depth of the sand bottom is a measure of the destructive power of the worst destructive waves. It allowed us to construct a habitat zoning diagram for the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, but the method applies equally to any coast on Earth. Read what storm barrens in NZ look like and the strict rules that apply.

Our expeditions to the Kermadec Islands and Niue island discovered symptoms of stress, caused by the difficulty of living in a small place, surrounded by a large empty ocean. We formulated the main factors in the ecologies of Niue and the Kermadec Islands.

You will enjoy minor discoveries such as where the giant heart urchin Brissus gigas lives, not previously known, and the mystery of Barren Arch at the Poor Knights, where large boulders can move at motorway speeds like pebbles on a beach.

We've filled in some blanks on the intertidal rocky shore ecology and a new paradigm that failure is more important than success!??

What will be next in this category? We really don't know because we never anticipated encountering such gaps in science.

Scientific swindles
We've used the word 'swindle' here because it is very well understood. But when scientists err or do shoddy work, it is seldom done deliberately, so the word swindle may be an exaggeration. There have been some serious misadventures, where scientific advice was later proved wrong, as also the scientific literature is replete with facts and theories that have been disproved later. Examples range from economics to nuclear energy. As you may guess, it usually concerns the science that cannot be done inside the laboratory under controlled conditions, like planetary science, world ecology and marine ecology. To better understand science and its shorfalls, read Science, Technology and Human nature, and Why scientists need skeptics. Also Scientists' Consensus Statements are insightful because consensus is not science

Closer to home are the mistakes in marine science, rebutted in Science Exposed and Myths(7). Green activism and propaganda never stand alone, as there are always scientists behind them, who provide the arguments. Read the growing section about myths and fallacies about marine reserves and marine conservation and brush up quickly on a concise treatment of marine reserves, and then in more detail the Frequently Asked Questions about marine conservation. Even though our observations and predictions were twenty years ahead of their time, new scientific evidence consistenlty proves us right. The latest shambols is the total collapse of New Zealand's shellfish fishery, a follow-on from the early (1980) collapse of the toheroa surf clam.

For the sake of our children, it is important to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons - not an easy task. Preferably we need to prevent problems and act pro-actively (in advance), but uncertainty may make us do the wrong things, a kind of dilemma (choice between two hells). Scientists who are at the source of society's understanding and knowledge, need to warn us for impending danger, but they must also refrain from scare scenarios, or at least be honest about what knowledge is missing, and of doubts. It is equally important for them to say 'we were wrong' and retract previous false statements. In this respect there is much to be desired, also because fear opens the taps for scientific funding.

The ocean acidification scare is a classical example where scientists have exaggerated the danger, while being dishonest about how much is not known, while also not considering all angles. Read it to make up your own mind. It is interesting to note that scientists are so obsessed with consensus, that a link to this chapter is consistently removed from the Wikipedia page for "ocean acidification". How then is the world to know of the scientific swindles committed in this subject, and the massive doubt and ignorance? Scientific terrorism?
In the meantime our extensive chapter about global climate makes you understand how it all works, and why global warming is a scam.

How to help
Since Seafriends has not yet been able to obtain public funds, it is still very much under-resourced. Your independent help is not just convenient but essential. Tell others about us and help us increase our business. Donations are also essential and so are sponsorships and legacies. Study our activities to find out how you can help us further our aims. Your financial support makes a difference to the future of our children. Read the how to help page.

Do you have interesting books about the sea gathering dust? Donate them to the Seafriends library.

You may have expertise in the subjects treated here on this web site. Please give us your feed-back to make it better. You may not understand parts of this web site. Please tell us so that we can improve it.