Looking for aliens? Thanks to our partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), you can now find them in our Jellies Experience exhibition! As you can see, the large Aegina jelly in the center looks different than the others—and may be an undescribed species!
Typically, Aegina found in Monterey Bay are lemon jellies (Aegina citrea), recognizable by their yellowish color and four tentacles. While this jelly’s reddish-purple hue may come from a brightly-colored meal, the six tentacles make it an unusual find! Genetic studies at MBARI suggest this is a distinct species—and research continues.
Like many jellies, these animals can be fragile and short-lived, so we encourage you to visit soon and check them out!
Learn more about our Jellies Experience exhibition
By Jim Covel, Director of Guest Experience
Walking around the Aquarium these days you’ll frequently hear German, French, Portuguese and other languages. The fall “shoulder season” in the travel business is very popular with international travelers, and the Aquarium is certainly a well-known destination for globetrotters. It’s fortuitous that Monterey is also the foreign language capitol of North America, home to the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Defense Language Institute and other organizations that attract language experts. As a result, we’re blessed with staff and volunteers with diverse language skills.
The humans traveling through Monterey from all over the world are only part of the international visitors we see this time of the year. We also see a variety of migrating wildlife as well, and the view from our Wildlife Viewing Station is alive with these other visitors.
The humpback whales being seen daily are better described as seasonal residents, as they spend the summer and fall in Monterey Bay feeding, then retire to warm Central American waters for the winter. Our blue whales fit a similar pattern. We have already been seeing gray whales in the bay, and they usually appear in the winter on their way to Mexico—their travel pattern is certainly confused this year!
While these marine mammals are impressive travelers, migrating several thousand miles each year between northern feeding grounds and tropical winter waters, birds win this travel competition. Shearwaters pass through Monterey Bay in the tens of thousands, from feeding areas as far north as Alaska to their winter homes in New Zealand, Tasmania and other destinations in the Southern Hemisphere. The sooty shearwater may fly up to 40,000 miles per year in an effort to chase summer from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere. We’ve been watching flocks of tiny phalaropes on their way from arctic nesting areas to wintering grounds off the shores of Peru and Ecuador.
I’m always impressed that a bird smaller than your fist, weighing less than the change in your pocket, can fly over 6,000 miles in a few months’ time. These massive migrations are only possible with the strategic distribution of critical refueling stops along the route. Those refueling stops are wetland areas that provide specific food, water and quiet resting areas for migrating birds. Wetland areas were already in short supply, and with the drought in much of the West the situation has become critical. Wildlife authorities have been creating emergency wetland areas on the Pacific Flyway this fall to avoid disaster by giving millions of migrating birds a chance to recharge and refuel.
Fortunately the waters of Monterey Bay have been rich in food this year and have provided a welcome respite for a remarkable array of wildlife, and have attracted humans from all over the world to enjoy the show that nature is staging for us.
Watch our Monterey Bay cam live
(Humpback photo by Jim Capwell/Divecentral.com)
Got a case of the Mondays? Let our new flame jellies (Rhopilema esculentum) light your fire! This jelly’s golden and crimson tentacles flutter like flames as it swims, while its frilly fringe traps food.
Learn more about our Jellies Experience exhibition
It’s National Taco Day—how are you celebrating? #MakeItSustainable with Chef Nathan Lyon’s Spiced Mahi Mahi Tacos! Known for his innovative, seasonal cuisine, Chef Nathan is committed to preserving our oceans by purchasing environmentally friendly seafood using our Seafood Watch guide.
Get the recipe
Cannonball! Our newest additions to The Jellies Experience are making a splash. Cannonball jellies are fast swimmers—and a main source of food for endangered leatherback turtles.
Learn more about this special exhibition
#ThrowbackThursday during National Seafood Month? Our first Seafood Watch guide! Since 1999 we’ve been helping consumers and businesses choose seafood that protects sea life and habitats, now and for future generations. Over 51 million Seafood Watch cards have been distributed, with over a million downloads of our app!
Get the app
Are sea otters your favorite animal? You aren’t alone! Our Otter Tour has proved so popular that we now offer it twice daily for a full hour. Get an insider’s look at how the dedicated staff of our Sea Otter Program cares for this iconic, but threatened, species.
(©Michael Yang Photography)
It’s National Seafood Month! Join Seafood Watch and chefs nationwide to kickoff the celebration with National #Taco Day this Saturday, October 4. Partners across the country have created special tacos featuring seafood selected with our guides to #makeitsustainable!
Find your local participating restaurants
Surfing for Healthy Oceans
Titans of Mavericks and the Aquarium are teaming up to shape a future with healthy oceans.
The Aquarium will be the official conservation partner of the world’s premier big wave surfing event, held annually in Half Moon Bay at the most iconic big wave surfing spot in the nation.
“Through this groundbreaking partnership, Monterey Bay Aquarium will help drive focused initiatives and ocean conservation awareness through the athletes who compete in this highly anticipated event,” said Griffin Guess, president of Cartel Management, which directs the newly re-faced Titans of Mavericks event and festival.
“We know that the surfing community is passionate about the ocean,” said Mimi Hahn, vice president of marketing and communications for the Aquarium. “As the conservation partner of the Titans of Mavericks, we hope to weave the message of ocean protection through every element of the event and to help its audiences engage more deeply in safeguarding the ocean that sustains all life on our planet.”
“The goal of Titans of Mavericks is to empower the athletes as ambassadors who can drive public awareness of the threats facing our oceans, and help inspire the fans of Mavericks to do more to protect the living ocean,” said Zach Wormhoudt, a waterman and big wave surfer from Santa Cruz. He’s one of 56 surfers vying to be among the 24 selected to compete in Titans of Mavericks in 2015.
It’s #WhaleWednesday! What’s the largest animal on the planet? You’re right if you guessed blue whales—and sometimes we see them in Monterey Bay!
Best of all, scientists think the species may inching toward recovery in California.
(Photo: Richard Herrmann)