Where do you find inspiration? First as a volunteer and now as an assistant aquarist, Michelle Stamme loves working with our eight-armed animals—and painting them!
Share your love of #MBATentacles and you could win!
Want to help our oceans? Just “Think Big!” Join us for a musical performance with dazzling puppets made from recycled materials. Sing along as a sea turtle, Laysan albatross and brave sardine work to protect their home—and learn how you can help!
Plan your visit
How do we collect and display amazing deep-sea cephalopods for our Tentacles exhibit? It takes a big boat, a remote-controlled robot, and help from our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute!
Learn more about the flapjack octopus and the cock-eyed squid.
(Jonathan Wolf photos)
Hacking for Healthy Oceans
For 36 hours over Father’s Day Weekend, the Aquarium hosted an unusual sleepover. Few of the participants got much rest.
We were one of five sites for a first-ever State Department-sponsored Fishackathon. The goal was to find technological solutions so fishermen in the developing world can make their catch more sustainable.
Teams of coders, designers and project managers created website solutions and apps for smartphones and cell phones - tools that small-scale fishermen can use in places like West Africa and the Philippines to document their catch and report illegal fishing.
Nearly 40 participants gathered on a Friday night in Monterey with laptops, sleeping bags - and novel ideas for creating tools that will be effective in parts of the world where internet access and high-tech equipment is limited. By Sunday morning, they had solutions to offer.
In addition to tackling two State Department problem statements, we also asked our hackers to help with a Seafood Watch challenge: How can information about how fish were caught travel through the supply chain from the boat where it’s landed to the market or restaurant where it’s finally sold?
The outcome? Incredible.
The results were beyond our wildest expectations.
A four-person team we welcomed from the UC-Berkeley School of Information won the top national prize for “Fish DB”, a multi-layered solution to one of the State Department challenges. And a three-person team that formed during the Fishackathon won the Seafood Watch challenge with its “Go Fish!” app: a simple labeling system using colors and numbers to show sustainability and freshness of seafood items. The app incorporates gaming principles, rewards and social sharing features to encourage consumers to buy ocean-friendly seafood.
"I can’t believe what great results these teams produced over the weekend!" said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of Seafood Watch. "We will definitely tap into the talents of hackers in the future."
An appealing location
It might not be too hard to lure them back to Monterey, if comments from the Berkeley team are any indication. They used words like “epic” and “thrilled” to describe sleeping in front of the Kelp Forest and Open Sea, and having access to the knowledge of Aquarium staff and State Department experts.
“We had a blast!” team member Isha Dandavate told the UC-Berkeley news service. “I can’t even express how cool it was. Having the hackathon in an aquarium has sort of ruined us for all other hackathons.”
The State Department was equally thrilled, and is now making plans for a 2015 Fishackathon around World Oceans Day.
And that’s how they roll! Some cephalopods lumber along the seafloor, while others use jet propulsion. These cool creatures are part of our Tentacles exhibit.
Share YOUR love of cephalopods at #MBATentacles and you could win!
Don’t want #CephalopodWeek to end? Check out our Tentacles Pinterest board for inspiration to keep the cephalo-bration going all year!
View the board
Are these visitors from another planet? Our bigfin reef squid were hatched and raised at the Aquarium, but their shimmering displays and flitting fins make them seem otherworldly. Like many cephalopods, these squid use pigmented skin cells, called chromatophores, to change color and pattern.
We have a new visitor from the deep in our Tentacles special exhibition: the cock-eyed squid!
True to its name, this squid has two differently-sized eyes, one much larger than the other. Scientists think the larger eye detects faint light that filters down from above, and the smaller one spots bioluminescence generated in the deep.
Like a giant strawberry, the cock-eyed squid’s bright red body is covered in tiny spots. But instead of seeds, these spots are photophores—organs that produce light. Photophores can be fine-tuned to match light from above, allowing the cock-eyed squid to become nearly invisible, or may be used to attract mates and curious prey.
Thanks to a collaboration with our partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), you can be one of the first people in the world to get eye-to-eye with this incredible animal while we help MBARI scientists learn more about a little-known deep-sea species. Like many cephalopods, the cock-eyed squid can be fragile and short-lived, so we encourage you to visit soon and check it out!
Learn more about MBARI’s work
(First photo: Steven Haddock (c) 2000 MBARI, Others: MBARI)
Deep-sea squid: elusive, mysterious and parental? While some squid in the open ocean release their eggs to drift in the water column, our research partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have discovered a deep-sea squid (Bathyteuthis berryi) that broods her eggs in a sheet attached to her body! It’s the second known instance of parental care in squid. Watch MBARI’s latest video for some amazing footage!
Caution: splash zone! This #ThrowbackThursday photo captures a soggy moment between our giant Pacific octopus and Randy Hamilton, now vice president of husbandry. Giant Pacific octopus recognize and interact with staff—and can use their powerful siphons to their advantage!