Happy #FathersDay! Did you know that in the seahorse family, fathers are tasked with carrying young?
These zebrasnout seahorses are currently on display on our Splash Zone!
Did you know that we help rescue and rehabilitate threatened snowy plovers? Birds in distress and eggs that have been abandoned are often brought to the Aquarium. We’ve taken in more this year than ever before: in excess of 20 eggs, and numerous chicks. We’ve already successfully released several in the Monterey Bay area! Learn more in our latest video podcast.
Want to help our oceans? Follow the lead of these students! Young innovators presented year-long projects to reduce plastic use at the Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit at the Aquarium in May. Partnering with NOAA, the Aquarium helps educators develop action-based classroom lessons about marine debris.
Students made an impact in their schools, with results like:
- 90 percent reduction in classroom water bottle waste
- 3,000 reusable grocery bags distributed
- 21,000 single-use plastic water bottles saved from landfills
The High Cost of a Mother’s Love
How much energy does it take a mother sea otter to care for her pup? Quite a lot, it turns out. So much, that the effort of being a mom can put her own life at risk.
That’s the conclusion of a long-term research study just published by scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the Aquarium. It’s based on extensive observations of tagged sea otters in the wild, and others we rescued and raised through our Sea Otter Research and Conservation program.
It’s another vital piece of information about the lives of sea otters—data that’s critical to the recovery of California’s threatened sea otter population.
Recognize it? Our Aviary has come a long way since this 1984 #ThrowbackThursday photo! This slice of sandy seashore is now home to rescued and rehabilitated shorebirds.
Find your favorite feathered friends with our live cam
Ocean Advocate and Supermodel Marisa Miller
Honored at World Oceans Day Celebration
Nine years ago in Monterey, actor Paul Walker helped us celebrate World Oceans Day – sharing his personal connection with the ocean and encouraging visitors to do their part as ocean stewards.
Last Saturday, Paul’s daughter, Meadow Walker, was with us on another World Oceans Day weekend as we presented our inaugural Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award to Marisa Miller – a Santa Cruz native, supermodel, actress and surfer who, like Paul, is a passionate advocate for healthy oceans.
"I’d like to say how humbled I am to receive this award from Paul’s family," Marisa said. "Paul’s love for the ocean and efforts to help protect it, have always been a huge inspiration to me personally, so it’s a honor to receive this award in his name."
Positive ocean experiences
"I also want to thank the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I have been coming to this Aquarium since I was in grade school. It was the field trip my friends and I looked forward to the most. Having these positive experiences at a young age really paved my path to having an awareness for the ocean and its wildlife."
"I’m encouraged to see so many people here today, supporting and celebrating World Oceans Day. The Aquarium’s dedication to programs to preserve and protect our oceans is helping us all to make change."
"Since becoming a mother – my son is 17 months old – I’m appreciating more than ever how important it is to instill awareness, and encourage simple choices that have lasting positive effects."
"I hope we can all feel empowered by that fact that we can make choices and live a lifestyle that bring positive growth to our beautiful oceans. This is how Paul Walker lived his life and paved the way for future generations."
Other ocean award winners
At the ceremonies, we also recognized one of our Teen Conservation Leaders, Ailis Dooner, with a Youth award. This weekend, we’ll present a second Paul Walker Ocean Leadership award to singer and philanthropist Jack Johnson during our 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Ocean. Paul’s brothers Cody and Caleb will be part of the event.
We’re so proud to work with the Walker family, and proud of the contributions that Marisa, Jack and Ailis are making to a future with healthy oceans.
Home on the Road: This Octopus Just Loves Life in a Shell
Is this the original RVer? The veined or “coconut” octopus’s home is wherever it puts down its, well, shell. And we’re glad to announce there’s one parked in our Tentacles exhibit right now.
But it’s not just a coconut shell that this cephalopod settles down in. Our Curator of Husbandry Operations, Paul Clarkson, says that the veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) will “pick up anything at its disposal” to make a home on the road. This includes old cans, bottles, boots, shells and yes—coconuts. In fact, it’s proud to take up residence in any recently foreclosed property on the ocean floor. It’s all home as far as this cephalopod is concerned.
It could just be the ultimate recycler.
Paul was recently part of a trip to the Philippines, and his sole goal was to collect this curious cephalopod. The trip was organized by the California Academy of Sciences, which also happens to be the only other aquarium in the U.S. to have displayed them.
The dive site was near an old pier, which—unfortunately for the ocean, but perhaps not so much for the octopus—was rife with trash. He said they would often find the animals closed up in clam shells, with just their eyes poking out, surveying the scene. If spooked, Paul said, the octopus would “just duck down and close up the shell.” To move, it would pick up the shell and just hit the road.
This made life easy for the scientists on the trip. “To collect these octopuses, we would just take the whole house, with the animal inside. It was good for them, and easy for us.” The shell also furnished first-class accommodations on the flight to California.
Paul found that, if he was patient, the octopuses were quite sociable. “If we just sat still, with a crab or other prey, they would come right over and eat out of our hands.”
About the veined octopus
The veined octopus is found in Indo-Pacific waters, has a fist-sized body and lives to be a year old. Common prey items include crustaceans and small fishes.
You can find it in our Tentacles exhibit, in the spot formerly occupied by the two-spot octopus, which has been moved behind the scenes. Don’t be surprised to find this vagabond displayed with some of the junk that commonly forms its home in the wild.
Time for a happy dance! Snoopy now has his own California license plate, featuring an original Charles Schulz drawing. Proceeds support California museums like ours!
We’re halfway to the funding goal—help us by ordering your own #SnoopyPlate
New Penguin Chick Hatches at the Aquarium!
It’s so fluffy! We’re proud to announce that an African blackfooted penguin chick hatched on exhibit June 4, and you can see it now in our Splash Zone exhibit.
The chick, whose gender is unknown, is being cared for by its parents, Karoo and Messina. During a June 10 exam, the little one weighed 6.9 ounces (195 grams). That’s more than three times what it weighed at birth—a sign that it’s eating well.
“The parents are doing a great job caring for the chick,” said Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “We enjoy seeing them be such attentive parents.”
The chick will remain with Karoo and Messina for about three weeks or until it starts leaving its nest. Then the family will be moved behind the scenes for the chick’s safety; it can’t be left on exhibit because it could accidentally drown or be injured by adult penguins. It will eventually be named, and the threesome will go back on exhibit after a few months.
This is the fifth chick hatched at the Aquarium. Of three that hatched in January 2011, the two males, Pebble and Tola, survived and are both doing well at Dallas World Aquarium. (Despite excellent parental and veterinary care, penguin chicks have a high rate of mortality.) Maq hatched in August 2013 and is on exhibit here. All are part of a Species Survival Plan for this threatened species. The plan, managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, identified Karoo and Messina as genetically important, and we received permission to breed them.
Did cephalopods have the original invisibility cloak? Octopuses, squid and cuttlefishes create an amazing array of colors, patterns, textures and shapes for camouflage and communication.
Learn more about our Tentacles exhibit