Showing posts tagged as "monterey bay aquarium research institute"
"Most people go their whole lives without seeing them or coming to understand their beauty, quirkiness and braininess."
Living the Dream: Cancer Survivor to Teen Conservation Leader
By Tessa Terrill, Public Relations Intern
How often in life do things come full circle?
Seamus Morrison experienced a full-circle moment this summer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
He first came to the Aquarium in 2010 through the Make-A-Wish Foundation as an 11-year old with a life-threatening brain cancer – and a dream of becoming a marine biologist. He went behind the scenes to feed the cuttlefishes, spent a morning talking to scientists with our partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and an afternoon with dolphins and seals at Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz. He even took two scuba dives in our Great Tide Pool.
“It was really fun at the time, and I loved the experience,” he says.” But now it’s just so much more. I look back on it and I just think it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
Cancer-free and riding the wave
Four years later, cancer-free and still riding the marine biology wave, he and his parents, James and Riad Morrison, packed their bags and made the trip from Ojai in southern California to spend the summer in Monterey so Seamus could follow his dream – as a Teen Conservation Leader (TCL) at the Aquarium.
George Matsumoto, Senior Research and Education Specialist at MBARI and his MBARI guide four years ago, is overjoyed that Seamus came back as a teen leader, and said Seamus told him how much he was growing through his participation in the program.
When he was 10, Seamus was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor called medulloblastoma. That didn’t dim his passion for diving headfirst into marine biology, a passion that was present since he was very young.
Seamus’s dad James, who has a successful career as an actor with roles in shows like “24” and “Revenge”, said that Seamus’s Halloween costumes have always been ocean-ified.
One year, he was a scuba diver and even had a tank made of a cereal box that he would open with the pull of a cord to collect trick-or-treat candy!
For six weeks this summer, now 15-year-old Seamus took his passion and spread it among Aquarium guests as he shared stories about the range of sea life exhibited throughout the aquarium – including as a narrator for Kelp Forest feeding shows.
When Seamus was getting ready to narrate the feeding one day, he was surprised to learn that the diver was the one who took him into the Great Tide Pool through Underwater Explorers four years ago.
'An amazing journey'
“That (Make-A-Wish) experience and his continued relationship with the Aquarium have further inspired him toward the dream of one day becoming a real marine biologist,” says his mother, Riad. “It’s been and continues to be an amazing journey.”
Seamus said he loves the Monterey Bay Aquarium because there’s “more stuff” here than at any other aquarium he’s visited.
He’s already taking action to build on his summer experience and help inspire ocean conservation. He’s emailed his teachers about a plan to create a conservation lab when he returns to school. He said his teachers are on board and he’ll talk to them this fall about how to make it a reality.
(Photos by Randy Tunnell)
World’s best mom? Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute observed this deep-sea octopus brooding eggs for over four years—longer than any known animal. Watch this extreme parenting in action!
How do you display deep-sea cephalopods like this vampire squid? It takes a big ship, a lot of scientists, and a robot. Learn how we do it, with the help of our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, in our latest podcast.
Curious about how scientists study the deep sea? Discover how the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute explores the largest habitat on earth at an Open House in Moss Landing July 19.
(Photos: Kelly Lance (c) 2013 MBARI)
Curious about some of the science behind our Tentacles exhibit? Peek inside the world of deep-sea research at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s Open House July 19!
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!
Missed the start of #CephalopodWeek? Catch up with this cephalopod video triple feature from Science Friday! Get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and see how we culture cuttlefish and study mysterious vampire squid.
Watch the videos
But wait—there’s more! Tune in to Science Friday tomorrow—part of the radio broadcast will feature the ocean’s most mysterious multi-armed family.
Are you an octopus admirer? Squid supporter? Cuttlefish crusader? Then get ready for #CephalopodWeek! This week we’re joining Science Friday, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and others to bring you the latest and greatest stories from the tentacled world.
Watch this epic introduction to our Tentacles exhibition