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Summer Camp Wrap-up: Our Favorite Moments of 2016

Mon, 08/29/2016 - 12:47pm

It’s time to bid farewell to our Summer Learning Adventure Campers. From hanging ten on the surf, to unearthing artistic inspiration, to taking in panoramic views from Scripps Pier; our campers leave with lasting memories and new friendships. Check out the photo gallery above for some of our favorite moments from the 2016 Summer Learning Adventure Camp season.

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Scripps Research: Background Music in Shark Documentaries

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 1:00pm

Accompanied by uplifting music, this footage of sharks influenced viewers to have positive attitudes about these animals. Excerpt from “The Blue Planet”, BBC. Dr. Andrew P. Nosal, Postdoc Researcher, Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and et al.’s research on human attitudes toward sharks found that those who watch shark videos accompanied by menacing background music, compared to inspirational music or silence, walk away with negative perceptions of sharks. Not only does this show that background music paired with shark footage affects viewer’s attitude toward sharks, but it also suggests to filmmakers and viewers that understanding how music plays a role in shark films is of utmost importance. Recognizing how attitudes toward sharks in film are swayed by music is perhaps the first step to managing the negative stigma against sharks, which will hopefully lead to a safer environment for these animals. Here at Birch Aquarium, we work hard to show the true nature of sharks, not as stereotyped “bad guys”, but as essential members of the marine community. Learn more about this issue by reading Dr. Nosal, et al.’s research on The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers’ Perceptions of Sharks.

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SEA Days: Century Celebrations

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 1:20pm

SEA Days: Century Celebrations Every month, the third Saturday is a special day at Birch Aquarium: SEA Days! As the tagline suggests, SEA Days are always full of  “Science, Exploration and Adventure.” Visitors and members can meet a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego or local researcher and get hands-on with science, participate in activity stations, and get creative with a thematic craft. Name: Melissa Carter Hometown: Claremore, OK Schooling Background: Undergraduate: B.S. in Oceanography, Minor in Fisheries from Humboldt State University Graduate: M.S in Marine Science from University of San Diego 1 word to describe a characteristic a scientist must have: Curiosity How did you get involved in marine science? As a kid I loved the water and spent every moment I could either in a pool, river, or lake. Every summer, my mom and grandmother would take my brother, my cousins, and me on a canoe trip down the Illinois River. It was a beautiful river that had clear, blue water. It was a wonderful experience, but as I got older we stopped going because the water wasn’t clear and had lots of algae growing in it from the nearby chicken farms. Losing this natural treasure made me want […]

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Whale Watching: Soaring into the Summer Season

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 8:58am

Summer Whale Watching has started, and so far calm seas and warm weather have prevailed. The kickoff began July 30, as we set out from the coast of San Diego in search for this season’s more commonly seen whales, including Blue Whales. The first weekend included several spectacular sightings of Common Dolphins, with one pod estimated to be eight hundred strong! The Common Dolphin, as its name suggests, is frequently spotted off the coast of California. Dolphins often “bow ride,” where they take advantage of pressure waves created by boats as they travel through water. “Porpoising” is a common way that dolphins swim and can be described as leaping in and out of the water. It is more efficient to spend swimming time out of the water, as there is less resistance compared to traveling through water. Through these clever methods, dolphins are able to travel with greater speed and efficiency. Day one of Whale Watching included a sighting of a juvenile Humpback Whale, which snorkeled close to the side of the boat for over twenty minutes. Days two and three included three separate sightings of Minke Whales, which are the smallest of the great whales. Our second weekend was […]

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Summer Learning Adventure Camp

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 3:09pm

Its hard to believe we are more than halfway through our Summer Learning Adventure Camps! Campers have been making memories in the camp classrooms, though the Hall of Fishes, and at the beach. Our younger campers in Sea Squirts and Sea Slugs camps have been exploring the ocean world and making adorable ocean themed crafts. Adventurous campers are diving into the Pacific each week at Snorkel Camp and Ocean Adventures Camp. Campers of all ages have been exploring the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus, meeting Scripps oceanographers, and exploring laboratories and the Scripps Pier (both normally closed to the public!). Parents have had a lot to say about camp: My daughter came home every day and taught us new facts about the ocean.  The (Birch Aquarium) staff was beyond fantastic about safety and fun.  Her knowledge and depth of understanding of the ocean grows every year with this camp. It is nice to have that part, as well as the many fun activities.  The final week of camp is August 22nd and space is still available (but limited). To learn more, visit our website or call (858) 534-7336.  

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New! Summertime Blue Whale Watching Adventure

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 3:02pm

Starting Saturday, July 30, Birch Aquarium at Scripps teams up with Flagship Cruises & Events to present Summertime Blue Whale Watching Adventure! Learn about the largest animal in the world from Scripps naturalists, and experience the grandeur of Blue Whales up close! Check out our photo gallery for cool whale facts, and follow @Birch_Aquarium for the latest on our Whale Watching Programs! To purchase tickets, call Flagship Cruises & Events at 619-234-4111 or at flagshipsd.com.

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SEA Days: Shark and Ray Day

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 12:30pm

Every month, the third Saturday is a special day at Birch Aquarium: SEA Days! As the tagline suggests, SEA Days are always full of  “Science, Exploration and Adventure.” Visitors and members can meet a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego or local researcher and get hands-on with science, participate in activity stations, and get creative with a thematic craft. Name:  Andy Nosal Hometown:  Bridgewater, New Jersey Schooling Background:   B.S. in Biology from University of Virginia Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography One word to describe a characteristic a scientist must have:  Patience 1.) How does leopard shark research affect a person’s everyday life? The leopard shark is a wonderful model species for studying general aspects of behavior, ecology, and physiology of sharks.  They are abundant, hardy, and relatively easy to catch and handle.  What we learn about them can tell us how to protect them and how we can best enjoy their company in the ocean (for example, when they hang out in La Jolla).  I think of leopard sharks as friendly ambassadors for sharks generally.  When people have the chance to swim or snorkel with them, they can see that sharks are not necessarily scary […]

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SEA Days: Surfin’ into Summer

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 4:25pm

Every month, the third Saturday is a special day at Birch Aquarium: SEA Days! As the tagline suggests, SEA Days are always full of  “Science, Exploration and Adventure.” Visitors and members can meet a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego or local researcher and get hands-on with science, participate in activity stations, and get creative with a thematic craft. Name: Tyler Cyronak Hometown: Malvern, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia) Schooling Background: Undergraduate from University of Miami M.S. from University of North Carolina Wilmington PhD from Southern Cross University 1 word to describe a characteristic a scientist must have: Curiosity 1.) How does Smartfin research affect a person’s everyday life? Our goal is that Smartfin will help bring awareness to the human induced global changes taking place in the ocean.  It will directly affect people who use it by letting them actively take place in scientific research.  My biggest hope is that it will make people more excited about science! 2.) How did you decide to work on this particular issue?  It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up!  I love to surf and I thought it was a great idea to combine my passion for science with one of my favorite activities.  […]

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Future Zookeepers Visit Birch Aquarium

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 11:04am

On May 22nd, students from the Zoo Keeper College of Roskilde Technical College, Denmark visited Birch Aquarium during their tour of Southern California  zoos and aquariums. The visit included a behind the scenes tour with Birch Aquarium Staff where students get up close to the aquarium life support systems and animals. The program incorporates practical experience with academics, taking 3.5 years to complete. The program includes a visit to San Diego for about 10 days. Birch Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific, Sea World, San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park are part of the tour. Most students find jobs right after graduation and are sought after by zoos and aquariums throughout Europe and beyond. In the photo, students gather for a group photo on the tide pool plaza. Torben Rafn, instructor lower right, kneeling. Birch Aquarium was happy to host these future animal caretakers and conservation leaders!

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SEA Days: Birds of A Feather

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 3:51pm

Every month, the third Saturday is a special day at Birch Aquarium: SEA Days! As the tagline suggests, SEA Days are always full of  “Science, Exploration and Adventure.” Visitors and members can meet a Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego or local researcher and get hands-on with science, participate in activity stations, and get creative with a thematic craft. Name: Kate Lyn Sheehan Hometown: Amherst, New Hampshire Schooling Background: B.S. University of South Alabama – Mobile, AL M.S. Dauphin Island Sea Lab & University of South Alabama – Dauphin Island, AL Ph.D. Clemson University, Clemson, SC 1 word to describe a characteristic a scientist must have: persistent How does bird research affect a person’s everyday life? Bird research informs conservation of birds and many regulations have been developed to protect birds from potential harm. Examples include windmill regulations, pending solar regulations, oil and gas rig industry regulations, and more. In many places along the coast, beaches are closed during bird and turtle breeding seasons so that people and their pets cannot disturb the nests of endangered and threatened wildlife species. There are also entire islands that are off-limits to people because of their role as breeding habitats for rare and […]

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Endangered Species Day 2016

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 12:44pm

Birch Aquarium, as the outreach arm of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is committed to protecting and preserving the planet. We have participated in our own conservation initiatives, and highlight many of those spearheaded by Scripps Oceanography. Friday, May 20, is Endangered Species Day and we wanted to share some highlights from our Hall of Fishes and beyond. Check out the gallery above! Don’t miss the June 13 Jeffrey B. Graham Perspectives on Ocean Science Lecture Net Loss: Vaquita Facing Imminent Extinction From Illegal Fishing. Dr. Barbara Taylor, of Southwest Fisheries Science Center, will discuss the plight of Vaquitas and highlight how they are the most endangered marine mammal in the world and are only found in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Their primary threat is death in gillnets, which until very recently supplied shrimp to the U.S. market. The catastrophic 80% decline since 2011 results from illegal sales of an endangered fish, the totoaba, to markets in China. Don’t miss this exciting and timely talk, RSVP Here.  

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