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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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Fare-Whale to Another Great Season!

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 12:10pm

The sun has set on yet another successful whale watching season. This was the 16th year of partnership between Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises and Events. Despite having some challenging weather days, the diversity of whales and dolphins spotted was some of the best in years!  Below is the breakdown of our season numbers:   Baleen Whales Toothed Whales Gray Whales: 621 False killer whales: 30 Humpback whales: 45 Common dolphins: 8490 Fin whales: 39 Pacific white-sided dolphins: 300 Blue whales: 13 Bottlenose dolphins: 50 Minke whales: 2 Risso’s dolphins: 20               Some whales, like Blues and Minkes, have not been seen from the Marietta during winter in multiple years. The sighting on February 3rd of the approximately 30 false killer whales was exceptionally rare and exciting. Going back five years, we have only one other unconfirmed sighting of false killer whales back in January 2014 (It had been very choppy that day and the naturalist was unable to get an absolutely positive ID before the whales swam off). Some other highlights included female/calf pairs seen on 16 cruises, the first of which was observed on January 9th. Many lucky guests were able to get an […]

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Members Baja Trip 2016: An Intimate Encounter

Tue, 04/19/2016 - 3:41pm

Each year, Birch Aquarium Members have the opportunities to participate in the trip of a lifetime. This adventure to the breeding and birthing lagoons in Baja California, Mexico allow for intimate encounters with curious Gray Whales. In this post, Education Specialist Sarah gives us a first hand account of 2016’s fantastic Baja experience.  I recently made an awe-inspiring and life-changing journey to explore the lagoons in Baja with a wonderful group of Birch Aquarium members. This trip is nothing compared to the 5,000+mile journey the adult whales have made from the Bering and Chukchi Seas north of Alaska to give birth in the lagoons of Baja. At the end of March 2016, there were over 1000 cow/calf pairs in the larger Scammon’s Lagoon with very few solitary individuals mating. In the smaller, more southern San Ignacio lagoon, there were about 200 cow/calf pairs. Most all of the males and solitary females have started to travel back up along the Pacific Coast to their feeding grounds. The fact that these beautiful giants choose to come over to visit the boats full of splashing and lively whale-enthusiasts makes it very difficult to avoid using human features such as friendly and curious to […]

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SEA Days: Earth Day

Tue, 04/12/2016 - 11:07am

  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: Tara Sayuri Whitty Hometown: Poway, CA Schooling Background: B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and certificate in Environmental Studies, Princeton University 2005 M.S. in Biological Oceanography, Ph.D. in Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Lab groups website: tswhitty.com; artisanalfisheries.ucsd.edu; gulfprogram.ucsd.edu One word to describe a characteristic a scientist must have: Empathy How does your work impact a persons daily life?   My work aims to change how we think about conservation, so that we think more broadly about solutions that help sustain human rights as well as protect the natural world.  As this work progresses, it will impact: fishing communities and how they are involved in conservation; conservation researchers and how they think about working with fishing communities and designing conservation plans; and, hopefully, members of the public, by promoting a big-picture, compassionate view of how human needs and livelihoods […]

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