Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 2008


Explore the World of Sharks and Rays

Program Features

  • A brand-new Touch Tank lets you stick your hands into the exhibit and touch sharks and rays as they swim by.
  • More than 10 species of sharks, rays and skates are on exhibit. Illuminated panels explain how these creatures live and eat, and why their presence is crucial for the health of the oceans.
  • A Field Guide with photos and fun facts to help find sharks and rays all over the Aquarium.
  • Sharks 3D at the Simons IMAX Theatre features the great white, hamerhead, whale shark and more.
  • See how you stack up by comparing your size to sharks and ray silhouettes.
  • Any lingering doubts can be addressed by Visitor Educators, on hand to dispel all myths and stereotypes about sharks and rays.

In the summer of 1975, one movie changed the way Americans thought about the predators of the ocean. Sharks became considered vicious hunters and indiscriminate killers. As if, Jaws' trailer suggested, "God created the devil and gave him jaws."

In the summer of 2008, the New England Aquarium will teach the public the truth: humans are far more dangerous to sharks and their cousins, rays, than they are to us, and the misconception of these animals as ferocious man-eaters has left them threatened by extinction. Sharks and Rays: Explore Their World will immerse you into the underwater world of elasmobranchs (the family of sharks, rays and skates) and bring them close enough to touch.

Showing sharks in a different light was important to the Aquarium, says Aquarium President Bud Ris. "Our goal is to get the public to learn more about sharks and rays than they already know. You can be assured they're not the villainous creatures they are made out to be in the movies, and they play an important role in marine ecosystems," he says.

Each year, humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks. As a result, 20 percent of elasmobranch species are on the brink of extinction. Without predators like sharks and rays, the oceans' entire food chains would be disrupted, wreaking havoc on the population of other animals. The goal of Sharks and Rays: Explore Their World is to get the public to transfer their fear of sharks and rays into a healthy respect, so that they will help protect these creatures before it is too late.

More: Shark in the Charles River?!

Sharks Attack Boston
(Boston Globe)

Sand Tiger Shark

New England Aquarium Grand Slam

The ReefYour favorite team. Your favorite movies. Your favorite drinks. Your favorite waterfront bar.

Come to the Aquarium Thursday evenings this summer and get hit with a home run of entertainment. Watch the Red Sox slay the competition on The Reef's flat-screen TVs and fight the summer heat with a crisp Sam Summer Ale or The Reef's signature cocktails. Then head to the air-conditioned comfort of the Simons IMAX Theatre to watch classic baseball movies on the largest screen in New England!

All movies start at 8:10 p.m. Tickets are only $3 for The Reef's customers!

July 10: A League of Their Own

July 17: Major League

July 24: Eight Men Out

July 31: The Natural

August 7: The Babe

August 14: Field of Dreams

Rock and Roll on Central Wharf

By Jordan Burns

Concert MovivesEver think you'd get close enough to touch a legendary rock band? How about two? Spend your weekend with the cheapest concert tickets of the summer. Experience the larger-than-life stage presence of The Rolling Stones or the exhilarating face-to-face encounters with U2 at the Aquarium's Simons IMAX Theatre.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese teams up with The Rolling Stones to bring fans an exhilarating feature film event, Shine A Light. Scorsese captures the raw energy of the band and gives audiences an all-access pass to some of the most famous musicians in the world.

U23D's amazingly realistic 3D technology puts the audience face-to-face with the band as drumsticks, guitars and even the crowd appear close enough to touch. Jam along to all of their classic songs, including "Beautiful Day," "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," "Vertigo" and "With or Without You."

U23D plays at 8:10 p.m. on Fridays* and Shine A Light plays at 8:10 p.m. on Saturdays. Tickets are $12.95 per show.

*Schedule exception for the weekend of July 11-13: Both films will play only on Saturday night. U2 3D will play at 7:10 p.m and Shine a Light at 9:10 p.m.

Live the Blue Lifestyle
By Jordan Burns

If you're excited about saving the planet, here are some easy ways to help your favorite marine animals.

Reuse your shopping bags. Tens of thousands of marine animals die each year because our plastic bags pollute the oceans. Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down, and animals can easily become entangled in them. They can also be mistaken for food, such as jellies. Many grocery stores now have incentives for using reusable shopping bags.

Make sure you're buying the right seafood. Some seafood is caught or raised in ways that harm the populations of fish and other marine life. The Aquarium's Celebrate Seafood initiative provides the resources you need to pick the most ocean-friendly (and delicious!) seafood options.

Use the Internet as a resource to join one of the hundreds of campaigns dedicated to saving various marine animals. From the tiniest baby harp seal to lumbering manatees and massive right whales, you can get involved to help protect your favorite ocean animal.

Welcome, Baranov--Tons of Fun


It might be swimsuit season, but don't tell that to Baranov, our new male fur seal. At 500 pounds, he's more than four times the average weight of our female fur seals, but he hasn't been throwing his girth around too much. He can often be seen lounging on the rocky shore of our fur seal exhibit. Baranov is spending the summer in Boston, on temporary vacation from his home at the Mystic Institute for Exploration in Connecticut, and when he arrived, it took him barely 15 minutes (and a snack) to get adjusted. Learn more about Baranov and all of our marine mammals through our Marine Mammal Trainers' blog, and make sure to stop by and meet him before he returns home to Mystic.

Immerse Yourself in the World of Water

Gallery Behind-the-Scenes Tour

July 14, 10 a.m.

August 9, 10 a.m.

Aqua Kids Family Day

July 15

August 4

August 18

Green Masterpieces: Air and Water

July 16, 6 p.m.

The Hatch Shell on the Esplanade

The Boston Landmarks Orchestra's free classical music series goes blue with Green Masterpieces: Air and Water, featuring music inspired by nature, including Handel's Water Music, Smetana's The Moldau, and a new commission about whales by Stephen Feigenbaum. The Aquarium's traveling Tidepool Touch Tank will be at the environmental fair at the Hatch Shell prior to the event. Bring your family and join us to feel and interact with all of your favorite tidepool animals, including sea stars and horseshoe crabs. This event is free of charge and open to the public.

Family Field Trip: Boston Harbor Island Excursion

August 9, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (approximate)

Lovell's Island, Boston Harbor

On this excursion to Lovell's Island, we will spend the day tidepooling, learning about the history of the island and hiking to enjoy the sights of beautiful Boston Harbor.

Ocean Detectives Saturday Exploration: Jellies

August 16, 2 p.m. (for 5- to 10-year-olds)

Now Playing at the

Simons IMAX Theatre

Simons IMAX Theatre

New! Grand Canyon Adventure 3D: River at Risk

As new studies forecast water shortages in the U.S. and around the world, learn how to make a difference for our parched planet. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. leads an expedition through the Grand Canyon, where the Colorado River is already a victim of the severe drought cycle now facing the American Southwest. The film is narrated by Robert Redford and set against a stirring score featuring songs by Dave Matthews Band.

Dolphins and Whales 3D

Sea Monsters 3D

Deep Sea 3D

U2 3D
Shine A Light

Ocean Wild Exhibit

Brian Skerry's Ocean Wild

Massachusetts Audubon Visual Arts Center

Through Sept. 21

Take a trip to Canton this summer to see Ocean Wild, the latest collection from National Geographic photographer--and Aquarium Overseer--Brian Skerry. The Aquarium is a proud sponsor of the Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center's exhibition, which showcases Brian's stunning imagery by taking the audience around the world and deep into the sea.

Brian says his ultimate goal is to motivate people towards ocean conservation.

"I hope that the photos make them read the story, become informed and take action. I hope it changes the way they vote or eat or raise their kids," he says. "As humans living in society, we have choices. A good, solid photo will engage its viewers to become betters stewards of the oceans."

Check Out Those Baby Blues

Llittle Blue Penguin

In last month's Seabits, you read about the orphaned little blue penguin chick who was being hand-raised by two of our biologists. The story officially has a happy ending: the chick, recently named Lion, developed at the same rate as its fellow chicks, and all will be placed into our little blue exhibit next week!

Here's a guide to the new little blues, put together by our biologists. The definition explains why each penguin's name was chosen, and the bracelet refers to the color and location of their identification bands. Remember, they won't be juveniles for much longer, so stop by soon to check them out!

Name: Kororaa
D.O.B: 4/5/2008
Bracelet: yellow/red, right
Definition: Maori people are indigenous to New Zealand, a place where little blue penguins live. They call the little blue penguin "kororaa."

Name: Montague
D.O.B: 4/7/2008
Bracelet: green/white, left
Definition: Little blue penguins live in temperate waters and breed on coastland islands around Australia and New Zealand. Montague is one breeding island in New South Wales, a state of Australia.

Name: Bruny II
D.O.B: 4/8/2008
Bracelet: blue/white, left
Definition: Bruny is a little blue penguin breeding island off the coast of Tasmania.

Name: Lion
D.O.B: 4/14/2008
orange, left
Definition: Lion is a breeding island in Sydney harbor. It has the largest little blue population in the Sydney area and gets its name because the island resembles a Sphinx.

Spotlight on Research

By Amanda Thompson, Lab Manager

This month, Aquarium researchers will start heading out to sea to assess the biological impacts the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) ports in the Massachusetts Bay have on the local marine life.

LNG is natural gas that has been frozen into a liquid, which makes it both odorless and non-toxic. Large double-hulled ships, designed to hold substances in very cold temperatures, transport the LNG from their plants to special pipes in the ocean. The pipes in turn take in the LNG to a terminal to be distributed as an environmentally friendly source of fuel

The LNG ships and ports create noise pollution, or acoustic stress, for marine animals. Our researchers' primary focus will be on how the acoustic stress affects the behaviors of the sharks and other fish species in the Massachusetts Bay.

World of Water in the News

Aquarium Helps Add to Teachers' Curriculum

Fishing for Sustainability

Catch of the Day?

Classic Baseball Flicks Hit Hub's IMAX

Project Helps Protect Right Whales

DMB at Aquarium's IMAX