Friday, May 28, 2010

There's a party coming to our city!

Yo Gabba Gaba, the popular kid's television show, is coming to stage near you! Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! There's a Party in My City! will be playing at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre in Boston in September.

September 25, 2010
2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

September 26, 2010
11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Special for Aquarium members, purchase your tickets before they go on sale to the general public! Our members can buy advance tickets to this hip production Wednesday, June 2, through Thursday, June 3, at 10 p.m. only. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, June 4.

Follow this link to purchase pre-sale tickets. Click the gray button next to ticket button to enter promotional code: YGGNEAQ.

Fresh off a triumphant sold-out tour debut, a headlining performance at the White House, a chart-topping album and an appearance at Coachella, DJ Lance Rock and the cast of YO GABBA GABBA! are heading back on the road with YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE!: THERE’S A PARTY IN MY CITY! to play to enthusiastic fans in Boston, including you, our Aquarium members!

Be Bold: Board a Working Research Vessel!

The Aquarium is a great place to see science in action. Our Conservation and Research departments are doing great things, from studying the effects of climate change on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems to actively researching and protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales. And we're not alone in our efforts to learn more about our blue planet.

In fact, you can meet some of the Aquarium's peers during an open house on the EPA's ocean survey vessel, the Bold. On Sunday, June 27, the Bold will be docked at Boston's Fan Pier from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families are invited aboard the ship to see working research equipment up close, meet the ship's scuba divers and learn from marine scientists with Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, Massachusetts Bays Program and UMass Boston Urban Harbors Institute. Plus, Aquarium educators will be bringing a cadre of live tidepool animals—like the kind you find in the Aquarium's Edge of the Sea exhibit—that guests can touch and learn about during their visit aboard the Bold!

The OSV Bold is a converted U.S. Navy 224-foot ocean surveillance ship that is specifically designed to help EPA conduct water sampling and perform data analysis. The vessel is staffed by a team of EPA scientists who conduct surveys with partner research institutions and government agencies in ocean waters off New England and other coastal areas of the U.S. The ship is used to monitor and assess the impacts of pollution and the health of our coastal and ocean waters, and is outfitted with state-of-the art equipment used to collect samples including water and sediments and has onboard laboratories.

Check out the Bold’s kids website for great information and fun activities and games to do at home!

Before there were dinosaurs...

"“In Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World,” these larger-than-life creatures come swimming right at you from the 3-D depths of New England’s largest screen."
- Boston Herald

Read the full review of Sea Rex 3D in the Boston Herald!

Before dinosaurs set foot on land, there were majestic creatures roaming the oceans 200 million years ago.
You can swim back in time for an underwater safari through this lost age with Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World! See what these animals eat, watch them play and hear them bellow. You’ll want to duck as they gracefully glide right off the screen into the Simons IMAX Theatre here at the Aquarium! New England’s largest movie screen is your family’s portal to an underwater universe that existed long before the dinosaurs. Save time and get your tickets in advance!

Here's a preview of what awaits you at the Simons IMAX Theatre!

Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World now playing at the Simons IMAX Theatre!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Right Whales in a Toxic Situation

By Amanda Thompson

Researchers at the New England Aquarium are moving forward in their mission to save the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, and have recently discovered another potential threat to this small population of 400 whales.

It is widely known that whaling decimated these whales before they were protected in 1935 and that deaths and injury from vessel collisions and fishing gear interactions are the major culprits in this century. However, what is less widely known is that compromised reproduction is also limiting the recovery of this species, leading researchers to look to the environment for the cause.

Aquarium scientists are currently looking closely at a marine biotoxin produced by algae called domoic acid, or DA. DA is a potent neurotoxin that is commonly found in shellfish and has caused deaths and serious illness in humans, as well as thousands of deaths, neurological disease and abortions and stillbirths in California sea lions.

A right whale’s natural diet consists of huge amounts of copepods , which are rice-grain sized zooplankton that accumulate DA and pass it on to right whales. Our studies show that right whales are exposed to DA every year, and in high enough doses this can have potentially disastrous effects. Research is currently being conducted to discover the potential for long-term effects of DA in right whales, including what impacts it could have on reproduction, overall health and this species’ survival.

To learn more about what researchers at the New England Aquarium are doing to learn more about right whale reproduction and health, visit our webpage: Right Whale Conservation Medicine Program

This work is supported and permitted by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). All work and images are under scientific permit from NMFS.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Toast to Annie Aquarium, the Newest Duck Boat in Town!

To the sailors of old and to Annie Aquarium!

Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend—the unofficial start of summer—the newest vessel in the Duck Tour fleet was christened Annie Aquarium today. The boat glowed a refreshing blue color as Aquarium president and CEO Bud Ris cracked a bottle of bubbly onto the front of the boat. Take a look!

Annie Aquarium (like N.E. Aquarium, get it? New England Aquarium?) is the newest boat in the Duck Tour fleet!

In keeping with maritime tradition, Bud broke a bottle of champagne on the bow of the duck with some support from our friendly shark character.

What beauties—the boat and the shark!

With her aqua colors and her fish and turtle designs, you can't miss Annie Aquarium.

Start your summer off with a bang...or better yet, a splash! Spend some time with the fish and sea turtles at the Aquarium, then look for Annie on Central Wharf and get to know Boston a little better. Beginning Friday, May 28, Duck Tours depart daily from Central Wharf starting at 3 p.m. Click here to find special savings when you purchase combo tickets for the Duck Tour and the New England Aquarium Whale Watch or the Simons IMAX Theatre. Happy summer!

(Pssst...This is an exciting weekend here at the Aquarium. Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistory World also debuts at the Simons IMAX Theatre this Friday!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Endangered Turtles Extend Their Stay

Boston, Mass. - May 24, 2010
Dozens of cold-stunned sea turtles rescued from beaches along Cape Cod will not be returning to the Gulf of Mexico this summer. After several months of rehab at the Aquarium, they are healthy enough to go home, and they would have been released into the Gulf this summer.

Rescued sea turtle being treated at the Aquarium. Click for larger version.

But the disastrous oil spill marring the warm waters off of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida is forcing rescuers to change plans. Instead, the turtles will be staying, safe and sound, at the Sea Turtle Recovery Room at the Aquarium for a little while longer until rescuers find a safe alternative. (Read more about these turtles in limbo in a Boston Globe article published May 24, 2010.)

The Aquarium's sea turtle rescue room. Click for larger version.

That means that visitors still have a chance to see these young Kemp's ridley sea turtles at the Sea Turtle Recovery Room, right here at the Aquarium! Observe how rescue team members and volunteers feed the turtles, or watch them swim around their pens. You might even see turtles that are still getting treatment, like #57, who was featured in a recent Rescue Blog entry. Browse around the Marine Animal Rescue Team's blog to learn more about its efforts to save endangered sea turtles and other marine life, like dolphins and seals!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Aquarium's Turtle Expertise In Demand

The New England Aquarium's top veterinarian is on the short list of animal health experts ready to help endangered sea turtles sickened by the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. Charles Innis, VMD, (seen at left treating a rescued cold-stunned sea turtle) oversees the care of all the animals at the Aquarium, from the harbor seals to the fish in the Giant Ocean Tank, but he specializes in treating turtles.

Click here to see some more photos of Dr. Innis in action treating cold-stunned sea turtles. Click here to read some of Dr. Innis' posts about his work protecting fresh water turtles.

Now, Dr. Innis is on call to help in the Gulf because of his skills treating turtles in particular. Unfortunately, many sea turtles could be affected by the spill. He says most of the world's Kemp's ridley sea turtles are probably in the Gulf of Mexico right now, smack dab in the path of the oily plumes polluting the ocean. Dr. Innis is ready to answer the call to help. Read more about how Dr. Innis may be involved in Gulf rescue efforts in a recent article published in the MetroWest Daily News on May 16, 2010.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Aquarium biologist helps herring. Again.

Herring, or alewives, in Weymouth owe a lot to Aquarium biologist Scott Dowd (pictured at left). Not only did he help coordinate the first Live Blue Ambassador activity that involved clearing debris and trash from the herring run, he also helped herring trapped in a flood pipe after record rains in Massachusetts.

Read about Scott's efforts to free the trapped herring, along with other concerned citizens, in this Boston Globe article.

Click here to read about the exciting new community-based program for teens interested in the Aquarium, conservation and marine biology -- the Live Blue Ambassadors.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The New England Aquarium and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response

The expanding oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to become one of the worst ecological disasters in our nation’s history. Aquarium staff members have already been asked to assist with animal rescue efforts by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Incident Command Center if it becomes necessary. They are on call and waiting to be assigned to field locations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Here in Boston, the Aquarium has been working with media outlets to provide information about the effects of oil spills on marine animals, and our animal rescue facilities are being prepared to receive new patients from the Gulf Coast if the need arises.

The current oil spill coverage estimate from

Before the disaster, the Aquarium had planned to send up to 15 of our rescued and rehabilitated sea turtles to New Orleans to be released into the Gulf. Those plans have changed significantly. Today the Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Team is working with NOAA to coordinate a larger release of rehabilitated sea turtles in Virginia. This larger release is designed to open up animal medical facilities in anticipation of injured sea turtles arriving from areas affected by the oil spill.

This year the Aquarium treated more than 100 rescued sea turtles.

Several endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtles have already washed up dead on the Gulf Coast. As of now, there is no evidence linking these turtles to oil-related issues, and it is important to note that this is typically a busy time of year for sea turtle strandings in that area. However, once the first documented oil-related sea turtles strand, we anticipate the staff from the Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Team may be deployed to rehabilitation centers in the Gulf.

The Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Team is trained and experienced in treating injured dolphins (left) and seals (right).

In addition to their turtle expertise, the Marine Animal Rescue Team has been asked to help with injured marine mammals. There are dolphin populations residing in the oil spill zone, and the Aquarium's staff has experience in collection, health monitoring, supportive care, transport and satellite tagging of these animals after decades of stranding work and the rehabilitation of multiple species of dolphins and porpoises here in New England.

The Aquarium has received many calls of support for the Gulf states from members of the New England community. Right now, potential volunteers are being directed to request volunteer information using the BP hotline: 866-448-5816.

As we have learned over the last several days, this is a rapidly developing situation. The Aquarium is participating in regional animal stranding meetings and staying in close contact with NOAA. There will likely be many more updates as the oil spill makes landfall. We expect that this will be a challenging time for our oceans, and for the animals that rely on a healthy Gulf environment.

The Aquarium's rescue team will be posting updates on their blog as they learn more about the coordinated response.

Dora Explores the Aquarium!

Dora, the endearing preschool explorer, is visiting the Aquarium on Saturday, May 8, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.! Come by the Aquarium Plaza to get your picture taken with this adventuresome tot. While you're here, explore the world through fish, seals and birds from all over the blue planet. Start planning your visit today!

Dora will be visiting the Aquarium during a break from Nickelodeon's Storytime Live! stage program, playing at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre Saturday, May 22, and Sunday, May 23. The Backyardigans, Wonder Pets! and The Monkey King adventurers join Dora in this musical, four-part adventure.

In a deal exclusively for Aquarium members, Nickelodeon is offering special discounts on tickets to this kid-approved performance. To buy one ticket and get one free, enter ADVENTURE when purchasing tickets through the Citi Center's ticketing page for special offers here (you must disable pop-up blockers to view page). Tickets are available for performances on May 22 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on May 23 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. In addition to online, tickets are also available at the box office or by calling 866-348-9738.

Nickelodeon's offer is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer or discount and cannot be applied to previously purchased tickets. All sales are final: No refunds or exchanges. There is an eight ticket limit on this event. As always, there are no service charges or handling fees when you purchase in person at the Citi Performing Arts Center Box Office. All ticket prices include a $3.00 Facility Fee.

Tribute to Mothers on the Greenway

Neon leaves are unfurling on trees and the lawns are waking up along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, right in front of the Aquarium. Honor a mother in your life on Saturday, May 8, from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. with a Tribute to Mothers on the Greenway. Step out on a brief walking tour highlighting the life of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and enjoy a special performance from the Boston Ballet and the Boston Ballet Orchestra. Throughout the day, moms can seek out a little pampering at massage stations and kids can skip through the fountains. Bask in the delights of springtime and celebrate Mother's Day with this free, all ages event.

Remember, the Aquarium is just a few steps away! Plan your trip to the Aquarium and say hello to our family of harbor seals, and the thousands of other animals on exhibit. We'll also have a very special guest: Dora the Explorer will be visiting the Aquarium Plaza between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.! Come by and get your picture taken with this endearing adventurer while she's in town for her new show Storytime Live! playing at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre on May 22 and 23.

Celebrate World Oceans Day at the Aquarium!

On Sunday, June 6, the Aquarium to celebrated World Oceans Day with free, family-friendly activities on the Harbor View Terrace between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

With a guess of 6,237 legos, Jeffrey B. won a raffle to see how many legos formed the Gorton's fisherman. The correct answer was 6,000.

Suzanne A. won the Dr. Seuss 50th Anniversary Edition One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and a painting from one of our harbor seals!

Attendees exchanged plastic grocery bags for reusable totes, thanks to our sponsors—Stop & Shop, Giant Food of Maryland and GIANT/MARTIN'S.

And additional activities included:
  • Special children's area with games and projects to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss's classic picture book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
  • A chance to test drive the Sea Perch, a real underwater robot
  • The fan-favorite bug matching game to teach about the creepy-crawly and amazing insects that live on the Boston Harbor Islands
  • A scavenger hunt with fun ways to learn important ocean facts
  • A creative outlet where families contributed to a community art project using discarded fishing gear, like nets and lobster pots
  • See just how gigantic whales can eat some of the tiniest creatures in the sea with a hands-on learning lab
  • Sustainable seafood cooking demonstration
  • Prizes and giveaways
  • And much more!
Aquarium educators will be out in full force, providing opportunities to touch, listen and learn about the sea. Bring your questions and find out how each of us can protect the oceans.

Additional participants included:
Stop & Shop
Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area
Catching Joy, Inc.
Charles River Watershed Association
Conservation Law Foundation
Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots
NOAA Fisheries Service
Pew Environment Group
Polar Beverages
Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy
Sailors for the Sea/MIT Sea Grant
Stellwagen Alive!
Warren Prescott School - Green Team, Oceanic Society,
WXRV The River 92.5 Radio

Thanks to our sponsor:


This event was free and open to the public.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Of corals and canaries

Aquarium researcher, Randi Rotjan, PhD, recently sat down with Jenny Attiyeh, host of ThoughtCast, to discuss a melange of marine research topics ranging from tube worms living around toasty thermal vents to moving day for hermit crabs. She even explains how some fish eat coral.

In Part I, Randi explains why corals are the backbone of underwater cities and act as the canary in the coal mine for the world's oceans. You'll also get information on those house-hunting crabs (get more in-depth information on hermit crabs' social networking here) as well as learn how bacteria are the key to tube worms living around heated underwater vents. Have a listen!

video platform
video management
video solutions
video player

Watch Part II to see Randi's show-and-tell on coral that's been eaten by fish, and learn a nifty new word to describe this process.

video platform
video management
video solutions
video player

Randi has traveled around the world to study corals, tube worms and hermit crabs, among many other topics. Learn more about her expeditions to Belize and Saudi Arabia on the Global Explorers Blog. If you were intrigued by Randi's stories from the Phoenix Islands, surf over to the Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA) Blog to see her stunning photos.