Oregon Coast Aquarium staff and volunteer divers had a trashy afternoon on Saturday, June 8 when they plunged into Yaquina Bay to clean up the underwater landscape surrounding Port Dock 1 on Newport’s Historic Bayfront. The divers worked in shifts over the course of the afternoon to haul marine debris out of the water. By the time they climbed back on deck and pulled off their thermal dry suits, a pile of trash measuring over six feet high and weighing approximately 300 pounds had been removed from the seafloor.
Dive Safety Officer Vallorie Hodges described the cleanup as challenging, “Cold water, low visibility and physical exertion is standard for these dives. Also, pulling objects out of the soft substrate bottom results in zero visibility and a slime layer over our gear, but all the divers believe the effort is worthwhile to make Yaquina Bay a bit cleaner.” The team selected the site because it is important habitat for local wildlife and popular with Newport residents and visitors. Continue reading
The Oregon Coast Aquarium will team up with marine conservation groups around the planet to celebrate World Oceans Day on Saturday, June 8. The event is a United Nations designated day for ocean celebration held to encourage people to take action to protect the world’s oceans. The theme for 2013 and 2014 is “Together we have the power to protect the ocean!” This is intended to call people to celebrate and strive to create the future they want to see for the ocean that provides for billions of people and countless plants and animals.
The Aquarium is scheduling special activities to commemorate World Oceans Day including interactive education presentations, a fish dissection and SCUBA diving presentations in the Aquarium’s Passages of the Deep and Oregon Kelp Forest exhibits. Ocean Discovery Stations will provide visitors the opportunity to learn what sea otter fur feels like and how many teeth sharks have. Stations set up by the Aquarium’s partners in ocean conservation, like the NOAA National Marine Fisheries and the Fishermen’s Wives, will offer the opportunity for guests to learn these organizations’ unique perspectives on how the ocean plays a role in peoples’ daily lives, and the best ways to protect its future. Continue reading
Home to the “Best shore dive on the Oregon coast,” it seems natural that the Oregon Coast Aquarium earned the honor of hosting the 2013 Our World Underwater Scholarship Society and American Academy of Scientific Diving intern. The intern, Teresa Tymon, is a recent marine science graduate with an emphasis in biological oceanography from the University of South Carolina. She brings science diving experience to the Aquarium from her time as a research assistant in Indonesia where she helped conduct marine biodiversity research.
Tymon explained she applied to the internship because she is, “particularly interested in the medical potential of marine organisms and plans to pursue a PhD in the field of marine biomedicine. Scuba diving is likely to be an integral part of my career and I am eager to expand upon my diving skills.”
During her summer at the Aquarium, Tymon will work on two field research projects. The Invasive Species project monitors and reports invasive species, including those from the Western Pacific that are crossing the ocean on tsunami debris. The project is a partnership between the Aquarium, the US Forest Service Pacific NW Region 6, the US Forest Service Pacific NW Research Station, the Oregon Invasive Species Council, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tymon will also help the Aquarium conduct surveys on rockfish distribution and abundance using underwater communication and video equipment in cooperation with the Seattle Aquarium. Continue reading
Preschoolers plop onto stuffed sea creatures or climb into parents’ laps as they settle in for Aquatots in the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s theatre. A volunteer reads A House for a Hermit Crab, by Eric Carle, and periodically pauses to let rambunctious kids add the decorations described in the story to a hermit crab puppet’s shell. Once the story ends, the kids are called to the front to meet two live hermit crabs.
The hermit crabs were shy at first; it took careful coaxing to convince them to peek out of their shells. The emergence of a leg or claw elicited squeals of delight from the children gathered around them. Lucy, who attended Aquatots with her grandmother, said this program was her favorite so far, “I liked the hermit crabs because I got to look at them for real.”
The session ended with the crayons and bins full of stickers for kids to decorate their own paper hermit crab shell. Some dedicated a great deal of attention to their art, others were busy playing in the costumes and stuffed animal pit in the Aquarium’s theatre. This unstructured play is exactly what the Aquarium hoped to encourage when the staff decided to convert the theatre to a play area as a part of The Sea & Me exhibit. Continue reading
The Oregon Coast Aquarium will dive into summer head first with an action packed Memorial Day weekend for the whole family to enjoy. The fun begins early with the Flippers, Fins and Feathers 5k at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 25. Racers will enjoy a walk or run along the estuary and through the Aquarium to the finish line. Upon finishing the racers will receive free entry to the Aquarium for the day. Healthy refreshments and facts about native wildlife will also be provided to start a day of marine science off right.
Music will float through the air when Radio Disney rocks with the Aquarium’s sea creatures on May 25 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Families that participate will have the opportunity to win prizes while they dance and play games with the Radio Disney crew! The Aquarium will also celebrate the arrival of summer by adding an extra sea lion feeding in the newly remodeled Pinniped Exhibit to give visitors more opportunities to meet seals and sea lions like Candy, Lea and Quill. Max, a male California sea lion, will turn 23 on May 20 and the Aquarium will host a pool party to celebrate, complete with a fish-filled ice cake, on Sunday, May 26.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting May 25. For more information about the Aquarium and the marine education experiences it offers call 541-867-3474 or visit www.aquarium.org.