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Thar She Blows: Birch Aquarium launches 13th season of whale watching

Gray Whale Migration Map

by Audrey Evans, Birch Aquarium whale watching coordinator

December 26 marked the start of Birch Aquarium’s 13th season of whale watching with Flagship–San Diego Harbor Excursion. Aquarium naturalists and volunteers will be out on the open ocean twice per day through April 14, searching for whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds and [...]

Seadragons, Part 4: The Importance of this Trip

By Leslee Matsushige, aquarium co-curator

Each day I’m in Australia, I realize just how important this trip is for Birch Aquarium at Scripps and for me, personally.

Our aquarists have learned a great deal about caring for seadragons over the past several years, but nothing can compare to the experience of seeing the animals in their [...]

Seadragons, Part 2: Diving in Sydney

By Leslee Matsushige, aquarium co-curator

Hello from Down Under!

Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor Greg Rouse and I arrived in Sydney on April 25 to a very windy day. We met up with  Nerida Wilson, a research scientist at the Australian Museum who’s also a Scripps research associate. Nerida has been studying seadragon biology with Greg [...]

Seadragons, Part 1: Traveling ‘Down Under’ to Study Seadragons

Leafy seadragon

By Leslee Matsushige, Birch Aquarium co-curator

“I never knew a fish like this existed!”

We often hear comments like this from visitors standing in front of our seadragon tanks. These remarkable fish – relatives of seahorses – are beautifully colored with leaf-shaped appendages that help them blend into their native Australian waters.

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Update: Wolf-eel Eggs

Our wolf-eel eggs continue to thrive. Each week, our aquarists take photos of the developing eggs to track their development.

Week 5: Note the long tail running just below and to the left of the yolk. You can also see a pair of blood vessels that fork out from below the head toward the perimeter [...]

Whale Watching Report #2

By Caitlin Scully, naturalist

The past week on the Marietta was as eventful as ever.

Southbound gray whales are still making their way toward their birthing and breeding lagoons in Baja California. Some days we’ve seen nearly 20 whales! Most are traveling individually, though some groups have been observed.

Seeing calves is always a highlight, [...]

Whale Watching Report #1

Photo by Caitlin Scully

By Caitlin Scully, naturalist

This year’s whale season has begun exceptionally well. Each day we have seen a consistent flow of southbound gray whales. They are not just migrating; we’ve seen them mating, interacting with dolphins, spy hopping, and even breaching!

Our coastal waters have been teeming with marine mammals. [...]