Subject: New England Aquarium Seabits 2.7 (fwd)

mike williamson (
Sun, 5 Jul 1998 08:34:34 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998 09:04:40 -0400
To: Seabits <>
Subject: New England Aquarium Seabits 2.7

New England Aquarium Monthly e-mail Newsletter
Volume 2, Issue 7, July, 1998
Copyright, New England Aquarium, 1998.
Greetings from Central Wharf, Boston, where Harborfest is in full swing
through July 5. Hundreds of activities are planned all over the waterfront,
featuring fireworks over Boston Harbor on July 2 at 9 P.M. CPR (David
Crosby's new band) and Charlie Hunt and the Search Party (a really swinging
calypso band) will be at the New England Aquarium on Thursday night, July
2, 7-11 p.m. for our Harbor Heat Wave party. Tickets are $35, and may be
purchased 'til showtime at the New England Aquarium Whale Watch Booth.

In this issue:
 Watery Words
 A Tribute to John Prescott, Late Director Emeritus
  - High-Tech Turtle Tracking in the Tropics
  - Notes from the Calving Ground: Right Whales 1998
 Outward Bound for Boston Harbor
 Travel Opportunities
 THURSDAY NIGHT: David Crobsy to Perform at Aquarium Harbor Heat Wave
 July Calendar
 Subscribe/Unsubscribe Information
 Contact Us

=-=-= WATERY WORDS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"We do not associate the idea of antiquity with the ocean, nor wonder how
it looked a thousand years ago, as we do of the land, for it was equally
wild and unfathomable always... The ocean is a wilderness reaching round
the globe, wilder than a Bengal jungle..."

                                  --Henry David Thoreau, "Cape Cod"

New England Aquarium officials are sad to announce that John Prescott,
Director Emeritus, passed away at his home Tuesday morning, June 30. Mr.
Prescott had been suffering from a long illness. He was 63.

As executive director of the New England Aquarium from 1972 to 1994, John
Prescott of Weston, MA was the guiding force that transformed the
institution from a Boston waterfront attraction to a world class
institution in education, research and conservation, establishing the
paradigm for aquariums around the world. Mr. Prescott was frequently called
upon to advise on the development of new aquariums around the world,
including, most recently, the Biosphere in Arizona.

Mr. Prescott's achievements were recently recognized when he was awarded
the Marlin Perkins Award for Professional Excellence, the American Zoo and
Aquarium Association's highest honor, for his contributions to husbandry,
zoological display, research, conservation and public education. He was
well known internationally for his significant contributions to the broader
field of zoological conservation and research. Among his many
accomplishments, he is credited with being the first to document the
existence of dolphin sonar or echolocation, with colleague Ken Norris. His
work in establishing a marine animal rescue and rehabilitation program at
the New England Aquarium helped pave the way for many similar rescue
programs in the United States today.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the John H. Prescott Fund,
c/o The New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA, 02110.

=-=-= STORIES =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
This month's stories:
 1) High-Tech Turtle Tracking in the Tropics
 2) Notes from the Calving Ground: Right Whales 1998

------ HIGH-TECH TURTLE TRACKING IN THE TROPICS ---------------------------
Early last month, Dr. Molly Lutcavage of the New England Aquarium spent a
few days on a remote tropical beach. But this was no vacation: Molly was
there with her colleague Sam Sadove, Research Associate at the Long Island
University Southampton College and Chief Scientist at Tradewinds
Environmental, in search of some important and as-yet-unknown information
about the travels of the endangered leatherback turtle. They were there to
attach a satellite tag to a leatherback sea turtle during breeding season,
the only time leatherbacks come ashore.

On Sunday, June 7, on the island of Culebra (off the coast of Puerto Rico),
Molly and Sam attached a satellite tag to a nesting female leatherback sea
turtle. They used a brand new attachment method, utilizing a bone anchor
screw to implant a tiny biodegradable screw, threaded with suture material,
through the leatherback's shell into the tissue beneath. The sutures fasten
a cell-phone-sized satellite transmitter to the top of the turtle's shell.
The screw disolves after a few weeks, and the sutures continue to hold the
tag in place.

As their name suggests, leatherback turtle shells are rubbery and oily.
Attaching tags to leatherbacks is a challenge. Adhesive material does not
work on the shells of leatherbacks, so custom-fitted harness backpacks were
developed. But using these is only feasible at nesting time when
researchers can get close to the turtles, and can spend time fitting each

Dr. Lutcavage's research is aimed at following leatherbacks in the open
ocean and will lead to understanding how their migration paths intersect
with fishing areas. "If we understand more about leatherback migration
routes, we can figure out where they're most vulnerable." The work will
help regulators design management programs to protect them most

Droplet: Leatherbacks are the world's largest sea turtle. They can grow to
10 feet and weigh more than 1,500 pounds. Declines in leatherback turtle
populations are attributed to a number of factors, including loss of
nesting habitat, poaching of nests, deaths due to ingestion of marine
debris, ship strikes, and entanglement and drowning in fishing gear.

------ NOTES FROM THE CALVING GROUND: 1998 --------------------------------
by Chris Slay, New England Aquarium Right Whale Researcher

As part of its North Atlantic Right Whale Research Project, the New England
Aquarium has been flying aerial surveys off the coast of the southeastern
U.S. since 1984. Over the years it has become apparent that the survival of
the right whale species is inextricably connected to this coastline,
especially the coastal waters between Brunswick, GA and St. Augustine, FL.
In these waters, the few whales born into this population each year will
spend their first weeks alongside their mothers, nursing and discovering
the world.

Unfortunately, the imperatives of international commerce and national
defense guarantee a steady stream of ship traffic through the calving
ground. And collisions with large vessels kill more right whales than any
other documented cause of mortality. Right whales have not evolved defenses
against the fast, giant hulls with which they share the sea and don't
always detect and react to approaching vessels. Minimizing this problem is
one of the best ways to save the 300 right whales remaining in the world

To address this hazard to right whales, the Army Corps of Engineers, the
Coast Guard, the Navy, and the National Marine Fisheries Service have
funded New England Aquarium Early Warning System (EWS) aerial surveys. We
fly these surveys daily, weather permitting, from December through March,
covering over 1000 square miles of ocean. Right whale locations are radioed
to commercial and military ship traffic controllers, and are relayed to the
vessels in the area so that course and speed changes may be made as needed
to avoid whales.

The EWS team flew 83 complete surveys this winter. Our team had 44 right
whale sightings for the season, 26 of which were of non-calving whales.
Unfortunately, there were very few calves born into the population. Only
five mothers were identified from the dozens of sightings documented.
Fortunately no right whales were known to have been shipstruck in the
calving grounds this year. That's two years in a row without a
shipping-related mortality in the southeast. Perhaps the efforts of the
survey team, commercial shipping and the Navy are paying off.

Perhaps one of the most valuable products of this work to date is the
awareness generated throughout the maritime community about whales in these
waters. And this effect has spread beyond the folks who make a living at
sea. Through the educational initiatives of the state agencies, the EWS
team and the Navy, the right whale has become a familiar winter resident
along the coast of Georgia and Florida. There was a time when the mention
of right whales usually met with the response, "white whales?" or "you
study wells?" Now we receive numerous reports of whales from the operators
of military and commercial vessels, local fishermen, and even an organized
network of beach-side condominium dwellers.

If the progress being made in the southeast can keep pace with other, more
ubiquitous, forms of "progress," the right whale may continue to have a
viable place to calve.

Droplet: You can keep up-to-date on the efforts of the New England
Aquarium's right whale team by subscribing to the Right Whale Newsletter
for $15/year. You also can adopt a whale of your own! Call (617) 973-6582.

=-=-= OUT ON THE NET =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
For additional information, you might want to check out the following
websites. Some of these links represent partners in aquatic conservation
and animal husbandry; others are simply resources we think may help you
enrich your perspective on our watery world. By listing these websites, the
New England Aquarium is not automatically endorsing or verifying the
accuracy of their content unless explicitly stated.

Leatherback Turtles

Right Whale Early Warning Systems

=-=-= OUTWARD BOUND FOR BOSTON HARBOR =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
The New England Aquarium has teamed up with the Thompson Island Outward
Bound Education Center to offer this 14-day, one-of-a-kind environmental
adventure program for high school students.  It provides a unique
opportunity for students to investigate the marine environment of Boston
Harbor and Massachusetts Bay aboard U.S. Coast Guard-approved sailing boats
and research vessels.

Participants will explore the diverse habitats and wildlife of the harbor,
the effects of water and weather on the harbor and the many uses of ocean
resources. Hands-on science and behind the scenes field trips are
interwoven with seamanship and navigation, rope courses, camping and
sailing expeditions to create the only Outward Bound program designed for
students interested in studying environmental issues and leadership.

The two-week program is offered July 7-20, July 15-28, August 3-16 and
August 11-24. Tuition is $1,500 and includes room, board and all program
expenses. Financial aid is available on a first-come, first-served basis,
and is dependent on financial need. For more information and a free
brochure, call Thompson Island Outward Bound Educational Center at (617)
328-3900, ext. 15.

=-=-= THIS MONTH'S TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Kayak Trips, July 26 - Charles River; Aug. 22 - Plum Island, Ipswich
Boston Harbor Island Camping, July 18-19 or Aug. 15-16
Galapagos Islands, August 21, 1998
South Africa, October 3-18, 1998

More information is available online at <>.

Register by calling (617) 973-6562, or sending email to <>.

CPR (David Crosby's new band) and Charlie Hunt and the Search Party (a
really swinging calypso band) will be at the New England Aquarium on
Thursday night, July 2, 7-11 p.m. for our Harbor Heat Wave party. It is a
joint event with WBOS-FM radio. The evening features great live music,
access to the Aquarium's exhibits, tasty tidbits provided by Legal Sea
Foods C-Bar (snacks with a Caribbean twist), and a full cash bar. Proceeds
support the Aquarium's conservation, education and research projects. And
if that isn't enough, we should also have limited viewing Harborfest

General tickets are $35.00 apiece ... but tickets to the private reception
with David Crosby cost $75 apiece. Tickets are available by calling ext.
5206 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) ... or stop by the Whale Watch Booth between the hours
of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to get tickets in person and avoid the service charge
($2.00 per ticket). Walk-up tickets are available, as supplies last, until

=-=-= JULY CALENDAR =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Saturday, July 11, 9:30 A.M.
 Whale Tales Preschool Explorers Class: This program combines a story about
the sea and the creatures living there with an art project, a related
activity or a close look at a live animal. Recommended for ages 3-5.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. $4.00 per child for members;
$8.00 plus admission fee per child for nonmembers. Additional admission
fees required for nonmember adults. Call (617) 973-5206 to register.

Sunday, July 12, 2:00 P.M. or 3:00 P.M.
 Behind the Scenes Tour: Take a peek behind the scenes in one of our
galleries! Recommended for ages 6 and older. Children must be accompanied
by an adult. $5.00 per person for members; $10.00 plus admission fee for
nonmembers. Call (617) 973-5206 to register.

Wednesday, July 15, 9:15 A.M.
 The Invisible Aquarium Tour: Many of the animals in the Aquarium are
difficult to see or find. It may be that you don't even know they're there!
Camouflage and hiding help animals escape hungry predators. Visit the
animals that are just about invisible to most of our visitors. For ages 6
and older. Tour fees are $4.00 per person for members. $8.00 per person
plus admission fee for nonmembers. Children must be accompanied by an
adult. Call (617) 973-5206 to register.

Saturday, July 18, 10:00 A.M. - Noon
 Tidepool Trek at Chandler Hovey State Park, Marblehead, MA: With field
guides, microscopes, and magnifying boxes, find out what lives in
tidepools, learn how to identify marine life, and see how these animals
have adapted to live in their turbulent tidal world. For ages 6 and older.
$6.00 per person for members; $12.00 per person for nonmembers. Nonmember
price does not include Aquarium admission. Call (617) 973-5206 to register.
Directions are mailed to all registrants.

Saturday, July 25, 9:30 A.M.
 More Whale Tales Preschool Explorers Class: This program combines a story
about the sea and the creatures living there with an art project, a related
activity or a close look at a live animal. Recommended for ages 3-5.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. $4.00 per child for members;
$8.00 plus admission fee per child for nonmembers. Additional admission
fees required for nonmember adults. Call (617) 973-5206 to register.

=-=-= CORRECTIONS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Last month's purveyor of pithy piscean platitude was misnamed... we said
that the orator of Watery Words was Alfred Ausbel. Actually, the eloquent
one was Jesse Ausbel.

=-=-= SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE INFORMATION =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
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OR send e-mail to <>. In the body of your email message
write "subscribe seabits" (without the quotes).

To unsubscribe to Seabits, send email to <>. In the body
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=-=-= CONTACT US =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Content questions and comments? Contact Susan Gedutis at <>.

Technical questions and comments? Contact Bruce Wyman at <>.

=-=-= THAT'S ALL FOLKS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Summer's in full swing. Enjoy the July 4th Weekend!