Profile: Aquarium of the Pacific

Home to more than 11,000 animals representing nearly 500 species, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, celebrates the planet’s largest and most diverse body of water: the Pacific Ocean. The Aquarium of the Pacific established in 1998 is a world-class aquarium, exploring the waters of Southern California and Baja, the Northern Pacific, and the Tropical Pacific. The Aquarium's mission is to instill a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems.

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Modeling Sustainability at the Aquarium

DURING ITS TWENTY-YEAR HISTORY, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, has sought not only to teach visitors to help protect the environment, but also to model sustainability in its own operations. While the number of Aquarium visitors has steadily increased and its facilities have expanded, energy usage has stayed at a constant level, water usage has been reduced by a third, and the facility’s carbon footprint has been cut by 25 percent.
The Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Sustainability

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Protecting Endangered Animals and Threatened Habitats

Conservation programs and exhibits that educate the public about threatened species and habitats have been a focus for the Aquarium since its inception.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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How to Adapt to Climate Change

We know that Earth’s climate is changing. In the future we can expect intense hurricane and wildfire seasons, prolonged CHANGING droughts, and coastal flooding. What can we do?
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Sustainability

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How Sustainable Seafood Can Help Mangroves

While mangroves do not take up a very large portion of our planet’s surface, they play a key role in protecting coastlines and providing economic value. Many fish and shellfish species that are sold commercially rely on mangroves as juveniles while they grow to adult size, then as adults for foraging.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Sustainability

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Mighty Mangroves: Coastal Protectors

Mangroves are critically important ecosystems for both marine life and people around the world—but they are rapidly disappearing.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Saving Birds in the Northern Marianas Islands

Conservation initiatives are an important part of the work we do at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Mammalogist Katie Finch traveled to Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands to participate in field work that benefits rare birds, and she’s here to tell us all about it.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Northern Pacific Tree Frogs

Although called tree frogs, Northern Pacific Tree Frogs are not usually tree climbers, preferring a ground habitat among shrubs or grasses near water. They do climb high vegetation. Their call is the most common frog vocalization heard in the regions they inhabit; in fact, their croaking rib-bit call sung by a chorus of frogs is the source of another common name, Pacific Chorus Frogs.
All photos Courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Garibaldi

The bright orange coloration of the garibaldi is the most distinctive of all fishes found on the California coast and they are sometimes erroneously called goldfish. We have a special permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Game to keep garibaldi, a protected fish in California.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Saving Leatherback Sea Turtles (Part 2)

To begin with Part 1, please click here.
Last week Senior Aquarist Lauren Harper told us about hatchery watch with The Leatherback Trust. This organization is based in Costa Rica and works to conserve the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle.
Today she shares her experience witnessing a leatherback sea turtle nesting. Lauren took the photo above of the sea turtle’s tracks to commemorate this life-changing moment. It has inspired her to raise awareness about issues affecting sea turtles.
The Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Eating More Sustainably in 2017, Parts 1 and 2

The world population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. In order to accommodate all the extra mouths to feed, food calorie production needs to increase by about 70 percent. We must find a way to meet the growing demand for food while contending with climate change and drought conditions and also addressing poverty and hunger. There are viable ways to increase food output without putting additional strain on our current resources.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Sustainability

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Meet Our Baby Giant Sea Bass!

Aquarist Nicole Leier has spent years researching how to successfully breed this species. After collecting more than 1,000 eggs, she successfully hatched the Aquarium’s first healthy giant sea bass. Nicky explains the challenges she faced along the way and what this may mean for this critically endangered species.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Saving Leatherback Sea Turtles (Part 1)

Earlier this year Senior Aquarist Lauren Harper went on an Earthwatch Expedition to Costa Rica. Every winter leatherback sea turtles migrate to the Playa Grande beach on the Pacific coast of this country to lay eggs.
Nathan Robinson and a team of scientists are conserving this critically endangered species through research, education, and advocacy. Lauren spent nine days working with leatherback and olive Ridley sea turtles. Today she will share her experience in the hatchery where she got to meet some baby sea turtles.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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How to Dispose of Batteries

There are lots of simple ways to make sure your home is Earth friendly. However, many people hit a stumbling block when it comes to the proper storage and disposal of household batteries. While rules vary from state to state, in California all batteries are considered hazardous waste and must be recycled or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility.

Category: Sustainability

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The Lives of Whales

Whales long migrations, rich social lives, and stunning acrobatics have fascinated us for millennia. Yet, there is still much to do to protect these creatures of the sea and ensure their survival, which is critical to maintaining balance in the ocean.

Category: Nature

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Balloonfish (Spiny Porcupine Fish)

The Aquarium of the Pacific is home to a new spot-fin porcupinefish! This pufferfish is housed in the Aquarium’s Gulf of California exhibit in the Southern California/Baja gallery on the second floor. The spot-fin porcupinefish was found near the Long Beach Breakwater by a local diver.
The Aquarium’s animal care staff determined that the fish, native to warmer tropical waters, would likely not survive in local waters as temperatures began to drop in winter and decided to adopt it. This species averages about 6 inches in length and is found in tropical waters around the world.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Seafood for the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to loosen our belts and get our bodies ready for large holiday dinners. If you’re looking for more excuses to eat this holiday season…or better yet…a feast that is good for you and good for the planet, we have five words for you: Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Food

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Storied Seafood: Vaquita Conservation

Mexican Fishermen Work to Save an Endangered Species
The Aquarium’s Seafood for the Future (SFF) program has launched a new series called Storied Seafood. The first edition tells the story of Mexican fishermen and their efforts to save the vaquita in the northern Gulf of California.
Fishermen working in this area can have the greatest, most immediate impact on the vaquita’s survival by using alternative fishing gear that does not harm vaquitas. The Storied Seafood website features profiles of and interviews with the fishermen, a timeline of vaquita conservation efforts, background information on the vaquita and its population decline, and an image gallery. The profiles and interviews are available in both English and Spanish language versions.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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The Dumbo Octopus

If you could look down - all the way down in the deepest parts of the ocean - you just might meet the rather amazing Grimpoteuthis spp, or as it's commonly called, the Dumbo Octopus.

Category: Nature

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Coral Reef Conservation: 2016 Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Event

In spring 2016 scientists found evidence of mass bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, resulting in the loss of up to half of the coral in the northern portion of the 1,400-mile-long reef.
The Aquarium of the Pacific
All images courtesy ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies / Terry Hughes

Category: Nature

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Preventing Extinctions

Understanding the threats endangered species face and lessons learned from the past can help us determine how best to avoid future extinctions.
What factors lead to a species being listed as endangered? Let's use the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Horses and Dragons and Vanishing Animals exhibits as a jumping-off point, and learn about the factors that cause extinctions and current threats to endangered species.
Aquarium of the Pacific

Category: Nature

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Whale Shark: Sir Fish!

Did you know? The Whale Shark is known as a deity in a Vietnamese religion! It is called CA Cong, which translates to “Sir Fish”!
Although the term ‘whale’ is used as part of the common name of this animal, it is not a mammal, it is a fish, a shark! ‘Whale’ is used as a description of the size of this shark, the largest fish that exists on Earth.
While its large size might suggest a dangerous animal, the whale shark is actually a gentle giant and will permit divers to approach it closely without exhibiting aggressive behavior. Learn more about these amazing animals!
Aquarium Of The Pacific

Category: Nature

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Blue Whale

The blue whale is believed to be the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth. But these amazing creatures are now endangered. Here you'll learn more about their diet (hint: they're really fussy), lifestyle, and conservation efforts.

Category: Nature

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Welcome to the Unseen Ocean!

Microscopic life abounds in the ocean, and is responsible for much of the activity that happens in the sea. Join us as we follow a research cruise to the Indian Ocean to learn more about their hidden lives.

Category: Nature

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Red Abalone: Haliotis rufescens

This species is currently on view in the Aquarium of the Pacific's new Vanishing Animals gallery, where exhibits highlight the human impacts on and extinctions of land animals throughout history, tell stories of recoveries from near-extinction, then show through live animal exhibits, multimedia and interactive displays, interpretive panels, and videos how we have the opportunity in the near future to avert a similar path in the ocean. Vanishing Animals will be open at the Aquarium through March 2017.

Category: Nature

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Southern California’s Urban Ocean

Southern California’s coast and ocean have all the ingredients to serve as a model for a sustainable relationship between humans and nature.

Category: Nature

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Vanishing Animals

Human impacts on nature have increased over time, but to date we have had more of an impact on land than in the ocean.
Success stories in which endangered species were brought back from the brink can inform conservation decisions.

Category: Nature

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Horses And Dragons

Seahorses and Seadragons have fascinated people throughout history and across time. Their bodies are intricately armored and appear adorned with fanciful appendages and even chameleon-like eyes. It is the fathers that not only incubate the eggs but even give birth. Myths and legends about these fanciful ocean-dwelling horses and dragons have been written across cultures, whether actually inspired by these intriguing sea creatures themselves, or mere fantastical inventions.
The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, opened an exhibition of seahorses, seadragons, and their relatives on May 2

Category: Nature

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The Drought’s Not Over! Continuing Water Conservation

It is important for Californians to continue to save water. Rainfall associated with El Niño is unlikely to end the drought.

Category: Nature

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Reports on the Gray Whale Migration

It's a busy time of year for migrating whales - over a thousand have been sighted, going north or south. This is only a small proportion of the entire migratory population, but they've presented us with some "spectacular" viewing opportunities!
This article combines excerpts from recent updates by the Aquarium’s whale watching blogger, Julien.

Category: Nature

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The Guam Kingfisher: Reason For Hope

The Guam Kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus), a native of the island of Guam, is now extinct in the wild.
It exists only in breeding programs in U.S. zoos and aquariums, and one on Guam. But there is reason to hope for these beautiful birds.

Category: Nature

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Horseshoe Crabs Changed Human Healthcare!

Did you know that every time you receive an injection or an IV, you should thank a horseshoe crab? These marine animals play an important role in human health care. A substance extracted from the blood of wild-caught horseshoe crabs is used to prepare a reagent to test vaccines, intravenous drugs and fluids, and implanted medical devices for bacterial contamination. If certain bacteria are present, a clot forms. The horseshoe crabs are tagged and returned to the wild. Individual horseshoe crabs are collected for blood donation once a year.

Category: Nature

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So. Cal. Steelhead: Endangered Fish Tells a Story

The lifecycle of the Southern California steelhead demonstrates how the ocean and land environments are connected—what we do on land affects the ocean and marine life. With an increasingly urbanized coast, the steelhead struggles to survive in the Southern California area.
Southern California is home to one of the world’s busiest, most densely populated urbanized coasts. Human infrastructure stretches from the ocean shore to the mountains, and migrating wildlife must find a way to negotiate travel along pathways that are now intersected by freeways, dams, concrete river channels, housing developments, and other manmade barriers. In addition, many wildlife habitats have been degraded by pollution and other factors. As people find ways to coexist with nature, humans have begun modifying infrastructure to accommodate the ecology and migratory behavior of wild animals.

Category: Nature

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2016 Top Food Trend: Seafood!

Consumers’ food interests and priorities are ever-evolving, especially with improvements in technology and changes in the economy, environment, and our social connectivity. The top food trends for 2016, which reflect these evolving priorities, have been released by market research firm Mintel, and the trends are looking great for seafood. Here are the top 12 emerging food trends for 2016, and how a seafood-rich diet can fit in!

Category: Food

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The Vaquita: The World's Most Endangered Porpoise

With fewer than 100 individuals left, the vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal, but has the potential for a hopeful future.

Category: Nature

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Rehabilitating Wild Sea Turtles

Here are a few stories of sea turtles rehabilitated at the Aquarium in recent years.

Category: Nature

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The Gray Whale Migration Has Begun

Every winter, gray whales swim southbound along the west coast of North America, past the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, on a migration that takes them from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to lagoons in Baja California, Mexico, where they give birth. In late winter and early spring, they head back north, giving whale watchers in Southern California two opportunities to spot these marine mammals making one of the animal kingdom’s longest migrations.

Category: Nature

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Sustainable Seafood: 3 Expert Tips!

Despite the multitude of health benefits of eating more seafood, Americans only eat 44 percent of the recommended amount of seafood, and less than 40 percent of it is eaten in the home. We'll help you pick sustainable choices, and even share some recipe tips to cook it yourself!

Category: Sustainability

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Jellies: Hypnotic and Fascinating

The ocean is home to many species of gelatinous animals, from sea jellies to comb jellies, as well as some tunicates, gastropods, and worms, which can all have translucent bodies similar to sea jellies.
Sea jellies are members of the phylum Cnidaria (pronounced nigh-DARE-ee-uh). Within this phylum is the class Scyphozoa, which includes the most familiar types of sea jellies, with bell-shaped bodies and tentacles or oral arms. This includes moon jellies, purple-striped jellies, Pacific sea nettles, and many other species.

Category: Nature

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Everything You Should Know About the Drought

Experts say water scarcity and a culture of conservation will be the new normal—and research and technology can help us evolve and prepare.

Category: Nature

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Understanding El Niño

El Niño is a global climate event that occurs at unpredictable intervals every few years, impacting weather around the world. The phenomenon gets its name, which is Spanish for “the Christ child,” from the time of year it occurs, usually in December around Christmas.

Category: Nature

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Japanese Sea Nettle

This jelly is often confused with Chrysaora melanaster which is much larger and found in the chilly Bering Sea waters. C.pacifica prefers sub-tropical waters 12-25°C (53.6-77°F), is much smaller, has a different coloring pattern on its bell, and more tentacles . When seen side by side, the differences between the two species is obvious in size, color, and bell markings.

Category: Nature

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Marine Life Endangerment and Extinction

It is part of the Aquarium’s mission to inspire people to become ocean stewards by making choices in their day-to-day lives that help protect the ocean and its inhabitants. Today human activity is threatening ocean health, shrinking ocean habitats and decreasing animal populations. However, human activity has caused more extinctions of land-based species and fewer in the ocean. By acting quickly we may be able to halt this trend and avoid ocean extinctions of the scale we’ve already seen on land.

Category: Nature

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