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porthole view of the ocean
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Porthole view of the ocean.  Photo credit: NEFSC/NOAA.
ea polyp
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A polyp form of Cassiopea, known as the upside down jellyfish, from a culture in Allen Collin's lab.  The jelly rests its head on the bottom and extends its tentacles up into the water column to capture food and absorb sunlight. The animal lives in shallow, tropical coastal waters and can grow to 12 inches in diameter. Photo credit: Allen Collins, NOAA.
Nausithoe medusa
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Another cnidarian, a medusa in the family Nausithoe, recently photographed in Bonaire.  Photo credit: Allen Collins, NOAA.

June 4, 2015
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

NEFSC Scientists to Participate in World Oceans Day Celebration June 7 and 8

Staff from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Woods Hole Laboratory and the National Systematics Laboratory (NSL) will participate in World Oceans Day events June 7 and 8 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. 

Sea turtle researcher Heather Haas and educator Grace Simpkins from the NEFSC’s Protected Species Branch will join former NOAA Teachers at Sea Stacey Klimkosky and Megan O'Leary from the Truro Central School in Truro, Mass., at several events at the Natural History Museum's Q?rius Education Center, where hands-on activities and citizen science opportunities will be located. The group will present information about the Teacher at Sea program and the research being done at NEFSC on sea turtles, whales and other protected marine species and share ways the public can help protect endangered species and the ocean environment. Visitors will have a chance to touch sperm whale teeth, baleen from various whale species, sea turtle shells, and other artifacts as well as participate in activities.

Zoologist Allen Collins from NOAA Fisheries’ National Systematics Laboratory (NSL), which is located at the Museum of Natural History, will explore some of California marine biologist Edward Ricketts’s specimens housed at the museum with filmmaker Mary and Steve Alpert.  Visitors will first watch the film,”The Great Tidepool,” which tells the story of Ed Ricketts’ scientific system and his quest to understand how everything  is connected. 

In a separate event, visitors will be able to learn about jellyfish and benthic polyps of the phylum Cnidaria with Collins and his lab. Collins and his collaborators will have live jellyfish and kin on display and allow the public to see them feed, capturing prey with their stinging cells.

Visitors will also get a chance to see underwater specimens of squids, octopuses, and other cephalopods and watch underwater footage with NSL Director Mike Vecchione. 

World Oceans Day was introduced in 1992 to raise awareness of the role of ocean plays in our lives and the challenges humanity faces to protect the oceans of the world.   It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008 and is observed on June 8 each year.

The theme for the 2015 World Oceans Day celebration is healthy oceans, healthy planet.  Events are planned around the world to celebrate the importance and role of the ocean in daily life. 

The New England Aquarium in Boston is also hosting a World Oceans Day event June 7 featuring hands-on activities, seafood cooking demos and tastings, and career information.  NOAA Fisheries and the NOAA Marine Debris Program are participating partners in the event, which is free and open to the public.

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