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May 31, 2016

Seattle Aquarium Staff Selected to Explore the Ocean Aboard Titanic Shipwreck Discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard's Exploration Vessel Nautilus

Educators and students participate in groundbreaking STEM initiative exploring deep-sea biology, geology, and archaeology in the Eastern Pacific

(Seattle, WA)-Lindsay Holladay from the Seattle Aquarium has been selected as a 2016 Science Communication Fellow and will sail aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus during its 2016 expedition. Lindsay will join the Corps of Exploration aboard E/V Nautilus in June as they explore the Cascadia Margin to locate a WWII-era wreck, map unknown methane seeps, and explore areas off the Washington and Oregon coast that have never before been seen by human eyes.

Seventeen educators and 22 students from around the world have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to participate at sea during the 2016 Nautilus Exploration Program expedition. OET, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Robert Ballard in 2008, has the mission to explore the ocean, seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology, physics and chemistry while pushing the boundaries of STEM education and technological innovation. The selected educators and students hail from schools, universities, after-school programs, science centers, aquaria and nonprofit organizations in 20 states in the US and Australia. They will join the Nautilus Corps of Exploration during sea-going expeditions from May through September in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Lindsay says, “I’m thrilled to be part of the team exploring our local Cascadia Margin, the geologically active and mineral-rich zone around our colliding tectonic plates. I hope my role will help bridge viewers from around the world to the cutting-edge science occurring thousands of meters below the surface.”

As members of the Corps of Exploration, educators and students will stand watch alongside scientists and engineers, as well as participate in live interactions with shore-based audiences via Nautilus Live, a 24-hour web portal bringing expeditions from the field to future explorers on shore via telepresence technology at www.nautiluslive.org and via social media.

OET promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education around the world using the excitement of exploration and innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. In 2014, OET began targeting its suite of education and outreach programs to specific communities through an exciting new initiative, the Community STEM Program (CSP). The CSP allows partner communities to engage community members in all of the educational programs OET offers, which are designed to guide young students to early career professionals and educators through a series of programs focused on STEM fields and vocations, increasing the impact the programs can have in any individual location. OET’s focus on the CSP represents a new approach that forges relationships across community partners with the common goal of increasing STEM literacy and proficiency.

“One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to inspire the next generation of explorers in STEM fields,” said OET Vice President of Education, Outreach and Communications Alison Fundis, adding, “We are very excited to provide educators and students with the direct experience of ocean exploration, while allowing them the opportunity to share that experience with their peers around the world.”

The 2016 Science Communication Fellowship, an initiative of OET, will bring together 17 formal and informal educators from around the world as a part of the Nautilus Corps of Exploration. Fellows are charged with the responsibility of engaging students and the public in the wonders of ocean exploration and sharing discoveries from the 2016 mission as well as aspects of daily life aboard a working exploration vessel. Fellows receive four days of intensive training at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, and then spend two to three weeks aboard E/V Nautilus between the months of May and September as it explores the Eastern Pacific Ocean. An equally important aspect of the program is for fellows to bring the expedition and excitement of ocean exploration back to their home communities after they have returned from sea by incorporating their experience into classroom lesson plans, community presentation events, and through informal educational opportunities.

“We’re excited for Lindsay’s participation in the Nautilus cruise and even more excited for her to bring what she’s learned back to our students and visitors,” said Jim Wharton, director of conservation and education at the Seattle Aquarium.

Lindsay will participate in live audio commentary and question-and-answer sessions through the Nautilus Live website (NautilusLive.org) while aboard the ship; she will also engage events and activities upon her return. Global audiences can tune in to the website, Facebook or Instagram at NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus to follow their expedition. **The Seattle Aquarium will host a live interactive program with Lindsay on World Oceans Day, Wednesday, June 8 at 10:30am.

About the Ocean Exploration Trust
The Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to explore the ocean, seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history and archaeology while pushing the boundaries of STEM education and technological innovation. The international program is launched from aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, offering live exploration to participants on shore and the public via live video, audio and data feeds. The major 2016 expedition and education sponsors are the NOAA Office of Exploration & Research, the Office of Naval Research, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the University of Rhode Island, CITGO, and additional private donors. Follow us online at nautiluslive.org, on Facebook and Instagram at NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus.

About the Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is one of Washington State’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions, and the region’s gathering place for discussion and sharing information about marine conservation. It maintains a number of research initiatives in cooperation with federal, state, zoological and university partners. The Aquarium is located on Pier 59, at 1483 Alaskan Way.

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Contact:
Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345
t.kuniholm@seattleaquarium.org


May 31, 2016

Calendar Advisory:
Kick off summer fun at the Seattle Aquarium and on local beaches!

Meet us at the beach! 2016 summer Beach Naturalist program
Join trained volunteers and explore our local beaches and the amazing animals that live there! Beach naturalists will be stationed at 12 different beaches on low-tide days throughout the summer. Visit SeattleAquarium.org/beach-naturalist for dates, times, locations and driving directions.

World Ocean Weekend, June 11–12:
Celebrate the world’s one big ocean with us and learn to be an ocean hero! Everyone, no matter where they live, can help keep the ocean clean and healthy. We'll show you how with a variety of hands-on activities and special demonstrations. We’ll also have a special show featuring Captain Barnacles and Kwazii Kitten—Octonauts: To Your Stations!

Hours/prices at the Aquarium:
The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am to 5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm. Admission fees (as of June 1, 2016): Adults $24.95; Youth (4–12) $16.95; Children 3 and under are admitted free.

On the web: SeattleAquarium.org
On Facebook: facebook.com/Aquarium.Seattle
On Twitter: twitter.com/SeattleAquarium.

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Contact:
Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345
t.kuniholm@seattleaquarium.org


March 31, 2016

Virginia Mason partners with Seattle Aquarium to provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy for rescued sea turtle


Tucker, sea turtle receives treatment at Virginia MasonSEATTLE—A rescued sea turtle undergoing rehabilitation at the Seattle Aquarium became the first nonhuman treated in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at Virginia Mason Hospital earlier this week when medical experts and marine wildlife veterinarians collaborated in an effort to compress internal gas bubbles that prevent the reptile from diving or remaining under water.

The 70-pound olive ridley sea turtle, named Tucker by aquarium staff who have cared for him since December, is undergoing tests at the Seattle Aquarium this week to determine if hyperbaric therapy—which involved breathing 100 percent oxygen for about 2 ½ hours—corrected his buoyancy problem. The turtle cannot be safely released back into the Pacific Ocean until he is able to dive normally, which is important for him to find food and avoid predators and other threats, such as boats.

While at the Virginia Mason Center for Hyperbaric Medicine on Monday, the 20-year-old turtle was closely monitored by a team of experts that included Seattle Aquarium veterinarian Lesanna Lahner, DVM, MPH, and James Holm, MD, medical director at the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. Drs. Lahner and Holm, and hyperbaric nurse Alyson Barger, RN, were inside the hyperbaric chamber with Tucker from the start of therapy through completion. The turtle was watched closely with a heart monitor and assisted with breathing via a tube in his airway. He was provided sedation and tolerated the treatment well.

"We are honored that the Seattle Aquarium team contacted us about using hyperbaric oxygen as a possible treatment to help Tucker on his road to recovery,” said Dr. Holm, who is board-certified in undersea and hyperbaric medicine and has been a scuba diver for 40 years. “We have treated many scuba divers over the years for a gas bubble disease known as decompression sickness, which is also called ‘the bends.’ This is the first time we have been asked to assist in the care of a sea turtle, which are excellent divers themselves.”

Hyperbaric oxygen has been tested as a treatment for decompression-like sickness in sea turtles, according to a study from Spain published in the October 2014 edition of Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. But this is believed to be the first time the therapy has been used for a sea turtle in the United States with Tucker’s specific ailment.

During treatment sessions, the hyperbaric chamber is pressurized with air to about three times the normal atmospheric pressure. Patients breathe 100 percent oxygen, enabling their blood to carry up to 15 times the normal amount of oxygen to organs and tissues. This can help “crush” bubbles, as well as provide high tissue oxygen levels to restore normal tissue function.

In December, Tucker was found stranded and near death on the Oregon Coast far from his usual warm-water Pacific Ocean habitat off Southern California and Mexico. He has been undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at the Seattle Aquarium to correct the effects of severe pneumonia. Hand-fed and nurtured by the aquarium staff, the turtle has regained weight and a normal body temperature. However, a CT (computerized tomography) scan showed gas bubbles may be trapped in his body, making him too buoyant to dive successfully and find food on his own in the wild.

“I am thrilled that Virginia Mason and its amazing team were willing to bring Tucker the sea turtle into the hyperbaric chamber,” said Lahner. “Not only will the treatment potentially help him to be released back into the wild, but it has provided us valuable information about the diving physiology of sea turtles as we were able to closely monitor his vitals and blood gases throughout the entire procedure.

“This has been an exciting collaboration of veterinary medicine and human health care providers,” she added.

Virginia Mason is the region’s leading provider of hyperbaric oxygen treatment for conditions such as carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression sickness, a potentially life-threatening hazard of scuba diving. Its Level 1, 24-hour hyperbaric medicine program is one of the few in the United States accredited “with distinction” by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.

In addition to decompression sickness and carbon monoxide poisoning, the Virginia Mason Center for Hyperbaric Medicine treats medical conditions such as diabetic wounds and tissue damaged by radiation during cancer therapy. “Treatment of radiation tissue injury is our most common indication,” Dr. Holm said. “The condition requires multiple treatments and has excellent outcomes.”

The center provides about 8,000 hours of patient treatment annually. The tube-shaped hyperbaric oxygen chamber, measuring 10 feet wide and 46 feet long, can accommodate as many as 16 human patients at one time.

The Center for Hyperbaric Medicine was established more than 40 years ago and has been in its current location at Virginia Mason Hospital since 2005. The program’s medical staff members have published nearly 100 articles about hyperbaric medicine in a variety of medical journals.

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Media Contacts:
Gale Robinette
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509
gale.robinette@VirginiaMason.org

Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345
t.kuniholm@seattleaquarium.org


March 9, 2016

Media Advisory
Marine Mammal Mania & more spring excitement coming to Seattle Aquarium!

 

WHEN:
Marine Mammal Mania: April 2–3, 9–10, 16–17, 23–24
May Day: May 1
GiveBig: May 3
Mother’s Day: May 8
Endangered Species Day: May 15
Family Science Weekend: May 28–30

WHERE:
Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle, WA

WHAT:
Spring is coming, and that means Marine Mammal Mania is coming to Seattle! Join the Aquarium every full weekend in April to celebrate some of the biggest and brightest stars of the sea. Kids and adults alike will enjoy hands-on activities while discovering more about these wonderful animals.

The fun continues in May with May Days at the Aquarium. Join us throughout the month for May Day, a celebration for moms, and Family Science Weekend.

  • May 1: The original May Day with a marine twist! The Aquarium’s marine mammals will receive treats of flower-shaped ice toys!
  • May 3: The Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG—a chance to have your donations to the Seattle Aquarium go further. Visit SeattleAquarium.org for a link to donate to GiveBIG!
  • May 8: Mother’s Day at the Aquarium—celebrate moms of all types: animal and human.
  • May 15: Endangered Species Day—join us on social media and at the Aquarium to learn more about endangered animals.
  • May 28–30: Family Science Weekend: Family Science Weekend. Learn about science and research taking place at the Seattle Aquarium with hands-on activities, special talks and demonstrations that will help the whole family discover science in a fun way. Meet us at the beach!

2016 summer Beach Naturalist program begins May 23.
Join trained volunteers and explore the beach with us! Find details at SeattleAquarium.org/beach-naturalist, including beaches, dates, times and driving directions.

Hours/prices at the Aquarium:
The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am to 5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm. Admission fees: Adults $22.95; youth (4-12) $15.95; children 3 and under are admitted free.

On the web: SeattleAquarium.org
On Facebook: facebook.com/Aquarium.Seattle
On Twitter: twitter.com/SeattleAquarium.

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Contact:
Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345
t.kuniholm@seattleaquarium.org


March 4, 2016

Aquarium announces new chief operating officer

 

SEATTLE—The Seattle Aquarium recently announced the appointment of Brad Rutherford as new chief operating officer (COO). He began work in this newly created role at the Aquarium on February 8.

Rutherford will focus primarily on internal operations of the Aquarium and will report directly to President & CEO Robert W. Davidson. Rutherford brings 25 years of leadership in the private, public and nonprofit sectors, most recently as the executive director of the Snow Leopard Trust, an international wildlife conservation organization. In that role, over 15 years, he built a staff of 64 in seven different countries and managed diverse teams with a broad range of nationalities, cultures and languages—all from his home base in Hansville, Washington.

Other notable highlights from Rutherford’s past experience include supporting global rural development programs for Winrock International in Washington, D.C. and working with the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic. Brad holds a master’s degree from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins and a B.A. in communication studies from Northwestern University.

 “He is a strong manager who believes in our mission and will help us to more effectively carry it out”, said Robert Davidson, Seattle Aquarium President & CEO. “In his new role, Rutherford will help manage day-to-day operations of the Aquarium to assure the best practices are followed for animal care and welfare, as well as facilities and operations that impact our human visitors.”

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About the Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is one of Washington State’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions, and the region’s gathering place for discussion and sharing information about marine conservation. It maintains a number of research initiatives in cooperation with federal, state, zoological and university partners. The Aquarium is accredited by the AZA and located on Pier 59, at 1483 Alaskan Way.

Contact:
Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345
t.kuniholm@seattleaquarium.org


February 11, 2016

Media Advisory–Photo Opportunity
Say farewell to Kong, the Seattle Aquarium's bachelor octopus

 

WHEN:
Sunday, February 14 at noon

WHERE:
Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle, WA

WHAT
We’ve made some changes to our Octopus Week event! At noon on Feb. 14, instead of our traditional Octopus Blind Date event, divers will swim with Kong, our male giant Pacific octopus, in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit. Join us to learn about the life of a bachelor octopus and get a one-of-a-kind, up-close look at the world’s largest octopus species!

Additional Octopus Week photo opportunities and highlights:

  • Kong will be returned to Puget Sound on Monday, Feb. 15 at noon. Watch live video feed as our biologists escort him to a new home just below the Aquarium’s pier.
  • At noon on the following Saturday, February 20, another octopus will be released.
  • Divers will swim with an octopus on February 13, 19 and 21 at noon in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit. Get an excellent view of an octopus and find out all kinds of cool information about this iconic Puget Sound animal.
  • Hands-on activities for kids of all ages, February 13–21.
  • Daily octopus feedings and talks.

Winter hours/prices at the Aquarium:
The Aquarium’s admission gate is open 9:30am to 5pm daily, with the exhibits closing at 6pm. Admission fees: Adults $22.95; youth (4-12) $15.95; children 3 and under are admitted free.

On the web: SeattleAquarium.org
On Facebook: facebook.com/Aquarium.Seattle
On Twitter: twitter.com/SeattleAquarium.

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Contact:
Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345
t.kuniholm@seattleaquarium.org


February 1, 2016

Seattle Aquarium bestows marine conservation honors

 

SEATTLE—On January 27, the Seattle Aquarium conferred its top awards at its annual Chairman’s Dinner to community and scientific leaders who have worked to preserve and protect marine environments both locally and around the world.

Conservation International Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder Peter Seligmann was honored with the 2016 Seattle Aquarium Medal, which is presented each year to an individual whose leadership and lifetime accomplishments reflect the mission of the Seattle Aquarium: Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment.

Peter Seligmann is a passionate, influential advocate who has provided a lifetime of leadership on issues related to global health. A dynamic communicator and thought leader, has been an influential and inspiring voice in conservation for nearly 40 years. He works in partnership with governments, communities and businesses to find solutions to ensure the sustainability of our natural resources. Seligmann began his career in 1976 with The Nature Conservancy, serving as the organization’s western region land steward, and later became the director of the California Nature Conservancy. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Conservation International, a global nonprofit organization that he co-founded in 1987. Under his direction, Conservation International has become a cutting-edge leader in valuing and sustainably caring for nature for the well-being of people.

The University of Washington’s Aquatic and Fishery Sciences Principal Research Scientist Jeffery R. Cordell received the Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award, which honors individuals performing leadership research in the field.

Cordell has been a research scientist at the UW School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences since 1977. His research mainly focuses on understanding how juvenile salmon and the invertebrates they feed on are affected by human development and how degraded habitats can be improved. His current work is focused on salmon habitat along Seattle’s central waterfront and is a key element of the ongoing seawall replacement project. Despite the highly altered shoreline, Elliott Bay and downtown Seattle still serve as a migratory corridor and rearing habitat for juvenile salmon, including the threatened chinook species. The need to replace the seawall prompted the City to form a team to focus on habitat enhancements along the central waterfront, and presented a unique opportunity to improve the habitat conditions of the structure. Cordell has led the long-term research, funded by the City of Seattle and Washington State Sea Grant, to design, install and monitor large-scale test panels at three locations along the waterfront. Cordell and his team tested the potential benefits of slopes and crevices along the seawall, exploring how and whether engineered complexity can increase species diversity and abundance. As a result, Seattle will be the first city in the world to incorporate habitat panels into a large expanse of seawall. The city plans to monitor the panels for several years after construction, generating the data needed to design future ecologically beneficial seawalls, both in Puget Sound and around the world.

Immediate Past Chair Randy J. Tinseth presented longtime board member Gini Beck with the Scott S. Patrick Inspirational Award. Named for the late Aquarium board member and Seattle Seahawks executive who served with extraordinary passion, the award annually recognizes the Seattle Aquarium board member whose service best exemplifies the passion, leadership and enthusiasm which characterized Scott Patrick’s life and board service.

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About the Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is one of Washington State’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions, and the region’s gathering place for discussion and sharing information about marine conservation. It maintains a number of research initiatives in cooperation with federal, state, zoological and university partners. The Aquarium is located on Pier 59, at 1483 Alaskan Way.

On the web: SeattleAquarium.org
On Facebook: facebook.com/Aquarium.Seattle
On Twitter: twitter.com/SeattleAquarium.

Contact:
Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345
t.kuniholm@seattleaquarium.org

 

 

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