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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


January 11, 2016

Octopus week and more coming to the Seattle Aquarium

 

WHEN:
January 22–February 21

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

WHAT
Octopus Week
February 13–21
Join us for fun and learning about one of the coolest creatures in Puget Sound. Octopus Week highlights:

  • Octopus blind date on Sunday, February 14 starting at noon. Watch live to see if romance blossoms between our male and female giant Pacific octopuses when they meet for the very first time on Valentine’s Day. Aquarium biologists will set the mood with decorative hearts, roses and romantic music at the Octopus exhibit. Will her three hearts skip a beat? Will he wrap his eight arms around her? Join us to find out!
  • Live octopus release on Monday, February 15 at noon. Watch live video feed as our biologists escort one of our octopuses to a new home in Puget Sound, just below the Aquarium’s pier. The following Saturday, February 20 at noon, another octopus will be released.
  • Divers swim with an octopus on February 13, February 19 and February 21 at noon in the Window on Washington Waters exhibit. Get a really good view of an octopus and learn all kinds of cool information about this iconic Puget Sound animal.
  • Hands-on activities for kids of all ages February 13–February 21.
  • Daily octopus feedings and talks.

Evening Beach Walks
January 22, 8:30–10:30pm; and February 6, 8:30–10:15pm at Constellation Park/South Alki Beach Explore the beach during winter nighttime low tides with Beach Naturalist staff and volunteers. Discover what creatures we see on the beach at this time of year. Dress for the weather (bundle up!) and for tide pooling: boots, hats, gloves and a good flashlight are musts. No need to register! Visit SeattleAquarium.org/aquarium-events for more information.

Ocean Career Day
January 30, 9am–2pm
Come explore ocean-related careers at the Seattle Aquarium! Discuss career opportunities with biologists, researchers and educators. Attend special presentations by marine science professionals. And learn about schools and volunteer internship opportunities. This event is open to students attending middle school, high school or college. Teachers and parents are also welcome. Tickets are $5 for students, parents and teachers who pre-register. Get more information and register at SeattleAquarium.org/ocean-career. Tickets are also available at the door for $10 on the day of the event.

Toddler Time
February 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9
FREE with Aquarium admission For children ages 5 and under; must be accompanied by an adult. Drop in for any length of time between 9:30am and noon. From dressing up like an octopus to fish-print painting and water play with ocean animal toys, Toddler Time will keep even the busiest of bodies engaged and entertained. Toddler Time is proudly supported by the T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan.

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


January 6, 2016

Visit Hawaii in your own backyard at the Seattle Aquarium

 

January 16–18

Are tropical breezes and warm sandy beaches calling out to you? Take a break from winter, dress up in Aloha wear, and join us at the Aquarium to explore a little of the tropics. Discover some of the unique sea life that originates only in the Hawaiian Islands. Featuring Hawaiian entertainment, hands-on activities and special diver shows.

January 16–18, 10:30am and 1:30pm
Direct from Hawaii, the Seattle Aquarium is proud to welcome Honu by the Sea, a live musical featuring a young Waikiki beach boy who loves to surf the ocean and dreams of living under the sea. After discovering a magical sea star along the beach, his wish is granted to spend an entire day underwater, where he encounters several amazing ocean characters. The show’s producer, Hawaii-native Johnson Enos, created Honu by the Sea to educate the public about the importance of caring for the ocean.

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

 

 

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