Whale Watching, Monterey Bay and Global Warming

Blue and Humpback Whales

Monterey Bay is our backyard. We’re lucky to be able to see the biggest creatures on earth gorge on krill and anchovies on a regular basis. It never gets ‘old’ to us.

We like to take a boat out of Moss Landing because it gets you quickly to where whales are feeding over the deep Monterey Canyon. During the upwelling season – April, May and June – cold water from the depths brings nutrients to the surface, which stimulates phytoplankton growth.

Welcome to the Plasti-Scene

“Plastic is one of the worst enemies of marine species,” the World Wildlife Fund.

We’ve all read too many headlines about plastic floating in the ocean, not breaking down, washing up on every beach, being eaten by marine creatures, and entangling lots of others. Scientists are now trying to figure out what exactly that means for all the life in the ocean – and us.

Finding the Hole Truth About Piddock Clams in the Monterey Bay

By Tierney Thys

This week, a series of large winter storms delivered hundreds of strange rocks riddled with perfectly smooth drill holes. A treasure trove to curious beachcombers, begs the question, “Who or what made all those holes?!”

The holes are the work of industrious molluscs called piddock clams or, more commonly, boring clams. Some 16 different species of not-so-boring clams call Monterey Bay home

Aquariums to the Rescue!

When the Shape of Life team was in Long Beach for the National Marine Educators conference, we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific. We were admiring a giant clam when a guide heard us and said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had confiscated this clam, as well as some others, as they were coming into the U.S. illegally. Sadly, FWS often confiscates fresh and saltwater fish and invertebrates from all over the world when they come into the U.S., mainly for the illegal pet trade. Aquariums have stepped in to help; here are some examples.



Giant clam Tridacna gigas on a coral reef