Tuesday, November 14, 2017

PTMSC's Amazing Volunteers, Part 2

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is focusing on our impressive volunteer corps during the month of November 2017. Here is our second mini-profile, written by AmeriCorps Citizen Science Coordinator Lily Evanston.

Chas Dowd has been volunteering at Port Townsend Marine Science Center for two years as a docent in the Marine Exhibit as well as a beach naturalist. Chas has always loved salt water. His personal connection to the Salish Sea comes from getting close enough to observe and experience it.  
Chas has sailed it, rowed it, and dove into it, and has found every minute of it fascinating.
“If you want to find weird and unusual, go down 18 inches in salt water. You’ll get all the weird and unusual you can handle,” he says.
Chas and his wife Debby have taken their 17-foot rowboat just about everywhere in the Salish Sea and had amazing encounters with nature and wildlife. One time, he says, a baby seal nearly climbed into their boat -- and would have -- if its mom hadn’t intervened!
Chas is a great story teller, so come find him on a day he’s in the Marine Exhibit if you want to hear more about his adventures with the Salish Sea and all the weird and unusual things he’s discovered in it.

Interested in becoming a PTMSC volunteer and working alongside inspired volunteers like Chas Dowd? Fill out our Volunteer Application! Questions? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Gabriele Sanchez at 360-385-5582 X 120, or send an email to volunteer@ptmsc.org.

Both our exhibits will be OPEN during Thanksgiving Weekend!

Our Marine Exhibit is OPEN all Thanksgiving weekend!

Wondering what to do after Turkey Day with family from out of town? 
Not sure if PTMSC will be open?
Well, here's the answers you are looking for:

Both our Natural History Exhibit
and Marine Exhibit will be OPEN: 

Friday through Sunday
November 24-26

Skip the mall! 

During your visit to PTMSC, check out our Gift Shop Holiday Sale:
10% off on all purchases (15% off for members!) 

Can't wait to see you this holiday!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thankgiving Wildlife Cruise

Saturday, November 25

Our Thanksgiving Wildlife Cruise offers a unique opportunity for an idyllic natural science adventure, enabling people to gain a better understanding of our marine ecosystems and interrelationships which abound in these waters. In good weather, the cruise will go through the Protection Island Aquatic Reserve and circumnavigate Protection Island, a National Wildlife Refuge located at the mouth of Discovery Bay. Or, if the weather is rough, we may head south toward Port Ludlow to remain in calmer waters. The three-hour cruise will depart from the Point Hudson Marina with Naturalists from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center serving as on-board interpreters to provide commentary on local birds, mammals, geology, history and weather.
On-board refreshments are available, or you may bring a sack lunch.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Gift Shop Holiday Sale

This holiday season,

Buy once. 

Save twice.

10% off on all purchases* Nov. 24-26

Every purchase helps save the Salish Sea!
*Members save 15%!
Gift Shop OPEN noon―5pm


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Future of Oceans: Short of Breath―Marine Life in a Warming World

Curtis Deutsch, PhD
Associate Professor, 
School of Oceanography, 
College of the Environment 
University of Washington
Sunday, December 10
3 pm
Curtis Deutsch, PhD
The Fort Worden Commons*

*Please note change of venue

Admission: $5
(students, teachers FREE)

Dr. Curtis Deutsch’s research is aimed at understanding the interactions between climate and ecosystems. He combines numerical models of varying complexity with diverse types of biological and physical data, to discover the ways in which climate produces spatial pattern and temporal variability in ecosystems, and thus influences their basic functioning. Most of this work has focused on biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, with a particular emphasis on the mechanisms that regulate the cycles of nutrients and oxygen over a range of time scales from years to millennia. He also works with terrestrial ecologists to understand how climate influences the patterns of thermal fitness, and their implications for biodiversity in a changing climate. He received an Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and is a Fellow of the Kavli Frontiers of Science.

This is the third installment of The Future of Oceans lecture series (learn more about the series here).

This event is offered with generous support by the Darrow Family.

Assisted Listening Devices available

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

PTMSC's Amazing Volunteers, Part 1

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center is focusing on our impressive volunteer corps during the month of November 2017. Here is our first mini-profile, written by AmeriCorps Marine Science Educator James Swanson.

Jo Ferrero is one of our great volunteers and we are so fortunate to have her passion and dedication. She has been volunteering with the PTMSC since May of 2016 in all types of activities. Jo is a Marine Exhibit docent, Sound Toxins volunteer and helps out with fundraising events. 

Jo collecting water samples for Sound Toxins.

When asked what inspires her to conserve the Salish Sea, Jo took me outside and said, “Well, just look at it!"

Then we walked down to the floating dock and she showed me a fried-egg jelly that had drifted in, which we both admired. Jo has a deep passion for the natural beauty of the Salish Sea. 

A fun fact about Jo is that her Favorite Marine Animal is the sea otter because, “They are just so cute!" That, and she also understands their crucial role as a keystone species that eats sea urchins and other invertebrates that graze on giant kelp.

Fried-egg jelly

Interested in becoming a PTMSC volunteer and working alongside inspired volunteers like Jo Ferrero? Fill out our Volunteer Application! Questions? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Gabriele Sanchez at 360-385-5582 X 120, or send an email to volunteer@ptmsc.org.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Whale of a Back Bone!

IMG_4015.jpg IMG_4008.jpg
Left to right: New vertebra with juvenile gray whale skull and bones in background. Profile view of vertebra atop a table in the PTMSC Natural History Exhibit (photos by M. Vane).

A whale vertebra measuring approximately 3-feet tall and 4-feet wide arrived at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center last week. A couple found the bone while beachcombing in Southeast Alaska back in the 60’s. The unusual collectible was donated to PTMSC by their children all these years later with the intent to help the PTMSC inspire and inform others about whales. 

October 21 marked the 45th anniversary of the enactment of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). This act recognizes that some marine mammal species have been negatively impacted by human activities. By outlawing the take* of certain marine mammals, the MMPA strives to ensure these creatures can continue to fulfill their integral role in the marine ecosystem.

At the time of collection, there were no rules about bringing cetacean bones home and the PTMSC is overjoyed to have received this generous donation!

The crew here spent a good while fawning over the massive scale of the bone. Then came the task of identifying it. Which vertebra is it, and what species of whale did it come from?

First we looked at what area of the spine it came from...

Image: www.bajawhales.com
Our bone has three long projections. We decided on a lumbar vertebra.

Then came determining the species it came from. Using size as our main key for identification, we were left with a few options.

Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
The second largest animal to live on earth, coming in at an average length of 75 feet and weighing 80,000-160,000 pounds., the “Greyhound of The Sea” is known for its ability to travel at speeds up to 23 miles per hour.

Image: Online: The Royal Natural History, Vol. 3

Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
The largest animal to live on earth (that’s right, even bigger than the dinosaurs!), blue whales can grow up to 82 feet long and weigh 300,000 pounds on average. Blue whales move much slower than fin whales and are known to produce the second loudest call in the animal kingdom.

Photo: www.sbnature.org/buyabone
At the time of this posting, we haven’t come to any fixed conclusions and unfortunately may never know for sure. Our educated guess is that it is from one of the two species listed above. To confirm the exact species though, we would need more of the skeleton or to test its DNA.

Regardless, we are enjoying the discussion. Come in and see this monstrous vertebrae for yourself! Imagine the animal it was part of and its massive scale. What do you think it could be?

Posted by Mariah Vane, AmeriCorps

*Hunting, harassing, capturing, or killing any marine mammal or attempting to do so.