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Aquarium of the Pacific’s First Wednesdays Series discusses sharks, climate change, and future of offshore oil platforms

How are shark and orca populations doing off the California coast? What can be done with the state’s offshore oil platforms once they are decommissioned? How are cities adapting to extreme weather and sea level rise? These and other topics will be addressed in the Aquarium of the Pacific’s First Wednesdays series.

First Wednesdays talks will take place in the Aquarium’s Honda Pacific Visions Theater and focus on a new topic each month. The in-person program will include a question-and-answer session with the audience. Each event will also include a cocktail and social hour at 8:00 p.m. for attendees to connect further with the guest speakers and each other. The program is free to the general public and advanced online registration is required to attend in person. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test required to attend (two days prior for a PCR test or the day before with an antigen test). Masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. First Wednesdays talks will also be live streamed, but only those in attendance will be able to participate in the question-and-answer session.

WHEN: The first Wednesday of each month in 2022 / 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)

Wednesday, January 5, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Topic: Living with White Sharks: The Great California Conservation Success Story
Speaker: Dr. Chris Lowe, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), professor of marine biology and director of CSULB’s Shark Lab

Dr. Lowe will describe his latest research focusing on white sharks off the Southern California coast. Following the talk, in-person attendees can enjoy a “Paint a Shark” activity in the Aquarium’s Art Gallery while sipping a cocktail or mocktail from the cash bar. State protection, better fisheries management and recovery of marine mammals has allowed the white shark population to recovery off California, according to Dr. Lowe. With shark population is increasing off the coast of California, concerns about public safety have also increased. The Shark Lab at CSULB has employed a combination of technologies to determine where white sharks are spending their time and the risk they may pose to people. Dr. Lowe is a professor in marine biology and director of CSULB’s Shark Lab.


Wednesday, February 2, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Topic: Killer Whales of Southern California
Speaker: Alisa Schulman-Janiger, research associate, Natural History Museum of LA County; lead research biologist, California Killer Whale Project; and director, ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project

Many people picture orcas (also known as killer whales) as exclusively located in the Pacific Northwest. However, groups of orcas visit Southern California each year, with a pod spotted off the local coast as recently as December 2021. Schulman-Janiger will discuss the past, present and future of orcas off the California coast. Schulman-Janiger is lead research biologist with the California Killer Whale Project and director of the Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project by the American Cetacean Society’s Los Angeles Chapter.


Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Topic: The Future of Offshore Oil Platforms
Speakers: panel discussion

In 2019 the Aquarium hosted a forum on offshore oil platforms off the coast of California. The forum gathered stakeholders from government agencies, environmental organizations, industry, researchers, and the public to explore ideas for what to do with oil platforms once they are decommissioned. On March 2, 2022, the Aquarium will host a follow-up to this forum. First Wednesdays will feature guest speakers who will discuss possible uses of decommissioned oil platforms, with special attention to artificial reefs and aquaculture.


Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Topic: Retreat: Moving to Higher Ground in a Climate-Changed City
Speaker: Dr. Liz Koslov, assistant professor, Department of Urban Planning and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Dr. Koslov is an assistant professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, where she studies the social dimensions of climate change, questions of environmental and climate justice, and how cities are adapting to effects such as extreme weather and sea-level rise. She will present a talk about her current book project, Retreat: Moving to Higher Ground in a Climate-Changed City, which offers an ethnographic account of “managed retreat” from the coast in New York City after Hurricane Sandy.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Topic: Seafood: The Human Connection
Speaker: Kimberly Thompson, director of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Seafood for the Future program


Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
High Tide Student Film Festival


Wednesday, July 6, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT / Topic: Ending Fossil Fuels: Why Net Zero is Not Enough
Speaker: Dr. Holly Jean Buck, assistant professor of Environment and Sustainability, University of Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences (with book signing)


Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Topic: Plankton
Speaker: Mike Bartick, marine wildlife photographer, videographer, PADI diving instructor, and photography professional in Anilao Philippines and for Saltwater.com


Wednesday, September 7, 2022, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PT
Topic: Discover the World of Bees and Pollinators
Speaker: Mia LaRocca and Carmen Atwater, urban beekeepers, Alvéole: The Urban Beekeeping Company


WHERE: Aquarium of the Pacific, Honda Pacific Visions Theater, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, 90802 / Presentation will be live streamed at: aquariumofpacific.org

COST: The event is FREE. Reservations required to reserve your seat in the theater. Beverages available for purchase during the cocktail hour. Parking with Aquarium validation is $8.

INFO: (562) 590-3100 or visit aquariumofpacific.org

This article was released by the Aquarium of the Pacific.