By Vicky Vásquez
Last weekend marked the seventh annual Whalefest celebration in Monterey, California. From ocean mascots and graduate students to one very obedient pup named Obi, the outreach table for Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) was well staffed all weekend long. For a full set of photos check out the Whalefest photo album on MLML's Facebook Page.
The above photo collage is a small sample of the tabling fun that took place from mid-morning to sunset all weekend. In the top left photo, ocean mascots from Whalefest take a break from photo-ops and get behind the MLML table to talk sharks with the public! Well... more like enthusiastically point to preserved shark specimens- these mascots are more of the quiet type. The following two photos are of members of the Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC): top middle- Justin Cordova, Marty Schmidt and James Knuckey; top right- Vicky Vásquez, Catarina Pien, Justin Cordova, and guest tabler of the Monterey US Coast Guard, Auxtter. Pictured bottom left is Obi, the most dedicated tabler; bottom center-left is tablers- Natalie Yingling, Catarina Pien, Breanna Machuca and Marty Schmidt; bottom center-right is PSRCer Vicky Vásquez with a resident mola mola; and bottom right are PSRCers ustin Cordova, Marty Schmidt and James Knuckey.
A majority of the specimens and student volunteers were from the Pacific Shark Research Center. Special thanks to Marty Schmidt who even brought out specimens from his personal collection!
Whalefest is an opportunity for MLML students to share scientific facts about marine science and local marine species with the public. During this event, select specimens from MLML's museum are put on display which attracted large crowds all weekend long. The above photo collage shows how well MLML students handled large crowds while taking care that specimens remained intact and undamaged.
In addition to to tabling, one professor and MLML's resident seaweed expert, Dr. Graham, spoke to attendees of Whalfest about the lab's new aquaculture facility as well as MLML's developing role at the frontier of seaweed science and industry. Like any true scientist, Dr. Graham also took the opportunity to run a few tests- taste tests! Whalefest visitors had the opportunity to sample some of the latest seaweeds being explored by local Monterey sustainable seafood restaurants.
The MLML community not only participated in Whalefest as science communicators, as the above photo collage shows, some also attended as fans! If you missed out on the fun- not to worry. There's still time to plan your visit to MLML's Open House at the end of April, on the 29th & 30th. Like Whalefest, this will also be a free event open to the public which is great for all ages. Keep an eye on our Open House website for future updates- in the meantime...