On the surface, it might seem like an ocean without sharks would be a more enjoyable place. But, these predators play a very important role in the ocean ecosystem and they need our protection just like many other ocean dwelling creatures.
Sharks have been at the top of the food chain for hundreds of millions of years, but today their populations are in danger because of human activities, such as overfishing and finning (this is when people catch sharks, remove the fins, and dump the carcass overboard).
Andrew P. Nosal, Ph. D, Birch Aquarium’s new DeLaCour Postdoctoral Fellow for Ecology and Conservation, shares his shark expertise with the Perspectives on Ocean Science series in order to explain that all sharks are not the evil villains seen in movies, but are essential in maintaining a balanced ocean.
Leopard sharks are a special species of shark found only along the West coast of North America, their territory spanning from Washington to Baja California. A distinctive characteristic of these creatures is their mild temperament. Unlike most sharks, which will bite anything that might be food, leopard sharks are timid and have such small mouths that they pose essentially no danger to humans. In fact, a leopard shark bite on a human has never been recorded by the International Shark Attack File.
Every Summer La Jolla Shores is the gathering site of hundreds of leopard sharks. A common misconception of this behavior is that these sharks convene here to mate or give birth, but in fact scientists are not quite certain what they do at this annual conference.
When people want to learn about the ocean, they turn to Birch Aquarium at Scripps’ “Perspectives on Ocean Science” lecture series, available on TV and online through UCSD-TV and its sister station, UCTV.
How do we know? The collection of 130+ videos, available on the channels’ websites, YouTube and iTunes, just surpassed 10 million views, making it UCSD’s most popular science series and UCTV’s 14th most popular series, out of a whopping 350!
Every summer, the California surfing community enjoys the arrival of a long, regular swell from the southwest. The origin of the swell is in the winter storms of the southern hemisphere, some in the Indian Ocean, half way around the Earth.
In the latest program from Birch Aquarium’s Perspectives on Ocean Science series, join internationally renowned Scripps professor Walter Munk to learn how World War II and measurements of Guadalupe Island led to this discovery and what it means for surfers today.
As UC San Diego concludes its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration with the upcoming Alumni Weekend, UCSD-TV premieres the final installment in its 6-part magazine program, “UCSD@50,” which profiles the people, research and innovative spirit that make this campus an institution of national and international distinction.
In the season finale — online now and airing throughout the month — host Mary Walshok, professor of sociology and UCSD’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Extended Studies and Public Programs, presents stories on Physical Sciences, Engineering and Dance Theatre. We also visit with a staffer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s wonderful Birch Aquarium, wrap up the campus’ successful Volunteer 50 program, and treat you to a montage of UC San Diego’s Green Open House event.
“After such a spectacular year of anniversary celebrations, I’m honored to host the final episode of UCSD@50,” said host Mary Walshok, who helped launch UCSD-TV in 1993, as well as the successful CONNECT and San Diego Dialogue organizations. “Over the years, I’ve participated in and witnessed the transformation of this campus into a leader in everything from the sciences to theater, as well as cross-border collaboration, high-tech business development and so much more. It’s all the more exciting that we can share these accomplishments with the San Diego community through UCSD-TV. ”
You can find all six episodes of UCSD@50, as well as other anniversary-related programs, at our 50th website. And don’t miss the premiere of new programs from UCSD’s Innovation Day Expo and Symposia (IDEaS), airing Monday nights at 8pm beginning June 20. Programs include panel discussions with UCSD alumni, students, faculty and staff about the current state and future of education.
We hope you enjoyed this video snapshot of UC San Diego’s past, present and future, and we look forward to sharing much more with you in the years ahead!