Media interview Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth on a whale watching excursion.

Aquarium in the News

Birch Aquarium at Scripps is continuously in the news, lending its experts to speak about issues in ocean science and promoting its educational programs.

Gearing Up for Grunion Runs
U-T San Diego, January 23, 2013

Starting next month, small, silvery fish will plop onto California beaches at midnight in a mating ritual that has also become a cultural phenomenon in California. Between February and May, the five- to seven-inch fish with bluish-green backs and silvery sides and bellies ride the high tides to shore, burrow into the sand and deposit eggs. Between March and May, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego will offer moonlight outings to the grunion runs, starting with naturalist talks and live demonstrations of the grunion eggs hatching. Guests can then watch, as naturalists return the babies to the sea. “What’s so remarkable about those eggs is that they’re laid at the high tide mark, and at the next high tide, are ready to hatch,” said said Nigella Hillgarth, executive director of the aquarium. Read more...

Top Things You Need to Know About Whale Watching
U-T San Diego, January 16, 2013

One cruise, the one offered by Flagship San Diego Harbor Excursion, includes narration by education specialists from Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, who like to point out the Nimitz Marine Facility near the tip of Point Loma as they pass by. The operating base is famous for its fleet of research vessels and scientific equipment. Conservation is an important part of the program. "It's a big part of our mission," says Scripps specialist Audrey Evans. "The gray whales came back from near extinction twice in the past 150 years. Now they are protected and they have rebounded to about 20,000." Read more...

Hundreds of Humboldt Squid Appear Off Coast
NBC San Diego, January 7, 2013

Hundreds of jumbo squid have been spotted off the coast of San Diego this week, according to local fishermen. Nigella Hillgarth, Executive Director of Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, said there are a couple reasons the squid have made a California appearance. "They are coming up with the warming weather currents," she said. "They are following their prey. Though the squid have strength in numbers, they are weaker when it comes to shoreline water quality. The invertebrates will often beach themselves because they become ill. Blooms of algae suggest they may be more sensitive to low toxicity," said Hillgarth. She also advises people not to touch the squid if they've been beached as they as they might be diseased. Read more...

The best tidepooling is happening now
U-T- San Diego, January 9, 2013

The beach is most often associated with the long, sunny days of summertime. But for anyone looking to explore San Diego’s tide pools, winter is when most of the action happens. According to Audrey Evans, an education specialist at Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the best time to spot sea life is during a negative tide. Read more...

Coastkeeper Hosts 11th Annual World water Monitoring Day
Scoop San Diego, November 2, 2012

As part of the global World Water Monitoring Challenge, San Diego Coastkeeper hosted nearly 200 students at its 11th Annual World Water Monitoring Day at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The event featured environmental- and ocean-themed educational activities for school children from San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. Coastkeeper and its event partners aimed to raise awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world. Read more...