On October 9th, 2015, students from ENVS 17: Marine Policy traveled to the New England Aquarium (NEAq) in Boston to explore the exhibits and learn about the research, conservation, and education activities of the Aquarium. The trip is energizing to students and provides those who have not had much interaction with the ocean with the opportunity to directly experience the animals, plants, and ecosystems that we study. Analysis of the Aquarium’s educational activities on-site as well as talks from Aquarium experts provide real-world examples of NGO activities that affect policy-making on oceans issues. Students are further challenged to considered the efficacy and ethics associated with aquariums more broadly, including environmental impacts from the ornamental fish trade. Those who cannot make the trip due to commitments on campus take a virtual tour through the Aquarium’s web page. All students process what they’ve learned by blogging about the trip. Use the links below to see what they learned and view related pictures from the trip.
Ecosystems in Balance. Exploring the aquarium brought home the importance of balance in marine ecosystems. These blogs discuss species interactions in aquarium exhibits but also as part of NEAq research and conservation projects related to climate change and other disturbances.
Local to Global. Many students were impressed by the global reach of NEAq’s activities, including their work with the country of Kiribati on the Pheonix Islands marine protected area and other projects implemented around the world.
Knowledge into Action. This set of posts covers research projects undertaken through NEAq in order to improve marine governance. Blogs highlight use of GIS and other advanced technologies to better understand human impacts on the oceans.
Sustainable Seafood. Posts in this section discuss a range of NEAq activities designed to make seafood consumption more sustainable, including supply chain risk assessment for seafood suppliers, sustainable aquaculture programs, and bycatch reduction technologies.
To Conserve and Protect. These posts cover a wide range of conservation activities carried out by NEAq staff or with funding from the aquarium.
Sustainability Inside and Out. These posts describe the steps NEAq is taking to improve the ornamental fish trade, ensure the aquarium itself is sustainable, and educate the public through exhibits and other activities.