Whalefest Wrap-up 2017

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.


Thanks to all the talbers who particapted at Whalefest 2017! Photo Source: Vicky Vásquez

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.


Whalefest tabling specimens from PSRCer Marty Schmidt’s personal collection.

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!


Pictured: PSRC students, Justin Cordova, James Knuckey, Breanna Machuca, Catarina Pien, and Marty Schmidt. Photo credit: Vicky Vásquez

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.


MLML professor of Phycology, Dr. Mike Graham, spoke at Whalfest’s Symposium and spent some time outside letting visitors sample fresh seaweed!

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.


From left to right: MLML GIS specialist Jason Adelaars with his pal, Cousteau; MLML students Kenji Soto and Sierra Helmann, MLML student Drew Burrier paddles by to say hi.

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…


MLML Open House April 29th & 30th, 2017

Inverts touch tank

Graduate students Melinda Wheelock and Emily Schmeltzer, educate visitors about the wonderful world of invertebrates! Photo Credit: Heather Kramp


About Vicky Vásquez

As a graduate student through the Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC), I study shark behavior and ecology. I share my expanding research knowledge and engage other in marine science through my role as the Founding Deputy Director of the Ocean Research Foundation (ORF).
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