Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lionfish: From Crowd Pleaser To Catastrophe

This interesting looking fish is called a lionfish.  Though it's a crowd pleaser in the aquarium, it's a catastrophe in the ocean.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Ghost Crab: Small but Spooky

Ghost Crab

Who's that popping up from the deep to say "BOO" on Halloween?  It's none other than a ghost crab.  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Little Sea Star...the Mighty Predator

Sea Star
Just what is a sea star?

Sea stars live in the ocean, but they are not fish.  Fish are vertebrates (backbones) that have gills and fins.  Most have scales.  Sea stars do not have any of these characteristics.  Since they are not true fish, scientist call them sea stars instead of their common nickname: starfish.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Best Place On Earth...For A Marine Animal

Sea turtles live in the coastal habitat.

They may not live in nests like birds nor in dens like foxes, but marine animals do have a home.  It's big and wet and salty, and they wouldn't trade it for anything we've got going on land.  The ocean is the best place on earth if you're a marine animal.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ten Fantastic Facts About The Ocean

1.  The ocean is home to an estimated 50-80% of all life on earth.

2.  Very tiny plant organisms called phytoplankton live in the ocean.  They use photosynthesis to produce more than half of all oxygen on the planet.

3.  The ocean contains 96% of all water on earth.  The remaining 4% is freshwater from rivers, lakes, and ice.   

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Feather or Fish?

Watch this video for an amazing treat.

The animal in this video is a fish know as the feather star.  According to Tomasz K. Baumiller, a paleontologist from the University of Michigan, feather stars have been around for about 200 million years.  Now that's a very old fish.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Let's Talk Trash: Ocean Trash

Makeover of Versova Beach in Mumbai, India

It takes a million years for a glass bottle to deteriorate and 450 for a plastic one. That's why the trash problem is getting bigger all the time. Trash is unhealthy for humans and deadly for marine animals.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Ways To Help Kids Love The Ocean

Are you looking for ways to foster your kids' interest in the ocean?  Here are some ideas.

  • Visit Aquariums.  Take your kids on an 'aquarium vacation' where your family travels from city to city, each with an aquarium.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How The Longhorn Cowfish Got Its Name?

Cowfish #1

Use your imagination, and you might figure out how this fish got the name longhorn cowfish.  Or you can do what I did.  

Friday, August 10, 2018

Why Do Sharks Attack People?

Out of 300 shark species, only 12 attack people.  Sharks are not looking to attack humans. They are looking for smaller fish and invertebrates.  Since humans are not part of the sharks' normal diet, why do they attack?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Biggest Fish In The Sea

The whale shark is the biggest fish in the sea.

A Gentle Giant

Of all the fish in the sea, the whale shark wins the prize for size.  The largest on record was 20 meters long, but most grow to be around 12 meters and 40 pounds. Though tremendous in size and intimidating in appearance, the shark is actually very docile.  

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Ultimate Shopaholic: A Hermit Crab

Hairy red hermit crab in an empty triton shell eating a shrimp.

Family Ties

Hermit crabs are crustaceans, a class of animals that have segmented bodies and an exoskeleton (a hard outer covering).  They are related to lobsters, shrimp, and other crabs.  But hermit crabs are special.  

Friday, July 13, 2018

Learning To Love 'Not-So-Cute' Marine Animals

It's easy to love cute animals found in our oceans.  Who doesn't love dolphins, penguins, and colorful little fish?  But what about those that have a face only a mother could love?  For animals like the anglerfish and barracuda we need to look deeper than cuteness to see some amazing qualities.  Let's dive in and find out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Family Boat Ride Turns Into Whale Rescue Mission

A family boat trip turned into a rescue mission when they came across a whale severely entangled in a huge fishing net.   Realizing that time was crucial, the family worked frantically to free the whale using the only knife they had on board.

Without this intervention, the whale would most likely have not survived.

Please watch this touching video to its conclusion.  The whale's reaction at the end is worth it!

When I saw this video I was deeply touched by the compassion this family had on a fellow animal in need.  It makes me smile to know the whale swims free today due to human kindness. 

The Dodo asks that we support whales by donating to the Great Whale Conservancy

Let's all strive to discard our trash in appropriate ways.

Video Credits:

1.  "Family Rescues Whale Tangled In Net" by The Dodo.  Published on 07 Jul. 2018.  YouTube.com.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Help Kids Respect Wildlife

Birds build nests in trees.

Teaching our kids to respect wild animals--whether marine animals or land animals-- helps shape their character.  As kids learn to care and protect animals they become kinder, more considerate people.  

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Bioluminescent Animals: Land and Sea

Have you ever collected fireflies in a jar on a summer night?  These little insects create their special light through a chemical reaction in their abdomen.  This reaction is called bioluminescence. As amazing as this phenomenon is with land critters, it is super fascinating with marine animals. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Wish For A Fish: All About Sea Creatures

Today I am reviewing a children's picture book by Bonnie Worth entitled Wish For A Fish: All About Sea Creatures, written for children ages 4-8.

Wish For A Fish: All About Sea Creatures is part of the The Cat in the Hat Learning Library.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Marine Animals: Trash or Treasure

We are living at a time in history when there are more people on earth than ever before creating more trash on earth than ever before.  Where's it all going? 

Beach Debris

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Taylor's Review of Ants in My Pants

It's always valuable when young readers review a book.  Their perspective is very relatable to other kids, and authors learn a lot as well.  Scroll down to hear Taylor's review of Ants in My Pants.  
Thanks, Taylor.

Taylor gives a review of Ants in My Pants

Click To Hear Review

Friday, June 8, 2018

Observe a Pond Like You Would the Ocean

I've talked with parents visiting the aquarium who say their child loves the ocean and wants to become a marine biologist, but...they live in Nebraska or Iowa or somewhere far away from the ocean.  What can they do? 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Coral Reefs, Part II: Life Or Death?

Many coral reefs in the ocean today are suffering from environmental damage so severe it threatens their existence. 

Coral Reef Stress Bleaching

Here's an example: Caribbean coral populations of staghorn and elkhorn "have declined more than 90 percent in the last 25 years".  When reefs are damaged, it sets off a chain reaction that affects marine animals and humans alike.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Coral Reefs, Part I: Plant or Animal?

What makes up only one percent of the ocean but is home to almost one fourth of all marine species?

Coral Reefs

Home to millions of species of fish, crabs, starfish, clams, sponges, squid, lobsters, sea turtles, seahorses, and more, reefs have existed on earth for 400 million years.

Corals may look like rocks or plants, but they are actually animals that have taken 'root' on the ocean floor.  Each coral is like a condo with hundreds of little animals (polyps) living in tiny compartments.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Hello Ocean

Today I am reviewing a children's picture book by Pam Munoz Ryan entitled Hello Ocean, written for children ages 3-7.

Hello Ocean is a poem in tribute to the sea.  The text is written in both English and Spanish.  Right from the first, the author sets up a warm, familiar atmosphere by telling us how the ocean is her ‘old best friend’.  As the story progresses, Ms. Ryan introduces the reader to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches found both in the ocean and around the shore. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Look Out! It's a...SH-SH-SHARK!

Have you seen the 1975 movie thriller Jaws?  Many of us have, and most will never forget it.  
  • The shark fin.  
  • The music.  
  • The feeling of doom.  
  • And then--bigger than life--the movie's villain...


Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Smallest Mr. Mom On The Planet

There are only three animal species on earth where the male becomes pregnant and gives birth: the seahorse and it's close relatives the sea dragon and pipe fish.  That makes the male in all three species the smallest Mr. Mom on the planet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Giant Who Plans To Help The Earth

In January 2018, McDonald’s made an announcement adding new commitments regarding it's efforts toward sustainability.  

By 2025 the restaurant giant plans to switch all their packaging over to renewable or recyclable sources.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Earth Day 2018: Help Children Love Nature

Let's Instill A Love Of Nature In Our Children

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd.  
Love a marine animal for Earth Day.

One of the best ways to instill a love of nature in our children is to teach them to care about the animals who share our planet, especially those that are threatened or endangered by extinction.  There are many things we can do as families to help these animals, and in the process our children will learn to value our planet.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

If Sharks Disappeared

Today I am reviewing a children's picture book by Lily Williams entitled If Sharks Disappeared, written for children ages 4-8.

If Sharks Disappeared begins with a tranquil scene: a family—mom, dad, daughter, and dog—in a boat floating above a healthy ocean habitat.  But...the tone of the book changes quickly when…a shark arrives.  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Stingrays Have Six Senses, Zero Bones

Stingrays are fluid swimmers with whip like tails.  They may not look like fish, but they are.  


Rays spend most of their time in shallow, temperate waters within a few yards of the shore. During the day, they bury themselves in the sand exposing only their eyes for seeing and their spiracle openings for breathing.  During the night they feed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Can A Picnic Help Save The Ocean?

A picnic is fun for the whole family, but can it really help the ocean?

It sure can if...
we pack a waste-free, earth friendly lunch.

How to pack a waste free picnic?

  1. Place picnic food in reusable containers.
  2. Use refillable drink bottles.
  3. Include reusable utensils.
  4. Add cloth napkins.
  5. Include fresh fruits and vegetables.
  6. Pack the picnic in a reusable basket, backpack, or lunchbox.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Dolphin Baby!

Today I am reviewing a children's picture book by Nicola Davies entitled Dolphin Baby!, written for children 5-8.

Dolphin is born into a world full of the love and security of his Mom.  She is his protector: teaching him how to breathe, where to swim, how to talk, and how to fish.  She is his nurturer: feeding him thorough her nipples and stroking him with her flippers.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What's A Jellyfish Without Water?

Without water a jellyfish becomes a BLOB!  The reason?  Jellyfish are 95% water.

What are jellyfish made of?

Jellyfish are very simple creatures.  They have no bones, brain, heart, or blood.  Yet, each jellyfish has a three-layered body.  

Friday, March 9, 2018

When Is A Crab Not A Crab?

How did the horseshoe crab get its name?

The horseshoe crab's shell is shaped like a horseshoe, and its legs look like those of a crab.  But--a horseshoe crab is not a crab.  

Friday, March 2, 2018

Six Ways To Care For Our Oceans

Why We Need To Care For Our Oceans

Do you swim, snorkel, dive, boat, ski, or fish in the sea?  Then the ocean is important for your recreational enjoyment.  

Perhaps your livelihood is tied to the ocean.  Then it is important for your financial security as well.

But there are other--often overlooked--reasons to care about the ocean.  It holds great significance for our health on earth.  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Six Amazing Sea Turtle Facts

Green Sea Turtle

1.  Baby sea turtles are either 'cool daddies' or 'hot mamas'.

The temperature of the sand surrounding the eggs in a sea turtle nest is a determining factor in the sex of the hatchings.  Lower temperatures produce more males, higher temperatures produce more females.  This phenomenon, called Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination or TSD, is true of other reptiles, such as alligators and crocodiles.

When they are ready to hatch, the hatchlings dig out of their sandy nest and scurry to enter the ocean before they are eaten by hungry birds and crabs.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Educators Guide for Ants in My Pants

Click below to download an Educators Guide for Ants in My Pants, my Scholastic Press Rookie Reader for children in Pre-K through Grade 2.  

All activities fulfill Common Core English Language Arts Standards, Common Core Math Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards. 

Book available at amazon.com.

Book available at barnesandnoble.com.

Book available in English and Spanish.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Gentle Giant Octopus

Today I am reviewing a children's picture book by Karen Wallace entitled Gentle Giant Octopus, written for children 4-8.

Karen Wallace captures a 'slice of life' image of a Giant female octopus searching for a place to make a den and lay her eggs.  The story is both entertaining and informative.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

If the wind is strong enough, it can push the ocean's surface in the direction it is blowing.

In certain locations on earth, the wind pushes so strongly that ocean currents are created. These currents move around and around in huge continuous spirals called gyres.  There are five gyres ocean-wide: the North Atlantic Gyre, South Atlantic Gyre, North Pacific Gyre, South Pacific Gyre, and the Indian Ocean Gyre.

The great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre.  It is currently three times the size of the United States (not including Alaska and Hawaii) and is full of garbage.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Plastic Ahoy!

Today I am reviewing a children's book by Patricia Newman entitled Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Written for Grades 4-8, Plastic Ahoy! chronicles a team of young scientists who sailed across the Pacific Ocean toward a massive accumulation of trash know as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Using the scientific method, the team conducted many experiments they hoped would answer some tough questions. How much trash was in the Garbage Patch, and how was it affecting marine life?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Preparing For A Trip To The Aquarium

A trip to the nearest aquarium is a great place to observe some of nature's most amazing animals.  

Here are 10 things you can do to make your visit more meaningful.