It was an exciting year for the New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life. Here’s a wrapup of some of our favorite science stories of 2018.

(In no particular order)

Google Expedition scene from the virtual reality lesson plan,
Google Expedition scene from the virtual reality lesson plan "Studying oceanic whitetip sharks in the Bahamas" shows the team of scientists performing an ultrasound and drawing blood from a pregnant oceanic whitetip shark. Photo courtesy: Andy Mann

Harnessing virtual reality to bring classrooms on a shark science expedition

Led by National Geographic photographer Andy Mann and scientist Maggie Winchester, the Anderson Cabot Center and Cape Eleuthera Institute Shark Research and Conservation Program research team used virtual reality to  bring classrooms to the Bahamas to study oceanic whitetip sharks.

Read the blog


MCAF Fellow John Flynn teaches the MBITs about sea turtles.
MCAF Fellow John Flynn teaches MBITs about sea turtles.

MCAF Fellow inspires the next generation

Marine Conservation Action Fund Fellow John Flynn visited the New England Aquarium’s Marine Biologists in Training this spring—helping to inspire the next generation of ocean guardians!

Watch the video | Read the blog


a screenshot of the right whale entanglement simulation from Howle et al 2018
A screenshot of the right whale entanglement simulation from Howle et al 2018.

Could a computer model be the key to solving the right whale entanglement problem?

This fall, Anderson Cabot Center senior scientist Dr. Tim Werner co-authored a paper detailing video simulations of entanglements to better understand how right whales get entangled in fishing lines. If scientists can understand how whales are getting entangled, it could help them stop future entanglements.

Learn more


Anderson Cabot Center Scientist Emily Jones and Ph.D. Candidate Connor Capizzano document a fish. Photo: Steve De Neef.

On the water to study discard mortality

After a total of 32 days and roughly 352 hours on the water, the Fisheries Science and Emerging Technologies (FSET) research team, alongside 96 volunteers, were able to sample a total of 6,828 cod and haddock! These studies help scientists determine what happens when these fish are caught and thrown back by recreational fishermen, ensuring species survival and a vital and vibrant ocean.

Learn more


Testing a decoy buoy, shark

Could electronic decoys be the key in minimizing elasmobranch bycatch?

Anderson Cabot Center scientists partnered with the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas on experimental field trials to find out if an electronic decoy could decrease bycatch of sharks, skates, and rays in longline fisheries.

Learn more


On the water with the FSET team

From tagging sand tiger sharks in our own backyard to conducting groundfish research to inspiring the next generation of ocean stewards, we partnered with National Geographic photographer Andy Mann to get to the heart of the Anderson Cabot Center’s Fisheries Science and Emerging Technologies (FSET) program.

Watch the video


A leatherback turtle feeds on Atlantic sea nettle jellyfish off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. NMFS Permit #15672. Photo credit: Amy Kukulya, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
A leatherback turtle feeds on Atlantic sea nettle jellies off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. NMFS Permit #15672

The leatherback plastic problem

The world’s seven species of sea turtles have been around for tens of millions of years, but today they all face threats from human activities. Turtle ecologist Dr. Kara Dodge discusses plastic pollution in our oceans and the consequences on the planet’s marine life.

Read the blog


right whale looks at camera

The right whale report card

This fall, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium released its annual report card, cataloging the health of the endangered whale species. With no calves born during the 2017-2018 breeding season and only 411 right whales alive today, the very survival of this endangered species is in jeopardy.

Read the report


Scientist Dr. Rosalind Rolland collects a blow sample from a surfacing right whale.

Blown Away: A new way to measure the health of right whales

Scientists at the Anderson Cabot Center found a way to measure hormones in whale blow (breath) from large whales at sea. For years, doctors have been able to measure concentrations of hormones and other compounds from human breath. Drawing on those ideas, our researchers used urea, an organic compound that’s also present in humans, as a way to meaningfully quantify hormone concentrations in whale blow.

Learn more


Protecting the Serengeti of the Sea—the blue park in our backyard

Roughly 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, where the continental shelf drops into the inky, black abyss below, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument protects three massive undersea canyons, four underwater mountains, and an untold number of marine animals. Backed by decades of science, including aerial surveys from 2018, the New England Aquarium and its Anderson Cabot Center launched an awareness campaign to protect the blue park in our backyard!

Learn more | Read the survey blogs


We look forward to more great science and research in 2019! As a nonprofit institution, the Anderson Cabot Center relies on the generosity of people like you. If you’d like to support another year of critical ocean science, please donate. Together, we can protect the blue planet.