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November 15, 2013
Orange County Register - H.B. High students contribute to replenishing ocean's white seabass

H.B. High students contribute to replenishing ocean's white seabass


Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute research scientist Mike Shane and Huntington Beach High School student Samantha Cendro work in the school's lab specially designed to raise white seabass.




There aren’t many marine organisms that humans can grow in a controlled environment and then release into the ocean. But students at Huntington Beach High School are part of a program doing just that with white seabass.

By partnering with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and an ocean restoration nonprofit called Get Inspired! Inc., students in an AP environmental science class are able to raise the fish from when they’re just three inches long until they’re ready to be released into the ocean.

Keeping the fish alive is complicated, and it’s entirely up to the students. Nancy Caruso, founder of Get Inspired! Inc., said that the students get attached and are successful in maintaining the operation, but they care so much about the fish that when there is a tragedy such as a fish death, students cry.

“I make them very aware that we are all this animal has,” said Caruso. “They’re scared to death to do something wrong.”

This is Caruso’s goal: To create a connection so strong between the seabass and the students that by the time students release the fish, they’ve gained not only knowledge about an ecosystem, but a passion for being stewards of the ocean.

Keeping the fish alive is more than just feeding them daily; students, with the help of teachers, Caruso and Mike Shane, a research scientist at Hubbs-SeaWorld, built the entire operation. That includes making the salt water themselves.

Students are responsible for ensuring the tank’s pump system is operating correctly, checking pH levels and cleaning the tank daily, among other meticulous measurements and tasks.

The tank system at Huntington Beach High School had a one-time cost of $10,000 to build, plus $3,000 to make all the sea water, all paid for with grant money. Now, the system costs about $1500 annually to run.

Caruso said her organization recently received a grant to put another white seabass tank in Warner Middle School, though it will be smaller than the high school’s.

For the past two years, the school has released about 35 fish annually, in two batches, into the ocean. This year’s second release will come at the end of November.

White seabass raised in the classroom contribute to a much larger effort by Hubbs-SeaWorld, which has replenished over two million of the fish into the ocean since the start of their efforts in the late 1980s.

Shane said while one side of the program teaches students about the importance of marine life, it also provides STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education training that will help them get hired in the future.

“They’ll have skill sets and jobs that can help them get jobs in aquaculture,” said Shane. The students also get to tour the Hubbs-SeaWorld fish hatchery in Carlsbad, which provides the fish to the high school.

Hubbs-SeaWorld has been making the effort to grow white seabass ever since the late 1980s, when there was a sharp decline in the number of the species in the ocean, said Caruso.

Last week, Shane returned to the high school to tag the fish, each with a unique metallic thread in its head. The tags include unique tracking numbers that will help students see where their fish end up years down the line if they’re caught by fishermen.

“If kids don’t go on that journey, they don’t build that attachment,” said Caruso.

Contact the writer: [email protected] or 714-796-7845

June 14, 2013
San Diego City Council Proclaims June 11, 2013

  "Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute 50-Year Anniversary Day"  

50th Proclamation June 11 2013

District 2 Councilmember Kevin Faulconer, SeaWorld San Diego aviculturists Amanda Newman and Lauren DuBois with Magellanic penguins, HSWRI President/CEO Don Kent and HSWRI Executive Vice President Dr. Pam Yochem.


In honor of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute's 50th Anniversary and to mark this significant milestone in San Diego history, the San Diego City Council has issued a proclamation that June 11, 2013, is "Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute 50-Year Anniversary Day."  On hand to receive the proclamation were: Don Kent, President/CEO, Dr. Pam Yochem, Executive Vice President, and Eileen Sigler, Development Director accompanied by SeaWorld staff and SeaWorld's very own celebrity penguins! 

Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, officially celebrated 50 years of its mission "to return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it" on June 3, 2013.  In 1963 Milton C. Shedd, one of the visionary founders of SeaWorld in San Diego, met with world-renowned marine biologist Dr. Carl L. Hubbs. They had a clear vision of a unique scientific research organization that would be independent, highly productive, creative, technology-driven and results-oriented. Together with other business, scientific and community leaders, they founded a vital new institution for marine research, the Mission Bay Research Foundation, which was renamed Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in 1977. The Institute has built upon that foundation for five decades. 






June 12, 2012
Support HSWRI in June and y our donation will be matched $1 to $1!





Amount Raised


Every gift, $5, $10, or more helps and will help us reach our goal. Please make your secure donation today by clicking on the "Donate Now" button.


Dear Friends,

We are delighted to announce that we have just received a generous $100,000 challenge grant from a  donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, just in time for the end of our fiscal year.  So, all contributions made to Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in the month of June will have twice the impact on the health of our oceans.

Yes, that's right! All donations made to Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute now through June 30, 2012 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000!  A contribution of $100, for example, will provide HSWRI a total of $200 in much needed funding. But, to qualify for these matching funds, we must receive your donation by June 30.  We sincerely hope that you will take advantage of this great opportunity to double your contribution. Simply click on the "Donate now" button below to make a secure donation today.

We know with your help we can reach this $100,000 goal. Your gift, large or small, will qualify for the challenge grant and will double your support of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute.

So for every $1 you donate to Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in the month of June you would be ensuring that $2 would help support the following projects:

Enhancing marine mammal stranding response, public education, and stranding network preparedness along the central east coast of Florida.  Just last month our outstanding Stranding Team rescued this orphaned newborn bottlenose dolphin that was found stranded in shallow water by a boater. The calf was rescued by HSWRI's Marine Mammal Stranding Team, Volusia county, and SeaWorld.  It is being cared for at SeaWorld Orlando and so far, is doing well.

Or participate in our upcoming Bill Poole Memorial Angling Tournament, which benefits our white seabass replenishment program This year there are many ways that marine-science aficionados, recreational anglers, ocean lovers, and others can participate in the Bill Poole Memorial Angling Tournament:

1. Become a tournament sponsor and add your logo to our event materials! For more  information click here.

              2. Enter the physical angling tournament in San Diego on July 27 and 28, by clicking here. 

3. Enter a Virtual Fishing Tournament  that allows you and your friends from across the globe to come together in support of HSWRI's mission to help create sustainability of marine resources while benefiting humans. Your donation and all of your teammates donations will be matched $1 to $1! Start your Virtual Team today!

4.  Attend the Awards Banquet and Silent Auction on Sunday, July 29. The barbecue is open to everyone and will feature delicious cultured-fish tacos, prepared on site by local chefs, opportunity drawing and silent auction, tours of the Institute’s Mission Bay hatchery operations where we raise California yellowtail, up-close encounters with some of SeaWorld's adorable animal ambassadors and more! To purchase your tickets click here.

No matter what area of research or event you wish to support, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000!  There’s no better time to support our work and there is no organization more qualified to understand and investigate the scientific truths in ocean health than Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute! Please join with us as our partner in conservation, research and education by supporting Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and help build a living legacy for your children and future generations.

We hope you will say "yes, please count me in to help!" All donations made to Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute now through June 30, 2012 will be matched $2 to $1.


Every gift, large or small, will qualify for the challenge grant and will double your support of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. BUT WE MUST RECEIVE IT BY JUNE 30, 2012, SO PLEASE DON'T WAIT!

All checks postmarked by June 30, 2012 are eligible for matching funds and may qualify as a 2012 tax deduction.

Thank you for your support.

Together we can continue to make a difference in the health of our oceans...and "to return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it."


Don Kent, President

February 1, 2012
Mike Shane photographs Miss California at Penguin Encounter
Not only is our Research Scientist, Mike Shane, a great scientists, turns out he is also quite the photographer. He was invited to take photos of Miss California's visit to SeaWorld last September.  Since then his work has been featured on Miss California's holiday greeting card and most recently on the pages of the Barbizan Modeling School magazine. Click here for the photo.

August 29, 2011
Local explorers comb world's oceans, deserts, mountains

Great story in today's San Diego Union-Tribune on our own Dr. Brent Stewart and his prestigous Explorers Club award.

To read the story please click here.

June 8, 2010
Mike Shane discusses White Seabass Hatchery on Rod and Reel Radio
HSWRI Research Scientist Mike Shane was a guest on Rod and Reel Radio on May 9. The archives have recently been posted. Click here to listen to the show.

May 17, 2010
Whale Rehabs at Park

Whale rehabs at park

SeaWorld and HSWRI hope to make discoveries about once-stranded Sully

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2010 AT 12:04 A.M.

SeaWorld senior research scientist Anne Bowles (right) and trainer
Stephanie Jol work with Sully, a pilot whale. The whale was found 
dehydrated and starving in a bay in the Caribbean, then flown to 


Hubbs-SeaWorld senior research scientist Anne Bowles (right) and trainer Stephanie Jol work with Sully, a pilot whale. The whale was found dehydrated and starving in a bay in the Caribbean, then flown to SeaWorld.


•Like dolphins and killer whales, pilot whales are cetaceans.

•There are two subspecies, short- and long-finned. All three of SeaWorld’s pilot whales are short-finned.

•Predators include orcas, sharks and people, who target them for meat, blubber and oil.

•Adults usually weigh from 1,500 to 4,000 pounds, but can grow to 20 feet long and weigh 6,000 pounds.

•There are generally 10 to 50 pilot whales per pod.

•Like bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales use echolocation to navigate and find food, mainly fish and squid.

•They can eat up to 5 percent of their body weight a day in food.

SeaWorld senior research scientist Anne Bowles (right) and trainer
Stephanie Jol work with Sully, a pilot whale. The whale was found 
dehydrated and starving in a bay in the Caribbean, then flown to 


Bowles’ hydrophone recorder sits on the edge of the pool. Sully eventually will perform with two female pilot whales at SeaWorld.

 — Researchers aren’t sure why the infant, bulbous-headed pilot whale stranded himself, a problem that sometimes affects entire pods of these marine mammals.

Rescuers from SeaWorld took in the whale, which they named Sully, and helped him recover fully. Now, from the uncertain cause that brought him to San Diego, scientists and trainers hope to make many discoveries about pilot whales as Sully grows up.

Sully was found dehydrated and emaciated in a bay next to the Caribbean island of Curacao. The Southern Caribbean Cetacean Network treated him for about six months and then transferred him to SeaWorld, which has two other pilot whales, in January.

The marine-themed park chartered aFedEx cargo plane to bring the whale to San Diego. The trip cost more than $100,000, covered by SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.

Sully’s caretakers in Curacao had tried to introduce him to other pods, but he always followed the boat back to shore.

“I don’t think he had this huge attachment for us. It was just that the last time he was in the ocean alone, it wasn’t working for him,” said George Kieffer, president of the cetacean network. “When it comes down to an individual animal working so hard to survive … he basically volunteered to be treated.”

A few trainers have suggested that Sully’s stranding resulted from his hearing deficiency, which the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program tested by measuring his body’s electrical responses to various sounds.

Because little is known about pilot whales’ hearing, the Navy used one of SeaWorld’s other pilot whales as a baseline.

More months of analysis are required before the tests will yield reliable results, SeaWorld researchers said.

“These whales are prone to mass strandings” said Ann Bowles, a senior researcher at the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute. “Nobody knows why. This is one of the pieces of information that we can potentially get an angle on by working with animals that we can get our hands on and look at closely.”

Sully eventually will perform with Bubbles and Shadow — both female pilot whales — in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Stadium, which is being renovated and will reopen in May.

Until then, he shares a pool in the training facility with four male dolphins.

“What I like about what he’s got now, is that he’s got other animals to interact with,” Kieffer said. “Ultimately (Bubbles and Shadow) are really going to want to socialize with him, but they’re going to have that whole, ‘We’re a female team, you’re an outsider’ thing at first.”

SeaWorld officials said it’s impossible to predict Sully’s behavior, but senior trainer Stephanie Jol said his manner so far suggests he won’t be a threat to the trainers or his tank-mates.

“I think he’s one of the sweetest animals I’ve ever met in my life,” Jol said. “He’s got a huge set of teeth. He’s got teeth like you’ve never seen before, but all of the behavior that he’s shown with us is just very lovable and very gentle.”

Jol was selected to work with Sully because she has experience rehabilitating animals, including work with the Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Program at SeaWorld.

Sully’s rehabilitation off Curacao, where he was kept in a small netted area most of the time, included treatment for starvation. He was tube-fed a special formula until he could eat fish — whales typically hydrate by eating fish — and play with a ball.

Sully has gained 56 pounds since his arrival at SeaWorld and has grown to 11 feet long.

“I gave him maybe a 10, 15 percent chance to survive the night, let alone be a success for rehab,” Kieffer said. “He’s a fighter.”

May 17, 2010
Honor Your Mother and Your Mother Earth!


I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights. ~Terri Guillemets 
Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandiand pup.  The Hawaiian monk seal is native to the Hawaiian Islands and is the most endangered of all the seals and sea lions in the United States. HSWRI Scientists Dr. Brent Stewart and Dr. Pamela Yochem, collaborating with scientists from the federal government, are using satellite linked technology to document marine areas that are important to Hawaiian monk seals.  This information is being used to help make decisions regarding marine resources that are important to both seals and humans.
Whether it’s a Hawaiian monk seal and her pup basking on the sandy beaches of the Hawaiian Islands, a California gray whale traveling the long route from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja California to give birth, majestic Polar bears traversing the frozen tundra with their cubs, or our very own human mothers, mothers are the very reason for our existence.  They nourish and enrich our lives and give of themselves so that we may prosper. They teach us the lessons it takes to survive on this beautiful planet—Mother Earth. 

This Mother’s Day consider honoring your mother, Mother Earth and the animal kingdom’s mothers by making a tax-deductible contribution to HSWRI.  Your gift can help us continue to work to ensure that future human and animal generations enjoy the ecological and personal benefit that only healthy and productive oceans can provide.

By making a Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute donation in honor of your mother this Mother's Day, your mother’s name will be listed on our web site, for the month of May 2010, as well as in our next quarterly update.  One hundred percent of your donation will go to scientific research and will help us to continue "to return to the sea some measure of the benefits derived from it.”

Your donation can be mailed to HSWRI:
Attn:  Development Department
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute
2595 Ingraham Street
San Diego, CA 92109

If you are mailing your gift, please print and mail this Mother's Day Form   PDF-Icon.jpg
Or you may contribute online at . 

Thank you so much and Happy Mother’s Day!

Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Staff 


HSWRI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Tax ID:  95-2304740

February 18, 2010
HSWRI says good bye to Capt. Phil Harris

We are saddened to learn of the death of Phil Harris, beloved captain on the Discovery Channel's popular show “Deadliest Catch.” Last July, Hubbs Research Scientist, Mike Shane, had the pleasure of appearing on the program's spinoff, "After the Catch" where he an opportunity to sit down with Phil and some of the other captains to discuss some of the stranger looking sea creatures they have caught over the years. Mike had a great time meeting all of them and will not forget the experience.  Here are a couple photos of the gang and Mike on the set of "After the Catch" in Pacific Beach, California.  

captains_after_the_shoot.JPG            mike_with_atc_captains_small.JPG


February 11, 2010
Dr. Brent Stewart on whale shark expedition--November 2, 2009
Check out this amazing video of HSWRI senior research scientist, Dr. Brent Stewart, who is being interviewed by Lene Topp from WWF Denmark during a whale shark expedition in the Philippines expedition last June. There is some beautiful underwater footage of whale sharks as well as Brent and his collaborators and colleagues from WWF and the local Donsol community team tagging the sharks. During this trip they were able to place 11 tags on 10 sharks. Since May 2009, 44 tags were out on whale sharks in addition to 45 whale sharks tagged in 2008, making this the largest whale whark tracking program in the world. View Now