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After Dark: Sea Life

Undersea life
After Dark: Sea Life

Beneath the San Francisco Bay lies an incredible diversity of life that’s connected to all of the world’s waterways. This means that we can tell a lot about the ocean’s health by examining what we see, sense, and hear locally—and we have just the instrument to give us some clues. Join marine scientists, technicians, and educators as they pull a one-ton carbon dioxide (\(C O_2\)) buoy out of the water and explore its scientific instruments and the organisms that have colonized it. On loan to us from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the \(C O_2\) buoy has been anchored between Piers 15 and 17 since April 2013, collecting data on water temperature, salinity, and \(C O_2\) levels in the atmosphere and the Bay. Every year, we pull it out of the water to calibrate and replace the sensors and to clean off corrosion and marine organisms. 

Buoy Extraction
7:00 p.m.
Gallery 5: Outdoor Exhibits

Join us as a crane hoists our data-collection buoy from the water! On loan from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the buoy spends its time measuring water temperature, carbon dioxide levels, and salinity in San Francisco Bay—and accumulating all kinds of aquatic life. Get up close with the buoy and be the first to see the species that have gathered on its underside over the past year.

Buoy Data Stories
7:30 p.m.
Gallery 5: Outdoor Exhibits

With Mary Miller and Jim Pettigrew 

Learn all about our data-collection buoy, on loan to us from NOAA. Mary Miller and Jim Pettigrew will help you discover the variety of instruments the buoy carries, what data it collects, and what it tells us about our dynamic oceans in the era of climate change.
Mary Miller is a science writer, producer, and former director for the Exploratorium’s partnership with NOAA. She’s spent time with fascinating minds in Antarctica and Greenland, on the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, and at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and various NASA facilities.
Jim Pettigrew
is Field Manager for the Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program at Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies and a lecturer in geography at San Francisco State University.

Life on the Buoy
7:30–9:00 p.m.
Gallery 5: Outdoor Exhibits

With the Living Systems Lab and the Cal Academy’s Center for Biodiversity and Community Science

Discover the organisms living on our data-collection buoy! Staff from our Living Systems Lab will bring their microscopes to the deck of our outdoor gallery and offer an up-close look at the variety of algae and marine invertebrates that have collected on the buoy’s bottom. 
The Living Systems Lab is the Exploratorium’s working biology laboratory. The lab cares for and cultures a variety of living organisms for the exhibits in our Living Systems Gallery. 

Dr. Rebecca Johnson co-directs the Center for Biodiversity and Community Science and the Thriving California Strategic Initiative at the California Academy of Sciences. She is building a community of folks working together to discover nature and collect important species occurrence data. She is passionate about building coalitions around place-based nature connection, biodiversity documentation, and using community-collected species observations to understand climate change and inform policy aimed at halting biodiversity loss.

Dr. Avery Hill is a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for Biodiversity and Community Science at the California Academy of Sciences, where they leverage vast amounts of community science data to model ecological patterns across myriad landscapes. Their research is most broadly motivated by the need to understand the biological and ethical drivers of Anthropocene biogeography.

Sydney Davenport is the Project Coordinator for the Center for Biodiversity and Community Science. She works primarily on the Thriving California Initiative, which is a new Academy effort to harness scientific data and mobilize diverse communities to fight climate change, stop biodiversity loss, and advocate for nature in the Golden State.


Kelp Pressing
8:00–9:00 p.m.
Gallery 5: Outdoor Exhibits

Start an algae herbarium with this make-and-take activity. Using algae samples taken from the underside of our data-collection buoy—and some professional plant-preservation supplies that we’ll provide—you can press and preserve your very own piece of seaweed.

Listening to Ocean Giants
6:30–9:30 p.m.
Gallery 5: Outdoor Exhibits

With John Ryan

The sea is filled with sounds that, when we tune in, offer essential clues to the composition of the ecosystem and the health of sea life. Join John Ryan of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) to tune in and learn what the sounds you hear mean. With the help of technology—some familiar and some specialized—John will share elements of the ocean that are usually inaudible to the human ear. With each sound you hear, he’ll relate the stories and the science that can be observed—and how understanding these sounds is essential to conservation.

John Ryan is a biological oceanographer at MBARI, an independent oceanographic research centered in Moss Landing, California, whose mission is to advance marine science and engineering to understand a changing ocean. John studies the ecology of plankton, fish, and mammals—primarily through integration of remote and in situ sensing technologies. Through science-engineering collaborations, this research involves advancing methods of sampling and data analysis.

Interspecies Encounters: Animals, Artists, and Scientists
Films on a continuous loop 6:30–9:30 p.m. Tiny talk at 8:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3

With Jiabao Li and Cooper Galvin

Step into a pop-up gallery of artwork from Jiabao Li. In her work Li challenges our human-centric worldview by exploring the intricate connections between human and non-human species. She does this through direct co-create with non-human forms which range from squid to glaciers. Li creates new ways for humans to perceive the world. She works across nature, humans’ designed environment, and belief structures and creates works addressing climate change, humane technology, and a just, sustainable future. 

Jiabao Li is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin. Her lab explores the intersection of art, design, technology, and biology. Li collaborates closely with scientists. Her key science collaborator Dr. Cooper Galvin, a biophysicist, who is CEO of Endless Health. He also founded and directs Future Advancers of Science and Technology, a Bay Area STEAM outreach organization that mentors and funds year-long curiosity-based projects for high school students. 

Works featured are:
Chthulucene, Once a Glacier, Squid Map, Time Sensitive, and Glacier’s Lament.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase at our Seaglass Restaurant and additional bar locations.