When Scientists Geek Out.

Science, Thoughts

Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico, Scuba Divers, Nurse Shark

As a marine biologist, I can’t even begin to list the amount of times I gleefully screamed or screeched underwater when I saw something astounding right before my own 2 blue eyes. Some underwater face to face encounters that stand out are: having a whale shark come straight towards me in Mexico, a giant cuttlefish staring at me in Australia, and multiple manatees in Puerto Rico. Heck, I couldn’t even form a sentence when I saw a huge manatee moving underneath me!

Yes, I totally was that nerd who sat on the floor in-front of the TV a couple of years ago after the Super Bowl to watch the first footage of a live giant squid caught on camera. And of course, I shed tears of happiness because cephalopods are some of my favorite animals on the entire planet. If there is ever an opportunity for me to go into a submersible 1000’s of feet below the surface, YOU BET I WOULD BE ON THAT SUCKER IN AN INSTANT!

So when I saw this video yesterday, I knew I would have gone just as crazy as one of those scientists operating the ROV. Can you imagine starting at a screen for HOURS and even DAYS just hoping that something interesting passing in front of your camera and lights 600m underwater? Then, BOOM! Check out what puts on quite a little show for these researchers 🙂 (Here’s the article if you want to read it as well)

I Wish I Were A Mermaid.

Photography, Science, Thoughts
(c) Ted Grambeu/ Barcott USA

(c) Ted Grambeu/ Barcott USA

You know when people ask you for fun –

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

If you had any super power, what would it be?

My answer never seems to change. I would be any oceanic animal (blue whale, dolphin, shark, etc.) and my super power would be to have gills so I could breathe underwater. I know many people would want to be an animal that flies in the air, but when you think about it, everything flies through the water in the ocean. It’s just a different medium/element.

I came across these photos last week and instantly connected with them. It’s on my Bucket List to swim with whales in the wild. And after seeing these photos…I may have to change that Bucket List item to include being dressed as a mermaid 😉

(c) abcnews.com

(c) abcnews.com

These photos are of the beautiful Hannah Fraser, a 36 year-old professional underwater swimmer, ocean activist, artist and model. She’s an Australian native, but resides here in Los Angeles. She’s been practicing free diving since she was a child, and even created her own mermaid tails from scratch utilizing flippers, plastic boomerangs, and duct tape.

Hannah is currently working on a project with Cetacean and Whaleman Foundations to discontinue the slaughter of thousands of dolphins and whales across the globe. She creates her own mermaid tails , and a percentage of her earnings as a mermaid goes towards charity for anti-whaling drives. After watching the tear jerking documentary The Cove in 2009, I’ve been a strong activist against the killing of dolphins and whales.  They are one of the SMARTEST creatures to live on this planet, and it pains me to think of all the horrible methods people use to kill them.

(c) Shawn Heinrichs

(c) Shawn Heinrichs

“The ocean is the birthplace of life on Earth, and if I can be a visual link to inspire other humans who have become disconnected from this amazing world, I feel I have done something worthwhile.”


(c) elitedaily.com

(c) elitedaily.com

The ocean is the only place where I feel fully at peace. There is no doubt I was put on this planet to help conserve our seas and ocean animals. I am currently in the process of looking for a new job – a job where I can work with/around/near the ocean. I won’t give up until I wake up to the smell of salt water coming through my window, and watch the sun setting over the sea every evening. I know what where I need to be – what I’m meant to do – and it’s time to find that pathway to get there.

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Salt Water In My Veins

Science, Thoughts

My friend Evan (and author the amazing blog: The Better Man Project) this past weekend told me – “You have salt water running through your veins.

Although, yes is quite a witty comment, I also find a lot of truth behind the statement within myself. I live, breathe, love, care, and exist for the sea. There’s nothing that remotely comes close to the undying passion I have for the ocean and its inhibitors. The sea is so mysterious, important, beautiful, scary, and just an overall necessity for our existence on this planet. As I’m applying and interviewing for jobs for next year, all I think about is ‘how can this job help me achieve my dream?’ – then that comes up with the question – ‘what is Chanel’s dream?’ My dream is to start my own marine conservation non-profit, or at least help run one that is already intact doing AMAZING things for this planet. 

Educating the public about the numerous hardships our planet is facing each and every day is VERY important- especially because most of the problems are result of human action. An uninformed mind, is an uneducated mind. Unfortunately,  I feel as though our government in America doesn’t always have our best intentions when making decisions that affect us all. It was after watching multiple documentaries, and reading lots of papers, that I have come to the conclusion that large corporations will the death and destruction of our planet as a whole. EVERYTHING  they do is all about what makes them the most money with the least amount of money/effort. Our personal health and the health of this planet usually get put on the back burner :-/ while overall corporation prosperity and wealth take the lead.

We only have 1 Earth, 1 life to live, and 1 chance to leave it a better place than when we arrived. I feel it’s my job on this planet to leave it a better place for future generations. 

I wanted to share this video I found while blog browsing last night, as it truly touched my heart (causing me to shed a couple of tears).

Whales fascinate me. The blue whale (featured in this video) is the LARGEST animal to EVER live on this entire globe. It used to be every time I saw a whale in the wild, it would make me cry just a little to just be in the presence of such a beautiful majestic creature.  It pains me to think that whaling is still legal in some places, and illegally still occurring in others. When you take into account their intelligence, history, beauty, mysteriousness, and importance on our planet it’s hard for me to consider the killing of these creatures voluntarily.

I can understand if a whole tribe of people in New Zealand, or the Arctic has to kill whales to feed their whole community. They cherish the death of the whale by utilizing the whole body as much as possible. But for example the Japanese- they hunt whales with very inhumane practices which has led to much controversy expressed in the Discovery Channel Show Whale Wars. My mom was pushing me to apply to be on the show Whale Wars…but I had college degree to obtain, and I couldn’t see risking my life as an option while I’m so young.

You know what, I’d like to say that salt water really does run through my veins. I’d also love if I had gills too (which would totally be my superpower if I was granted one). I hope I can come back to this post 50 years from now, and smile because I accomplished my dream. You are in charge of your own destiny and future. I’M GOING FOR IT!

Make Monday Worthwhile.

Photography, Thoughts

Last week was by far the longest, craziest, hectic, satisfying, and sleep deprived of my year so far. For work we did all the production for the California Philharmonic’s inaugural concert at the Santa Anita Race Track. I took a lot of great photos which I will share tomorrow (I’m editing them now 🙂 ).

Since this is a new week, I wanted to start it off on a good note. I got a delicious super detox tea beverage from a local tea joint in Pasadena with my co-worker, found $20 on the ground, and then I treated my co-worker to some awesome Thai food for lunch. Time is too precious to waste being lazy and negative, keep your head up high and a smile on your face. People want to be surrounded with positivity… it’s crazy how addictive a simple smile can be 🙂

My mom shared this photo with me today, and I just HAD to post it because it made me feel good. I’ve always wanted to swim with whales in the wild (definitely have it on My Bucket List). I want it to be me in this photo so badly!! But I know one day I will get to experience these huge amazing marine mammals in the big blue.. I can hardly wait!

So I just wanted to leave you on a positive encouraging note to : Make the Most out of your Monday

I know it’s the beginning of the workweek for most, but it’s also a chance for new opportunities and experiences. Go out and make the most of your day and overall week!

Amazing Photos of a 50ft Bryde’s Whale Feeding!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

Whales are  beautiful and majestic creatures. They never cease to amaze me 😀

Down in Baja Mexico, some lucky divers got the footage of a lifetime! Along with swift marlin and curious sea lions, the Bryde’s whale was competing to consume a huge bait-ball of sardines.

Bryde’s whales are related to humpback and blue whales. They are baleen whales, consuming pounds upon pounds of krill and small fish. They often get mistaken for different whales in the wild.  They span across the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.

All photos credit to: Doug Perrine/Barcroft Media

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How Grey Whales Survived the Ice Age


Hey everyone, sorry I haven’t been on here in a while.

It seems as though my last semester of my Undergrad is keeping me VERY VERY busy. I haven’t forgotten about you though..I miss updating as much as I used to over the summer.

Well here is an interesting story I wanted to share dealing with Grey Whales.

Currently- Grey Whales feed on the seafloor at depths around 50 meters, and they rely heavily on Alaska’s Bering Sea shallow regions for food. But when researchers from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC modelled the Pacific feeding growunds of the whales during peak glaciation, they found that very little of the north Paicific was shallow enough for the whales to feed. The ocean levels were up to 120 meters lower than today and the Bering Sea was just a land bridge.

Concluding- that the Northern feeding grounds might have only supported only a couple hundred whales- but genetic studies show no sign of a bottleneck at the time.

SOOooo that leads to the assumption that the whales shifted to open-water feeding to survive during the Ice Ages. This assumption comes from the idea comes from a small group of open-water feeders found living year-round in the Pacific northwest.

Researchers believe that after the Ice Age, the non-migratory whales would have been VERY easy targets for  early whalers, which could explain why the current non-migratory Grey Whales are not dominate, and the migratory Grey Whales are.

Microphones in the Ocean- Listen to whales while you work!

Science, Thoughts

So I thought that this was pretty cool for all you ocean lovers out there 🙂

Just launched a couple days ago online: LIDO created a website where you can listen (in real time) to microphones that they have places all around in the world’s oceans. The microphones right now they are mostly near Europe and the Middle East. LIDO stands for “Listening to the Deep Ocean environment)- their goal for this website is to establish the first center of a regional network of multidisciplinary seafloor observatories contributing to the coordination of high quality research.

By doing this- they can have long-term data on Geohazards (earthquakes/tsunamis), Marine Ambient Noise (induced by marine mammals and anthropogenic noise produced by humans in the means of boats/subs) in the Mediterranean Sea and the adjacent Atlantic waters.

This is pretty cool- you can just have the website up on your desktop- and right at that exact moment a sperm whale could swim by the mic and you’d hear him talking! On the website if you search around you can find clips that they’ve recorded of different whales, dolphins, and ships.

Check it out- go have fun and listen to some dolphins 🙂 CLICK HERE.

3-Million Year Old Whale Found Hiding Under The San Diego Zoo!


While  workers were constructing a storm water equalization tank last week at the San Diego Zoo, they dug up something to their surprise.

A 3-million-year-old whale fossilized skeleton. Not to mention the skeleton is pretty well intact.

Labeling the Whale Bones

It’s funny that we, humasn, were not even evolved on this planet yet when this whale was alive and swimming the wide open seas.

The baleen whale is about 24-feet long, with even an intact skull!

Scientists say that the age of the whale dates back to The Great American Interchange. This is when a range of land and marine animals migrated between North and South America. Much of the central-west region of North America was underwater- believe it or not! Who knows which way the whale was traveling, north or south- I’m sure it would have loved the warm waters of South America though 🙂