John Racanelli

Host, A Blue View

As chief executive officer, John Racanelli leads a team of 600 full and part-time employees and 1,000 volunteers in pursuing the National Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.  More than 1.5 million people annually visit the Aquarium’s venue in Baltimore, Maryland, while millions more are touched by the Aquarium’s education programs, outreach activities, social media campaigns and conservation initiatives.

A passionate advocate for the ocean, John strives to drive conservation action worldwide, ensure the success of one of the nation’s leading aquarium enterprises, and fundamentally change the way the world views the ocean and aquatic systems.

John joined the National Aquarium in July 2011 after 10 years as president of Racanelli Partners, Inc. The San Francisco-based consulting firm served the needs of nonprofit leaders nationally and globally, focusing on cultural and conservation organizations including Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Surfrider Foundation.

After co-founding Mission Blue with author and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, John assisted her in developing and launching Google Ocean, Google’s most significant enhancement of Google Earth, the most popular earth visualization tool in existence.

Prior to founding his firm, John spent 16 years in leadership positions at U.S. aquariums. He was the first CEO of the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, where he built the facility, team and vision for Tampa Bay’s leading cultural attraction.  He also served for nine years on the leadership team of the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium as its vice president of marketing and development, joining the aquarium a year before its opening. While in college, John began his career as a diver and aquarist, an experience that he credits with giving him great appreciation for the work of everyone on the aquarium team.

Fluent in Spanish, John holds a degree in strategic management from Dominican University of California. He is a SCUBA diver, open-water swimmer, sailor and surfer. His weekly radio show and podcast on WYPR public radio, “A Blue View,” explores important issues related to the aquatic world. John and his family are proud residents of Canton, Baltimore’s historic waterfront district.

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A Blue View
6:06 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

The Amazing Life of the American Eel - 11/11/14

The life cycle and migratory patterns of eels had scientists stumped until relatively recently. Aristotle once theorized that these long, thin fish were spontaneously generated from the mud of river bottoms. Pliny the Elder thought they developed from adult eel skin that had rubbed off against rocks.

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A Blue View
8:44 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Fishes’ Sixth Sense - 11/4/14

We have five senses; ask any schoolchild and they can rattle them off on the fingers of one hand: hearing, taste, smell, touch and sight.

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A Blue View
10:45 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Underwater Volcanoes - 10/28/14

When most of us think of volcanoes, we think of mountains, rising and looming over flat plateaus. Cone-shaped and spewing burning ash and molten rock in flows of hot orange-red rock.

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A Blue View
6:18 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Sharks Among Us: Chesapeake Bay Species - 10/21/14

Hidden beneath the waves, elusive visitors to the Chesapeake Bay comb the seafloor for fish, crustaceans and stingrays. These Mid-Atlantic guests often go unnoticed by watershed residents, who might actually be surprised to learn of their presence.

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A Blue View
5:20 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Ospreys: A Conservation Success Story - 10/14/14

Today, the osprey is one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most iconic creatures, right up there with blue crabs, blue herons and oysters, but that wasn’t always the case. This North American raptor, nicknamed the “fish hawk,” once faced dangerous population declines, recovering only after the federal government intervened.

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A Blue View
5:12 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Otherworldly Octopuses - 10/7/14

With eight arms, a bulbous head, thousands of suckers, a tongue covered in teeth, and three hearts, the octopus is like something out of a science fiction movie. And the more you know about these creatures, the stranger they seem.

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A Blue View
9:48 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Maryland’s Elusive Salamander Species - 9/30/14

When it comes to biodiversity of plants and animals, the number of species typically increases as you move from the colder temperate zone to the warm tropics. The epicenter of salamander diversity, however, exists much further from the Equator—in fact, it’s here.

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A Blue View
1:13 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark - 9/23/14

With a wide, thick head shaped like a double-headed hammer—one eye on each end—the scalloped hammerhead shark is a sight to behold. Unfortunately, this unusual-looking creature could disappear from our oceans if steps aren’t taken to protect it. 

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A Blue View
10:11 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Atlantic Sturgeon: Back to the Future - 9/16/14

Large, silvery-brown, snout-nosed, scute-covered, prehistoric-looking Atlantic sturgeon have been swimming the seas and coming up East Coast rivers to breed since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

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A Blue View
4:24 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Bayscaping to Reduce Runoff - 9/9/14

Around the Chesapeake Bay area, we have a specific word for landscaping with the environment in mind: Bayscaping. This eco-friendly, holistic approach to gardening helps conserve water and prevent pollution that may otherwise end up being carried into our waterways.

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