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
3:53 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Seal Season - 2/24/15

Seal sightings are rare for even the most frequent beach-goers to the Mid-Atlantic shore. In a typical year, about 20 are spotted in Ocean City, Maryland.

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A Blue View
5:27 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Migration of Oceanic Plankton - 2/17/15

Credit Eelke/Flickr

  In the popular cartoon “SpongeBob SquarePants,” Plankton is a tiny troublemaker who fantasizes about someday taking over the world. Well, according to the scientists who study these microscopic migrators, they may already have.

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A Blue View
6:01 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Bringing Bycatch to the Forefront - 2/10/15

Credit mwms1916/flickr

  Many of us have a romantic image of fishing: a weather-beaten waterman aboard a small fishing boat, hauling in a handmade rope net as a sou’wester approaches. Outside our beloved Chesapeake Bay, that romantic image—and the era it evokes—is mostly gone.

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A Blue View
12:19 am
Tue February 3, 2015

At Home With Clown Fish - 2/3/15

Most parents of young children know a thing or two about clownfish. These adorable orange- and white-striped fish rocketed to stardom in the animated classic Finding Nemo, which featured an adventurous clownfish hero.

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A Blue View
8:51 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Mysteries of the Deep - 1/27/15

Thousands of feet beneath the surface of the ocean, animals live, even thrive, in conditions that are impossible for most of us to even imagine. Our blue planet is indeed a water planet, yet incredibly, over 90 percent of the ocean remains unexplored and unseen by humans. 

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A Blue View
10:36 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

From the Bottom of the Food Chain - 1/20/15

The ocean food web is much more than the dramatic clash of sharks devouring marine mammals and large fish. While many of us know that the ocean food web is complex, it’s easy to focus on the apex predators at the top.

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A Blue View
8:12 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Coral Reefs: Rainforests of the Sea - 1/13/15

Sometimes called the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs are colorful, intricate ecosystems—among the most incredible natural wonders in the world.

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A Blue View
5:58 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Frozen Alive: Animals That Freeze … And Survive - 1/6/15

All animals have their own unique ways of surviving winter’s harsh conditions. Some—like certain species of fish, birds and insects—simply move, migrating south for the warmer climate. Others are equipped with the natural insulation of fur or feathers. Many hibernate, wakening only when the weather has warmed up.

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A Blue View
11:34 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Every Drop Counts - 12/30/14

A lot of us take water for granted. We simply turn on a faucet, and there it is, in seemingly endless supply.

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

Masters of Disguise: Marine Animal Camouflage - 12/23/14

This world of ours can be a dangerous place—and for many undersea creatures, camouflage means the difference between life and death.

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