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
5:33 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Rising Seas - 8/5/14

The combination of ice melting and thermal expansion in the ocean means that sea level rise is not just a possibility…it is happening now, and the only question is how fast it’s going to rise. 

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A Blue View
9:32 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Secrets of Seaweed - 7/29/14

Ever feel the tangle of seaweed around your ankle when wading in the water? For many beachgoers, it is enough to send them scrambling for shore.

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A Blue View
10:09 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Seaside Wonders: Sea Stars and Urchins - 7/22/14

A common decorating theme for beach houses and shore hotels, sea stars, sand dollars and sea urchins signify summer vacation.

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A Blue View
8:58 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Transient Giants: How Sand Dunes Protect Our Beaches - 7/15/14

Sand dunes, those soft summertime beach-sights that can be scaled in flip-flops and dune buggies, are coastal geology that evolve in real time.

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A Blue View
11:44 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

More Than Meets the Eye - 7/8/14

Take a walk on your local shoreline and you might be lucky enough to spot a blue heron fishing for its next meal or sand crabs disappearing back into the sand after being exposed by a crashing wave.  But while these creatures might be the ones to catch your attention, many of our watershed’s more overlooked inhabitants are playing an equally critical role in maintaining this complex ecosystem.

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A Blue View
6:13 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

From Backyard to Bay: The Impact of Planting Native Plants - 7/1/14

The colorful Black-Eyed Susan and the sweet-smelling magnolia are just two of the many stunning flowers and trees native to the Chesapeake Bay region.

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A Blue View
5:28 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Survival Skills of the Elusive Giant Squid - 6/24/14

Its eye is the size of your head. It lives more than 3,000 feet deep in oceans around the world and is 30 feet long, yet it lacks a backbone. With eight arms and two tentacles, it is the origin of the myth of the Kraken.

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A Blue View
11:41 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Reducing Your Footprint While Enjoying the Shore - 6/17/14

The Chesapeake Bay is a playground in the summer, with people using this amazing natural resource for fishing, boating, even simply enjoying a relaxing day on the beach along its shores.

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A Blue View
7:30 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Unusual Fish Dads - 6/10/14

Seahorses, sea dragons and pipefish are among the most flamboyant fish in the ocean.

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A Blue View
5:30 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Mapping the Seafloor - 6/3/14

Oceanography and seafloor mapping have been headline news recently in the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. One of the many challenges of finding the missing plane was the fact that the ocean floor has been dark, deep and remote for all of time.

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