A Blue View | WYPR

A Blue View

Tuesdays 5:45 pm

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.  From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.


It’s unusual for people to have an incredible sense of smell. In the perfume industry, these people are called "noses." But in reality, you don't smell with your nose, you smell with your brain. Our sense of smell increases until we’re about eight years old, then plateaus and declines as we age. Yet even the best "noses" pale in comparison to others in the Animal Kingdom.



Hidden just beneath the surface of the Inner Harbor in five distinct locations is a new type of garden: an oyster garden.

These installations are the product of the Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership, a collaboration between the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, local businesses and area schools.


Don’t be deceived by the desolate look of a mudflat. These areas of mud or sandy mud, which line thousands of miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline, are hiding a rich variety of life.

Put your sturdy hip-wader boots on, because today we're wading into ... the mud. If you’ve spent any time on the Chesapeake Bay, you’ve felt mud between your toes. That’s because our watershed consists of miles and miles of mudflats.



The deep ocean is an extreme habitat, challenging and expensive to get to and to study. It is cold, under tremendous pressure from the weight of all the water above, and so very dark. It's mysterious, and completely foreign to us light-loving landlubbers. We know more about the surface of the moon than we do the bottom of the sea. The deep sea is not deserted, though, as was once thought.


With a multiplicity of thin wafer-white triangles, each one dangerous and serrated, we know a top predator when we see one. The great white shark is the largest predatory fish alive.


Many Chesapeake Bay locals have felt the sting of a sea nettle at least once in their life; it’s sometimes an unfortunate consequence of the activities we enjoy on our waterways.



When Captain John Smith first explored the Patapsco River in 1608, it was ringed by natural wetlands that provided habitat to native wildlife and filtered the water. It may be hard to imagine, but before Baltimore became a thriving seaport, the Inner Harbor was likely vibrantly colored with a plethora of lush green vegetation resting on the water’s surface.


There's no better word to describe the electric eel than, well, shocking. Part of that shock, as it turns out, was the discovery that it isn't a real eel at all. While it exhibits a long, smooth, snake-like body, the electric eel is scientifically classified as a knifefish, a cousin to the carp and catfish-only with maximum voltage.


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. Washington State's St. Helen's and Italy's Mount Vesuvius are famous volcanic explosions. 


What animals do you think exhibit the most kaleidoscopic variety of colors and patterns, in the wildest diversity of forms in the animal kingdom? Tropical birds? Rainforest frogs?