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.


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.


Our planet is misnamed. With 71 percent of it underwater, what we call Earth is really a water planet. For us earthlings, who can only thrive on land, that’s a problem, one compounded by our inability to live where it’s too cold, hot, dry or wet for us.


For most fish, the line Dory utters in the popular Disney movie “Finding Nemo” is no exaggeration. Sounds exhausting, right? But you’re unlikely to catch a fish closing its eyes for a quick catnap.


Imagine if the air you breathed changed your behavior. You might become reckless or disoriented, even experience loss of sight or sound. Yet, what if you had to breathe that bad air anyway, just to survive? This is a scenario that many fish and other aquatic animals could actually face in the near future, with the very seawater that they rely on to exist.


Zooplankton, the microscopic invertebrates consisting of small animals and the immature stages of larger animals, move up and down the water column in a type of migration called diel vertical migration.


Need an icebreaker for your next dinner party? Here’s one you can share while nibbling hors d'oeuvres: “Did you know your skull and head is organized like an extinct jawless fish?” Take your philtrum, for example. That’s the groovy indentation on your top lip just beneath your nose.


"This is the ship of pearl, which poets feign, sails the unshadowed main / and its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell /as the frail tenant of its growing shell." Oliver Wendell Holmes described this remarkable creature in his 1858 poem “The Chambered Nautilus.”

It's easy to think of science as clear, clean and linear - the progressive accumulation of information driving a steady increase in our understanding of the world.  But, in truth, it's messy.  There are fits and starts. Bafflement. Wrong turns. Dead ends.  Head-scratching questions that defy answers. There are also a lot of happy accidents, often made by people not even in science - as the workers on an oil and gas rig off the coast of Angola discovered in August of 2015.


If you had to guess the most common vertebrate on the planet, you might say deer or squirrels. Maybe mice or factory-farmed chicken? Even humans? 



Earth’s ice is expansive. In fact, 10 percent of the planet’s land mass is covered in ice—like glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets—spanning more than 5 million square miles.