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MacGillivray Freeman's Academy Award-Nominated DOLPHINS Returns September 6 to the Fleet’s Heikoff Giant Dome Theater!

DOLPHINS are Trending in the News ~ Learn More about them, September 6–30 Only!

September 06, 2013

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center 40th Anniversary logo

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center 40th Anniversary logo


San Diego, CA—September 6, 2013.   The desire to uncover human meaning in animal behavior is as old as humankind itself. Intelligent, curious and playful, dolphins have inspired fascination and fable for centuries. Now that they are all over the recent news, with this week’s discovery of a measles-like virus wiping out hundreds of dolphins up and down the East Coast, and the US Navy fighting to conduct their sonar experiments in their normal feeding grounds, our ability to learn more about dolphins’ lives and their remarkable intelligence is more important than ever. Join us this September as MacGillivray Freeman Films’ Dolphins, nominated for a 2000 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject, returns to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. It will play September 6–30 only.


Imagine floating in the crystalline, turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Sunlight dances off the rippled, white sand banks. Swimming alongside you are some of the most graceful and extraordinary creatures on earth—wild dolphins. While few of us will ever have the chance to encounter a dolphin in the wild, audiences will feel like they are swimming right alongside these playful creatures.


From the dazzling coral reefs of the Bahamas to the wind-swept seas of Patagonia, Dolphins takes audiences under the water’s surface for a romp with inquisitive Atlantic spotted dolphins, acrobatic dusky dolphins and the familiar bottlenose dolphin of Flipper fame.


Studying (and filming) elusive, fast-moving animals in the ocean environment is a difficult task. Viewers follow young marine biologist, Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski, and her two colleagues, mentor Dr. Bernd Würsig and Dr. Alejandro Acevedo-Gutierrez, as they research the communication of wild dolphins with innovative scientific methods and interesting technology.  From rarely seen fish-herding behavior to a close-up look at complex communication activities, Dolphins provides audiences a fascinating new perspective on the lives of dolphins and their remarkable intelligence.


Dolphins also explores the dolphin–human bond, and audiences will be intrigued by the relationship between JoJo, a rare lone dolphin in the Turks & Caicos Islands and his friend, naturalist Dean Bernal. Dean and JoJo have saved each other's lives on more than one occasion, and their story will stir audiences with the beauty and mystery of inter-species communication. 


“The topic has a wonderful appeal to the public; people want to know more about how dolphins communicate,” says director and producer Greg MacGillivray.  “I wanted to make a film that offered insight into these intelligent marine mammals and that revealed the wonder of their habitat, the ocean, and our need to preserve it.”


While most of what we know about dolphins comes from studying them in captivity, Dudzinski and her colleagues conduct their research with dolphins in the wild, a far more strenuous, time-consuming, even dangerous endeavor. Audiences may be surprised to witness firsthand how scientific progress is made in inches and not miles, and how the slow accumulation of scientific data is passed on, and expanded upon, from one generation of scientists to the next. 


Würsig comments, “Everybody in Western societies admires dolphins. But few people really know very much about these intelligent, social mammals that play out their lives in a marvelously complex three-dimensional world. This film can help energize a new generation to learn more about the beauty and fragility of these long-lived members of the marine environment.”


Dolphins, which is narrated by Pierce Brosnan and features the music of Grammy-award winning artist Sting, is produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films in association with the National Wildlife Federation, the nation's largest member-supported conservation group, and with major funding provided by the National Science Foundation and Museum Film Network.  Two companion books—Dolphins, by Tim Cahill, and Meeting Dolphins, by Kathleen Dudzinski—are available from National Geographic Books.


Dolphins returns to the Fleet on Friday September 6, 2013, and will run through September 30 only. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Heikoff Giant Dome Theater is located at 1875 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101. Giant Dome Theater show admission (1 film + access to all exhibit galleries): Members: Adults $13, Seniors $11, Children $10; Nonmembers: Adults $17, Seniors $15, Children $14.  The Fleet’s normal hours are Monday–Thursday 10AM–5PM and Friday–Sunday 10AM–6PM.  For information on tickets and showtimes, call (619) 238-1233 or visit our website at http://www.rhfleet.org/shows.


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Celebrate the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center’s 40th Anniversary Year!

Forty years ago, a spark ignited our imaginations!  March 9, 2013, kicked off a year-long celebration of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and its 40 years of success in bringing hands-on science to our San Diego community. Forty years ago, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center opened its doors and brought interactive exhibits and the world’s first IMAX® Dome Theater to San Diego. Today, the Fleet inspires minds and connects individuals to science and technology through more than 100 “do touch” exhibits for all ages and amazing IMAX films and planetarium shows in the recently renovated Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. Enjoy our year-long celebration, featuring a blockbuster exhibition, incredible events and dynamic educational experiences.


About MacGillivray Freeman Films

MacGillivray Freeman Films believes in the power of giant-screen, experiential IMAX theater films to transform how people see and experience their world. Using the finest film technology that exists, MacGillivray Freeman Films aims to inspire, inform and entertain people of all ages with positive, enriching motion picture experiences set in the most extraordinary and remote places on Earth.  Working in concert with MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation, a public charity, the company is especially committed to creating motion picture entertainment that leads audiences to rediscover and explore the natural world, inspiring them to cherish it and take action to protect it. To extend the intellectual and social impact of our films, MacGillivray Freeman Films designs educational outreach programs that broaden the film-going experience. Teacher guides, speaker series, traveling exhibits, lobby displays, family activity guides, special screening programs and companion books all carry forward the themes and issues presented in each film.  MacGillivray Freeman Films works closely with the world’s most prestigious science centers, space centers, natural history museums and aquariums to bring these immersive, visceral giant-screen learning experiences to an international audience. More than 250 million tickets have been sold to the company’s 35 giant screen films, which have grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. MacGillivray Freeman Films has made nine of the top 20 most successful large format films ever produced.


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AP/ABC News: Navy: Training, Testing May Kill Whales, Dolphins           

HONOLULU August 30, 2013  By AUDREY McAVOY Associated Press    

Navy training and testing could inadvertently kill hundreds of whales and dolphins and injure thousands over the next five years, mostly as a result of detonating explosives underwater, according to two environmental impact statements released by the military Friday.

The Navy said that the studies focused on waters off the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California and Hawaii from 2014 through 2019, the main areas that the service branch tests equipment and trains sailors.

The studies were done ahead of the Navy applying to the National Marine Fisheries Service for permits for its activities. The Navy said that it if hadn't done so and was later found to have harmed marine mammals, it would be found in violation of federal environmental law and have to stop its training and testing.


Discovery News: From New York to Virginia, dead dolphins have been washing ashore in unusually large numbers this summer. As of Aug. 20, nearly 300 stranded bottlenose dolphins had been reported in the region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, nearly seven times more than normal in some places.

As experts continue to investigate the cause, the leading contender is an infection called morbillivirus. Related to human measles and canine distemper, the virus seems to cause sporadic epidemics among dolphins. Many years, there are no detected cases, but when the virus hits, it can hit hard. The last epidemic struck off the Atlantic coast in the winter of 1987-88, killing more than 740 animals from New Jersey to Florida.

For now, there is no official announcement to confirm that morbillivirus is the culprit in the current outbreak, though experts involved in the investigation say that the virus has been confirmed in at least some of this year’s stranded dolphins.

“It’s no secret at this point,” said Perry Habecker, a large animal pathologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in New Bolton. His team has been analyzing tissues from dolphins that are washing up in New Jersey. “Morbillivirus is accounting for some of these deaths.”


CNN Health          What's killing all those dolphins? NOAA thinks it's a virus         By Laura Ly, CNN Thu., August 29, 2013

Dolphin deaths alarm biologists

(CNN) -- The primary cause for hundreds of recent dolphin deaths along the East Coast is likely a virus, and there's no way to stop its spread right now, federal officials say. The virus, the cetacean morbillivirus, is similar to measles in humans or canine distemper in dogs, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

After consulting with disease experts and conducting tests from five affected states, NOAA found that 32 dolphins were either "suspect or confirmed positive for mobillivirus." The five affected states are New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. North Carolina has also seen an increase in dolphin strandings, according to NOAA.

As of Sunday, there have been 488 dolphin strandings from New York to North Carolina, more than 300 dolphins above the annual average. The strandings, where dolphins have gotten stuck in shallow water or have washed up on shores, are over nine times the historical average for July and August in the mid-Atlantic region. Some stranded are found alive, but most are found dead, with many in a state of advanced decomposition, according to data published on NOAA's website.

In Virginia, at least 164 dead dolphins have been found this year, said Joan M. Barns, public relations manager for the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach. Seventy-eight have washed ashore so far in August, she said.

There is no vaccination for the mobillivirus, but additional testing on other animals is underway. Scientists at the NOAA hope that learning more about the virus will help them address factors that may facilitate its spread. While the virus is generally spread through the air or through contact with other animals, it is not infectious to humans.

On August 8, NOAA issued an Unusual Mortality Event in response to the high number of deaths. The declaration brought special federal attention to the deaths as something that serves as an indicator of ocean health and may give "insight into larger environmental issues which may also have implications for human health and welfare," according to NOAA's website.

The UME declaration for the mid-Atlantic bottlenose dolphins is one of 60 that the agency has issued since it was established under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1991. Causes, including infections, biotoxins, human intervention and malnutrition, have been determined for the 29 of those cases



ScienceDaily:  Science News            New Virus Discovered in Stranded Dolphin

July 10, 2013 — Researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues have identified a new virus associated with the death of a short-beaked dolphin found stranded on a beach in San Diego. It is the first time that a virus belonging to the polyomavirus family has been found in a dolphin. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.

Polyomavirus is known to cause disease in birds, but in mammals it is usually mild or subclinical, explains lead author Simon Anthony, PhD, a researcher in the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School. "It is therefore interesting that this particular polyomavirus appears to be what killed this dolphin. It's no immediate cause for alarm, but it's an important data point in understanding this family of viruses and the diseases they cause."

More: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182947.htm


BBC        Aug 7, 2013            Dolphins Have Astounding 'Social Memory'                  Can recall whistles 20 years later

Dolphins not only have names for each other, their memories are so good that they can remember the "signature whistles" of friends—and enemies—for at least 20 years, according to a new study. Researchers studied scores of captive bottlenose dolphins that had been shifted around the US and found that they responded much more readily to the sounds of dolphins they had once known—including family members, ex-tankmates, and former mates—than the calls of strangers, the BBC reports.

The dolphins' "social memory" is the longest ever recorded in the animal kingdom. Researchers believe the ability to recognize familiar whistles, which stay the same while age changes their outward appearance, helps dolphins live in "fission-fusion" societies, where they join and leave different groups many times over a lifetime. "We know they have relationships in the wild that last decades," an animal behaviorist tells Science. "Remembering a particular individual—even in the absence of that individual—could help them navigate their current social milieu."



TravelMole                           Friday August 30, 2013        Virgin in deep water with ASA over dolphin claim

A customer complained to advertising watchdogs after discovering that dolphins in a resort advertised by Virgin Holidays as offering Dubai's "first and only marine animal rescue and rehabilitation facility" had neither been rescued nor rehabilitated.

The dolphins are kept in what Virgin described in its brochure as a state of the art lagoon facility at the Dolphin Bay Atlantis, part of the Atlantis Hotel, where guests are able to swim with them.

It described it as "an unbelievable experience, that is fun, educational and conservation minded at the same time."

However, the complainant told the Advertising Standards Authority the dolphins were caught in the wild, rather than rescued, and were not rehabilitated or released back into the wild.

In its defence, Virgin submitted a letter to the ASA from the resort which stated that the dolphins at the Dolphin Bay facility came from an existing facility, the Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre.

The resort denied partnering with dolphin drive fisheries or non-professional operators and confirmed that all local and international wildlife laws were followed in bringing the dolphins to the resort.

They advised that their definition of "rescue" was to save from a dangerous or distressing situation and by "rehabilitation" they meant providing treatment designed to facilitate the process of recovery from injury, illness, or disease to as normal a condition as possible.

Virgin said that Dolphin Bay at Atlantis, the Palm was equipped with the necessary equipment to save dolphins from danger or distress as a result of sickness or beaching and to rehabilitate them to recovery from injury illness or disease.

Virgin said that, since opening, there had not been any strandings in the area and the resort had not had to use their facilities. However, so that they could be advised of a stranding occurring, they held an Emergency Response Workshop for Dolphin Beach Stranding to help advise relevant marine parties of their facilities and what could be done in the case of coming across a stranding.

Virgin said despite the substantiation provided by the resort, they had taken the decision to remove the claim "Dubai's first and only marine animal rescue and rehabilitation facility" from their marketing.

Upholding the complaint, the ASA acknowledged that the resort was, in a manner of speaking, a rescue and rehabilitation facility for marine animals, in that it had the necessary equipment, expertise and license, however it noted that the resort had not rescued or rehabilitated any animals.

"We considered that, without further clarification, the average consumer would infer from the claim, "Dubai's first and only marine animal rescue and rehabilitation facility" that the animals at the resort had been rescued and were being rehabilitated with a view to release, where appropriate," it said. "Because we understood that this was not the case we concluded that the ad was misleading."







About the Fleet Science Center:

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet--and beyond--in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet offers science workshops both at the Fleet and at schools throughout San Diego County. For adults, we offer events like Suds & Science and Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar™ at locations all over San Diego. We support communities by leveraging science resources to meet local needs. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in our Craveology cafe. Located in Balboa Park, at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego's science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, visit our website at fleetscience.org.
About Balboa Park:
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urbancultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit balboapark.org.