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June 8th is World Oceans Day! In this episode, we explore fascinating new research into fish cognition and learn about an unprecedented new project to build a marine sanctuary for cetaceans.
We start off the show with discussion of the upcoming Disney-Pixar film Finding Dory (the sequel to the popular 2003 movie Finding Nemo), which opens in theatres on June 17th. The character of Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, is a blue tang fish, a species found in coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. Experts are becoming increasingly concerned that the film will cause a spike in consumer demand for the fragile blue tang fish as pets or decoration, causing large numbers of them to be pulled out of the ocean, killing many and negatively affecting the coral ecosystems in which they play an essential role. You can sign the petition asking Disney to inform Finding Dory viewers about this issue here.
Dr. Culum Brown on Fish Cognition
Our first interview is with Dr. Culum Brown, an associate professor of biology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and assistant editor of The Journal of Fish Biology. For years he has studied the behavioural ecology of fishes with special interest in learning and memory. In this interview, Professor Brown shares with us some of his captivating discoveries, showing that fish are much more intelligent and socially complex than they’ve ever been given credit for.
Dr. Lori Marino on The Whale Sanctuary Project
Dr. Marino, who co-authored a groundbreaking study in 2001 offering conclusive evidence for mirror self-recognition in bottlenose dolphins and was featured in the blockbuster documentary Blackfish, explains in detail how this exciting new Whale Sanctuary will offer a superior alternative to traditional captivity models for cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) who need medical care and rehabilitation.