Watchful Protector: Catalina Island Conservancy
Watchful Protector: Catalina Island Conservancy

Students visiting Catalina Island Marine Institute for the first time make various exclamations, and one of the most popular is, “Why is the water so clear here compared to the mainland?” With 88% of Catalina Island protected, it is no wonder that the land and surrounding oceans are pristine. But, who do we have to

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Happy Earth Day!
Happy Earth Day!

Earth day is an annual event on April 22, which was first celebrated in 1970. The idea came from Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. He was inspired by the anti-war movement and realized he could include air and water pollution issues into the national political

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Water in Motion: The Freshwater Cycle
Water in Motion: The Freshwater Cycle

Seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water that is constantly in motion. The total amount of water in the world never really changes, it just takes on new forms and moves to new places, from sky to sea to ground. This process is called the water cycle, and it is the reason

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The Majestic Butterfly Ray
The Majestic Butterfly Ray

The California Butterfly Ray (Gymnura marmorata) is a member of the Gymnuridae family which translates to naked tail. This species has a range of southern California down to the tip of Gulf of California. They have been found as far south as northern Peru but it is debated whether it is a subspecies that reside

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Navanax: Snail & Slug of the Sea
Navanax: Snail & Slug of the Sea

While most animals found on the sandy bottom areas around CIMI spend most of their time trying to blend in with the sand, the Navanax (Navanax inermis) sticks out like a clown at a camouflage convention. Some head shield slugs like the Navanax and their colorful relatives Nudibranchs have opted out from hiding and instead

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Spring Wildflowers on Catalina Island
Spring Wildflowers on Catalina Island

Spring is the season of new growth and blossoming life. Visiting CIMI during the spring feels dreamlike as you walk through the trails flecked with wildflowers of all shapes and sizes. Catalina Island is home to over 400 native plant species, and 200 non-native plant species. There are even 7 endemic plant species only found

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Swim Bladder vs. Oily Liver
Swim Bladder vs. Oily Liver

Many animals naturally float at the surface and have to force their way down below the surface. Fish however, have a very convenient adaptation. Two ways to animals in the ocean control their buoyancy, or the upward force exerted by a fluid, are with a swim bladder and an oily liver. Osteichthyes (bony fish) use

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