Marine Protected Area Glamour Pics

Marine Protected Area (MPA) Glam Shots is a project by artist, Jessica Ling Findley, combining retro glamour portraits with sea creatures thriving in Marine Protected Areas (MPA) to highlight successful human actions to help heal our oceans. Get your glam on for the ocean! Sign up to be a model and help spread the word about MPAs!

Project Origins:

Inspired by the world’s premier Ocean Sciences Meeting in February 2020, Seaport Village and The Port of San Diego have invited artist Jessica Ling Findley to produce a series of art experiences. She will help bring science to life through art at Seaport Village from December 2019 to February 2020. As ocean vitality becomes more critical with changing climate, these works, produced with input and data from scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Birch Aquarium, explore how stories of Ocean Optimism can inspire us all to work together for a sustainable future. These immersive experiences invite audiences to think about the future of our oceans in new and creative ways.

Jenessa Goodman with the Stellar Octopus cyanea from Madagascar

Over 3 billion people’s livelihoods depend on marine and coastal biodiversity around the world. Fishery management provides economic benefits of conservation and community engagement with broader marine management. Madagascar has incredible biodiversity, but due to climate change, as well as over exploitation, it’s delicate marine ecosystem is at high risk. Local fisheries engage with the community to practice “no-take” conservation periods which allows the octopus time to become old enough to reproduce and increases the catch for those who depend on it.

Octopus cyanea moves along the seafloor camouflaging itself not only with color but with texture. Although octopuses are normally nocturnal, Octopus cyanea prefers twilight. Yet it is also known as the Day Octopus, because it can be found hunting in cooperation with a roving coral grouper fish who often points out hiding prey when the octopus seeks shelter in the coral. It’s lifespan is about 12-14 months from its planktonic larval state.

Sam Clements with The Outrageously Adorable Baby Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

The come-back kids! From 1741 and 1911 the fur trade decimated the sea otter population from  300,000 to 2,000. Now that hunting otters is banned internationally, conservation and reintroduction efforts have brought the otter population closer to 200,000. Yet, recent declines due to disease and starvation have kept the otter on the endangered species list. 

Otters are also superheroes of the ecosystem because they help maintain kelp forests, the habitat for many other creatures. Kelp forests are endangered by the eating habits of abalone and sea urchins. Sea urchins munch at the base of the kelp plants and destroy large swaths of the forest. Without the voracious appetites of Sea otters for abalone and sea urchins, kelp forests would become depleted.
Otters also protect sea slugs by eating crabs, slug predators. Sea slugs keep the seagrass free of sun blocking agae.  Seagrass not only keeps the soil in place and is the home to thousands of marine species but together with phytoplankton and macro-algae they produce more oxygen than all the rainforests combined. Go team!

Leo Francisco with The Baby Green Sea Turtle Superstar (Chelonia mydas)

Who loves a marine protected area? Sea turtles do! Research shows snow birds are not the only ones nesting in Florida. Scientists observed sea turtles spend most of their time breeding and feeding at the protected Dry Tortugas Beach and the protected areas of the Florida Keys. Sea turtles help maintain healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs, the key habitats for marine life. By supporting the balance of the marine food web, sea turtles facilitate nutrient cycling from water to land.

The biggest threat to sea turtles is injury from fisheries and habitat degradation.  To protect the sea turtles we need to 1) Reduce sea turtle interactions and mortalities in commercial fisheries, 2) Protect key habitat areas on land and in the water 3) Pass comprehensive legislation that establishes a system to protect and restore sea turtle populations.