Birch Aquarium’s Perspectives lectures reach milestone 10 million online views


Renowned Scripps Oceanography climate expert Richard Somerville presents “Global Warming: The Latest Word on the Best Science” during a Perspectives on Ocean Science lecture at Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

One of the best things about Birch Aquarium at Scripps is its connection to the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Scripps researchers explore the entire planet — from earthquakes, to whale songs, to medicines from the sea, to climate change, and beyond — and our visitors get first-hand access to this cutting-edge science.

The entire world can also access this knowledge through Birch Aquarium’s Jeffrey B. Graham Perspectives on Ocean Science Lecture Series. Monthly recordings of this popular series just hit 10 million online views, a milestone that underscores the wide appeal of Scripps research and the impact of Birch Aquarium’s outreach programs.

More than 130 videotaped lectures can be accessed online through UCSD-TV’s website as well as UCTV’s system-wide YouTube and iTunes channels. Perspectives on Ocean Science is UCSD’s longest-running and most popular science series. Out of more than 350 UCTV series, it is the 14th most watched.

The lecture series, originally called “The Birch Aquarium Presents,” was launched in February 1996 as intimate presentations held monthly in the mornings before the aquarium opened to the public. The series expanded into a popular evening program in 2001 when Scripps marine biologist Jeffrey B. Graham, interim director of Birch Aquarium, wanted to better connect society with the discoveries of Scripps researchers. Graham, for whom the series is now named, died in 2012.

Donna Blackman

Scripps research geophysicist Donna Blackman presents “Live from Gakkel Ridge” during a Perspectives on Ocean Science lecture at Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

In addition to its online viewership, more than 12,000 people have attended monthly Perspectives lectures. Birch Aquarium at Scripps spends more than $25,000 each year to produce the series.

The most popular Perspectivestopics range from climate science to leopard sharks to marine protected areas. At more than 375,000 views, the most-watched lecture is “The American Denial of Global Warming” from fall 2007, featuring UC San Diego scientist and historian Naomi Oreskes. Oreskes’s talk, which has received more than 51,000 viewer comments on YouTube, revealed the history of organized campaigns designed to create public doubt and confusion about climate science and scientific consensus.

Also popular is “A New Imperative for Deep-Ocean Research” featuring Scripps biological oceanographer Lisa Levin, which has received more than a quarter-million views.

For a listing of upcoming lectures and information about ways to support the future of this critical outreach program, please visit the Birch Aquarium website.

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  • Al Ulrich
    June 11, 2013 at 3:37 am

    I’m a big-time fish and coral nerd and had no idea these lectures existed. I’m going to check them out, thanks!

  • Aquarium Service Guy Jon
    June 29, 2013 at 7:09 am

    This is awesome. It is one thing for an aquarium to show pretty animals and yet another to explain to the public the importance of these animals and how our lives affect them. Looks like UCTV has almost 100,000 subscribers. Just got one more from me.