The Phoenix Islands Come to Boston!

This post from the New England Aquarium News and Updates Blog was recently sent out to Aquarium fans in the Seabits e-newsletter (sign up to get it here). We're cross posting it here to make sure all our Phoenix Islands fans know about this special event!

Water is Rising
Dance and Music Performance
Saturday, November 19
Sanders Theatre in Cambridge

Special Offer for the Aquarium Community
Receive 50 percent off tickets by purchasing in advance. Call World Music/CRASHarts at 617-876-4275 Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mention the coupon code NEAQ50  at start of order. Or use the same coupon code during checkout when you purchase tickets online.

PLEASE NOTE: This discount is not valid on previously purchased tickets and cannot be combined with any other offer. Handling fees apply. Subject to availability. Offer expires Thursday, November 17, at 5 p.m.

About the Event
As one of the leading forces behind the creation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in partnership with Kiribati, the New England Aquarium has long recognized the tiny atoll nations of the Pacific as bellwethers for global climate change. The remote and far-flung islands of countries like Kiribati, Tokelau and Tuvalu are on the front lines of climate change, experiencing such climate change symptoms as coral bleaching events and rising ocean levels. The people who live on these vulnerable atolls also risk becoming the first cultures on Earth to be submerged by rising sea levels.

For hundreds of years, the islands’ history, spiritual teachings and social values were danced and sung rather than written. Now, as their fragile way of life is threatened, the 36 dancers and musicians of Water is Rising create an elegant, sensual and exuberant performance that expresses their deep connections to nature and the legacy of their traditions as well as their feelings about global climate change. Their shared spirit and intense energy represent the joyful vitality of their collective ethos.


Milestones, and miles to go....

At the conclusion of the 2009 expedition, we left you with promises of updates and publications and news. I'm writing now to make good on that promise; even though the blog has been a little quiet, there has been much action behind-the-scenes, and PIPA has reached several important milestones.

First, in September 2010 (~1 year post-expedition), a group of scientists met to brainstorm the next decade of PIPA research. Following the 5-day meeting, a Science Advisory Committee was created, and a document drafted containing the vision for scientific marine research in PIPA for the next 10 years. Already well underway, the scientists (myself included) have been busy fundraising, designing experiments, and planning the logistics for the next expedition (upcoming in 2012). Here's a group shot from the meeting:

Another major milestone occurred last month (May 2011), when delegates from the Kiribati government, the New England Aquarium and Conservation International signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to continue their partnership work on PIPA for another four years.

May 2011 was historic for PIPA on a number of fronts. The PIPA Conservation Trust held it's second annual board of directors meeting in Seattle. Directors include (R to L) Bud Ris (NEAq), the Hon. Minister Amberoti Nikora (Kiribati MELAD), and Dr. Greg Stone (CI); below, they are welcoming the new Executive Director of the Trust, Dr. Teuea Toatu (far left).

PIPA was also recently highlighted at the second International Marine Conservation Congress for its collaborative partnership with Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument - 2 of the 43 "crown jewels" of the ocean.

Most recently, there are five new scientific publications that have just been published about PIPA; one in the journal Coral Reefs; and four in the Atoll Research Bulletin.

Of course, the biggest news (almost a year old now!) is that in August 2010, PIPA was inscribed as a World Heritage Site; now the world's largest and deepest. marine World Heritage Site. Happy almost birthday, PIPA WHS status...

The next expedition is slated for Spring 2012, and this blog will get busier as the preparations begin. For more real-time news, please be sure to go to connect at our facebook pages Phoenix Islands Protected Area and the New England Aquarium.

Until soon,



PIPA In the News

Did you hear Aquarium researcher Randi Rotjan on NPR yesterday? She spoke to Robin Young on the radio program Here and Now about that incredible swath of Pacific Ocean known as the Phoenix Island Protected Area, or PIPA. Learn about PIPA's beginnings and how this special marine preserve is providing scientists a natural laboratory to study global ocean changes here.

You'll hear Randi speak about her experiences in the Phoenix Islands during the interview. Read all of Randi's PIPA Blog posts here and enjoy some of her photographs from the expedition below.