"Big Blue Live": Day 3

The "Big Blue Live" TV special comes to and end. But it is the just the beginning for many species travelling through the Pacific Ocean.

by Neil Khosla

Sep. 3, 2015.—Last night’s finale of the “Big Blue Live” series was bittersweet. Bitter because one of the most interesting nature series came to an end. Sweet because of the amazing footage of swarms of dolphins, enormous blue whales diving for food, and orcas hunting for dinner.

Most of last night's episode focused on the enormous diversity in the Monterey Bay. If you had a chance to watch Part One and Part Two, then you already know that the Monterey Bay is currently swarming with diversity.

A Feast in the Bay

According to experts featured on the program, these species are here for one main reason: to fuel up. Many of the amazing species found in Monterey Bay during this time of year are just stopping by to eat.

In fact, some of these aquatic animals cross thousands of miles of ocean before stopping in Monterey. This giant gathering of a multitude of marine species is incomparable to any other place on the planet.

“It is like the Superbowl for nature,” says Dr. M. Sanjayan, one of the show’s hosts.

The Common Dolphins

Even without the live broadcast, the Monterey Bay is not too far off from the Superbowl. Just as a linebacker tackles a running back, predators in the ocean smash into their prey. “Big Blue Live” captured this phenomenal clip of an orca crashing into a dolphin and launching it into the air.

Perhaps most interesting was the description of these beautiful dolphins. These majestic creatures work together when feeding, and travel in groups called "pods".

To work together, dolphins need to communicate with each other. Through a series of clicks and whistles, dolphins can tell each other about the location of food, or even the presence of a predator.

Sometimes, when there is an overabundance of food, several dolphin pods will join forces and become a "superpod". Here is an awesome clip from National Geographic that shows a superpod in action.

A Scientist's Job Is Never Done

Many species that currently inhabit the Monterey Bay could not be there without the help of local scientists.

One hundred years ago, the cannery industry was booming in Monterey. But the canneries produced a lot of waste, and that waste was dumped directly in the ocean.

By the time Julia Platt became mayor of Pacific Grove in 1931, the Monterey Bay was trashed.

Platt was a biologist, and was a huge proponent of conservation. By protecting a small portion of water, she allowed many different species a chance to come back - including the sea otter.

Today, scientists are continuing to help these vital creatures. Researchers discovered that lab-raised sea otters do just as well as those raised in the wild. This allows them to help more and more otters live to see adulthood.

Go Check It Out!

Even though the three-part series has ended, there is still a beautiful, thriving marine ecosystem to go see in person. If you live nearby, head over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium this weekend and see these creatures in their natural habitat. It's the next best thing after seeing them live on television!

Slideshow photo by Jolene Bertoldi (Flickr)