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“Could you describe the ruckus, sir?”

The Academy may be closed—and quarantine may sometimes feel like detention—but our science never stops! At 10 am on select mornings, Academy experts bring you discoveries, insights, and stories from around the world, spanning a wide range of subjects through live, informal presentations followed by Q&As with the viewing audience. Streamed simultaneously to our YouTube and Facebook pages, these mini-classes are for everyone (because each one of us is a brain). Sincerely yours, the Academy.

Thursday, February 25, 10 am

A team of researchers conducts a necropsy on a whale carcass that has washed up on a beach

Dead Whales Do Tell Tales
Maureen Flannery, Senior Ornithology and Mammalogy Collection Manager at the California Academy of Sciences

As a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the California Academy of Sciences, along with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, responds to any dead whale that washes up along the coast between the Rockport in Mendocino County and the San Mateo/Santa Cruz county line. Each carcass offers scientists the opportunity to learn about the health of whale populations, and the threats that they face. By performing necropsies in the field, scientists collect valuable data about whale migration patterns, habitat threats, human impacts, and geographic distribution that help to inform critical conservation decisions and scientific research. Moe Flannery, Ornithology and Mammalogy Senior Collection Manager, will share some of the stories uncovered during recent whale post-mortem exams along our local coastlines. Note: This presentation contains imagery of whale necropsies that may be upsetting for some people, including children. 

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Thursday, March 25, 10 am

Collections manager Moe Flannery stands surrounded by antler specimens in the Mammalogy Antler Room

Collections Tour: The Mammalogy Antler Room
Maureen Flannery, Senior Ornithology and Mammalogy Collection Manager at the California Academy of Sciences

Collections manager Moe Flannery takes viewers behind the scenes of our mammalogy collections to explore some of the most impressive specimens of the Academy's entire, 46-million-specimen scientific holdings. See a complete dugong skeleton, a pair of deer locked in mortal combat, orca skulls, narwal tusks, lots (and lots) of horns and antlers, and so much more. Those who caught Moe's first behind-the-scenes tour know exactly how fascinating this will be—don't miss it! 

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Recent Breakfast Clubs

Find our 10 most recent Breakfast Club episodes below, or click here to see our full YouTube playlist.

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logo for Black in Ento

Black In Entomology
Dr. Maydianne Andrade (Professor, University of Toronto Scarborough), Dr. Michelle Samuel-Foo (Director of Specialty Crop Research, Alabama State University), and Dr. Jessica Ware (Associate Curator, American Museum of Natural History)

Join us for this incredible panel featuring three of the organizers of #BlackInEnto week, an effort aimed at highlighting the diversity of work being done by the Black Entomology community across the globe. Panelists will discuss the challenges facing Black entomologists, the successes and critical work being accomplished despite those challenges, and ways everyone can get involved in supporting efforts to diversify entomology and support Black entomologists! For more information, connect with @BlackInEnto on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and visit www.BlackInEnto.com.

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Toshio Asaeda stands in grasslands surrounded by mountains smoking a pipe

The Work and Life of Toshio Asaeda
Rebekah Kim, Head Librarian at the California Academy of Sciences

Academy librarian and holder-of-history Rebekah Kim returns to Breakfast Club on February 19—America's day of observance for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II—to tell the story of scientific illustrator Toshio Asaeda, an artist of incredible talent who worked with the Academy in a wide range of roles—on expeditions, exhibits, in collections, and more—for more than 40 years. Best known for creating watercolors whose vibrance and realism still staggers today, Asaeda was also one of the ~120,000 Americans who were forced to leave their homes, jobs, and lives behind and incarcerated in desolate camps—an act the U.S. government apologized for 46 years later. An important story and body of work, as told by the woman who cares for both today. Please note: In addition to airing on a Friday, this program begins at 11 am PT (instead of our regular 10 am start). 

 

 

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Closeup of Dr. Jessica Ware

Dragonflies, Damselflies, Termites, and More
Dr. Jessica Ware, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History

From dragonflies that are oh-so-easy to love to termites that definitely aren't, entomology superstar Dr. Jessica Ware takes Breakfast Club viewers on a winged tour of everything you always wanted to know about metamorphosing insects but were afraid to ask. (Plus, why maligned insects like termites really do deserve your love.)  

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Dr. Shannon Bennett stands in the lobby of the Academy, arms crossed and mask on

When Will It End? The Evolution of the Pandemic—& of How We're Fighting It
Dr. Shannon Bennett, Academy Chief of Science, Dean of Science & Research Collections, and Curator of Microbiology 

Brain overflowing with questions about mutating viruses, vaccine roll-outs, and more? Our own Chief of Science, virologist Dr. Shannon Bennett, returns to Breakfast Club to discuss the latest emerging strain of COVID-19, its implications for transmission, shelter-in-place, and more, as well as the mechanics and efficacy of the vaccines we're using to fight it. Following her talk, she'll answer your questions directly—just submit them in advance by emailing lallen@calacademy.org (subject-line "Bennett Breakfast Club"). See you there! 

 

 

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PhD candidate Kendall Calhoun stands on a mountain slope that experienced a wildfire

Hot Topic: Wildlife Responses to Changes in California Fire Regimes
Kendall Lee Calhoun, PhD candidate in UC Berkeley's Brashares Lab, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management

See wildfires in a whole new way in this talk by UC Berkeley's Kendall Lee Calhoun, who's studying where California wildfires are distributed across the state, and using a range of monitoring tools—camera traps, GPS collaring, and acoustic monitoring—to examine how individual species are responding to those fires. Hear about some of this subject's biggest questions (How are fires altering what wildlife communities look like?) and biggest issues (forest management alone can't address the threat of megafires) from a researcher working to understand and increase the resilience of California nature.

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Curator Nat Nagalingum badly photoshopped onto a photo of holly berries

WINTER IS COMING (So Let's Talk Traditional Holiday Plants!)
Dr. Nathalie Nagalingum, Associate Curator and McAllister Chair of Botany

No matter what holiday you celebrate, prepare to get festive with your botanical favorite, curator Dr. Nathalie Nagalingum! From boughs to berries and branches to blooms, she'll be talking holiday plants—Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Festivus, you name it—and why they're part of our very human celebrations. In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of Nat badly Photoshopped onto a field of giant holly berries. 

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Suzi Ezterhas looks through a camera while a lemur hangs off the other end of it

Women in Wildlife Photography: A Brave Conversation
Panel: Suzi Eszterhas, Susan McElhinney, Jaymi Heimbuch, Morgan Heim

Don't miss this unusually brave, straightforward conversation about the issues and challenges faced by women in the still male-dominated field of wildlife photography—as well as the unique skills & perspective women bring to this work—via panelists Suzi Eszterhas (renowned wildlife photographer & founder of Girls Who Click), Susan McElhinney (National Wildlife Federation Photo Director), & Her Wild Vision's Jaymi Heimbuch and Morgan Heim. Please click here for additional info and full panelist bios! 

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Collections manager Chrissy Garcia holds up a large green crystal

Part 2: Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Gems and Minerals Collections
Chrissy Garcia, Geology Collections Manager

Because one trip into the deep-time world of sparkle wasn't enough, we're following up Chrissy's Nov. 3 livestream by heading right back in! We'll answer all the viewer questions we didn't get to in Part 1, take any others you can think of, and show even more dazzling gem and mineral highlights from the Academy's 2.5-million-specimen Invertebrate Zoology and Geology collections. 

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image of gold

Part 1: Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Gems and Minerals Collections
Chrissy Garcia, Geology Collections Manager

Life today needs not just more science but also more sparkle, so we're stepping into the Academy's incredible collections of gems and minerals with Geology Collections Manager Chrissy Garcia! From behind-the-scenes specimens to those on display in our Gems and Minerals exhibit, it's a multifaceted (sorry) episode guaranteed to delight both intellects and eyeballs. [Rescheduled from 10/27, our apologies!]

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Collections manager Dave Catania holds a deep-sea angler fish

Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Ichthyology Collections
Dave Catania, Sr. Collections Manager of Ichthyology

Two words: FRILL SHARK! More words: Swim through the aisles of our 1.2 million-specimen ichthyology collections, aka one of the largest, most significant collections of fishes in the world. With collections manager Dave Catania as our guide, we'll drop into jars, tubs, and buckets containing some of the most incredible ocean denizens known to science. Live questions welcome!

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Sarah Crews holds a wallaby

Flattie Spiders: From Biogeography to Biomechanics
Dr. Sarah Crews, researcher at the Academy's Department of Entomology 

The animal with the fastest turning strike on Earth isn't tiny, nor uncommon, yet remains a very big mystery with a (very) low profile. Meet the flattie spiders—Dr. Crews' focus, and a group that perfectly illustrates "how science is cool because whenever you 'answer' something, you actually just find a million more questions (which is a good thing)." Hear about how she began working on the group, her accidental discovery of their record-breaking speed, their life history, behavior, and all the questions that remain. (Plus: Even more new species!) 

 

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Restoring Urban Nature: A 21st Century Necessity
Jonathan Young, Presidio Trust wildlife ecologist 

Dune butterflies, oyster reefs, bird nest boxes, pond turtles, coyotes, damselflies, chorus frogs! Presidio Trust wildlife ecologist Jonathan Young—whose role encompasses everything from habitat restoration to the reintroduction of lost species—takes Breakfast Club viewers on a tour of urban nature in SF's Presidio National Park, and of the many ways in which humans are connected to (and desperately need) all of it.

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Academy @ Home

Keep your mind open while the Academy is closed with an eclectic array of science content for all ages.

Best of 2020 Livestreams

Get to know our new livestream series, Breakfast Club and NightSchool, with a list of 10 viewer favorites from 2020.

About IBSS

The mission of the Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability (IBSS) is to gather new knowledge about life's diversity and the process of evolution—and to rapidly apply that understanding to our efforts to sustain life on Earth.