John Racanelli | WYPR

John Racanelli

Host, A Blue View

As chief executive officer, John Racanelli leads a team of 600 full and part-time employees and 1,000 volunteers in pursuing the National Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.  More than 1.5 million people annually visit the Aquarium’s venue in Baltimore, Maryland, while millions more are touched by the Aquarium’s education programs, outreach activities, social media campaigns and conservation initiatives.

A passionate advocate for the ocean, John strives to drive conservation action worldwide, ensure the success of one of the nation’s leading aquarium enterprises, and fundamentally change the way the world views the ocean and aquatic systems.

John joined the National Aquarium in July 2011 after 10 years as president of Racanelli Partners, Inc. The San Francisco-based consulting firm served the needs of nonprofit leaders nationally and globally, focusing on cultural and conservation organizations including Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Surfrider Foundation.

After co-founding Mission Blue with author and oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, John assisted her in developing and launching Google Ocean, Google’s most significant enhancement of Google Earth, the most popular earth visualization tool in existence.

Prior to founding his firm, John spent 16 years in leadership positions at U.S. aquariums. He was the first CEO of the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, where he built the facility, team and vision for Tampa Bay’s leading cultural attraction.  He also served for nine years on the leadership team of the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium as its vice president of marketing and development, joining the aquarium a year before its opening. While in college, John began his career as a diver and aquarist, an experience that he credits with giving him great appreciation for the work of everyone on the aquarium team.

Fluent in Spanish, John holds a degree in strategic management from Dominican University of California. He is a SCUBA diver, open-water swimmer, sailor and surfer. His weekly radio show and podcast on WYPR public radio, “A Blue View,” explores important issues related to the aquatic world. John and his family are proud residents of Canton, Baltimore’s historic waterfront district.

Lanternflies

Sep 4, 2018
The National Aquarium

Invasive species—even tiny ones—can wreak havoc on our regional ecosystem. Listen in to learn how a little fly from Asia could cause big problems here in the Mid-Atlantic.  

Sharks in the Bay

Aug 28, 2018
The National Aquarium

The Chesapeake Bay, our nation’s largest estuary, is teeming with life of all sorts and sizes, which begs the question: are there sharks in the Bay? Listen to find out more.

The National Aquarium

The deep ocean is an extreme habitat, challenging and expensive to get to and to study. It is cold, under tremendous pressure from the weight of all the water above, and so very dark. It's mysterious, and completely foreign to us light-loving landlubbers. We know more about the surface of the moon than we do the bottom of the sea. The deep sea is not deserted, though, as was once thought.

The National Aquarium

When you think of an animal that purrs, grunts, croaks or hums, I’ll bet it’s not a fish. But, I’ll let you in on a secret: More than 150 species of fish on the East Coast of the U.S. are what scientists call “somniferous.” They make noise. Lots of it.

Forget those dreamy underwater documentaries where all is peace and quiet. The ocean is like New York City at rush hour. There are thousands of species, and many have something to say. The tiny cusk eel sounds like a jackhammer. Damselfish purr. Long-horned sculpins hum like an iPhone set on “buzz."

OCEAN.SI.EDU

In the vast midwaters of the open ocean, there’s an animal so adorable that the Smithsonian Institution’s website said, "If this video doesn't inspire a whole cadre of budding teuthologists, we don't know what will." Any amateur teuthologists out there want to hazard a guess as to what group of animals they’re referring? Here’s a hint: teuthology is the study of squids and octopuses.

Sawfish

Aug 3, 2018
The National Aquarium

Listen in to learn about the long tooth sawfish, a critically endangered but seriously fascinating member of the elasmobranch family. 

Ghost Anemones

Jul 24, 2018
The National Aquarium

If you’ve ever peered into a tide pool and glimpsed an exotic, pulsing flower-like creature, you’ve probably seen a sea anemone. Found across the globe, these diverse and beautiful creatures aren’t plants, they’re colonizing animals, and they occur in nearly every marine habitat—tropical, temperate, shallow or deep. And they’re even here in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Cleaner But Greener

Jul 18, 2018
The National Aquarium

If your household is like most, you’ve likely accumulated an array of scrubs, sprays, paints and solvents, each aimed at helping you tackle a dirty job. But what if having a squeaky clean bathtub leads to tainted ground water, or a shiny car in the driveway means fewer fish in the creek? As with so much in our lives, some of these choices are…complicated.

Dart Frogs (Encore)

Jul 10, 2018
The National Aquarium

Dart frogs' rainforest homes are in great risk from the activities of humans. John has more. 

The National Aquarium

The Amazon River Forest is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, home to thousands of species that appear almost nowhere else. Listen as National Aquarium experts discuss this remarkable place and what you can do to preserve it. 

The National Aquarium

Summer is here, and over 60 million Americans are beach bound. Take a listen to learn some simple, helpful suggestions for leaving the beach better than you found it. 

Salt Marshes

Jun 13, 2018

It’s consistently astonishing to me how much of an impact we humans have on our native species. Our decisions to develop and farm lands, level forests, and hunt can have a wide-reaching impact on plants and animals alike. This is especially true for the top predators, who rely on a finely-tuned natural web of other species to survive.

Bay Grasses

Jun 5, 2018
The National Aquarium

Perhaps they’ve never held your attention, but a healthy system of bay grasses provide critical habitat and are crucial to the resiliency and well-being of the Chesapeake Bay. Listen to learn more!  

aqua.org

Don’t be deceived by the desolate look of a mudflat. These areas of mud or sandy mud, which line thousands of miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline, are hiding a rich variety of life.

Put your sturdy hip-wader boots on, because today we're wading into ... the mud. If you’ve spent any time on the Chesapeake Bay, you’ve felt mud between your toes. That’s because our watershed consists of miles and miles of mudflats.

Manatees (Re-air)

May 21, 2018
aqua.org

These gentle giants have rebounded in recent years, making their way off the endangered species list, but we must be vigilant to protect their resurgence. Let’s check in with manatees.  

The National Aquarium

A complex and delicate connection exists between Atlantic horseshoe crabs and a threatened migratory bird called the Rufa Red Knot in nearby Delaware Bay. Hear how human-induced issues such as coastal development, sea level rise and climate change, have put the ties that bind them in jeopardy.

Bird Strike

May 8, 2018
The National Aquarium

City lights are beautiful, but they pose specific challenges to migrating birds. Listen in to hear what Baltimore is doing to protect the species that travel this way and how you can help!

Oysters (Encore)

May 1, 2018
The National Aquarium

A longtime staple of our region’s maritime industries, oysters are more than just a briny snack. They play a critical role in the health of the Chesapeake region’s aquatic ecosystems, including the Inner Harbor. Take a listen to learn more. 

Mallards (Encore)

Apr 24, 2018
The National Aquarium

As part of our continuing look at life in and around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, we’re learning about mallards. Listen in to find out how they support plant life and a diverse waterfront ecosystem. 

The National Aquarium

Though not particularly well known, swell sharks are unassuming, harmless to humans and completely fascinating. Listen in as we discuss one of the most remarkable animals we’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. 

They aren’t from this area, but they have certainly made themselves comfortable along our shores. Learn more about the adaptable, carnivorous cormorant not at home around the Chesapeake Bay. 

The National Aquarium

Red-eared slider turtles are native to the mid- and south-central United States, so what are they doing swimming in the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay?

Wetlands (Encore)

Mar 27, 2018

The National Aquarium is getting serious about Inner Harbor water quality. Listen to learn more about how ingeniously designed floating wetlands are bringing natural habitat—and cleaner urban waters—back to Baltimore.

The National Aquarium

For nearly 40 years, the Marine Mammal Protection Act has kept dolphins, whales, polar bears, sea otters and other species safe along American coastlines. However, this protective order is now more endangered than any animal it protects. Listen in to learn more.

All About Algae

Mar 13, 2018
Kichigin/Shutterstock

All over our blue planet, wherever you find water, you’ll find algae. From tiny microorganisms to forests of kelp that grow a foot a day, algae are useful and fascinating—but often undervalued and misunderstood.

The National Aquarium

When looking to make a positive conservation impact, start in the heart of your home. Your kitchen is full of opportunities for going greener. Here are some simple suggestions. 

David Byron Keener/Shutterstock.com

As part of our continuing look at life in the Inner Harbor, learn more about northern water snakes and the important role they play in this ecosystem. 

Winter Harbor

Feb 20, 2018
The National Aquarium

Over 3,000 species make a home in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. But when the bitter cold comes, where does all that abundant life go?

The National Aquarium

From record storm surges in Texas to rampant wildfires in California, the news about climate change is, quite frankly, a little scary. Listen in to learn how to empower kids to mature into conservation-savvy adults.  

The National Aquarium

Mysterious, misunderstood jellyfish are swimming right in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Let's take a look at what their presence indicates and how climate change is playing a role. 

This episode originally aired in March 2017. 

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