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Aquarium of the Pacific names new president and CEO

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach will soon have a new leader.

Peter Kareiva, currently the director of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, will take over as the aquarium’s president and CEO effective Aug. 1, officials have announced.

Kareiva will follow Jerry Schubel, who has overseen the Aquarium of the Pacific for nearly all of its 21-year history.

Schubel announced his plans to retire last year but said he would remain in his post until the aquarium’s Board of Directors found a replacement.

Schubel said it was “a great pleasure” to announce Kareiva’s appointment in a Wednesday, July 15, email to aquarium members.

Kareiva, for his part, said he was proud to take over for Schubel.

“As a scientist, I have researched the opportunities for marine aquaculture, the importance of marine habitats in protecting our coast from sea-level rise, and the value of the ocean to our economy,” Kareiva said in a statement. “But it is my love of the ocean that brings me to the Aquarium of the Pacific.

“There is no better place to share the wonders of the marine world with a diverse community,” he added, “and no better platform from which to engage the global community in saving our oceans.”

Schubel, in his email, said he has worked personally with Kareiva over the years and feels “strongly he is an excellent choice.

“He has a wealth of experience in conservation, research, fundraising, and management,” Schubel added, “that positions him to build upon all the qualities that have made the Aquarium the world-class institution it is today.”

In addition to his role at UCLA, Kareiva is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of The National Academy of Sciences. Before joining UCLA, Kareiva served as the Chief Scientist and Vice President of The Nature Conservancy.

According to Kareiva’s UCLA bio, his research “concerns the connection between humans and nature, and the varied ways people of different cultures value nature, as well as inequities in access to nature and decent environments.”

He also “has just begun to do research on science communication, particularly with respect to climate science,” his bio said.

In that respect, Kareiva’s research aligns with the Aquarium of the Pacific’s mission to highlight the impact that humans have on the natural world.

The aquarium’s newest addition, Pacific Visions, opened last year with a bold message.

“Pacific Visions is a very non-traditional kind of expansion for an aquarium,” Schubel said when the $53 million wing first opened. “It’s not about bigger tanks for bigger animals. It’s about the one animal that’s putting all the other animals on this planet at risk: It’s about us and our activities that are causing so much trouble.”

In Kareiva, it seems the aquarium’s board found a fitting successor to continue to spread that message.

“It has been a pleasure serving the Aquarium these past 18 years,” Schubel said. “I am grateful to each of you for your support in creating an aquarium that is tackling the challenges of our planet by bringing people together.”

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Source: Orange County Register

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