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    Fragile Waters Exhibit at the Maritime

    Oxnard, CA – The Channel Islands Maritime Museum presents Fragile Waters: Predator or Prey? September 10-Decmber 21, 2020, an exhibit of photographs and original art featuring Great White Sharks. These much feared but little understood creatures are predators throughout the world’s oceans, keeping the populations of other animals in check. Conservation exhibits like this one help us understand the ecology of the species.

    The great white shark has captured the imagination of people around the world. It’s the Earth’s largest predatory fish and has thrived for more than 11 million years with immediate ancestors dating back more than 60 million years! Although this animal is shrouded in myth, the facts about this finned friend are even more fascinating.  We know now that sharks help support a healthy ocean and large sharks are predators that keep populations of other animals in check. Yet human activities are threatening shark populations and putting the health of the entire ecosystem at risk.


    Marine conservation exhibits like this highlight Great Whites and celebrate why sharks are vitally important to our oceans. Sharks are apex predators throughout our oceans and predator-prey interactions are of central importance in ecology, with important implications for population dynamics, management, and conservation. Sharks are top predators in many marine communities, yet few studies have quantified or determined those factors influencing their distribution and hunting behavior. However, studies of large shark foraging behavior are important for understanding the ecology of these species and are particularly important in light of steep declines in their populations and the recent realization that they have important structuring roles in marine communities.

    The great white shark is the only known survivor of the prehistoric genus Carcharodon and one of the world’s apex predators. It is generally accepted that they grow to be 22 to 23 feet long, give birth to live young, and are found predominantly in temperate and tropical seas. Most active during the daytime, their preferred prey are marine mammals (seals, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins and fish including other sharks and rays); however, they are highly adaptable and can shift their diet and habitats as needed. Although most people are aware of “Great Whites,” relatively little is actually known about them because of their scarcity and reclusive behavior. As a result, their total population is unknown and even local estimates are questionable; but they are being caught by fisherman in increasing numbers so there may be cause for concern for the species.

    Opening reception on Saturday, September 26, 2020, 4:00-6:00 PM. Come meet the artists. Admission rates are free for members and children under 6, $7 adults, $5 seniors (62+)/military and their families/students with valid ID, and $3 children (ages 6-17).

    Photographer Ralph Clevenger: Working underwater and in submerged cages, Ralph Clevenger was able to take the dramatic images presented in the Fragile Waters: Predator or Prey exhibit and provide viewers with an up-close view of these magnificent creatures. In Clevenger’s words, his photography better “allows us to understand them and helps to demystify their reputation as ‘ferocious man-eaters.’” Clevenger grew up on the coast of North Africa and has been diving since he was seven years old. He holds BA degrees in zoology and photography and worked as a diver/biologist for the Scripps Institute before becoming a senior faculty member at Brooks Institute. Clevenger has taught for 33 years and traveled throughout the world on photography assignments and for publication. Now based in Santa Barbara, he “pursues his passion for the natural world by specializing in location photography and video projects of eco-travel, environmental portraiture, wildlife and undersea subjects.”

    Artist Kathy S. Copsey has been a self-taught, freelance artist her entire life with a serious dedication on her art for over 33 years, she has won numerous awards for her artwork, and she has had her artwork spread as far away as two different Kung Fu schools in China and her books as far away as Australia.  While she focuses on pencil drawings, freehand digital drawings, and acrylic & oil paintings, she also enjoys working with other mediums as well including writing, music composition, photography, & videography.  She works with numerous subject matters, but her main specialty is conveying the essence and nature of the Soul and spirit with a primary focus on animals.    

     About the Channel Islands Maritime Museum
    Nestled on the coast of Southern California, in Ventura County, supported by a vibrant community of art aficionados, a steady, year-round influx of art seekers from the area, and tourists from around the world, Channel Islands Maritime Museum is perfectly poised to bring vibrant and innovative art to the forefront of the local art scene. Discover the Maritime Museum as a volunteer.  Located by Oxnard’s beautiful harbor on California’s Gold Coast, 3900 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard, CA 93035. Operating hours are Mon/Th-Sat 10-4pm, Sun 12-4pm and closed Tues/ Wed for group tours and private member events. Admission rates are free for members and children under 6, $7 adults, $5 seniors (62+)/military and their families/students with valid ID, and $3 children (ages 6-17). The museum is free on the third Thursday of every month, sponsored by Edison International. (Unfortunately, we cannot accept school or other large groups on Free Third Thursday’s). Info: or (805) 984-6260. Explore galleries full of rare and beautiful maritime paintings dating back to the 1600’s, more than seventy world-class models of historic ships, rotating thematic fine arts exhibitions, and interactive exhibits that encourage visitors to expand their horizons about everything maritime.



    Channel Islands MaritimeMuseum

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