The legacy bulletin – Marley Loomis

March 2024

Marley Loomis’ Octopus Odyssey

With a background in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Marley Loomis stepped into the world of marine education in 2018 as a two-term AmeriCorps member, not realizing that her path would lead her to an intimate understanding of one of the ocean’s most enigmatic inhabitants: the octopus.

Marley’s story began with two special octopuses named Eleanora and Sylvia. Raising them at PTMSC was not just a work task, but also a labor of love and curiosity. It was during this time that her fascination with octopus husbandry blossomed. The challenge of breaking into aquarium science seemed daunting at first, but Marley found the Marine Science Center offered a myriad of opportunities to explore and contribute to various projects, including the pioneering larval crab monitoring project which she helped start at PTMSC in the summer of 2019.

The larval crab monitoring project involves attracting zooplankton, including larval Dungeness crab, by deploying a light trap overnight. The trapped larval crab is counted and released. Other species like octopuses are attracted as well. In this way, Sylvia came to grow and develop in the PTMSC aquarium, before being released to reproduce.

The larval crab monitoring project, though fraught with challenges such as standardization and volunteer training, opened Marley’s eyes to the nuances of working in the field of aquatics. 

Being able to work daily with Eleanora and then Sylvia led her to seek a deeper understanding of their behavior, particularly the intriguing ‘head bob’ behavior observed among octopuses. Marley’s graduate thesis on “Interactive Conspecific Behavior in the Genus Octopus”, which she is currently working on at Alaska Pacific University, explores this unique aspect of octopus behavior. It is theorized that octopuses do this in order to determine distance, since they have monocular vision, but Marley theorizes that it may also be a form of communication. Through her research, she seeks to unravel the mysteries of octopus social interactions and the potential purposes behind their distinctive movements.

Reflecting on her journey, Marley believes that interacting with octopuses offers valuable opportunities. The curiosity and excitement that these creatures evoke in aquarium visitors is unparalleled. This enthusiasm allows PTMSC to draw attention to the many ways that the ocean’s health is being threatened and motivates all of us in ramping up our conservation efforts. Despite the challenges posed by changing climates and other human impacts, Marley remains hopeful, inspired by the resilience she’s observed in octopuses and the marine world.

Marley Loomis’ journey from an eager AmeriCorps member to a devoted marine researcher reminds us of what is possible when one follows one’s passion with perseverance. Her story is a testament to the wonders that await those who dive into the depths of the marine world, armed with curiosity and a reverence for its inhabitants. At PTMSC, we strive to inspire this curiosity in visitors and students of all ages, which is made possible by your support.

Legacy Planning Tip #3: Types of planned gifts

When it comes to legacy planning, the vehicle used to make your charitable gift is important, largely in order to maximize the tax advantages of your gift. Here we will provide a brief overview of some of the major types of planned giving structures, but of course be sure to visit with your own tax and estate planning professionals to find the strategy that’s right for your personal situation.

Charitable Trusts often form the cornerstone of planned giving strategies. Among them, Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) stand out, allowing donors to receive income for life or a specified length of time, with the remainder then going to charity. Conversely, Charitable Lead Trusts (CLTs) invert this arrangement: Charities receive annual payments for a period of time, after which the remaining assets revert to the donor or their heirs. This unique setup offers a dual benefit, supporting charitable causes while providing tax benefits and preserving wealth for future generations.

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) represent a more flexible approach, acting as philanthropic savings accounts. Donors contribute to the fund, receive immediate tax deductions, and then recommend grants to charities over time. This vehicle’s flexibility makes it appealing for donors who wish to support various causes without establishing a private foundation, which has significant overhead costs.

Charitable Gift Annuities (CGAs) offer a straightforward proposition: In exchange for a gift, the donor receives a fixed, lifelong income stream, with the remainder eventually going to charity. The simplicity and income security this provides make CGAs a favored choice for many donors looking to blend philanthropy with financial planning.

Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (CRUTs) are similar to CRTs but offer more flexibility in income payments, which can vary annually based on the trust’s value. This variability can be advantageous in fluctuating markets, providing a hedge against inflation while supporting charitable intentions.

Lastly, charitable bequests enable donors to leave a legacy through their will, earmarking a portion of their assets for charity. This method of giving is appealing for its simplicity and flexibility, allowing donors to adjust their bequest according to life’s changing circumstances.

Each of these charitable giving vehicles serves a unique purpose, catering to the diverse needs of donors while fostering a culture of philanthropy. As part of legacy planning, understanding these vehicles is crucial, ensuring that charitable intentions are met with thoughtful, informed decisions. Speak with your tax and estate planning professionals for personalized assistance in determining which vehicle is right for you and your goals.

Learn more about leaving a legacy of marine conservation.

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