Happy #Monday! Are you ready to embrace the week like this red octopus? Thanks to volunteer Bob Coble for the great shot!
Learn more about “Tentacles” our special exhibition opening this spring.
It’s National Estuaries Day! Why not celebrate with a visit to nearby Elkhorn Slough? Learn more and help conserve the Slough: http://www.elkhornslough.org/
How’d you like to see this everyday, from your computer? Just two days left to support a campaign to build a live web cam in Elkhorn Slough!
It’s #FanFriday! We’d love to see your photos on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtags #MontereyBayAquarium and #FanFriday. We’ll highlight some of the best! Thanks to Katherine Nordsieck (kfnordsieck on Instagram).
Are these the only safe anchovies in the Monterey Bay area right now? Many believe that schools of these tiny fish are what’s bringing record numbers of humpbacks to our area!
We’re seeing more humpback whales in the bay than anyone can remember right now. And when the seas are rough, as they have been recently, our deck is one of the very best viewing spots!
(© Richard Ryan)
In celebration of Sea Otter Awareness Week, won’t you tell us about your favorite otter experience? Learn more about Sea Otter Awareness Week and how you can help save this threatened species: http://www.seaotterweek.org/
It’s #WeirdWednesday! Behold the “sea pig,” a deep-ocean sea cucumber that eats seafloor mud, along with small animals and microbes that live in the stuff. They move slowly but gracefully and can form large “herds” that migrate across the seafloor.
A Sea of Sponges
Sponges aren’t the stars of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but their diversity of colors, shapes and sizes is eye-catching. And consider this: Every multi-celled animal on Earth is based on the genetic blueprint of sponges.They are truly the foundation of the animal kingdom.
Our sponges may not be as startling as the stove-pipe sponge that looks so much like the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. They don’t have the personality of Spongebob Squarepants. But they’re fascinating animals with a vital role to play in healthy oceans.
Sponges populate many of our exhibits in the Ocean’s Edge galleries. You can get a closer look — and even discover what they feel like — at our touch pools.
They’re simple: a group of loosely connected, nearly independent cells, with no organs and no tissues. If broken apart, they can put themselves back together again. Many produce powerful chemicals to defend themselves — chemicals that have cancer-fighting properties.
Globally, it’s estimated there are upwards of 10,000 to 15,000 species of sponges in the ocean — with thousands left to be discovered. Not long ago, our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute documented a new carnivorous sponge: the harp sponge, pictured above.
The yellow goiter sponge, also pictured here, was spotted on an MBARI dive to the Pioneer Seamount. Some goiter sponges can grow to be nearly 10 feet across.
Photo credits: red volcano sponge and cobalt blue sponge, © Monterey Bay Aquarium/Steve Webster; orange puffball sponge, © Monterey Bay Aquarium/David Cripe; harp sponge and goiter sponge, © MBARI
We bet you’ve never seen this view before! Aviculturist Monika Rohrer has been taking some amazing up-close-and-personal shots of our Laysan albatross, Makana. You can meet Makana every day at 1:30 in front of the Kelp Forest!