Showing posts tagged as "open sea"
Open Sea Exhibit Helps “DNA Detectives” Study Marine Life
Move over TV crime scene investigators! Marine biologists are using DNA sequencing not to solve crimes, but to study ocean communities and they used the Open Sea exhibit as their test “lab.” The ocean is a veritable soup of biological material known as environmental DNA or eDNA. Just as humans slough off skin cells that can be used as identification, so too do fish shed tissue and other biological matter that enables marine biologists to identify the type of animal. Researchers from Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions - a partner of the Aquarium - and the University of Washington extracted eDNA from water samples taken from the Aquarium’s 1.2-million gallon exhibit.
Need a reason to visit in the New Year? We have thousands (literally)! We also have extended hours Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy your holiday, and best wishes from all of us at the Aquarium!
Ever wonder about our largest hammerhead shark? She’s more than 11 years old and weighs 150 pounds!
New Mola in Town!
There’s a new ocean sunfish on exhibit in the Open Sea.
Our Husbandry team added the sunfish (Mola mola) over the weekend and it’s acclimated very quickly. It’s swimming well and makes a beeline to the surface to feed when our staff puts a colored target in the water as a signal that it’s mealtime.
We collected the sunfish in Monterey Bay on September 11, when it was just over 2 feet long and weighed nearly 32 pounds. On October 25, when it went on exhibit, it was 2 ½ feet long and weighed 46 pounds – quite a growth spurt!
Then again, the Mola mola – its Latin name, which means “millstone” – DOES tend to get big. It’s the largest bony fish on Earth, with some individuals topping out at 5,000 pounds. One sunfish we exhibited grew to weigh nearly 900 pounds before we returned it to the wild, with the help of a helicopter.
We’ve temporarily moved our two green sea turtles behind the scenes to help the sunfish adjust to its new surroundings. Before it gets too large, we’ll fit the sunfish with a tracking tag and release it in Monterey Bay. Based on results from other sunfish we’ve released, it will do well and travel far.
(© Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder)
For the first time, we’ve added a beautiful school of 3,500 anchovies to the Open Sea exhibit. Combined with the thousands of sardines already in the exhibit, it makes for quite a dramatic scene!
Is it possible to “fly” underwater? Visitors tell us that graceful pelagic rays are among their favorite animals at the Aquarium, and we just added two to our Open Sea exhibit!
Did you know you can have a live Aquarium experience, no matter where you live? We’d love to know: What’s your favorite web cam?
Sea Turtle Hatchling Heading to Monterey
Can sea turtles fly? Well, a young loggerhead sea turtle similar to the one pictured here will be airborne tomorrow, en route from North Carolina to an exhibit in our Open Sea galleries.
It’s flying coach to Monterey with Curator Steve Vogel. You can follow their progress on Wednesday using the Twitter hashtag #TravelingTurtle.
At the earliest, it could be on exhibit Thursday morning, depending on the outcome of its veterinary exam. (We’ll keep you posted.)
The turtle is one of nine hatchlings rescued earlier this year by our colleagues with the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. These turtles didn’t make it back to sea with their nest-mates, and were hand-raised at the aquarium.
All nine are being loaned out to aquariums around the country, where they’ll live for up to two years before they’re returned to North Carolina, tagged and released to the wild.
Our youngster is just over 4 inches long and weighs less than half a pound. By the time it leaves Monterey, it could be more than a foot long and weigh up to 15 pounds.
We won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, though. Even experts can’t tell a sea turtle’s gender until it’s around 10 years old.
Look for tomorrow’s updates at #TravelingTurtle, then come check the little guy out for yourself. It will be on the second floor of the Open Sea, near the puffins and other seabirds, in an exhibit that highlights the threats facing sea turtles and other animals from unsustainable fishing practices.
In a word, how would you describe your favorite visit to the Aquarium?
Is the mahi mahi the most beautiful fish in the sea? Some people think so, thanks to its iridescent body colors—metallic blues and greens on the back and sides, with white and yellow underneath. We just added two to our Open Sea exhibit!