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What’s going on at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium this week

发表于 2017-11-2 07:25:38 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
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Hello, everyone. My name is Kamran, and I am a helper here at Santa Monica Filtration. I am also an aquarist intern at the Santa Monica Pier Public Aquarium:


I'll be giving custom updates regarding various going-ons at the aquarium, and if you have any requests for things you want me to find out about our creatures, feel free to share. I hope you all enjoy!


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 楼主| 发表于 2017-11-9 09:15:10 | 显示全部楼层
The time has come for my first official update. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is nestled beneath the very front of the pier, with a nice big aquarium banner for good measure. Every creature on display is native to Santa Monica Bay, with a few exceptions (ex: El Nino caused some Pacific seahorses to appear in our waters, which were then collected and given their own exhibit). Obviously, the goal is to give visitors a sense of what's lurking right beneath the bay, and to drive the point home, most of our main exhibits are modeled after a specific ecosystem (including the underside of the pier itself).

Attached to this post are a few photos showing the aquarium’s position in relation to the pier, the entrance, and some of our exhibits. All of these photos are mine, except for the aerial shot. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!


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 楼主| 发表于 2017-11-16 08:03:31 | 显示全部楼层
Hello again, everyone. One of our swell sharks recently emerged from its embryo, so for this week’s update, I thought I’d provide a summary of how the aquarium handles its shark offspring.

Currently, we have two kinds of sharks on display: swell sharks (first photo) and horn sharks (second photo). Although both our sharks reproduce, the swell sharks do it more often and will be the focus of this post.

These are what swell shark embryos look like. These three are in a public tank, and we have many more in the back room.

When a pup emerges from its embryo, it’s immediately moved to the quarantine tank seen in this photo. There are a lot of them, and only three horn shark embryos in comparison.

Several things can happen to the pups after they are born. Sometimes, they’re moved to the public exhibit (pictured above), which is what happened to the newest pup. Other times they’re donated to other aquariums, and still other times they’re kept until they’re large enough for the main shark tank. It depends on how much room there is.

An adult swell shark spat water at me once. It was unpleasant.

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 楼主| 发表于 2017-11-22 08:10:38 | 显示全部楼层
For this week's update, I've decided to focus on our decorator since its appearance has been changing.

Decorator crabs like to cover themselves with plants for camouflage. Our decorator crab does this too, and over the past month, it's been adding things to its shell.

This is how it looked two weeks ago. It had molted recently, so its shell was uncovered.

The following week, it put on some kelp. When my coworker saw this, she added some red algae to the tank, and a week later ...

... it put the algae on its legs.

We have other decorator crabs too, like juveniles and another adult. Here is a picture of its disguise:

Also, here's an old molt that we preserved. The crab was much smaller back then ...

I hope you enjoyed this update. Next week, I'll discuss one of our newer exhibits.

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 楼主| 发表于 2017-11-30 09:01:14 | 显示全部楼层
This week’s update is about our newest exhibit. It features a species of planktonic jellyfish.

Periodically, my boss goes to collect wild shrimp (Mysidae) to feed our Pacific seahorses. We keep them stored in a tank (pictured above) until it’s feeding time, but sometimes, we’ll get animals we weren’t trying to catch. Our accidental catches range from amphipods to pipefish larva, but the most common example is Vallentinia adherens. Their numbers got really high after a while…

…So in response, my boss decided to give them their own tank. We feed them brine shrimp, and they no longer get in our way when he feed the seahorses.

At first my coworkers and I thought these were jellyfish larvae, and visitors tend to make the same assumption. But they’re definitely adults, and now they’ve gone from an accidental catch to a featured species. Hopefully the baby pipefish will get a tank when they’re older.

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 楼主| 发表于 2017-12-7 08:07:54 | 显示全部楼层
Hello, everyone. I am both happy and a little sad to present my final weekly update. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy with real life matters that are demanding more and more of my attention, and since my workload won’t be decreasing anytime soon, I’ve decided to discontinue this project to focus on other things. I didn’t intend for this to end so soon, but life happens.

Since this is my last update, I thought it would be fitting to feature my favorite aquarium creatures that never got their own post, complete with some background info for each one.

This is a lion’s mane nudibranch. They’re fairly common in kelp forests, and my boss often finds them during his shrimp collections. They use their hoods to snare prey, and the ones at SMPA are fed with brine shrimp and the occasional fish powder. That stuff you see inside its body is its last meal.

This is our ocean whitefish, a resident of the “Under the Pier” exhibit. Whitefish are usually a creamy-white color, but this one is an unusual and ironic shade of black. It’s the most dominant fish in the tank and will often attack the algae scrubs when we try to clean the glass. (Also, the fish behind it is a kelp seabass)

Another abnormally colored animal is our red swamp crawfish. While most of our creatures are saltwater natives, the red swamp crawfish is neither saltwater nor native. As an invasive species, it is used as a bad example for our field trip presentations, but who could hate that rare shade of blue?

Here’s our scorpionfish. It has stingers all over its body, and its venom is said to be like that of a rattlesnake’s. If you go fishing in California waters, you better hope you don’t catch one of these. The only safe way to get rid of it would be to cut the hook. They do sell protective gloves that are supposed to be stinger proof, but even these sometimes fail.

And here’s our stargazer, who is located in the back room. It used to be on display, but was removed because the guests apparently found it boring (???). Nowadays it spends its time gazing at the stars, wondering where the roof went.

And now we’re getting to my favorite creature in the aquarium: the keyhole limpet! There are a bunch of these in the touch tanks, and the above photo is one of the very first I took as an intern. I love gastropods in general, but there’s just something about the keyhole limpets in particular.

Just like most of our sea snails, they feed on kelp, and their backside is usually covered by a slimy black mantle. However, the limpet that lives in our “Rocky Reef” exhibit always has its mantle fully retracted for whatever reason. Here’s a photo of it:

Also, the “keyhole” is used to expel waste. Good luck getting that image out of your head.

Lastly, I would like to present our newest addition:

This is a bell jellyfish, and several of them are now sharing a tank with the planktonic jellies I showed off last week. They’re known to scientists as “Polyorchis,” which means, “many testicles”. No, that’s not a joke. I think the name refers to the eyes lining their rim. Just like their snowflake-shaped tank mates, they’re happy to feed on brine shrimp.

There you have it, folks. I wish I could’ve kept this thread going a bit longer, but the good news is that I at least managed to share my favorite aquarium facts. That said, I appreciate everyone who took the time to read these posts and learn about my experiences. I’ll still be reading replies for another day or two, but after that, I’m off to bigger and better things. Cheers!

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