Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

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The Monterey Bay Aquarium (or MBA, founded 1984) is located on the former site of a sardine cannery on Cannery Row
Cannery Row
Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California. It is the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The last cannery closed in 1973...

 of the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey, California
Monterey, California
The City of Monterey in Monterey County is located on Monterey Bay along the Pacific coast in Central California. Monterey lies at an elevation of 26 feet above sea level. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 27,810. Monterey is of historical importance because it was the capital of...

. It has an annual attendance of 1.8 million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing 623 separate named species on display. The aquarium benefits by a high circulation of fresh ocean water which is obtained through pipes which pump it in continuously from Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay is a bay of the Pacific Ocean, along the central coast of California. The bay is south of San Francisco and San Jose, between the cities of Santa Cruz and Monterey....

.

Among the aquarium's numerous exhibits, two are of particular note: The centerpiece of the Ocean's Edge Wing is a 10 meter (33-foot) high 1.3 million liter (1/3 million gallon) tank for viewing California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 coastal marine life. In this tank, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp using a wave machine at the top of the tank (water movement is a necessary precondition for keeping Giant Kelp, which absorbs nutrients from surrounding water and requires turbidity), allowing sunlight in through the open tank top, and circulation of raw seawater from the Bay. The second exhibit of note is a 4.5 million liter (1.2 million gallon) tank in the Open Sea galleries (formerly the Outer Bay), which features one of the world's largest single-paned windows (crafted by a Japanese company, the acrylic
Acrylic glass
Poly is a transparent thermoplastic, often used as a light or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. It is sometimes called acrylic glass. Chemically, it is the synthetic polymer of methyl methacrylate...

 window is actually five panes seamlessly glued together through a proprietary process).

Sealife on exhibit includes stingray
Stingray
The stingrays are a group of rays, which are cartilaginous fishes related to sharks. They are classified in the suborder Myliobatoidei of the order Myliobatiformes, and consist of eight families: Hexatrygonidae , Plesiobatidae , Urolophidae , Urotrygonidae , Dasyatidae , Potamotrygonidae The...

s, jellyfish
Jellyfish
Jellyfish are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria. Medusa is another word for jellyfish, and refers to any free-swimming jellyfish stages in the phylum Cnidaria...

, sea otters, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also one of the very few aquariums in the world to exhibit both bluefin and yellowfin tuna. For displaying jellyfish
Jellyfish
Jellyfish are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria. Medusa is another word for jellyfish, and refers to any free-swimming jellyfish stages in the phylum Cnidaria...

, the MBA uses an aquarium called a Kreisel tank which creates a circular flow to support and suspend the jellies. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. The aquarium does not house mammals other than otters.

History


The aquarium occupies land at the end of today's Cannery Row
Cannery Row
Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California. It is the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The last cannery closed in 1973...

 (once Ocean View Avenue) in Monterey, at the site of the Hovden Cannery, a sardine cannery which helped to define the character of Monterey from the time it was built in 1916, to the day when it was the last cannery on the Row to close in 1973, after sardine fishing collapsed. This building was dismantled in 1980, but beginning in 2002 the Monterey Bay Aquarium has blown the original Hovden cannery steam whistle at noon each day to commemorate it.

The aquarium's original building was designed by the architectural firm Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis
EHDD
Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis is a United States based architecture, interiors, planning and urban design firm. EHDD, ranked among the top 20 architecture firms in the San Francisco Bay Area where it is headquartered, is known especially for its sensitivity to place, technical innovation, and...

 and opened on 20 October 1984. The aquarium's mission is "to inspire conservation of the oceans." The aquarium's initial financial backing was provided by David Packard
David Packard
David Packard was a co-founder of Hewlett-Packard , serving as president , CEO , and Chairman of the Board . He served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1969–1971 during the Nixon administration...

, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard Company or HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA that provides products, technologies, softwares, solutions and services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, including...

. Packard, an avid blacksmith
Blacksmith
A blacksmith is a person who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal; that is, by using tools to hammer, bend, and cut...

, personally designed and created several exhibit elements for the aquarium at his forge in Big Sur
Big Sur
Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the Central Coast of California where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. The name "Big Sur" is derived from the original Spanish-language "el sur grande", meaning "the big south", or from "el país grande del sur", "the big...

, including the wave machines in the Kelp Forest and aviary. His daughter, the marine biologist Julie Packard, is currently Executive Director of the aquarium.

The aquarium was built in honor of the work of Edward Ricketts (1897-1948), a marine biologist who specialized in describing communities of organisms (which would also be the focus of aquarium tanks), and whose old laboratory (Pacific Biological Laboratories
Pacific Biological Laboratories
Pacific Biological Laboratories, abbreviated PBL, was a biological supply house that sold preserved animals and prepared specimen microscope slide, many were of maritime aquatic species, to schools, museums, and research institutions...

) and home resides next to the present MBA site. Ricketts, whose life was an inspiration for the eventual building of the aquarium, is famous as the "Doc" of John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

's Cannery Row
Cannery Row (novel)
Cannery Row is an English language novel by American author John Steinbeck. It was published in 1945. A film version was released in 1982. A stage version was produced in 1995....

. The aquarium itself contains a display of Ricketts's items, including some of his personal library. The shop also sells a variety of Steinbeck books.

Basic design


The basic design of the aquarium pumps 2000 gallons per minute of Monterey Bay ocean water, night and day, through the more than 100 exhibit tanks. During the day the water is filtered for viewing clarity. During the night, raw (unfiltered) seawater is pumped through exhibits, bringing in food in the form of plankton. Waste ocean water from the aquarium is returned to the Bay. This design makes the aquarium ecologically essentially part of the ocean in the Bay, and allows the culture of organisms such as Giant Kelp which are not suitable for ordinary saltwater aquariums.

The acrylic plastic (the same plastic as Plexiglas and Lucite) that makes the various tank walls ranges from 3 to 13 inches in thickness, enabling them to resist the pressure and high total force of the water behind them.

Open Sea


In January 1996, the aquarium opened the Outer Bay wing to provide exhibits covering the open-water ecology of Monterey's Outer Bay. This area was extensively renovated starting in August 2010, and re-opened July 2, 2011 as the Open Sea galleries. Another exhibit created at this time includes a school of 3000 anchovies (a fish that was once the foundation of Monterey's economy), swimming against the endless current of a toroid
Toroid
Toroid may refer to*Toroid , a doughnut-like solid whose surface is a torus.*Toroidal inductors and transformers which have wire windings on circular ring shaped magnetic cores.*Vortex ring, a toroidal flow in fluid mechanics....

al tank. As part of the Open Sea renovation, the aquarium also added a puffin exhibit, juvenile sea turtle exhibit, and multimedia experiences highlighting microscopic plankton.

First shark


Beginning in September 2004, the Outer Bay exhibit (now the Open Sea galleries) was the home to the first great white shark
Great white shark
The great white shark, scientific name Carcharodon carcharias, also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. It is known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached...

 (Carcharodon carcharias) ever successfully kept on exhibit. The shark was at the aquarium for 198 days (the previous record was 16 days). The shark was released on 31 March 2005 after she bit two soupfin sharks
School shark
The school shark, tope shark, soupfin shark or snapper shark, Galeorhinus galeus, is a hound shark of the family Triakidae, the only member of the genus Galeorhinus, found worldwide in subtropical seas at depths of up to...

 in the exhibit, both of which later died. The aquarium staff believe the shark may have been acting to defend territory as she didn't actually eat either of the sharks.

Second shark


On the evening of August 31, 2006 the aquarium introduced a second shark to the Outer bay exhibit. The juvenile male was caught outside Santa Monica Bay
Santa Monica Bay
Santa Monica Bay is a bight of the Pacific Ocean in southern California, United States. Its boundaries are slightly ambiguous, but it is generally considered to be the part of the Pacific within an imaginary line drawn between Point Dume, in Malibu, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Its eastern...

 on August 17 and was released on January 16, 2007. The shark had grown from an initial length of 5-foot-8 and 103 pounds when it arrived on August 31, 2006 to 6-foot-5 and 171 pounds on release. Data from this second white shark was transmitted back to aquarium staff from a pop-off satellite tag after 90 days.

Third shark


For the third time since 2004, the aquarium had a young white shark in the Outer Bay exhibit in 2007/2008. He arrived on August 28, 2007 and was released on February 5, 2008. Like the first shark in 2004, he was caught accidentally in commercial fishing gear. Like the second shark in 2006, he was a young male: just 4-feet, 9-inches long and weighing 67 ½ pounds. As with both of the previous young white sharks, he was kept in an ocean holding pen off Malibu in Southern California until he could be observed feeding and navigating well in the confines of the pen.

Fourth and fifth sharks


A fourth great white shark, a young female, was kept in August/September 2008; the fast release being due to its unwillingness to feed.

From late August 2009, a young female was again featured in the Outer Bay exhibit and reportedly did well. It was successfully released to the wild in early November 2009. She died after being caught in early March in a gillnet set by a fisherman in waters off Ensenada, Mexico.

Sixth shark


This Great White Shark was caught off of Malibu,California on August 18, 2011, and was placed in the Open Sea exhibit on August 31, 2011. It was successfully released on November 1st, 2011 off of Point Conception and was reported dead shortly after.

Penguins



In March 2000, the aquarium opened a penguin
Penguin
Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers...

 exhibit as part of its Splash Zone family galleries, to complement the already popular sea otter
Sea Otter
The sea otter is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg , making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals...

 exhibit. Two penguin exhibits house Magellanic penguin
Magellanic Penguin
The Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus, is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil where they are occasionally seen as far north as Rio de Janeiro. It is the most numerous of the Spheniscus penguins. Its nearest...

s from South America and South African penguins. The aquarium hosted 19 penguins from the Aquarium of the Americas
Aquarium of the Americas
The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a renowned aquarium in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.Recognized as one of the leading aquariums in the United States, it is run by the Audubon Institute, which also supervises the Audubon Zoo and Audubon Park...

 in New Orleans along with two sea otters after that aquarium was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

.

Seahorses


In April 2009 it opened “The Secret Lives of Seahorses,” which includes more than 15 species of seahorses, sea dragons, pipehorses and pipefish
Pipefish
Pipefishes or pipe-fishes are a subfamily of small fishes, which, together with the seahorses, form the family Syngnathidae.-Anatomy:...

 and shares stories about the threats they face in the wild.

Flamingos



In March 2010, the Aquarium opened a special exhibition, “Hot Pink Flamingos: Stories of Hope in a Changing Sea,” providing a perspective on global climate change by viewing potential impacts on tropical wading birds, green sea turtles, coral reef creatures, jellies, and Magellanic penguins. The Hot Pink Flamingo Exhibit closed September, 2011

Jellyfish Special Exhibit


The Aquarium is currently constructing a special jellyfish exhibit. It is set to open in the spring of 2012. It will take the place of the Hot Pink Flamingo Exhibit.

Marine research


Monterey Bay Aquarium staff conducts field research on great white sharks, sea otters and Pacific tuna to better understand these species – their migration patterns, population dynamics, food requirements and the threats they face in the wild. Years of data has led to insight into the lives of these animals. Aquarium staff are also involved in research on sevengill sharks, cookie cutter sharks and mobulid rays, as well as ocean sunfish and Humboldt squid, in addition to propagation efforts on several species jellies, seahorses and tropical corals. The aquarium is also one of the main rehabilitation sites for shorebirds in Monterey County, including the Western snowy plover. Since the plover recovery program began at the aquarium in 2000, aviculturists have banded and released 58 snowy plovers of all ages.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a close relationship with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is a not-for-profit oceanographic research center in Moss Landing, California affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was founded in 1987 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard fame...

 (MBARI). MBARI is located in Moss Landing, California
Moss Landing, California
Moss Landing is a census-designated place in Monterey County, California, United States. Moss Landing is located on the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad north-northeast of Monterey, at an elevation of 10 feet . As of the 2010 census, the CDP population was 204, down from 300 at the 2000...

, at the head of the submarine Monterey Canyon
Monterey Canyon
Monterey Canyon, or Monterey Submarine Canyon, is a submarine canyon in Monterey Bay, California. It is the subject of ongoing study by the scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and other oceanographic institutions.Monterey Canyon begins...

. It is renowned worldwide for its research on deep-sea marine life and other programs in marine biology
Marine biology
Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather...

. The aquarium also supports the Center for Ocean Solutions, a nonpartisan organization that brings together marine science and policy to develop solutions to the challenges facing the oceans. Monterey Bay is located within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a US Federally protected marine area offshore of California's central coast around Monterey Bay....

 (MBNMS) a Federally-protected marine area (the equivalent of a saltwater national park) off California's central coast. The aquarium is also home to Seafood Watch
Seafood Watch
Seafood Watch is one of the best known sustainable seafood advisory lists, and has influenced similar programs around the world. It is a program designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources...

, which publishes consumer guides for sustainable seafood purchasing.

Funding and staffing


The Monterey Bay Aquarium was endowed initially with a personal gift from David and Lucile Packard, with the vision that the aquarium would be self-supporting after it opened. Initial construction cost was $55 million dollars. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a private foundation that provides grants to not-for-profit organizations. It was created in 1964 by David Packard and his wife Lucile Salter Packard. Following David Packard's death in 1996, the Foundation became the beneficiary of part of his estate...

, other foundations and individuals support some programs of the aquarium. Operating costs are largely covered by visitor admission, as well as by special events and membership dues. No government money is involved, with the exception of an occasional federal grant given to visiting scientists, for study. The aquarium is organized into three institutions: Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, the Support Services, which manages some aquarium-owned property, and the independent Research Institute, which operates three ocean-going research vessels.

The MBA has about 420 employees and 1270 volunteers.

Cultural references


The Aquarium appeared in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a 1986 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the fourth feature film based on the Star Trek science fiction television series and completes the story arc begun in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and continued in Star Trek III: The...

, where it appeared as the Cetacean Institute in Sausalito
Sausalito, California
Sausalito is a San Francisco Bay Area city, in Marin County, California, United States. Sausalito is south-southeast of San Rafael, at an elevation of 13 feet . The population was 7,061 as of the 2010 census. The community is situated near the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and prior to...

. The main aquarium was overlaid with special effects to appear to be the tank home of two humpback whale
Humpback Whale
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from and weigh approximately . The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is an acrobatic animal, often breaching and slapping the...

s.

In the film, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a 2004 black comedy film directed by Brad Silberling. It is an adaptation of the The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Window, being the first three books in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket...

, a character named Stephano is mentioned working with sea snakes
Sea Snakes
Sea Snakes were a Canadian indie rock band, formed in 2002 and disbanded in 2005. The band consisted of vocalist and guitarist Jimmy McIntyre, guitarist Kristian Galberg, bassist and saxophonist Jeremy Strachan, keyboardist Shaw-Han Liem and drummer Nathan Lawr.Strachan played in the defunct band...

 at this aquarium; however the real aquarium doesn't have sea snakes.

Marlene the otter, from The Penguins of Madagascar
The Penguins of Madagascar
The Penguins of Madagascar is an American CGI animated television series airing on Nickelodeon. It stars nine characters from the DreamWorks Animation animated film Madagascar: The penguins Skipper , Kowalski , Private , and Rico ; the lemurs King Julien , Maurice , and Mort...

, was moved to the New York city zoo from The Monterey Bay Aquarium, according to the creators of the show.

The Aquarium appeared in the 2008 film Seven Pounds
Seven Pounds
Seven Pounds is a 2008 film, directed by Gabriele Muccino. Will Smith stars as a man who sets out to change the lives of seven people. Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, and Barry Pepper star. The film was released in theaters in the United States and Canada on December 19, 2008, by Columbia Pictures...

, starring Will Smith, in a scene showing Smith's character as a child seeing a box jellyfish
Box jellyfish
Box jellyfish are cnidarian invertebrates distinguished by their cube-shaped medusae. Box jellyfish are known for the extremely potent venom produced by some species: Chironex fleckeri, Carukia barnesi and Malo kingi are among the most venomous creatures in the world...

for the first time.

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