Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dolphin Discovery Centre

Hi Sea Fans!

We've had strange storms here in SA and now Winter has officially started so I'm off to visit more friends, keep an eye on my travels, maye I'll be in your hometown next! ;)

In the mean time, let me tell you a bit more about where I've been...Dolphin Discovery Centre.

During the 1960's, a local resident of Koombana Bay in Australia, began feeding dolphins from a small jetty.  After she passed, a dolphin specialist was hired to continue the tradition, feeding and studying the local dolphins. From this work, came the establishment of the Interaction Zone in `990 and the Dolphgin Discovery Centre in 1994.  Tourists and members of the community can interact with the group of 5 or 6 dolphins that regularly visit and learn more about dolphins in general.

"We don't clearly understand why the dolphins continue to visit the Zone today however research does suggest that the small amount of food they receive as a reward for their visit is not the only attraction. There are many dolphins that visit the Zone regularly that do not receive any fish and many of them stay for extended periods of time for interaction with the human visitors. Sick and injured dolphins also treat the beach as a haven, with some repeatedly visiting during periods of illness or injury." from their website. 

Dolphin Eco Cruises and swimming with wild dolphins - you wouldn't want to do that?  Well, Phil offered to take me around the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Australia where he works, to show me what he does in a day.  Here are some pics:

Checking for dolphins.

Chatting to the aquarium's resident shark.

The centre aims to promote research, conservation and education of the Bottlenose Dolphins and other native marine life.  It is home to a discovery pool, aquariums, 360 degree digital dolphinarium, scheduled guided site tour, 3D & 2D movies, cafe and souvenir shop, so there is something for everyone.
  There is also the Interaction Zone where the wild dolphins often come to interact with visitors

It's not all dolphins!  You can learn about sea life in general and what you can do to help protect the oceans and the creatures who live in them.

This occie just cracked me up!

The centre runs thanks to experienced staff and volunteers who are willing to give up their time.


Aussie sunshine!

A beautiful day to meet the dolphins.

Can you believe what Phil did to me?!? 
Thanks Phil and all the staff at DDC for showing me around and letting me experience a day in your life :)

Have a great week Sea Fans!
Chat soon
Abby
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

NOAA Gateway

HI Sea Fans!

I had the privilege of visiting the NOAA Gateway, an interactive exhibition about NOAA's science.



"Hand of NOAA" by Ray Kaskey – this sculpture of a giant hand releasing seagulls to the ocean represents the agency’s mission of recording and protecting the environment.
This model ship is the  Oceanographer launched on 18 April 1964. She was 92 m (303 feet) long, the largest vessel constructed for research purposes to date. She had a very distinctive appearance with her stark white paint, large radome aft of the funnels, and heavy crane on the aft deck. She had a number of labs (chemistrywet and dry oceanographic, meteorologicalgravimetric, and photographic) and several winches.

The Survey of the Coast was formed in 1807, renamed a few times and then became a part of NOAA in 1970. 

Some items from early Coast Survey ships included china, a hat and epaulets from uniforms.

The Survey's mission was to provide accurate nautical charts (maps of the oceans), but now it includes most of the physical sciences including:

·         hydrography (the science of the measurement and description and mapping of the surface waters of the earth with special reference to navigation),
·         geodesy (the branch of maths dealing with the shape and area of the earth or large portions of it),
·         astronomy (the study of celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole),
·         topography (detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area),
·         oceanography (the study of the physical and biological properties and phenomena of the sea.),
·         tide and current measurement and prediction,
·         seismology (the study of earthquakes and related phenomena),
·         magnetics,
·         national standards,
·         photogrammetry (the use of photography in surveying and mapping to figure out measurements between objects.),
·         and more.

I loved my visit, but I really enjoyed the videos from Ocean Today (http://oceantoday.noaa.gov/) and the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) which is a specialized device that allows a captured sea turtle to escape when caught in a fisherman's net. 
In particular, sea turtles can be caught when bottom trawling is used by the commercial shrimp fishing industry. In order to catch shrimp, a fine meshed trawl net is needed.

Here are my new friends, Bruce, Molly and Peg in front of the new Science on Sphere (http://sos.noaa.gov/What_is_SOS/index.html)
Thanks so much to Peg Steffen for showing me around!

Have a great week, Sea Fans!
Cheers
Abby
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Friday, January 27, 2017

Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET)

.Hi Sea Fans!

From one interesting place to the next!  I got to visit the Aquaculture Research Centre at IMET.  
Watching the European Sea Bass

The scientists at IMET study the ocean and environment to be able to protect and restore it, as well as make sure that people stay healthy and use the resources (something that is found in nature and can be used by people. Earth's natural resources = light, air, water, plants, animals, soil, stone, minerals, and fossil fuels.) in a way that makes sure that future generations (your children and their children) get to enjoy them too.

The research centre is 1 800 square metres of pumps, filters and tanks!  The scientists can change all of the conditions that the animals live in like: lighting; water temperature; water pH; water flow; etc.  This means that they can change the environment of the animal or plant that they are studying to suit any experiment.  They make their own sea water and use ozone to keep it clean and disease-free for the finfish and shellfish that they study.
I was checking out the Blue Crabs here.
Have a look at these links to see more:


Thanks so much to Steve Rogers for showing me around!!

Have a great weekend Sea Fans!

Cheers
Abby
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Gulf of Maine Research Institute Lab Venture Programme

Hi Sea Fans!

I have som uch of my trip to catch up on in this blog, it's unbelievable how much fun we've been having (and how little time I've had to sit down and write).  Here goes:

My next stop was in Maine at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) LabVenture! program. This program is for Maine's 5th and 6th grade students. Students pretend to be a scientist and do their own hands-on research in the interactive lab.

This week, I helped the educators with the LabVenture! program.
I waited with the staff for the students to arrive to hand out name tags so students could get to work as scientists.
Molly, Becca, and I led the students through the half-day hands-on interactive lab experience. Students were working to answer the question: “How are Cod, Lobsters, Herring, and Humans connected in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem?”


With Molly and Becca.
Students worked at interactive stations to collect data, make observations, use the tools of science, and create videos. I got a chance to try the stations as well. It was really fun to control the underwater cameras using the joystick!


I helped students use a caliper to measure the carapace of a lobster. The length of a lobster's carapace can help scientist understand how quickly lobsters are growing.
I even got to observe GMRI's large blue lobster in their large benthic tank and learned about how cod and lobsters interact. The lobster was bigger than me!

I also helped Molly and Becca listen to the videos students created at the stations and picked which work to share with the whole class.



The day went really quickly and the students were busy at the stations the whole time. It was great to see so many students having fun and doing science!  Thanks Meredyth and friends for showing me around!

So those of you living in Maine, go and join in!!

Have a great week Sea Fans!
Chat soon

Cheers
Abby
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Do you want to be a marine biologist?

Hi Sea Fans!

Those of you living in South Africa have an amazing opportunity...the Two Oceans Aquarium has started offering special courses to those interested in possibly following a career in the marine sciences.


Grade 6 - Junior Biologist - FREE!
Grade 7 - Junior Smart Living - FREE!
Grade 8 - Marine Science Discoverer
Grade 9 - Marine Science Explorer
Grade 10 - High School Volunteer Course
Grade 11 & 12 - Zoology & Oceanography (FET)

Check out all the details here:

http://www.aquarium.co.za/blog/entry/introducing-the-revamped-two-oceans-aquarium-marine-sciences-academy

Have a great week Sea Fans!
Chat soon

Cheers
Abby
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why are Great White Sharks not on display in an aquarium?

Hi Sea Fans!

I often get asked all sorts of questions, but this one seems to pop up often, especially in the summer season or after Shark Week.  Luckily, I came across a video link today to explain:



Have a great week Sea Fans!

Chat soon
Abby
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dubai

Hi Sea Fans!

I started travelling at the end of 2011 and now, 5 years later, I'm STILL visiting friends!  I've been really spoilt, it was only meant to be a year of travels....oh well, lots to see and so many people to chat to.

One of the interesting places that I have visited is Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, where Zila offered to show me around. (Thanks Zila!!)

When this aquarium was built, it had the largest main window (acrylic panel) in the world! 32.8 meters wide, 8.3 metres high, 750 mm thick and weighing 245,614 kg. It even got into the Guiness Book of Records.

They started with a HUGE tank filled with different fish and shark species and an "underwater zoo" section that housed otters, water rats, freshwater (including the massive arapaima) and marine fish as well as seals.  They have since got an Arabian nightlife section with insects and other animals, a gigantic croc, an octopus, penguins and a special shark section.  Let me take you on a bit of a tour of this place so that you can see what kind of things Zila (head aquarist) does in a day:


First, we get to see what the public get to see - the underwater observatory.  This is the big tank with that extra large window.  The public can also pay to dive in this tank...Zila gets paid to dive in this tank!  The aquarists take turns to feed the animals in this large exhibit and there are different feeds - shark feeds, scatter feeds that are more general and targeted feeds where animals like moray eels are fed.

The submarine tank exhibit where you can see cardinalfish and urchins and other interesting creatures.
You can also try your hand at sonar and find the turtles.
Then we go behind the scenes with Abby to check out the jelly lab where babies (polyps) are grown out for display.  It's quite amazing finding out that things like a temperature difference can make a jelly have babies...watch out climate change!
Every day, Ariel, the water quality aquarist, and Zila have to check the water quality of all the exhibits to mae sure that they are living in a clean home.  Too much poo would change the pH  - not good for their fish!
Who would have thought that you'd find fruit and verg in an aquarium?!  Well, this is the nutria (water rat) food.  I loved getting the food ready and loved meeting the rats even more...
These guys are big.
 I also got to meet the Asian small-clawed otters,
 and the HUmboldt penguins.

And then I got to meet Mango, the rescued Scarlet Macaw who is now a part of the Dubai Aquarium family.

What an adventure, thanks to everyone at Dubai Aquarium!!  Off I go to the next adventure ;)

Sea you soon!
Abby
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