Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Discovery Reef

Hi Sea Fans!

Yup, it's part 2 of my Columbus Zoo and Aquarium adventures :) After spending time with the manatees, I got to discover the aquarium and learn more about coral babies!

Discovery Reef contains the zoo’s 322 000 litre salt water exhibit.
There are 4 species of shark (bonnethead, zebra, epaulette, and bamboo) and many different types of fish in here. Discovery Reef also has plenty of smaller displays with fish and live corals that are grown at the zoo.  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been involved in a very important program for Sexual Coral Reproduction, or SECORE for short.

Since 2003, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has partnered with SECORE International to help protect and restore coral reefs throughout the Caribbean and the Pacific. Keepers from the Columbus Zoo and researchers working with SECORE use state of the art husbandry techniques to collect gametes from spawning corals in order to fertilize them and then raise the coral larvae (coral babies!) into juvenile coral colonies which can then be replanted onto degraded reefs. Using a combination of education, outreach, research and restoration SECORE is helping give coral reefs a future. (Now don't you want to be a part of something amazing like this?!  CZA staff are sooooooo lucky!)

These coral grow out tanks are very important for the keepers to understand the best environments (temperature, salinity, lighting) for the coral and this, in turn, helps the aquarists out when they are in the field working with SECORE International.  This coral tank has a surge device that delivers strong intermittent water surges with shorter periods of gentle water flows. The lights above these corals are 400W so they are quite powerful and exactly what the corals need to grow.  After the corals have grown to a size deemed healthy enough, the aquarists will remove fragments (pieces of coral) and transplant them into our exhibits around Discovery Reef as natural habitats for the many marine species. 

This was probably my best day at CZA!  How awesome is it that they are helping to restore our coral reefs?!  Just another day in the life of an aquarist :)

Have a great week Sea Fans!
Chat soon
Abby
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