Monday, March 21, 2011
This past fall members of the Aquarium’s husbandry department traveled to Alaska to gather knowledge and animal specimens for the Aquarium’s new exhibit set to open in May 2011, Arctic & Antarctic: Our Polar Regions in Peril. They also laid the groundwork for a future specimen collection trip and investigated what species were available to collect, how to get an Alaskan collection permit, how animals could be shipped to Long Beach, and diving logistics. This next trip will take place in May.
On this recent trip, Vice President of Husbandry Perry Hampton, Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates Sandy Trautwein, and Assistant Curator Steve Blair visited the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, where they met with their counterparts at that facility. They also had a chance to take in the scenery around the center, which included breathtaking views of Resurrection Bay.
Next the group visited a state-run fish hatchery on the grounds of Elmendorf Air Force Base just north of Anchorage. This hatchery provided Arctic char eggs, which were shipped to the Aquarium this winter. Sandy said this shipping method is safer than shipping the fish after hatching. The zippy, energetic char use a great deal of oxygen and would risk depleting the oxygen supply in their water during shipping. Our staff hatched the fish here this month and will raise them at the Aquarium. Sandy estimates the hatched fish will be between four and five inches long when they go on exhibit.
Aquatech, a commercial seafood distributor, was the next stop on the Alaska trip. There, owner Lamar Ballard helped the three husbandry staff members pick out and package several king crabs for shipping to the Aquarium. The crabs now make their home in the Aquarium’s holding tanks while they wait for the exhibit to open.
The new Arctic & Antarctic exhibit will include these and other animals from the polar regions. Check out the next issue of Pacific Currents this spring for more information!
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