Monterey Bay Aquarium

Last Friday post our Sales Kick-Off event, we had a chance to visit Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is a non-profit public aquarium in Monterey, California. Known for its regional focus on the marine habitats of Monterey Bay, it was the first to exhibit a living kelp forest when it opened in October 1984. Its biologists have pioneered the animal husbandry of jellyfish and it was the first to successfully care for and display a great white shark.  

The aquarium’s 20,000 square feet of decks allow visitors to look out over the bay. The inclusion of broad windows “blurs the line between the museum and natural habitat”. Monterey Bay Aquarium was the first public aquarium to have its interior mapped on Google Street View, creating a virtual walking tour.

Monterey Bay Aquarium displays 35,000 animals belonging to over 550 species in 2.3 million U.S. gallons of water.  Filtered seawater from Monterey Bay is pumped into the Kelp Forest and other exhibits at 2,000 US gallons per minute. At night, unfiltered seawater (or “raw seawater”) is used for the Kelp Forest exhibit to maintain its realistic appearance.  

At least three exhibitions have been devoted entirely to displaying jellyfish, with around 16 species of jellyfish from around the world in “a psychedelic theme from the 1960s”. Staff members attribute the organization’s fascination with jellyfish to their visual appeal, primitive biology, and reputed calming effect on visitors. We spent most time glued to the Jellyfish exhibit, and the entire experience was hypnotic.

Here are some fun facts about Jelly Fish (Sourced from the web)

1. Some jellyfish can glow in the dark:  Many jellyfish have bioluminescent organs which emit blue or green light.

2. Jellyfish are the oldest multi-organ animal:  Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 600 million years! Yes, before dinosaurs or bony fish, before creepy crawlies or trees, before flowers or ferns or fungi – there were jellyfish. Jellyfish have survived five mass extinctions.

3. Jellyfish don’t have brains:  Not only that, they also have no blood, no bones, and no heart. However, they do have an elementary nervous system with receptors that detect light, vibrations, and chemicals in the water. These abilities, along with the sense of gravity, allow jellyfish to orient and navigate in the water.

4. Jellyfish are found all over the world: Jellyfish are found in every ocean in every corner of the planet, from the coldest freezing waters of the Arctic oceans to the warm, temperate waters of the tropical oceans. They exist in different water conditions; at different depths from the ocean floor to the surface. They’re even found in some freshwater lakes and ponds!

5. Some jellyfish are immortal: Ever dreamed about being immortal? The good news is that you can be immortal. The bad news is that you have to become a floating blob of jelly to do so. That’s right, there’s a death-defying species of jelly conveniently called the immortal jellyfish (or Turritopsis dohrnii) found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the waters of Japan that’s biologically immortal.

6. Not all jellyfish have tentacles: What are jellyfish known for? Some may say their trailing tentacles, but actually not all jellyfish species have tentacles. The Deepstaria, for example, is a genus of jellyfish known for their thin, sheet-like bodies and their lack of tentacles.

7. There’s a giant jellyfish called the hair jelly: The lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) – also known as the giant jellyfish or the hair jelly – is the largest known species of jellyfish.

8. 150 million people are stung by jellyfish each year:  That means that in the few minutes or so it’s taken you to read this far, more than 1,000 people have been stung by jellies.

9. Jellyfish stings can be deadly:  The Australian box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) is considered the most venomous marine animal on earth. Its sting can cause paralysis, cardiac arrest, and death within a few minutes – barely enough time for a victim to swim to shore!

10. Jellyfish have many predators: Despite their venomous defenses, jellyfish are not without predators. Tunas, sharks, swordfish, sea turtles, and even some species of salmon are jellyfish’s natural enemies that are known to prey upon jellies.

I was able to capture some of what we experienced, both on my Gimbal and also on my mobile, as seen below

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