Monterey Bay Aquarium

From Academic Kids

Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is located in a former sardine cannery and a former brewery on Cannery Row in Monterey, California, is one of the largest aquariums in the world. It has an annual attendance of 1.8 million and holds 35,000 plants and animals of 623 species.

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Kelp Forest Aquarium
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A surface supplied diver interacts with viewers while feeding the fish
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JellyfishAtMBA.jpg
There are many special exhibits presented — such as these jellyfish

It includes a 33-foot (10-m) high aquarium for viewing California coastal marine life and a one million gallon aquarium, the Outer Bay exhibit, which also features one of the largest windows in the world. Beginning in September 2004, the Outer Bay exhibit was the home to the first Great White Shark kept alive in captivity for a prolonged period of time (the previous record was 16 days). The shark was released on March 31, 2005 after it killed two other sharks in the exhibit.

Much of the biologic diversity and density seen in Monterey Bay (and in the aquarium) is the result of cold and nutrient-rich water upwelling from the ocean depths via the canyon.

Sealife on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, and sea otters, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. The MBA developed a circular aquarium called a Kreisel to keep fragile sea jellies. In addition, there is an exhibit featuring a kelp forest, the first ever successfully grown in captivity, in a multi-story tank at the center of the building, open to the elements at the surface. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building.

The aquarium's original building was designed by the architectural firm EHDD (Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis) and opened on October 20, 1984. The aquarium's mission is to "stimulate interest, increase knowledge and promote stewardship of Monterey Bay and the world's ocean environment through innovative exhibits, public education and scientific research." The aquarium's initial financial backing was provided by the late David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Packard, an avid blacksmith, personally created several exhibits for the aquarium at his forge in Big Sur, including the gears and pulleys of a simulated tide machine. His daughter, the marine biologist Julie Packard, is currently CEO of the aquarium.

In January 1996, the aquarium opened the new Outer Bay wing to provide exhibits covering the open-water ecology of Monterey's Outer Bay. Besides the above-mentioned million-gallon tank, another of the new exhibits included a school of 3000 anchovies (a fish that was once the foundation of Monterey's economy), swimming against the endless current of a toroidal tank.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium maintains a close relationship with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). MBARI is located in Moss Landing, California, at the head of the submarine Monterey Canyon. It is renowned worldwide for its research on deep-sea marine life and other programs in marine biology.

Monterey Bay is located within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) a Federally-protected marine area (the equivalent of a saltwater national park) off California's central coast.

Cultural references

The Aquarium appeared in the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where it appeared as the 'Cetacean Institute of Biology' in Sausalito. The main aquarium was overlaid with special effects to appear to be the tank home of two humpback whales.

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