Tuesday, April 16, 2019

New England Aquarium Opens Spectacular New Coral Reef Exhibit for April School Vacation Week

Aquarium opens spectacular and inspiring new coral reef exhibit for April school vacation week

Looking for something to do with the kiddos during April vacation, and you live in or near the New England area?  Why not consider heading into Boston for the day and checking out the swan boats and having a picnic in the Boston Public Gardens, before heading over to the Seaport area and making a stop at the New England Aquarium. They have a new coral reef exhibit that is not to be missed.

Here is more about the new coral reef exhibit, which just opened...

"The New England Aquarium has opened a spectacular and inspiring new coral reef exhibit in time for April school vacation week (April 13-21) that features brilliantly-colored tropical fish darting and swimming across the lush seascape. The immersive, captivating design will inspire visitors with the true beauty of these biologically important places and educate them about what they can do to protect reefs worldwide.

Positioned across from the Aquarium’s signature four-story Giant Ocean Tank, the new 9,000-gallon floor-to-ceiling concave tank accentuates the biological richness of an Indo-Pacific reef habitat. The exhibit’s bright, enhanced backdrop helps visitors learn about these “rainforests of the sea” that are so essential to supporting thousands of species of fish, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine life.

“For years, New England Aquarium scientists have traveled the world and studied their vital role in the health and well-being of our oceans,” said Vikki Spruill, the Aquarium’s President and CEO.  “This wonderful new exhibit brings the habitat alive for our visitors so they understand how reefs are being threatened by warming ocean temperatures, plastics pollution, commercial fishing impacts, and other hazards. But their beauty is undeniable so we are hopeful that by educating people about their extraordinary significance in sustaining marine life worldwide, they will be motivated to preserve them.”

Understanding coral’s critical environmental role is a key part of the new exhibit. Some reefs are disappearing due to warming water, ocean acidification linked to rising carbon dioxide, and other human impacts. Warming ocean temperatures cause coral bleaching events which disrupt the health and vitality of the reefs. That is already happening with the largest coral reef in the world, The Great Barrier Reef off Australia. Part of the Indo-Pacific region, the reef has been experiencing a cataclysmic die-off over the past two years.

For years, Aquarium scientists have been actively studying and protecting coral reefs through their work at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life. That includes helping to create one of the world’s largest marine protected areas in the Central Pacific, studying coral reef communities in the Red Sea and on the Meso-American Reef off Central America, experimenting with coral reef restoration programs, and conducting field research on species like sea turtles and sharks that depend on coral reefs. Scientists and conservation advocates, supported by the Aquarium’s Marine Conservation Action Fund, have also been hard at work in isolated corners of the globe  doing smaller grant-funded projects. “It’s admirable what our scientists and advocates are doing to keep coral reefs thriving,” Spruill said.

It is estimated that coral reefs, which cover about one percent of the Earth’s surface and about two percent of the ocean floor, generate between $30 and $172 billion annually and sustain one billion people worldwide by providing coastline protection, food security, income and jobs in tourism, fishing, and even medicine, according to the Smithsonian Institution."

The new Indo-Pacific Coral Reef is open during regular Aquarium hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

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