Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Discovery Reef and Stingray Bay

Well, two weeks of my internship done already and oddly enough, it feels like I've been here so much longer. 

Anyways, I decided for this post I will focus more on how my internship began and some of the general tasks I have to do everyday.

My internship started off by meeting my supervisor and getting a general tour of the areas I would be working in. There was another intern that started that day as well and our supervisor went over the internship manual with us. After that I was just thrown right in with the aquarists at Discovery Reef and they started introducing me to the aquatic zoo-keeping field. Every day is different in some way, but certain things are the same. Mornings for me are mainly filled with food prep, YSI water quality testing, raising brine shrimp, and feeding all the animals. When there are multiple people working these jobs get done really fast and I have to occupy my time with some of the other jobs that need to get done. Obviously keeping tanks clean is really important and a lot of time is spent on that. Water changes and water quality tests a two other tasks that are frequently done. Below is a photo of one of the aquarist cleaning the Coral Exhibit:

So far my favorite thing to do is the food prep and feeding the animals. Feeding the sharks is really fun. The aquarists have to feed the zebra shark every afternoon. She is target trained to be moved to a separate tank for feeding while a diver is in the Discovery Reef tank feeding the other fish. There are two bonnethead sharks that we feed from the surface of the tank. The bonnethead sharks look like hammerhead sharks, and they are related to them, but the bonnetheads are about three feet long. Below is a picture of a zebra shark and a bonnethead shark:

Photo from: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/-/m/images/animal-guide/fishes/zebra-shark.jpg?bc=white&h=678&mh=738&mw=1312&w=1200&usecustomfunctions=1&cropx=0&cropy=81
Photo from: http://www.tnaqua.org/Libraries/Fish/Bonnethead_Shark.sflb.ashx
Oddly enough, as much as chemistry has never been my favorite subject in school, I really enjoy conducting the water quality tests. Every morning we use the YSI to measure salinity, temperature, pH, and ORP (oxidation reduction potential). Aside from this we conduct tests for nitrite, ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, and alkalinity levels in the different water systems.
I'm doing science! I am conducting a nitrite and ammonia test. 

I'll leave anyone reading this post with a fun fact of the week:
Do you know why the tanks at Discovery Reef are made of acrylic instead of glass? 
This is because acrylic will not warp your vision of the animals inside the tank. Glass can magnify or distort you view of a fish, so when guests are looking through the walls of the tank the size of the animal that they see is the actual size of that animal.

Till next time,


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