Monterey Bay Aquarium

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The Monterey Bay Aquarium (or MBA, founded 1984) is located on the former site of a sardine cannery on Cannery Row on the Pacific Ocean shoreline in Monterey, California. It has an annual attendance of 1.8 million visitors. It holds thousands of plants and animals, representing 623 separate named species on display. The aquarium benefits by a high circulation of fresh ocean water which is obtained through pipes which pump it in continuously from Monterey Bay.

Among the aquarium's numerous exhibits, two are of particular note: The centerpiece of the Ocean's Edge Wing is a 10 meter (33-foot) high 1.3 million liter (1/3 million gallon) tank for viewing California coastal marine life. In this tank, the aquarium was the first in the world to grow live California Giant Kelp using a wave machine at the top of the tank (water movement is a necessary precondition for keeping Giant Kelp, which absorbs nutrients from surrounding water and requires turbidity), allowing sunlight in through the open tank top, and circulation of raw seawater from the Bay. The second exhibit of note is a 4.5 million liter (1.2 million gallon) tank in the Outer Bay Wing which features one of the world's largest single-paned windows (crafted by a Japanese company, the acrylic window is actually five panes seamlessly glued together through a proprietary process).[1]

Sealife on exhibit includes stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters, and numerous other native marine species, which can be viewed above and below the waterline. For displaying jellyfish, the MBA uses an aquarium called a Kreisel tank which creates a circular flow to support and suspend the jellies. Visitors are able to inspect the creatures of the kelp forest at several levels in the building. The aquarium does not house mammals other than otters.

Contents

History

The aquarium occupies land at the end of today's Cannery Row (once Ocean View Avenue) in Monterey, at the site of the Hovden Cannery, a sardine cannery which helped to define the character of Monterey from the time it was built in 1916, to the day when it was the last cannery on the Row to close in 1973, after sardine fishing collapsed. This building was dismantled in 1980, but beginning in 2002 the Monterey Bay Aquarium has blown the original Hovden cannery steam whistle at noon each day to commemorate it. [2]

The aquarium's original building was designed by the architectural firm Esherick Homsey Dodge & Davis and opened on 20 October 1984. The aquarium's mission is "to inspire conservation of the oceans." The aquarium's initial financial backing was provided by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Packard, an avid blacksmith, personally designed and created several exhibit elements for the aquarium at his forge in Big Sur, including the wave machines in the Kelp Forest and aviary. His daughter, the marine biologist Julie Packard, is currently Executive Director of the aquarium.

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