Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Georgia State Aquarium

Today Michelle and I decided to go to the Georgia State Aquarium as we had wanted to do so the first time we were here and had too much work to do. The aquarium is right in downtown Atlanta near the CNN Building and the Olympic Park.

The Aquarium is the largest in the world with 8.5 million gallons of marine and fresh water.  I especially wanted to go as I remember watching a documentary on the arrival of the first whale shark to Atlanta by UPS plane all the way from Taiwan. It is the only location in the world that you can find whale sharks outside of Asia. It is also one of only six aquariums in North America to have the Beluga Whales.

The lionfish that are seen in the video are becoming quite a problem along the Eastern Sea Board as they have invaded waters as far north as New York. They supposedly were let loose during Hurricane Andrew and have been multiplying at a very fast pace as they have no natural predators. The native fish to the region do not know what they are and therefore are easy prey. Scientists are thinking about importing a predator but we all know how well the mongoose helped control non native snakes in the Hawaiian Islands. The lionfish spines can deliver a painful shot of venom to humans, even causing death in those with heart disease or severe allergies.

Finally at the end you will see "Nemo" we all know, Nemo lives in an anemone. During the presentation the attendant said that the anemones eat fish as they basically sting them with their tentacles and then pull them into their mouth. I asked the attendant how in the world "Nemo" could live in an anemone then! She said that the clown fish have a thick slime that does not allow the poisonous tentacles to penetrate the skin. So Hollywood wasn't just making something up for once!

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