Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Thursday, July 19, 2012
|Juvenile wolf eel explores her barnacle surroundings|
|Barbara, the giant Pacific octopus|
|A few of our crazy workers in their temporary home |
(sometimes we think they never leave the aquarium). We're happy to have our high school students, Flynn and Aquila on board with us. From l-r: Dave, Marlie, Laura, Flynn, Acquila
|A school of shiner perch swimming by|
Within a few weeks the expecting females will look about ready to explode with their little babies. In preparation for the mass birthing, we're planning to relocate our mothers from any potential baby eaters, such as black rockfish, predators capable of turning the miracle of life into a smorgasbord! Of course, such is the way of life in the ocean and we can't protect all our newborns from the wonders of natural selection. The babies, 1 ¼” miniature version of their parents, are born so well developed that they practically swim out of their mothers. The males are also born reproductively mature with females maturing only a few weeks later. Cool, hey!
Just recently we’ve also found some Opalescent squid (Loligo opalescens) eggs which look about ready to hatch. The mating ritual of these fast swimming cephalods is not quite as romantic as that of the perch; instead, the male will aggressively grab the female and deposit his sperm packet (using his hectocotylized third right arm) inside the mantle of the female. The female then lays dozens of large egg capsules shaped like gelatinous cigars, each containing 180-300 eggs! The eggs develop directly and, after about three to five weeks, hatch, but the adults die shortly after spawning. These little squidlets aren’t left entirely unprotected though; the egg capsules have no taste or odor, so they are not perceived by food as predators! We’re looking forward to having a tank full of swimming squids soon.
|A cluster of squid eggs|
Monday, May 21, 2012
The Ucluelet Aquarium Society is proud to announce the grand opening of the new Ucluelet Aquarium.
Please join us for this special celebration to thank the community, volunteers and donors.
Doors open after speeches and 'kelp' cutting.
Explore the new Giant Tide Pool, interactive children's play area, touch tanks and video microscope stations.
Staff led tours, live demonstrations and dissections are all part of the fun!
Enjoy refreshments, music and crafts for kids.
Please help us spread the word.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
To the right, allow the imagination to fill the broad space by the front windows with rows of touch tanks. With any luck, future visitors may glance up from these tanks to view the rare sight some of the crew were privy to last week. A pod of killer whales swimming through the bay. No photographic proof is available for this claim, but trust us, it happened. (really). The aquarium currently feels as if we were building a whale from the inside out. Beams and rafters enclose the space like a giant ribcage. Electricians lace the neurons of electrical wire through and around the framework; the plumbing spreads into the future sites of displays, and into the belly of the building, where rows of filters and pumps will pulse cold life into glass cases.
From the back of the building, the Great Tide Pool to the left, the view will one day be an art piece displaying the names of our sponsors. The upstairs will be the aquarium's very first on-site office. Ask staff members what this means to them. Be prepared for wide grins and unlimited excitement.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The JCP crew has been hard at work lately, continuing construction on the wooden tank stands for the new aquarium. This has required a great deal of precision, with sub-millimeter measurements and careful clamping being the name of the game. We had the opportunity to rent a 16-inch beam saw for some of the most recent cuts, which made for pretty fun work! The finished product will be tank stands with lap-joints, a very strong and stable structural choice.
The elaborate clamping setup
Another objective for the crew has been to collect substrate for use in the new aquarium, such as sand, rocks, and shells. This involved trips down to Big Beach, where there is an abundance of ideal substrate. We even lucked out with some gorgeous sunny days, which made hauling around heavy bins infinitely more pleasant!
Jeff, Seamus, and Diana collecting substrate on Big Beach
The mini-aquarium has entered into hibernation mode, now that the big release day has come and gone. We have been hard at work emptying and scrubbing the old tanks. When siphoning out the used water, it is always a fun challenge trying to avoid a mouthful of murky waste water – a distasteful experience as I’m sure you can imagine! Probably the most joy came from discovering little crabs, clams, fishes, and other creatures that were still hiding at the bottoms of the tanks (all of whom were released, of course). The old aquarium materials and merchandise are being packed up, ready for re-use at their deluxe accommodations in the new aquarium building!
However, a few tenants still remain in the mini-aquarium. Our little red octopus female continues to care for her many eggs, which are scheduled to hatch any day now. Also, three fascinating and unidentified fishing anemones are being kept in their tanks in the hopes that with expert consultation, we may be able to identify these mystery specimens. We will keep you updated as much as possible on the births and potential discoveries of these remaining animals!
Diana is the newest member on the JCP team. She has been living in the area for 3 years, working as a naturalist on whale watching boats. Diana is excited to help contribute to the creation of what is sure to be a world-class aquarium facility.