Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mote Marine Laboratory

My sister and niece were in town for a visit a couple of weeks ago. Just at the start of the spring breaks, and you can tell with all the traffic around then. The weather was finally warming up, but on Sunday it rained some, so we decided it was a good day to visit Mote Marine on City Island (temporarily rename "Google Island") I might go into that at a later time.
Of course it was busy due to the overcast weather. My uncle is a member and had tickets for us all to go.

They have several tanks inside, labeled and lit accordingly. I love seeing the sea horses and the jellyfish.

I know this tank looks bizarre. It is jellyfish and they have special lighting and the water is constantly in motion. It was hard to get a good photo with my camera. I didn't want to use a flash that would take away the effect.

Oh, I liked the reef and coral they had displayed.

These jellyfish were pretty cool too.

Again they were always moving...
I caught him upside down! It was funny because we had a lot of hugh jellyfish washed up on our beaches at this time too. I'm not sure what kind they were. I should of asked the experts at Mote, they should know the marine life around here!
Lobster anyone?
Hammerhead sharks.

They are the strangest looking sharks.

This is in the George Jameson Aquarium where they have larger sharks, grouper, rays, and other fish.

I would do the music in Jaws, but how do you write that?

You can view from under the water or go up and look down into the water.

The on ray was huge. The also have several touch tanks. I love the one where you can pet the rays, they are so soft!

A short walk across the street is where they have The Mote Marine Laboratory Manatee Research Program and the Dolphin & Whale Hospital. This is Harley and Moonshine playing around right before feeding time.

The Mote Marine Aquarium is a part of the Mote Marine Laboratory, which focuses on researching and educating the public about some of the animals found in the waters around Florida and throughout the world. They have over 100 different marine species, ranging from sea turtles to sharks, and they also provide visitors with more educational opportunities than most zoos and aquariums, since this is a full laboratory and research facility.

Read more:

They also have a 27-foot-long preserved giant squid named Molly, and this is the only place in the United States where you can see such a large specimen displayed. I didn't get a photo of this, it was too big.

Read more:

This facility also has a sea turtle hospital, and like with the dolphin and whale hospitals, the Mote Marine Aquarium provides care to wild creatures found stranded or injured, in hopes of releasing them back into the wild. A few of these animals, although fairly healthy, have been deemed un-releasable, and have become permanent residents of the aquarium

Read more:

Two dolphins that can no longer be released back into the wild are Harley and Moonshine.
They are Spinner Dolphins. We happened to be there when they were feeding them and got to see them perform some. They switch up the times they feed them so they won't get used to a certain time waiting for this.
A nice belly rub.

Caught one in the air.

It was hard to know when they were going to jump.

They were very talkative and were playing before any of the trainers or workers were around. I loved the dolphins too. Now on to the manatees.
This is Hugh, he was so active. He is showing off right now swimming upside down, and then around.

I don't know his name yet, but I hear he gets fed well because he eats when the manatees are fed which is quite often.

Hugh and Buffet eat about 72 heads of lettuce every day. Buffet was the younger, less active one.

Hugh, says hello, but Buffet is the bump up in the background. Like his own little cave.

The Laboratory does a lot of research, they are working on how to reduce Red Tide. We have been without red tide for awhile now. They also monitor sea turtles nest. They mark them and check them everyday. When I lived on the beach in Venice we had one in our front yard, and I happened to have guests over when they hatched the night before. They count how many empty eggs shells and then release the ones that are still there that didn't make it out of the nest. It was the fascinating to see, those little turtles swimming, swimming, swimming. I hope they made it.