Posts Tagged 'great barrier reef'

Take a (Virtual) Trip Down Under and Celebrate Australia Week With Us!

national aquarium australia day

Every year on January 26, Aussies around the world celebrate Australia Day! This national holiday marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships to Sydney Cove. 

In addition to our annual event in Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes this Sunday, we’ll be celebrating Australia Day with special posts on WATERblog all week long.

Day One: Australia’s Majesty

Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, the continent of Australia is roughly 3 million square miles in size. Its six different climatic zones give Australia a wide variety of habitats.

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback, Australia is home to more than 5,700 different animal species…a staggering number when you consider how much of the island continent remains unexplored.

Here are just a few of the Aussie species you can see at the Aquarium: 

Did you know? Seventeen of the world’s 26 most venomous snake species live in Australia. Check out this list of the country’s 30 deadliest animals.

national aquarium death adder

Death adders inject, on average, 40–100 mg of highly toxic venom in each bite.

Australia is also home to the world’s largest living structure, the Great Barrier Reef, which is 1,500 miles in length. Comprised of over 3,000 individual reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef hosts thousands of species of fish, mollusks, sharks, marine mammals and sea turtles.

national aquarium clownfish

It is the world’s largest marine sanctuary and just one of the countless biodiverse natural wonders Australia has to offer.

Stay tuned for more Australia Week posts and join the conversation online using #AussieWeek!

Animal Updates – October 4

More than 17,000 animals representing more than 750 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Meet our Queensland Grouper!

Our Queensland grouper, Bertha, is one of Blacktip Reef’s most distinguishable new residents! Since being introduced to her new home, Bertha has been happily exploring the nooks and crannies the reef – she especially loves the deep dive area!

national aquarium queensland grouper

Found in the warm waters of the Pacific, this large fish preys upon quite a variety of animals, including small sharks, rays, sea turtles, smaller fish, crabs and even spiny lobsters!

Measuring up to 9 feet in length and weighing around 800 pounds, Queensland groupers are the largest of reef bony fish species in the world! Apart from their sheer size, these fish can be easily recognized by their blotchy patterning and light yellow fins.

Check out this amazing footage of a giant Queensland grouper found off the coast of Heron Island (part of the Great Barrier Reef):

Did you know? Queensland groupers (like most other grouper species) are protogynous hermaphrodites! They start their lives as females and later will change sex once they hit sexual maturity.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

Thoughtful Thursdays: Conserving Australia’s Natural Wonders

In honor of our upcoming Australia Day celebration, today’s Thoughtful Thursday highlights the issues facing Australia’s fragile marine ecosystems.  

“Grief for the Reef” 

Possibly the most iconic coral reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, is home to close to 6,000 different species of marine life. Since becoming a protected marine park in 1975, researchers have closely monitored the effects pollution, overfishing and ocean acidification have on the overall health of the reef and its inhabitants.

Thanks to "Finding Nemo" the Great Barrier Reef and species like the percula clownfish have become loved by many!

Thanks to “Finding Nemo” the Great Barrier Reef and
species like the clownfish have become treasured
icons for coral reef ecosystems!

Although it has been historically well-protected (due in part to its global popularity), the reef has still been devastated by these effects. In the last 27 years, the Great Barrier Reef has lost 50 percent of its coral.

Without immediate action to curb pollution and activities that contribute to climate change, the reef’s future is grim.

Ocean acidification has caused coral bleaching on parts of the reef. Photo via CS Monitor

Ocean acidification has caused coral bleaching on parts of the reef. Photo via CS Monitor

Here’s what you can do to help save our coral reefs worldwide: 

  • Use less water. The less water you use, the less runoff and waste will pollute our oceans.
  • Walk, bike or ride the bus. Fossil fuel emissions from cars and industry raise lead to ocean warming which causes mass-bleaching of corals and can lead to widespread destruction of reefs.
  • Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling. Do not touch the reef or anchor your boat on the reef. Contact with the coral will damage the delicate coral animals, and anchoring on the reef can kill it, so look for sandy bottom or use moorings if available.
  • Learn more about National Aquarium’s conservation initiatives to save coral reefs.

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