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Aquariums: Marine and fresh-water institutions curate data as part of Species360

In an article in Spain national news, learn how  L’Oceanogràfic, Valencia, used Species360 data to illustrate the potential role of aquariums in saving vulnerable species of corals. (Photo: Pulsing Xenia (Xenia elongata) growing on rock, Adobe Stock)

The global community of aquatics professionals participating in the global Species360 community continues to grow, increasing the quality and depth of data available to marine biologists, researchers, others working to improve the welfare and conservation of aquatic species.

In all, 20 aquariums joined Species360 in 2019 and 2020. Aquarists, curators, and medical teams at these institutions use ZIMS – the Zoological Information Management System – to record the data that is essential to caring for individual animals and groups, managing enclosures, ensuring water quality, and providing medical care.

ZIMS data is shared in aggregate across the Species360 member community. It provides insight to norms, to experiences of peer groups at other institutions, to the use of medical procedures. In this way, the daily animal data recorded by aquarists, veterinarians, zoo keepers, and curators at over 1,200 Species360 member institutions can be used to improve the welfare of animals and inform species conservation.

Meet some of the aquariums joining non-profit Species360 and its member community from around the world:

Océanopolis Aquarium in Brest, France.  A member of EAZA and EUAC, Océanopolis Aquarium joined Species360 in 2020 and is among those using the newly released ZIMS in French translation completed with the partnership and support of AFdPZ, St. Laurent, and others.

The National Aquarium, Abu Dhabi, UAE, joined Species360 while still completing its construction and will use the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) to create animal records, manage enclosures, track animal welfare, monitor water quality, and more. Due to open early 2021, this member will be the largest aquarium in the Middle East with over 350 different species. The facility includes a rehabilitation center for injured animals, a conservation center with a focus on biodiversity and natural local heritage, and a student education center. (Photo Credit: Time Out Abu Dhabi)

Aquario Marinho do Rio de Janeiro S/A (Marine Aquarium of Rio de Janeiro) joined Species360 in September 2020. More than 350 marine and fresh water aquariums worldwide curate and share species data as part of global nonprofit Species360. Here, a child watches marine life in the aquarium’s 3.5 million liter salt water enclosure. (Photo: Aquario)

Alaska SeaLife joined global nonprofit Species360 in 2020. While primarily dedicated to marine research and education, the nonprofit Center is the only permanent marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility in the state. Alaska SeaLife Center, located on the shores of Resurrection Bay at “Mile 0” of the scenic Seward Highway, provides visitors with windows to the sea – including encounters with puffins, octopus, harbor seals, sea lions, and other marine life.

In all, 74 zoo, aquarium, wildlife refuge, and research institutions joined Species360 in 2020. Learn more about our 1,200 Species360 members from around the world, including institutions also participating in WAZA, EAZA, AZA, ZAA-Australasia, APZA, and more.

Flint Riverquarium’s 175,000-gallon 22-foot deep Blue Hole Spring showcases Southwest Georgia’s unique underwater world. More than 120 kinds of fish, turtles, alligators, snapping turtles and other creatures that make the RiverQuarium Blue Hole their home.

Updated: New Species360 member Flint Riverquarium in Georgia is a non-profit facility that opened in 2004.  The idea for the aquarium was born in the wake of tragedy as the region searched for a way to deal with the devastating aftermath of the flood of 1994. Their exhibits advance understanding of the ecosystems of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint River basins.

Orange Coast College’s Dennis Kelly Aquarium is the largest and most diverse student-run aquarium in Southern California. With a total volume of nearly 4,500 gallons and more than 20 tanks representing different ecosystems, the aquarium offers OCC students the opportunity to learn about a variety of marine life and develop aquarium husbandry skills.

Orange Coast College’s Dennis Kelly Aquarium became a member of non-profit Species360 in 2020. The marine science facility is the largest and most diverse student-run and aquarium in Southern CA and is open to the public.  Dennis Kelly was an esteemed professor at the college who inspired students over 40 years to develop the skills to become aquarists and aquarium managers.

In 2020, a very challenging year for so many in our community, the ability to support you means the world to us. Thank you for welcoming these new members, and for continuing to work together on behalf of animal welfare, education, and conservation.

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