by Samantha Sorbello

Visitors to the aquarium will notice a new exhibit in The Secrets of the Salt Marsh – The Culture Corner. This exhibit invites guests to explore the microscopic world of plankton and learn more about the organisms that make up the base of marine food webs. Guests are encouraged to become plankton scientists, examining samples of both phytoplankton and zooplankton under a special microscope using the camera on their smartphones. Using this microscope, visitors can get an up-close look at living phytoplankton, the different life stages of brine shrimp, and even see what types of organisms they can identify in a sample of raw sea water – all while having the chance to take some really awesome pictures!

Featuring live cultures of phytoplankton and zooplankton, this new exhibit adds an interactive element to the saltmarsh display and provides more information about the microscopic organisms that make up such an important part of the ecosystem. This new exhibit is simple enough for young visitors to interact with, but also equally engaging and informative for older visitors, with information on harmful algal blooms and different types of zooplankton.

In addition to being a fun and educational addition to the aquarium, these cultures provide a wonderful treat of live brine shrimp to our resident seahorses and pipefish. Watching these animals actively hunting and chasing their treats around the tank is certainly a wonderful bonus to an already great and exciting addition to the aquarium!