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Public gets first view of a live vampire squid and other deep-sea cephalopods
Date:6/9/2014

MONTEREY, CAFrom the vampire squid to the flapjack octopus, deep-sea cephalopods come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. Yet few humans have seen these animals alive. Since April, members of the public have been able to see these animals for the first time, as part of the ongoing Tentacles special exhibition at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A collaborative effort with the aquarium's partner institution, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), this exhibit has thrilled both aquarium visitors and MBARI scientists, and is providing new scientific insights into the lives of these mysterious animals.

Almost two years in the making, Tentacles required close teamwork between husbandry experts at the aquarium and researchers at MBARI.

"It's been a great collaboration," said Bret Grasse, an aquarist working on the exhibit. "MBARI has some of the best deep-sea biologists in the world, and they've been working with these animals for years. They're great at finding and collecting deep-sea animals. Here at the aquarium, we're really good at keeping these animals alive and figuring out how to share them with the public."

The first challenge the team faced was simply finding animals to place on exhibit.

"Few, if any, aquariums in the world have the kind of access to remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that we get from working with MBARI," Grasse said. "But even with these amazing robots, we still have to find the animals."

Key to this step was Stephanie Bush, a postdoctoral fellow at MBARI and an expert on deep-sea cephalopods. Bush combed through MBARI's database of thousands of ROV dives dating back to 1989, looking for locations in Monterey Canyon where deep-sea octopuses and squid were most likely to be found. Even after all this research, finding animals in the vastness of the open ocean was a big challenge. As Bush points out, "Many of these creatures are not rare in the deep sea. They're just rarely colle
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Contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
kfb@mbari.org
831-775-1835
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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