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Tags  →  marine biology

Lisbon, September 2015 - Lisbon Oceanarium

[Lisbon visit continued from Part 2]

The Lisbon Oceanarium (location in the centre of this map) is said to be one of the best in the world. It is located on the banks of the Tagus (which the locals pronounce somewhat like a sneeze), which is enormously wide at this point, being crossed nearby by the 12km long Vasco da Gama Bridge.

The Ocenarium is is organized as 4 "oceanic ecosystems" around a huge central tank. This is the Antarctic...

I had to look twice before I saw the bird!

The Temperate Pacific kelp forests... I have always had a weakness for sea otters, since I once saw them in the wild like this off Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, California. The Lisbon Oceanarium's sea otters are famous, apparently.

If you like sea otters, too, don't miss this video of an otter giving itself a massage which was shot here...

The Tropical Indian coral reefs

The big central "ocean" is accessed on two levels. We're looking down at a school party on the lower level. The Lisbon Oceanarium has all kinds of educational activities, many of them especially for children (e.g. “sleeping with sharks”, a different kind of pajama party!).

Down at the lower level

The inhabitants are hand-fed on a very scientific diet, designed to keep them healthy and avoid one species feeding on another. In the case of the sharks (no photos - sorry) hand feeding is done at the end of a very long plastic pole! Very interesting video shown in the lower level theatre about all this...

One of the nice features is that the big "ocean" is ringed by natural-looking grottos, which you can look through from outside

Outside the Oceanarium, on the way to a very good (and cheap) fish food restaurant

The area surrounding the Oceanarium looks really interesting (e.g. see “Sights Nearby” here) - worth a day in its own right

If you like this...

[Index of all my photoblogs]

Humpback whale and calf, off the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico

A really interesting, in-depth article about the study of humpback whale songs, with many opportunities to listen.

The article starts with the discovery by scientists that the strange and eerie sounds were actually songs, and the fact that humpback whales don't just sing songs - they compose with the whales around them, singing a song that evolves over time.

The article describes how acoustic biologist Katy Payne analyzed the sounds... and the results are fascinating.

Thanks again to overthetrail for sharing this on her FB page.

[Continuing the trip in the post above.]

This is the Dolphin Research Center at Grassy Key. We liked it very much - it's quiet, education-based and very different from other entertainment-oriented marine parks. As the staff keep pointing out, the visitors are here to entertain the dolphins, not the other way around (actually, it's thoroughly mutual).

We were here to fulfil a life-time ambition of my wife's, which was to swim with dolphins. Before you get to do that you have to attend a half-hour class (relatives and friends of swimmers can attend too). I'm glad I didn't miss it, as I learnt more about dolphins (and these particular dolphins) than I have every done previously.

This is probably Pax, although I'm not absolutely sure. Like the other dolphins he is quite capable of jumping out of the lagoons into the rest of the Gulf of Mexico, but he stays here because it's an easy and enjoyable life and he wouldn't be able to cope in the open ocean. Many of the dolphins here are rescue dolphins, or were born in captivity to rescue dolphins.

Being given the once-over by Tanner (again, I'm not absolutely sure, it might have been A.J.)

This and the following pictures of my wife's dream coming true were taken by a pro photographer down on the dock. (I was taking zillions also, but I won't inflict them on you here.)

My wife with A.J. and Tanner.
It's obvious from watching that nobody who has had this experience will ever, ever forget it.

In return for some nice scritching, the dolphins produce some amazing sounds (the dolphins at this center can imitate almost anything, using their blowholes). In this case one couldn't help feeling that the dolphins just like being scritched!

[This trip continues in the post below. Also see where this place is on my Florida Map.]