The Deep News - September 2017



24th September 2017

EXCITING NEWS! We have welcomed some polyps of a brand new species of Mediterranean jellyfish here at The Deep. A big thank you to our colleagues at Oceanogràfic Valencia for donating them to us.

Our team are delighted to already have ephyra emerging for this beautiful, but unusual looking jellyfish, which is expected to reach over 30cm in diameter when fully grown. They are commonly found in the warmer Mediterranean waters, they live only for 6 months and move with the water currents feeding on plankton.

We hope to showcase this amazing species in our Cool Seas area in the future.



21st September 2017

The Deep will be heading to New Scientist Live – a national festival of science taking place at London’s ExCeL from Thursday 28 September to Sunday 1 October alongside Chester Zoo, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT), all partners of BIAZA (The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums). 

We will be showcasing the science that underpins the vital research and conservation work carried out by the UK’s top zoos and aquariums and visitors will be able to get hands on with a range of interactive exhibits, from conservation breeding programme management, to trying their hands at the veterinary tests that aid conservationists in the field.

The research carried out by BIAZA zoos and aquariums encompasses a huge range of scientific disciplines from nutrition to veterinary science, reproductive physiology to animal behaviour, with the knowledge gained benefitting animals in the wild as well as those in their care. To demonstrate the breadth of this work, BIAZA will be joined at the show by members  - who will exhibit their work within three engaging zones: The Science of Conservation Breeding; The Science of Field Conservation; and The Science of Animal Care.

BIAZA is the national zoo association that represents the best zoos and aquariums across the UK and Ireland.  As modern, progressive zoos, the Association’s 116 members have the highest levels of animal care and are organisations committed to conservation, education and research. Collectively BIAZA members support over 600 conservation projects worldwide and contribute more than £18million to field conservation each year.

They facilitate over 1,200 research projects and deliver formal education sessions to around one million children and students. With more than 30 million visitors passing through their gates annually, BIAZA zoos and aquariums play an important role in inspiring visitors to care about the natural world and take steps to protect wildlife for future generations.



17th September 2017

We had a great turn out for the BIAZA Jellyfish Workshop, welcoming representatives from aquariums across the UK and Europe to discuss and share vital knowledge and skills for providing the best husbandry care for jellyfish. Techniques for successful breeding and rearing were also investigated in a hands on workshop.

Popular amongst aquarium visitors, jellyfish are beautifully hypnotic but largely misunderstood. When spotted at the beach, they are deemed more a nuisance than an ocean wonder, however these creatures play a huge role in identifying the health of our oceans.

With over 200 species of true jellyfish, the BIAZA Jellyfish Focus Group aims to perfect the skills for cultivating as many species as possible within aquariums. By doing so they will be able to offer a wider variety of species to display, generating a greater awareness of the diversity of these animals and how the changing environment is affecting their populations.

We would like to say a huge thanks to Bristol Zoo GardensOceanworld Aquarium DingleMacduff Marine AquariumSEA LIFE London AquariumSEA LIFE ManchesterSea TrustAlton Towers, The Horniman Museum and Gardens, Oceanogràfic ValenciaZSL London Zoo and Anglesey Sea Zoo
for coming along.



7th September 2017

The Deep is about to embark on its sixth research excursion with SECORE, a leading coral conservation organisation. Based at a reef-side location in Curaçao, a Southern Caribbean island, they will be developing techniques to further the potential for coral reproduction within aquariums.

During the next 10 days, Seb, The Deep’s coral Aquarist, will be participating in a number of workshops and night dives, collecting bundles containing both sperm and eggs (gametes) that are released from broadcast corals. These coral spawning events are triggered by the lunar cycle and only occur once per year, so timing is crucial. Additional collections of free swimming coral larvae from the more regularly spawning brooder corals will also take place.

Once the gametes have been collected, the scientists set upon a round the clock watch to ensure that successful reproduction takes place and that they settle out correctly when under laboratory conditions. Once the larvae have settled on a new surface, the first coral polyp can begin to grow and after time will create a new colony for transplantation back onto the reef.

A number of corals have been growing from collections undertaken in previous years. These colonies, which are now large enough to be moved back onto the reef, will be out-planted into protected areas.

Historically the only way to breed corals was through a process called fragging. This is when a portion of coral is cut from a large colony and fixed to a new surface to grow. Once developed into small colonies these would then be relocated to reefs in need of restoration. However this method is simply producing clones of the original colony, limiting the gene pool.

Although a more complicated and intensive method, SECORE’s proven techniques allow for a more natural and genetically diverse restored reef site. This year the scientists will be rolling out these techniques to twelve different coral species; two of which are already classified as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).  

Find out more about this process in this fantastic 'a coral love story' video by SECORE.

Banner International Sawfish Day 2017

International Sawfish Day 2017

5th September 2017

Save the date! Along with the Sawfish Conservation Society, The Deep has launched International Sawfish Day for 17.10.17. This is a dedicated day to celebrate the beauty of sawfish and raise awareness of their risk of extinction. Show your support by downloading the resources from our website here and look out for details of our Thunderclap soon.

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