Coral Reef Room

Dive underwater with us into our Coral Reef Room and visit an atoll (volcanic island) with beautifully colored coral reef fish along with 20 species of stony coral skeletons. Stony corals form the foundation of coral reefs from their hard skeletons. Coral reefs are rich with biodiversity. Protecting coral reefs is important to preserving the biodiversity of fishes by providing shelter, a food supply, as well as the oxygen to its inhabitants. Small fishes seek refuge and camouflage from larger predators such as sharks and have narrow, thin bodies to fit into the small spaces in the coral reef “jungle”. Other fishes have long, pointy snouts to reach into those tight places in which other fishes cannot. Our atoll features angelfish,tangs, and damselfish. Angelfish have a sharp barb located on their gill covers for protection. Tangs’ barbs are located on the caudal peduncle, in between the body and the rear fin. Damselfish are small yet territorial fish and defend their homes with gusto.

Nearby is an exhibit of a living reef. Click on The Living Reef to display more details about this fascinating exhibit.

The Rocky Atlantic Intertidal Zone has a giant wave that crashes upon the live rocks, creating a sea spray upon the visitor’s face. Intertidal zones water levels fluctuate up and down according to the cycle of the moon, creating high tide and low tide. Creatures that live in intertidal zones are accustomed to this fluctuation and are adapted to it.

Our intertidal zone exhibit features baby nurse sharks and horseshoe crabs. Try on a real 1941 Navy dive suit and imagine how brave deep sea explorers really were. Take a funny look through our bubble eyes and think about what properties of water are making that view look so funny.