The SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium Green Team is a group of employees that exemplify SEA LIFE’s mantra of “Breed, Rescue, Protect.” The Green Team participates in initiatives to help the Arizona environment.
Our members have hosted major conservation projects aimed to help protect the Sonoran desert and its aquatic ecosystems. Below, our aquarists share their own stories of conservation.
Desert Pupfish Breeding:
One of the smallest fish we have here at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium is our locally endangered Desert Pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius). They only grow to be about two inches long, but the males have a striking blue body with a yellow tail fin to help them stand out. In the wild, they usually only survive for about a year, but have been known to live up to two years in ponds, lakes, and even along river beds where there is low current. One of the craziest things about these little guys is the extreme conditions they can survive. Desert Pupfish have been known to survive salt content in the water (salinity) of up to 66 parts per thousand – the ocean is usually only 35 parts per thousand! They can also survive temperatures upwards of 113 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for living out here in the desert’s summer heat.
At SEA LIFE, we have the opportunity to live to our mission, and contribute to the captive breeding of many seahorse species. At our facility, we have a seahorse breeding and rearing exhibit behind the scenes. Our team of highly trained aquarists ensures perfect water conditions that allow for breeding. This eliminates the removal of wild populations and helps aid in conserving these threatened species. Check out Temple of the Seahorses at Sea Life Arizona and get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
Coral reefs are vibrant ecosystems that support a diversity of life in our oceans. Animals from whales, to clownfish, and even sharks will call coral reefs home from time to time. Corals are tiny animals that come in many shapes and sizes and work together to create massive ecosystems. Unfortunately, these ecosystems are having a rough time surviving in the wild due to many factors such as warming oceans, pollution, and habitat destruction. At SEA LIFE Arizona, we are doing our part to raise awareness about these essential creatures by growing them in the aquarium and sharing their stories with our guests.
Shark/ Ray Breeding:
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood inhabitants at our aquarium would be the members of the elasmobranch family- our sharks and rays. In most ecosystems, sharks and stingrays are found at the top of their food chain, ensuring it remains well-balanced. However, many sharks and stingrays are being overfished and are disappearing from their natural ecosystems. For example, the blue-spotted ray is near threatened in its native home of Australia. As part of our mission, we have recently developed a blue-spotted stingray breeding program with the goal to be one of the top breeding institutions in the United States for this animal. In addition, we breed other elasmobranch species and provide daily educational lessons on the importance of preserving sharks and rays in the wild.
Live Foods Culture:
Live foods are a vital part of our fish’s development. Here at the aquarium, we grow live foods such as brine shrimp, volcano shrimp, and rotifers. By doing so, we provide nutritional enrichment to a host of animals- including seahorses, jelly fish, corals, anemones, and baby fish. This diet mimics very closely to their natural feeding behaviors, ensuring they have a happy and healthy life.