20 years…20 Amazing Marine Discoveries! (Part 1)


4th July 2018

Having just had our fantastic free Family Birthday Night last Saturday, our 20th birthday celebrations are still in full swing this July. For this we wanted to showcase 20 discoveries – from experiences and events within the NMA, to far-reaching facts on the global Ocean. So like our 20 ways to make a difference blog post, here’s another 20th birthday-themed blog featuring our own cherry-picked discoveries, facts, and throwbacks:

One year since Friday arrived at the NMA

Friday the Green Sea turtle arrived in spring 2017 from Bournemouth aquarium to here, in the UK’s deepest tank. Since then, he’s been having a fantastic time exploring the huge exhibit, waving to visitors, and pestering our divers for tickles! In the past year, Friday has gained a reputation for being a cheeky turtle who likes to try and steal the other animals’ food!

Two wonderful octopuses are waiting to be met at the Aquarium!

These two awesome new cephalopods can be seen in the Plymouth Sound and Biozone areas of the Aquarium. Did you know that octopuses love to play? Be sure to meet them during feeding and playtime on your next visit to see it for yourself! Our adorable common octopus, Copper, feeds at 3pm, and our spectacular Giant Pacific Octopus, Neptune, feeds at 1:30pm.

Three hundred thousand visitors are welcomed to the NMA every year

This includes 30,000 school students who engage with our learning programme. Uniquely to the National Marine Aquarium, our Discovery and Learning team deliver information about our exhibits and the marine world beyond through talks and discussions to educate, inspire and motivate our visitors.

Four thousand animals are waiting to meet our visitors at the aquarium

This not only includes vertebrates like fish, sharks, and rays, but also octopuses, starfish, sea urchins, and much, much more! Some of our popular characters include Cornelia the stone bass in our Eddystone tank, Howie the sand tiger shark, and our Cooper the humphead wrasse in the Great Barrier Reef tank!

Octopuses live for up to five years

It’s a staggeringly short lifespan for something so intelligent. A mother octopus lays up to 100,000 eggs, at around the size of a grain of rice. It’s amazing to think how fast these baby octopuses will grow in the short span of 3 – 5 years, especially when a giant Pacific octopus can grow to 9 metres long, from the tip of one arm to another!

Ocean Todds is an exciting new club for toddlers happening over six weeks

From octopuses with a toddler’s level of intelligence (as many believe), to toddlers! This summer we’ve already started taking our BIAZA award-winning toddler sessions outdoors for Ocean Todds! These six sessions are aimed at toddlers aged 2-4 involving science, games, crafts, music, exploring and more! Find out more about Ocean Todds here. Also, keep an eye out on our blog for more information on our past Toddler Tuesday sessions.

Seventy-one percent of the Earth’s Surface is covered in water

And every inch of it is threatened with the issues caused by humanity. Recently, new data gathered as part of the Volvo Ocean Race found microplastics at Point Nemo – the most remote part of the entire Ocean.

Eight million tonnes of plastic enter the Ocean every year

Marine plastic is an issue which everyone can play a part to remedy. Cutting down on plastic use, recycling, and taking part in beach cleans are all great ways to benefit the Ocean and the amazing wildlife within. At the National Marine Aquarium we’ve recently finished our 20 celebratory birthday beach cleans, and we had a blast doing it!

Over Nine million square miles of Ocean is protected

– According to the UN’s World Database on Protected Areas. This records Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) which total to around seven percent of the Ocean, an area the size of North America. Hopefully this figure will rise to ten percent in the near future. More MPAs means better measures against overfishing and pollution, with intent to boost the health of the overall Ocean.

Ten percent of the world’s total fish are housed in the Great Barrier Reef

As the world’s largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef is larger than the size of the UK, Holland, and Switzerland combined. Our own Great Barrier Reef tank isn’t quite that size, but is the second largest tank in the Aquarium with 700,000 litres of water, housing over 70 species of fish.

Thank you for reading these first ten facts, hopefully you learnt something new! Keep an eye out on our blogs page for facts 11-20 as well as similar updates from the us, here at the NMA.

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