Monterey Bay Aquarium Kelp Forest Feeding Show


T
wice a day, every day (except Christmas), a volunteer diver enters the 28 feet deep 335,000 gallon Kelp Forest exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The diver wears a surface air supplied full face mask that allows two-way communication to the Aquarium audience of up to 150 visitors. During the 20 minute show a volunteer guide and the diver interpret the Kelp Forest habitat while the diver hand feeds the various sharks, rockfishes, perhes, wrasses, and eels that inhabit the underwater forests of Monterey Bay.

44 Sec. movie clip of introduction (1.9 Mbyte)
In this exhibit you can get a diver's-eye view of a kelp forest as it appears out in the bay. This exhibit is open to the sky above to allow sunlight in so plants can produce food and a wave machine provides water motion to circulate fresh nutrients to the kelp plants. Giant kelp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and these grow an average of over 4 inches per day! In addition there are over 90 other kinds of algae growing in the exhibit.

6 Sec. movie clip of shark (part A) (345 Kbyte)
We feed these fish a mixture of krill, squid and fish cut into various sizes. Not all of the animals eat from the diver's hand. There are many types of invertibrates in the exhibit that are filter feeders -- they collect small plants and animals called plankton out of the unfiltered sewater we pump through the exhibit at night.

 

18 Sec. QuickTime movie clip of sardines (1.3 Mbyte)
This exhibit is 31 feet (10 meters) tall, 66 feet (20 meters) long and holds 335,000 gallons (1.2 million liters) of water. Seawater is pumped directly in from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary at rates of 1200 to 1800 gallons (4500 to 6800 liters) per minute. The large acrylic windows are 7.25 inches (18.4 cm) thick, 15 feet tall and weigh over 2.5 tons (2,260 kg) each.


Every feeding show is different and I encourage you to try to see one in person. When you visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium remember that Kelp Forest Feeding Show times are 11:30 am and 4:00 pm. Thank you for visiting this page, please send any comments you have to mccann@mbari.org.

These movie clips are from the 11 June 1992 show with Mike McCann as the diver and Bill Merrylees as the guide.

Go to MBA Web site.

Originally posted on Internet: 6/23/96
Last updated: 15 June, 2000, Mike McCann

The Monterey Bay Aquarium 1995