Aquariums serve many purposes. They are water zoos, artificial ponds where aquatic animals and plants are kept. They appeal to our dream senses, reminding us that we will always be explorers, skirting through the depths looking for answers. They are education centers, teaching adults and children about the pulchritudinous creatures that live in 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. Now, it seems that they also function as breeding centers. San Diego’s Birch Aquarium will soon be breeding sea dragons!
In the article, “Birch Aquarium constructs sea dragon breeding lab,” Vanessa Bezic of San Diego’s CBS 8 writes, “Researchers plan to manipulate the sea dragons’ natural life and temperature cycles throughout the year to produce seasonal changes, which trigger breeding and reproduction. Birch is also hoping to duplicate its renowned breeding success with the sea dragons’ close relative the sea horse.” By observing sea dragons in their natural habitats, researchers are able to create a similar environment in San Diego. This sets up the breeding process.
If the manipulation is a success, what is stopping the Birch Aquarium from breeding other sea-creatures, or aquariums for that matter? Many beautiful creatures are relegated to certain areas of the world. By using aquariums as breeding grounds, we may be able to populate other areas (within reason of course) or, as Birch Aquarium co-curator, Leslee Mastushigel, puts it, “The goal really is conservation. We really want to be able to breed the animals in captivity so that we don’t have to take them from the wild.” It is conservation at its finest, as the breeding lab will not take away from the wild and yet produce more sea dragons for study, observation and enjoyment. This will only bring awareness to this fascinating creature.
The sea dragon breeding has been met with only enthusiasm, as the Birch Aquarium was awarded a $300,000 grant. Because of the generous grant, construction is underway for a sea dragon lair where researchers and scientists can monitor their every move. It is expected to open this summer.
Aquariums as breeding centers? What do you think?
For more information on the Birch, you can find Bezic’s article here.
If you are interested in owning your personal aquatic breeding center, contact Arizona Aquatic Gardens.
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