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  • Good morning, John.

  • So last week I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is from what I can tell, one of the best places on Earth.

  • I got amazed by mud skippers, enchanted by otters, amused by mola mola and dumbfounded by cuttlefish.

  • All of these delights and more are on display for all who attend, but Monterey Bay Aquarium has a secret.

  • First, let's talk about Chicago, where in 1930 Shedd Aquarium opened.

  • At that time, it was the largest aquarium in the world.

  • The only problem?

  • Chicago, as you may have noticed, is really far away from the ocean.

  • They solve this problem by sending train tanker cars down to Key West Florida, filling them with seawater and sending them back to Chicago.

  • Now, of course, we could make seawater from scratch, which is what they do at Shedd Aquarium today.

  • But it's a pain.

  • You have to buy huge amounts of something called instant Ocean that you mix in fresh water in like 80,000 gallon tanks, and it's expensive, so you have to constantly filled through that water and reuse it.

  • Aquariums on coasts do not have this problem because they get their seat water from the sea and Monterey Bay Aquarium gets its seawater from some of the best see in the whole world.

  • If you take a look at the west coast of the United States, you'll see after the coast happens, there's that little light colored bit.

  • That's the continental shelf.

  • Geologically, that bit is part of the continental landmass.

  • It just happens to be underwater.

  • But you also notice just one place where there's a little *** in the armor of the continental shelf, a place where the darker blue goes all the way up to the coast that is Monterey Bay.

  • Specifically, it's Monterey Canyon, which has cliff faces more than a mile high, and from shelf to base is roughly the depth of the Grand Canyon.

  • That canyon gives researchers access to an amazing variety of ocean depths and thus ocean ecosystems without having to travel far offshore.

  • Monterey Bay in the area around it also has consistent winds that push warmer, less nutrient rich waters offshore.

  • Cool, clean, nutrient rich water from deeper into the ocean then rises to the surface in a process called upwelling.

  • That makes this area of the Pacific coast extremely abundant and mixed the water fantastic.

  • And so the Monterey Bay Aquarium simply pumps 2000 gallons of seawater permitted into its facility and a roughly corresponding 2000 gallons leaves headed back into the bay.

  • The system that manages this is a marvel, and I got to walk around in it and learn a little bit about how it works.

  • The center tracks over 33,000 data points, making different exhibits, different temperatures for different animals and ensuring that flow is never interrupted for too long.

  • It's built to handle massive earthquakes and has a redundant backup for everything at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

  • Not only are they guaranteed a perfect match for the chemistry of the sea, they also have a perfect match for the microbiome of the sea, which turns out to be a benefit to the plants and animals that live there.

  • Just like we are in a healthy relationship with most of the microorganisms that live on and around us.

  • The microbiome of the ocean keeps plants and animals healthy.

  • The greater the diversity of microscopic species, the less likely it is that harmful infections will occur Now this all sounds very rosy so far, but it turns out, building your whole aquarium around the use of raw seawater opens up a whole other set of engineering challenges, the biggest of which is probably barnacles in your pipes.

  • Now you might think like just put, like a barnacle resistant coating on the inside of your pipes.

  • But there is no such thing as a barnacle resistant coating.

  • They can stick to anything.

  • Barnacle larva are also tiny, too tiny to filter out of the source without the filter constantly clogging.

  • And you can't get the water moving fast enough to keep them from cementing in the pipes.

  • So you need two sets of pipes so that several times per year you can close one off at both ends, starve it of oxygen, killing the barnacles, and then send a rubber plug called pig through the pipe toe wash all the dead barnacles into the scene.

  • Apparently, this smells just fantastic.

  • At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, they'll filter sea water to get the biggest stuff out.

  • After the filtering, the water had straight into their Monterey Bay kelp forests tank, so the ecosystem off that tank is as close as possible to the ecosystem of the actual Monterey Bay.

  • From there, it's distributed throughout the rest of the aquarium.

  • That tank serves as a kind of public facing a storage.

  • So whenever new water isn't coming in, the level of that help tank actually starts to drop.

  • And for the exhibits that contain wildlife native to Monterey Bay, you don't even need to filter that water on the way out because all that stuff is already stuff that's in the bay.

  • But while an aquarium and like Atlanta, doesn't have to worry about introducing invasive species because it's a pretty long and arduous trip from Atlanta to an ocean ecosystem, the Monterey Bay Aquarium discharges water just as often as it comes in.

  • It's a constant cycle, and for their exotic exhibits, they have to filter water out and pass it through what's basically a UV tanning bed, which sterilizes the water before discharge to the bay.

  • So think about that next time you're wondering if you should go in for a tan.

  • And finally, anyone who's picked up a five gallon bucket of water knows that water is not light, so pumping water requires a lot of energy.

  • And if the intake gets clogged like, say, by a smack of jellyfish.

  • The giant steel cylinder that keeps big animals from getting sucked in gets crushed like a soda can, and the water stops flowing.

  • Ocean water over the last 50 years or so has gotten warmer and warm.

  • Water holds less oxygen.

  • That's bad for many animals.

  • But jellies, which have been roaming the world's ocean since before fish even existed, appear to be taking up the slack.

  • So jellyfish blooms are more common and these steel cylinders need to be replaced more often.

  • So nothing about this place is simple, But all of this hard work and engineering in the basement creates this magical experience for the millions of people who visit here every year.

  • Every person who walks in these doors encounters what in many ways feels like another world that we just happened to share This planet with that world in a way, walked right up and knocked on the door of Monterey, California and humans answered, This aquarium is that open door, giving us an appreciation for the oceans and an understanding that this in fact is all one planet and needs to be treated as such.

  • On the surface, it looks like effortless magic.

  • Underneath we see the secret, the work, the engineering, the science, the passion and the geology and climate that make it all possible.

  • What a fantastic place.

  • Thank you.

  • Obviously, so much to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and all the very cool people on Social Media Team they're following them on Twitter or Instagram is an absolute joy.

  • They're some of the best in the world of science, social media.

  • So foot wings to their socials in the description.

  • Thank you, Andrew Wong for the music in this video, all of the tracks were from his album TV and video games, and John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

Good morning, John.


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B1 中級

蒙特利灣水族館有一個祕密。 (The Monterey Bay Aquarium Has a Secret)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日