The “Shark Lab and Research Aquarium” could easily be marketed as “One of The Smallest Aquariums” in the world. Despite its tiny size though, this intimate little facility doubles up as both a frequently visited public aquarium and popular research unit.
Visitors to the Shark Lab get to see not only a collection of benthic and pelagic shark species, but can view a number of smaller aquariums, which display indigenous coral fish and invertebrate species. In these sections of the aquarium, one can observe our remarkably intelligent octopus, as it removes the lid of a container to retrieve its next meal and marvel at the brilliant colors and bizarre stinging tentacles of both large and small sea anemones.
The Shark Lab has also recently set up a tropical tank, housing the spectacularly beautiful clown triggerfish. From an evolutionary point of view, triggerfish are some of the most advanced fish in the sea; highly intelligent creatures that go about their business in the most deliberate manner. These fish show not only complex learned behaviors, but also display amazing individuality. Many public aquariums which house this impressive species, house it in their entrance display
The wonderfully designed egg cases of three species of demersal shark species; the pajama, puff-adder and leopard, are also currently on display at the Shark Lab, as are the newly hatched sharks that develop within these fascinating “mermaids purses”.
As an additional part of the visitor experience, members of the public can (for a fee) dive with the juvenile pelagic sharks. Although these are youngsters, the experience of being face to face with living sharks, is unique. The fact that one is not separated from these juvenile predators by a cage or net, makes for a exciting and absolutely memorable experience, which the “divers” can re-live by looking at videos or the still photographs of there “shark encounter” that family or friends are welcome to take.
The Shark Lab also makes its professional staff, facilities and living creatures available to both local and international scientists and students. Projects, which have been approved by the Ethic Committee of the university from with the student hails, are then reviewed for approval by the “Scientific Committee” of Oceans Research, the conservation organization which manages the Shark Lab.
Research work carried out at the Shark Lab is of considerable importance to global conservation efforts, for as the loss of biodiversity unfolds and as habitat alteration and fragmentation continues, conservationists need to commit to understanding the processes that connect the myriad biological levels on our earth.
We appear to be the only species on this planet working deliberately towards its destruction. Our success has been an unmitigated disaster for most other creatures and their habitats and it is for these reasons that the research work of Oceans Research and its Shark Lab, is of utmost importance.