The New England Aquarium is departmentalized, and each department runs separately, and has a separate staff of co-ops, interns, and volunteers. The best thing about working at the aquarium was getting to work with so many different, passionate people. As part of my internship, I got to bounce around and spend a day or two with a bunch of the different departments.
I began by working with the Giant Ocean Tank (GOT). I met with Dan Dolan and Evie, a co-op student from Northeastern University. I spent three days working with the GOT. There are about 130 species of fish in the GOT, and a lot of the day is spent prepping food and and feeding the fish and turtles who live on the large artificial reef in the center of the aquarium. I got to dive in the tank twice, and feed Myrtle.
I spent a day with AMC and vet services. We did rounds, and went through the entire aquarium, asking each department about their animals. We also took care of the animals that are off exhibit and living in AMC. On the day I was in, there was a trunk fish with a fungal infection on his face. He was getting his mediation through his food, so we prepped his food and made sure he ate.
I went to the Quincy Rehab center where cold stunned sea turtles are rehabilitated. During the colder months, the facility is full with turtles, but during the warmer months, a lot of the turtles had been cared for through the winter and were ready to be released into the wild. On the day I was there, they were doing a stress study to test the effects of transportation on loggerhead turtles. It was really interesting to see them in action.
The volunteers in marine mammals have a very coveted position, so I was very lucky to help them out one day. The Marine Mammal Center at the aquarium currently has two sea lions, six harbor seals, and seven northern fur seals. The seals and sea lions had such strong and distinct personalities. It was a great experience to see the trainers work with their animals.
I finished up my time at the aquarium with three days in with the penguin exhibit where I worked with two Northeastern co-op students, Sydney and Brendan, and Paul Leonard. There are three species of penguins at the aquarium, African penguins, little blue penguins, and the rockhoppers. Each penguin wears a bracelet on its wing that identifies them, but after a few days, I was already starting to tell them apart without that. Like the seals, the penguins, especially the rockhoppers, had very strong personalities. A typical day with the penguins involves food prep, feeding, cleaning the islands in the exhibit, and another feeding and more cleaning in the afternoon. I really liked working with the penguins.
Overall, I had an amazing time at the aquarium! I’d like to thank everyone I worked with. I am sad to leave.