Dr Natrah's Attachment at Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Week 5

16 JUNE 2014
Week 5: 5 May – 9 May 2014
Attachment in the lab of Marine Microbial Ecology under Prof. Dr Farooq Azam
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, United States Of America
This week’s report is on the visit to Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. A little bit on the history of the aquarium. Before the Birch Aquarium, the first Scripps’ public aquarium was built in 1905 (more than 100 years ago) while the first building used solely for an aquarium was built in 1915. Due to the need for a larger aquarium, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps was then opened on September 16, 1992.

                                                     In front of Birch Aquarium at Scripps

To date, the aquarium features about 60 tanks of Pacific fishes and invertebrates collected by Scripps researchers. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps also showcases the research in Scripps and promotes education and awareness on ocean conservation to the public. Exhibits are from more than 60 different habitats. Among the specimens of the aquarium are corals, seahorses, kelps, jellyfishes, sharks, grunions, and sea urchin. Other than live samples, there are also educational exhibits on the effects of climate change, renewable energy and coral reef conservation and seahorses nursery.

                                           One of the main attractions: The giant kelp

The aquarium also provides special public programs and activities for visitors of all ages. This includes the monthly SEA days program where visitors are able to interact directly with the Scripps scientists of different fields. Another example is the outdoor scientific adventures such the Grunion Runs, Whale watching and Full Moon Pier Walk.
Among the exhibits that really caught my eyes are the coral, kelp, seahorses and jellyfishes.  I will write more about this in the coming entries.

                                                        Research in jellyfish at Scripps

                                                             The seahorse research

                                                                The seahorse babies

In Malaysia, similar marine aquariums & museums have been setup by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). I have been there myself & was really fascinated by the various tropical species in diverse ecosystems. Other than UMS, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) is also active in marine studies with the establishment of the Laboratory of Marine Biotechnology, Institute of Bioscience and the Marine Science Centre, UPM Port Dickson. Among the prominent scientists are Prof. Dr. Fatimah Md. Yusoff working on jellyfishes, marine phytoplankton & zooplankton, Prof. Dr. Aziz Arshad on marine invertebrates, Prof. Dr. Japar Sidik Bujang & Associate Prof. Dr. Muta Harah Zakaria on aquatic macrophytes such as seagrass and seaweed, Prof. Dr. Pauzi Zakaria and Prof. Dr. Ahmad Ismail on marine pollution and Dr. Annie Christianus on horseshoe crab and seahorses. Other educational institutions in marine science also include Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Malaya.


Dr Edison Lee Tian Khoon
Dr Edison headed to Sweden’s Uppsala University, where he joined the Department of Chemistry, Ångström Laboratory, as part of his attachment stint. He is currently carrying out active research in polymer electrolyte and nanomaterials for Lithium-ion batteries. Read more about him here:
Innovating the Energy Ecosystem
Chrishen R. Gomez
Having attended the prestigious Ivy League Brown University as part of his attachment programme, 27-year-old Chrishen is now with the Wildlife Research and Conservation Unit at Oxford University. Chrishen is busy developing a genetic-based research project on the Sunda Clouded Leopard. Read more about him here: Conserving Our Forests & Future
Dr Zetty
Dr Zetty is currently working on anti-cancer compounds found in Malaysian seaweed and has continued to pursue her original project proposal of microalgae vaccine carriers for fish. A working solution has been patented by Dr Zetty and will be deployed within the coming year.
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