Artificial reefs are human-made structures that help to promote marine life. In our Aquarium Pyramid, reopening on May 27 after a $37 million renovation, Moody Gardens will now have two examples of these ecosystems on display.
The Pride, a 19th century rum-runner shipwreck replica loosely based on the vessel sailed by famed Galveston pirate Jean Lafitte, is a new addition to our Caribbean tank, and has already become an established piece of the exhibit. “As soon as the shipwreck was installed, we saw the fish and the other animals start to explore it and make it their home,” Moody Gardens’ Animal Husbandry Manager Greg Whittaker said.
Another example of an artificial reef in the Aquarium Pyramid is the oil rig platform exhibit, a scale model of those pieces of machinery seen in the Gulf of Mexico. These structures provide hard surfaces where organisms like coral attach and thrive and in turn provide a rich environment for fish and other wildlife to live.
As part of Moody Gardens’ commitment to education and conservation of the earth and its oceans, the Aquarium Pyramid features artificial coral – made of non-toxic materials from molds of natural coral – in its exhibits. New artificial coral has been added throughout the exhibits. “Some of the types of coral in our exhibits are listed as threatened on the endangered species list, so we use artificial coral to allow us to teach guests about the different types present in these ecosystems while preserving the biology of these habitats in the wild,” Whittaker said.
Come check out these new exhibits and learn about the different ecosystems that exist right in Galveston’s front yard when the Aquarium Pyramid opens back up to the public for the Grand Reveal on May 27.