It’s not easy to carry around a box of rocks – ever tried it? – but it’s all in a day’s work for Academy biologists. Having recently collected some live rock (below, left) to incorporate into the 100,000 gallon California Coast tank, the biologists began installing it this week. The “live” in “live rock” refers to the living bacteria, algae, snails, limpets, and other critters that make the rocks their home. By adding these to the tank now, they hope that in time, the living organisms will naturally spread and begin growing on other rocks, adding another dimension to the tank, which is modeled after the habitat of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
To move the heavy blue box of rocks from the loading dock to the tank area, they used a pallet jack (like a mini-forklift). Then, a few at a time, they were slowly lowered down to the tank floor in the orange bucket seen above, where a diver was waiting to unload and place them throughout the exhibit.