Find Nemo, Marlin, and Dory at the California Academy of Sciences
Families may see the fish depicted in Pixar and Disney's collaborative film Finding Nemo
in Steinhart Aquarium's coral reef tank

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) Thursday, June 5, 2003- Kids and families in the Bay area on the hunt for Nemo, Marlin and Dory, or clownfish and blue tangs, don't have to travel far to find living versions of the new stars of Pixar Animation Studios and Disney's collaborative film Finding Nemo.

Clownfish and blue tangs have been long time residents of Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences. The newly released animated film, Finding Nemo, depicts Marlin a clownfish who loses his son, Nemo in Australia's Great Barrier Reef when a scuba diver collects him for a fish tank. Then Marlin, as any father would, begins a journey to find Nemo "risking life and fin." Nemo on the other hand is quickly working on his own escape from the dentist office aquarium.

Steinhart Aquarium clownfish have been donated by local hobbyists. Much like cats and dogs these finned friends are at home in their aquariums and in Steinhart Aquarium's living coral reef. The common clownfish, known to movie-goers as Nemo and Marlin, breeds continuously in coral reefs, after about 10 days, the eggs hatch, and tiny transparent larvae swim away from the anemone to become part of the plankton. After about two weeks, the larvae undergo metamorphosis and begin to resemble the familiar orange and white fish. Perhaps fewer than 20 in every million clownfish larvae hatched in the wild will survive to adulthood. Movie-goers can see why Marlin was so protective of Nemo.

Once clownfish survive the initial stages of life and reach adulthood, they live in small harems of one female and several males. If the female dies, the most dominant male transforms into a female and can quickly start laying eggs. This process preserves reproductive potential in small communities of fish that do not ever leave the protection of their anemones to try to find new mates.
A 6,000-gallon tank, Steinhart Aquarium's living coral reef is home to 50 different types of corals. Grown from fragments of corals as part of a cooperative program for captive propagation, the project raises awareness of the threat to coral reef's delicate structures. Overpopulation, coastal development and pollution all contribute to threatening the pristine habitats of wild coral reefs.

The California Academy of Sciences, home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and The Natural History Museum is open every day of the year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission to the Academy is $8.50 for adults. For students, seniors and youth ages 12 to 17 admission is $5.50, children ages 4 to 11 admission is $2.00. Morrison Planetarium shows are extra.

About the Academy

Since 1853, the California Academy of Sciences has been dedicated to exploring, explaining, and protecting the natural world. The Academy is the oldest scientific institution in the West, founded after the California gold rush to survey the vast resources of California and beyond. Today it has grown to be one of the largest natural history museums in the country, and is the only one in the nation to include both an aquarium and planetarium. The Academy provides scientific knowledge and expertise to visiting scientists, educators, adults, students, parents, children, conservation organizations, government leaders, and the media.

The Academy has a research staff of 30 Ph.D.-level scientists - supported by more than 100 Research and Field Associates and over 300 Fellows - who launch dozens of expeditions each year to explore the natural world and discover more about our planet. It has eight scientific research departments in the fields of anthropology, aquatic biology, botany, entomology, geology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy and ornithology. Its research collections, which are among the worlds largest, are of international renown and include more than 18 million examples of plants, animals, fossils and artifacts essential tools for comparative studies on the history and future of the natural world.

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