There’s no scent like home

Published May 08, 2008

Damselfish and smell: Marine scientists working on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have uncovered evidence that baby damselfish, only a centimeter long, manage to find the way to their home coral reef across miles of open sea by using their sense of smell! In damsels and other fish, a pair of tiny nostril-like holes, called nares, open to a chamber lined with sensory pads. When water moves across these pads, chemical signals incite the fish to react. In baby damsels, the chemical makeup or “smell” of home (a rich mixture of the proteins and amino acids emitted by corals) encourages them to chose a current that leads to their original reef.
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Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

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Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

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