This month Australia opened up the “world’s smartest aquarium,” dubbed the National Sea Simulator, in order to help fast track research into the conservation of coral reefs. This 31.4 million dollar facility will use the latest technology in order to quickly and accurately change parameters of the aquarium water while researchers monitor the effects in real-time according to primary researcher Mike Hall. “When we started planning SeaSim we visited over 40 marine aquariums around the world to identify key attributes of the perfect research facility,” said Hall. According to Hall workers will be able to quickly affect parameters such as water temperature and acidity, salinity, lighting, nutrient levels, and water quality. “What we’ve built takes the best in the world and adds new technologies and an incredible level of automation and control.” Early experiments will likely include research into the crown of thorns starfish and why their population booms periodically with disastrous results seen on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This is a prime example of how the marine aquarium industry can contribute greatly to the conservation efforts that maintain our resources. Technologies that are developed for our reef tanks will surely cross over, and in the future, companies should be able to feed the newest tech into National Sea Simulator research projects. Times Live
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