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|Research and Veterinary Services|
Mystic Aquarium has its own Research Department that primarily focuses on aquatic animal health and conservation of the marine environment. Mystic Aquarium is uniquely positioned as a leader in aquatic animal research given its: 1) longstanding history of conducting high quality research 2) unique aquatic animal collection available for carrying out controlled research studies with opportunistic sampling from stranded animals 3) scientific and veterinary expertise and 4) most recent capability of conducting in-house research with a new research laboratory on site.
Longstanding History of Conducting High Quality Research
Mystic Aquarium has a long history of conducting high quality research. Much of this research has contributed to the advancement of husbandry techniques for animals in an aquarium setting as well as improvements in aquatic animal medicine. It was the vision of Mr. Kelvin Smith, a philanthropist and the founder of Mystic Aquarium, that the aquarium would become a leader in aquatic animal research. Mystic Aquarium’s early researchers included William Kelley and Richard Segedi, whose pioneering efforts led to the formulation of artificial seawater used by public aquariums, home hobbyists, and marine facilities worldwide. The formulation was further perfected in the late seventies by Mystic Aquarium scientists Stephen Spotte and Carol Bower.
Unique Animal Collection (collection, stranded, wild)
Mystic Aquarium has a diverse animal collection comprised of fish, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, sharks, rays, birds, and marine mammals, including the endangered Steller sea lion. Access to these animals allows researchers to investigate the biology and physiology of these species under controlled conditions with knowledge of the medical and life history of the animals. Our animal husbandry department has extensive expertise in caring for these animals. By training certain behaviors, blood, urine, fecal, and saliva samples for research projects can easily be collected with little or no stress posed to the animal. Each animal’s diet is closely monitored and can be adjusted to accommodate certain research experiments. In addition, Mystic Aquarium rescues and rehabilitates marine mammals and sea turtles and has established collaborations with the entire Northeast Stranding Network. Stranded marine mammals allow for the unique opportunity to study wild animals with compromised health. These opportunities allow us to monitor them throughout rehabilitation, with studies focusing on a better understanding of why these animals strand. In addition to stranded and collection animals, scientists at Mystic Aquarium have access to wild animals through funded research investigations and collaborations with other scientists and institutions.
Scientific and Veterinary Expertise
Our scientists and veterinarians work as a team with our animal husbandry staff to conduct aquatic animal health-related research.
Research Laboratory on site
The success of any program not only relies on scientific expertise, but on the facilities to support the research. Mystic Aquarium has a research laboratory enabling sample analysis and experiments to be carried out on site.
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