We are extremely excited to announce the reopening of our Kelp Forest Exhibit. The reopening brings to a close several years of much-needed renovations and construction at the Aquarium. With the opening of the Kelp Forest Exhibit, all three of our large-scale exhibits are once again on display - the two million litre Predator Exhibitthe I&J Ocean Exhibit containing 1.6 million litres, and now the Kelp Forest Exhibit with 800,000 litres of seawater.  

The Kelp Forest Exhibit has undergone extensive refurbishment. Although the footprint of the exhibit has not changed, new rockwork has replaced the previous fibreglass structures and the design has been adapted to mimic the granite rock formations seen in the kelp forests in the Atlantic Ocean around Cape Town. The Kelp Forest Exhibit, one of only a handful of living kelp forests on display in the world, will again house iconic white steenbras, roman, and red stumpnose.  

Credit: Mahesh Rao

“It feels like we are at the end of an era – from noticing, over 10 years ago, that our two large exhibits would need to be repaired, to building the new I&J Ocean Exhibit, starting the repairs on the Predator and Kelp Forest Exhibits, to finally reopening one of the jewels of the Two Oceans Aquarium.

On the southwestern tip of the continent, we are blessed with an abundance of diversity. On land, we have fynbos, with its multitude of associated species, and on our rocky shores, we have kelp forests which flourish in our nutrient-rich waters. To be displaying this ecosystem to the visiting public once again is important if we are to inspire people to take action for the wellbeing of the oceans", said Michael Farquhar, CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium

Kelp is the largest and fastest-growing marine algae, or seaweed, and belongs to the brown algae family known as Phaeophyta. Kelp forests occur in the temperate and polar coastal regions of the world. Four species of kelp are found around the South African coast, with Ecklonia maxima being the most familiar, often being washed up on beaches following heavy storms.

Three of these species, namely sea bamboo (Ecklonia maxima), split-fan kelp (Laminaria pallida) and bladder kelp (Macrocystis angustifolia) can be seen at various times in the Kelp Forest Exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Kelp forests provide a source of food and shelter to a variety of species including fish, crayfish, sea cucumbers, limpets and filter feeders. The slimy mucus on kelp is rich in organic compounds that encourage the growth of bacteria, which in turn forms the building blocks of the food chain within the kelp forest ecosystem.

Come and celebrate kelp with us! 

In celebration of the amazing kelp forests found off the coast of South Africa, the Two Oceans Aquarium will be hosting a special “Kelp Night” event on 31 January 2019. Expert, passionate and world-renowned speakers - Craig Foster (the Sea-Change Project), Roushanna Gray (Veld and Sea), Professor John Bolton (UCT) and Loyiso Dunga (SANBI) - will be talking about their connections with kelp forests and sharing stories from the ocean's depths. Tickets are available on Quicket at R190 per person.


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