10 North Water Street, Norwalk, CT 06854. Phone: 203-852-0700.
The Maritime Aquarium's "FINtastic RefurbFISHment" opens on Sat., Feb. 18, some of the smallest additions actually will have the coolest stories. Take, for example, the sea vases – little things that look merely like a knot of plain translucent tubes.Don't dismiss them, though. You and those sea vases have a lot more in common than you would imagine. In fact, sea vases are recognized as being possibly the closest invertebrate relative of humans. Scientists have sequenced their full genome, and they share 80 percent of their genes with us! That gets researchers very excited to have a simple "model animal" to use to test for medical breakthroughs. Most recently, scientists announced some exciting results in combating Alzheimer's disease through their work conducted on sea vases. So what is a sea vase (Ciona intestinalis)? It's a type of tunicate, a subphylum of animals that mostly attach to the sea floor and filter food out of the water. Various species of tunicates are commonly referred to as "sea squirts," because, when disturbed, they will contract so that water squirts out of their siphon openings. They're found from the Arctic down to southern New England. In the Aquarium, they'll be displayed in the Winter tank of the new "Seasons of the Sound" gallery; just past the big shark tank. The Maritime Aquarium's "FINtastic RefurbFISHment" will feature 21 new exhibits, 27 new species and more than 300 new animals. Get details at www.maritimeaquarium.org. For area information visit www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com