If you want to provide great service, make a difference, and inspire others to make a difference too, join our team! Net assets: Fishes staff member and master knitter Carol Rudin designed and made nylon mesh nets for animal collecting trips. After completing her internship Lindsey Young was asked to return as a freelance graphic designer.
Joseph Nixon started as temporary, part time employee but is now the assistant director of guest experience. Life support operator Maurice Smith keeps all 5 million gallons of water flowing to the right animal habitats.
Matchmaker Wild Reef manager Lise Watson manages the breeding program for zebra sharks throughout North America. Shedd field researcher Lesley De Souza uses tiny trackers to study migrations of giant fish in South America. Thousands of children visit here on field trips and guest experience lead Shirley Jude greets almost all of them.
Visiting the Phillipines -our inspiration for Wild Reef - makes volunteer Etta McKenna’s stories even richer for guests.
For the return trip, the Mariposa picked up the Shedd staffers and their prized collection, including a pair of lungfish, on May 6, then headed to Honolulu, where two other Shedd collectors were waiting with 13 more containers of triggerfish, puffers, hawkfish and other Hawaiian reef specimens.
Beluga Miki must have been watching the dolphins during the aquatic shows because when it’s his turn in the spotlight, he can porpoise out of the water almost as high—and gracefully—as they can. Today is Miki’s sixth birthday, and cetacean manager Maris Muzzy calls these athletic arcing leaps his newest “big boy” behavior. Typical of his increasing physicality, Maris says Miki is sparring more often with 3?-year-old Nunavik. With Shedd’s beluga “kids” ranging in age from almost 1 (Kimalu) to 14 (Kayavak), it’s fun and fascinating to watch them progress from calf to adult—a process that happens all too fast. At Shedd Aquarium, animals connect you to the living world, inspiring you to make a difference.
It’s definitely worth lingering at Wild Reef’s 400,000-gallon shark habitat to see this 9-foot relative of rays (and more distantly, sharks) cruise by.
If you do happen to see Lucy swim overhead, look for the characteristics that put guitarfish closer to the ray section than the sharks on the taxonomic bandstand. Feeding time—around 10 every morning—is somewhat musical as senior aquarist Heather Thomas “plays” a cylindrical wood block noisemaker just below the water’s surface, giving Lucy an audible signal that it’s time to eat. But that doesn’t faze Heather, an elasmobranch (sharks, rays and skates) specialist who has been at Shedd for 10 years and who has worked with Lucy since the fish took up residence in Wild Reef in 2005.
With everything ready, Heather removes a panel of the mesh barrier that rims the pool, grips the first chunk of fish—the half mackerel—with grabber tongs, and fits the food into Lucy’s mouth, like sliding a button through a buttonhole albeit on a very large scale. The wholesome meals, which also can include regular mackerel and mullet, have also contributed to her growth. In the wild, Rhynchobatus australiae, as scientists refer to Lucy’s kind, are native to the western Pacific, ranging from the Gulf of Thailand through Indonesia and the Philippines to the northeastern coast of Australia. The greatest threat to whitespotted guitarfish, however, comes from accidental entanglement in fishing trawls. So in addition to wowing guests with her cool jazzy shape, Lucy serves as an ambassador for her species with a conservation story to tell.
Your expert guideTim Binder, Shedd’s executive vice president of animal care, is well acquainted with a variety of marine fishes, birds and mammals through his experiences at aquariums and his fieldwork in the wild.
Getting there and getting home Arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the evening of March 4, 2016, and depart either late evening March 12 or in the morning on March 13.
Zodiacs take you on a dramatic ride into the heart of a sunken volcano at Punta Vicente Roca.
Hike along the uplifted section of sea floor in Urvina Bay at the base of the Alcedo Volcano.
Visit Bartolome Island, hiking to the top of a dormant volcano for a dramatic panorama, including famed Pinnacle Rock. Walk along the white sands of Bachas Beach looking for Sally Lightfoot crabs, black-necked stilts and whimbrels.

From bonnetheads to wobbegongs, Shedd showcases its sharks during Shark Week, July 5 through 12. Visit our Fun & Games section to craft your own shark and find out what type of shark you are with our Shark Quiz. Try your hand at feeding the fishes during our Shark Feeding Tour: Behind the Scenes in Wild Reef. Support our sharks - and all our animals - by purchasing items from our Amazon Wish List! Check out our Live from Behind the Scenes experience, where Shedd experts and animals make a virtual visit to your classroom! You can help us care for and conserve the shark species at Shedd through a gift to our annual fund. Maris Muzzy, senior trainer and cetacean manager, reports that Bella’s newest friend is 11-month-old female Kimalu now that the calf’s mom, Mauyak, is relaxing her protective behavior a little. Shedd Aquarium’s eldest Australian lungfish isn’t quite that old, but his arrival in time for the June 1 opening of Chicago’s fabled 1933 World’s Fair makes him the most senior resident in the building and the longest-lived of his species—or any fish species—in any aquarium in the world.Granddad was one of two lungfishes acquired during Shedd’s 1933 Pacific collecting expedition. On May 23, the Mariposa docked in Los Angeles, where Shedd’s custom-outfitted railroad car, the Nautilus, was waiting at the wharf to be loaded. No fish at Shedd represents blues-tinged jazz better than our whitespotted guitarfish, Lucille. Viewed from above or below, Lucille’s silhouette, including pointed pectoral fins and long, slender body, is strongly suggestive of a Fender Stratocaster.
Among guitarfish and rays, gill slits are located on the underside of the body, not thrumming on either side of the head as in sharks. Heather also uses a visual cue, a large circle, half yellow, half red, that she dips into the water long enough for Lucy to see it and swim over to her designated feeding station. Then she drops down with a splash that showers water onto the service deck that is the second floor of Wild Reef.
Heather has Lucy’s meal—one slab each of herring, Spanish mackerel and squid, totaling about 1? pounds—in a plastic container. We had to do that for a couple of weeks, but she figured out that she needed to come up here to eat. Whitespotted guitarfish have been heavily overfished, especially in Indonesia, where their dorsal and caudal fins fetch astronomical prices. He has been active in rescue projects in South Africa, from relocating a rehabilitated 14-foot manta ray to developing a new relationship between Shedd and seabird rehabilitator SANCCOB to support its work with penguins. If you are taking the Machu Picchu extension you will need to depart Lima the evening of March 18 or early morning on March 19. Take to the water, where we swim and snorkel among sea turtles, penguins and possibly even sea horses.
Our naturalists point out the tortoises, colorful land iguanas and other wildlife that feed on the vegetation. Our Zodiac drivers will take “non-hikers” for a ride around the cliffs, observing a stunning volcanic landscape and Galapagos penguins. Cruise the aquarium to find all 11 species, from the Atlantic, Pacific, Indo-Pacific and Caribbean.
She’s still growing, but at 10 feet 4 inches and 900 pounds, she really looks like an adult now. And Bella likes to swim alongside the volunteer divers when they do habitat checks.“She’s learned two new ‘big’ show behaviors, bows and slide outs,” Maris says. The crew and collection arrived in Chicago with a few days to spare before A Century of Progress opened.The lungfish were the first of their kind on exhibit in the United States. Similarly, instead of facing the world with a tooth-rimmed gaping maw, rays and guitarfish have a low-profile mouth, visible only from the underside and consisting of bony plates that do an excellent job of crushing crab and clam shells. She pokes three inch-long, mustard-colored supplements into the pink flesh of the Spanish mackerel.
While several of our sister aquariums now also display this species, seeing a guitarfish remains a rare treat.
In addition to being the target of commercial fisheries, they are also popular with sport fishermen.

The increased use in Australia of turtle excluder devices (TEDs), which are escape hatches affixed to these nets, is beginning to reduce the unintended catch of these and other large fishes as well as sea turtles. A globetrotting scientist, Tim is also a seasoned trip leader who will have a wealth of fascinating natural history to share with us. Just off the coast, discover tiny Eden Islet, where we may spot Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and large schools of mustard rays while on a peaceful Zodiac ride.
Explore the lava fields of Punta Espinosa, located on Fernandina, the youngest and most volcanically active island in the Galapagos. Board our Zodiacs for an excursion to Tagus Cove, where we look for penguins, flightless cormorants and pelicans along the cliffs before a chance to snorkel and swim.
Named for the area’s large land iguanas, Dragon Hill is an important nesting site for iguanas reintroduced by the Charles Darwin Research Center. Join us for daily shark chats in Wild Reef and be sure to follow our blogs and social media for contests and other fun. Chute wanted an exceptional display of colorful and unusual fishes to attract some of the 10 million visitors expected to attend A Century of Progress International Exposition just steps away from the aquarium.In March 1933, Chute learned that the same steamship the Shedd collecting crew would take to Hawaii was going on to Australia, and he jumped at the rare chance to obtain even more exotic fishes.
It was essential that Lucy be fed that way to ensure that she, and not one of the other reef fishes, got her daily, carefully measured portion of food and supplements. Still, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists whitespotted guitarfish as vulnerable, defined as at high risk of becoming endangered, mainly due to overfishing.
International Expeditions can help with your airline arrangements for the flights needed for the main expedition or the extension. This afternoon, hike across the panoehoe lava of Sullivan Bay, admiring the hearty flora that has colonized the landscape. The trainers are reinforcing—that is, rewarding with treats, pats and tickles—her and the other younger belugas when they make new vocalizations that later will be associated with hand cues for the aquatic show. He hastily sent a letter to the director of the aquarium at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, notifying him that two Shedd collectors would arrive aboard the steamerMariposa on April 27 with 10 large cypress fish boxes and 13 smaller containers, and he attached a wish list, compiled from a book on fishes of Australia. This species has a single primitive lung as well as gills, allowing it to survive seasonal fluctuations in the level and quality of its shallow-water habitats by noisily gulping air at the surface every 30 to 60 minutes. Despite the short notice—international mail traveled by boat, and the letter arrived not too much in advance of the Shedd crew—the wish list was fulfilled.
Undoubtedly this was an advantage for the pair during their 3-week journey to Chicago.They bred once—an extremely rare event in an aquarium—but a fungal growth destroyed the eggs.
Typical of a 7-year-old, it’s loud and a little rude—and very funny.Bella is one of six belugas successfully born in the Abbott Oceanarium since 1999. Most of the fishes were either collected by or bought from the aquarium, or traded for a number of North American fishes that the Shedd collectors brought for that purpose. Granddad’s mate lived until 1980.In 1994, Granddad was joined by five younger lungfish, a gift to Shedd from the University of Queensland and Australia’s Sea World park.
Shedd is a partner with six other accredited North American aquariums and marine mammal parks in a beluga breeding program that has benefited these charismatic whales through shared expertise and a growing database on beluga biology.
Because of this species’ small population, severely restricted range and the degradation of its breeding habitat, it is listed as threatened in Australia, and the government rarely allows specimens out of the country.The relative youngsters, estimated to be between 8 and 10 years old at the time of their arrival, were donated to the aquarium to establish a breeding program in the United States.
In contrast to Granddad’s lengthy sea-and-rail journey, these fish, chaperoned by a biologist, traveled by jet from Brisbane to Chicago in a mere 24 hours.Not a lot is known about lungfish reproductive biology.
In fact, no one knew the gender of the new lungfish in 1994 because at that time, short of observing mating behavior, it required a surgical procedure to distinguish the sexes—not something casually undertaken with such rare animals. With the advent of portable ultrasound equipment, sonograms incorporated into the fishes’ regular physicals have confirmed that Granddad is a male while the younger group includes two males and two females. Shedd researchers have tried replicating the subtle seasonal changes in water temperature and pH that trigger the hormonal boost that can put this species in a spawning mood in the wild.

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