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Sea/Life at sea from north to south
The exhibition”Life at sea from north to south” shows the wildlife of oceans and seas.
The exposition opens with the wildlife of the Arctic Sea and its rocky coasts. The number of animals and species there vary depending on the time of year. On display are mammals, birds and invertebrates characteristic to this climatic zone. The northern coral on display was brought from the Norwegian Sea.
The moderate climatic zone of the Northern Hemisphere or the boreal sea fauna is represented in the exhibition by animals living along the sandy seashore. The area between the highest and lowest tidal points in the North Sea, which borders Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, is called the Vadden Sea. When the tide is low the sea retreats several kilometers from the coast for 6 hours and reveals the sea bed. Some of the animals such as fish, starfish, sea urchins and crustaceans follow the tide out to sea, but others bury themselves in the sand and seek shelter in pockets of water. Wading birds gather along the shore to feed on invertebrates not available during high tide.
The Baltic Sea is an inner sea of the Atlantic Ocean, which reaches deeply into the northern part of Europe. Due to the low concentration of salt, the variety of sea fauna is quite small and it decreases from the south to the north east. The Chinese mitten crab is a newcomer to the Baltic Sea. The long tailed duck, the common goldeneye, the great crested grebe and the diver are among the birds that can be found in the Baltic during migration. Three species of seal live in the Baltic Sea – the ringed seal, the common seal and the grey seal. The harbor porpoise is another representative of Latvian fauna in the Baltic Sea.
The tropical seas are replete with coral reefs which are comparable with tropical rain forests in their tremendous special variety. The coral reefs are inhabited by about 2500 species of coral and 4000 various fish species, many hundreds of species of crustaceans, worms, mollusks and other invertebrates. The reefs are formed of hard corals. All species of hard coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The queen conch and all species of giant clams are on the CITES register.
The Antarctic covers a considerable part of the Southern Hemisphere. Most of it is covered by a thick layer of ice. Whales, seals and penguins can be found along its shores in the summer. The wandering albatross – the largest of all sea birds – nests along the Antarctic shore. On display are the toothed whale’s sharp, cone-shaped teeth, as well as the baleen whale’s triangular fringed horn plates – the whale’s beard – which acts as a filter apparatus.