Great Lakes Aquarium Has New Interactive Invasives Attraction

By KBJR News 1

July 22, 2012 Updated Jul 22, 2012 at 7:55 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
Gold fish may be cute, but outside of their tanks, they're an invasive species.
So are the lamprey and the goby.
These invasives live at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth.

"The aquarium has a new exhibit that should really appeal to kids and subtly teach them a lesson about invasive species." said Dave Anderson outside the aquarium.

"What you see behind me is our new interactive exhibit called Repel the Invaders. It's a shadow sensitive exhibit." said Jack Lavoy of the aquarium.

The technology for the exhibit was tweaked by UMD's Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab.
Kids, young or old, chase gobies, gold fish and lamprey out of a cyber lake.

"What it is intended to do is show the impact aquatic invasives can have on the natural fish species of Lake Superior." said Lavoy.

The educators at the Aquarium hope early exposure to the problem of non native creatures leads to activism in the future.

"It's really important that we encourage them from a very young age to appreciate what's around us and to understand they have a role to play in preserving our natural habitat here." said Sarah Erickson of the aquarium.

According to the aquarium's educators, the process starts by draining and washing boats before going to another lake.
The aquarium's director realizes this game–like exhibit doesn't exactly teach a graduate course in marine biology but still has its place in his facility's educational curriculum.

"This provides a less intellectual and academic experience that still gets the same message across in a simpler and more friendly way." said Lavoy.

In Duluth, Dave Anderson, the Northland's News Center.

The exhibit was developed by U.M.D's Lisa Fitzpatrick with help from two graduate students.