On February 26, the A. V. Zhirmunsky National Scientific Center of Marine Biology and the Primorsky Aquarium carried out an online meeting with their colleagues from the Lotte World Aquarium located in Seoul, the Republic of Korea. It was the first of a series of webinars which are planned to be held with various aquariums across the world.
The online meeting was organized with assistance from staff members of the International Cooperation Department (the NSCMB, FEB RAS) and the International Relations Department (the Primorsky Aquarium). Among the meeting participants were Inessa Dyuizen, Acting Director of the NSCMB FEB RAS, Corresponding Member of the RAS, and Dr. Koh, Director of the Lotte World Aquarium.
Using the new format, the sides discussed areas of cooperation of mutual interest which cover an exchange of experience in husbandry and veterinary care of animals, including marine mammals, new ideas and techniques in environmental education programing and an exchange of fish species for live exhibits. To share the expertise and to establish personal contacts, a proposal was put forward to hold a few themed webinars between educators, fish pathologists and marine mammal carers throughout the year.
The exchange of aquatic species will allow both sides to expand and diversify their animal collections. The Korean colleagues expressed their wish to introduce their visitors to cold-water species found in the seas of the Russian Far East and the Amur River and, in turn, offered some warm-water fishes. The Primorsky Aquarium has run several captive breeding programs for both cold- and warm-water marine and freshwater species over a number of years. Such exchange of specimens is a common practice for zoos and public aquariums which helps to reduce the need to collect animals from the wild.
A decision was also made to develop a program promoting the Primorsky Aquarium in the Republic of Korea and the Lotte World Aquarium in Vladivostok. When the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, this mutual promotion will facilitate the increase in numbers of visitors to both aquariums. In addition, the Korean side showed an interest in the deep-sea research performed by the NSCMB, intending to put some information about it on display for its guests to discover.
"During marine research expeditions, the center’s scientists capture unique video footage of biodiversity in deep-sea ecosystems," said Inessa Dyuizen. "Shots from depths of several thousand meters without light penetration but with abundant complex life may form the basis for a fascinating video exhibit."
The A. V. Zhirmunsky National Scientific Center of Marine Biology has long-standing close friendly relations with many scientific and governmental organizations of the Republic of Korea, for instance, with the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea (MABIK), the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, the Korea Institute of Environmental Ecology, the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Vladivostok and some others. Conducted in the new format, the collaboration between the Lotte World Aquarium and the Primorsky Aquarium – Branch of the NSCMB FEB RAS will open a new chapter in mutually beneficial bilateral relations between our institutions, cities and countries.