October 15, 1980

“The Coral Reef: Researching a Living System” opens at the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition marks the first time it has been possible to keep a large reef community, including corals, alive and healthy in isolation from the sea. More than three tons of coral rubble and a least two hundred species of plants and animals were transported from the Caribbean for the exhibition and research project. Housed in a 3,000-gallon tank system, this microcosm reef community is kept alive by high intensity lights, a wave-generating machine and a battery of monitoring equipment.

Posted: 15 October 2010
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Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.