Tybee Island Marine Science Center News

January 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Marine Science Center

Tybee Island, GA – The science center is in the process of updating their Coastal Georgia Gallery with a grant from Home Depot, which will cover the material costs of infrastructure updates, such as widening the gallery’s doorway to accommodate the installation of an 800 gallon sea turtle tank. The tank is a donation from the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and was delivered to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center on January 25th by Mark Dodd, sea turtle researcher and biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The tank weighs around 500 pounds and required a specially built cart and an assembly of the strongest guys on the island to get the tank off the truck, on to the cart, and into the science center. Strong guys, left to right are Jason DuBoque, Todd Smith, Chris Williamson, Mark Dodge, Michael Partridge, and Joel Rodriguez.

An Overview of our Coastal Georgia Gallery Update
The Coastal Gallery is 764 square feet and comprised of four rooms; Ocean, Beach, Herp Hall, and the Marsh. This project is going to be an in-house production, so we plan to be closed for most of January. A Home Depot grant will enable us to do the following: Remove the false ceiling tiles and grids. We’ll clean, wrap and paint the ductwork to give height to the rooms. We’ll also install halogen track lighting and industrial ceiling fans. All the walls will be primed and painted, and the flooring will be replaced. Additionally, Home Depot will supply us with free rental equipment, volunteers, and the building materials we’ll need for the exhibits.

Overview of the Updated Gallery:
Visitors enter the science center directly into the Discovery Shop and pay admission ($4) to the cashier. From the shop visitors will not be able to see into the gallery, but they will be able to view the Coastal Georgia Wall. Over the entry of the gallery will be a rustic awning with “Coastal Georgia Gallery” letting above.

As visitors enter they gallery, they will first see the Coastal Georgia Wall. The wall will have a map of coastal Georgia and house a flat screen TV. The TV will loop GPB’s production of Secret Seashore. Also, the wall will include copies of Georgia DNR’s Know the Connection brochure. We are working with DNR’s Coastal Resources Division on this project.

The wall on the left entry side of the gallery will display a rib, vertebrae, and skull of a whale, manatee, and dolphin.

The wall on the right entry side of the gallery display is to be determined, but can be no more than three-inches deep.


  1. Burrfish-Killi (48”x12”x21” -55 gallon)
  2. Anemone, Urchins, Stars (48”x12”x21” -55 gallon), this tank will be on top of the Burrfish and Killifish
  3. Invasive Species (60”x24”x36” -180 gallons): Red Lionfish and Giant Pink Barnacles in a tank that is designed to house the species separately, but it will appear that they are together. This exhibit will be created with money from a DNR grant. We will be distributing four information pieces on invasive species produced by MAREX.
  4. Sting Rays Mullet-Hake (72”x24”x24”-80 gallons)
  5. Coral-Batfish-Clownfish-Gramma-Cardinal (48”x24”x24” – 120 gallons)
  6. Octopus (30”x30”x24”-100 gallons)
  7. Gray’s Reef (600 gallons): Rotating Occupants: Stars and striped puffer, Blue green damsel, Atlantic spadefish, Tang, Lookdown, Pompano, Spot, Kingfish/whiting, Planehead filefish, Striped Burr fish, Blenny, Spotfin butterfly fish, Blue angelfish, Sheepshead, Pinfish, Red snapper, Bluefish, Bigeye/squirrelfish, Black seabass, Grey triggerfish
  8. Gray’s Reef Diving DVD will be looped on a large flat screen to the left of the tank. The audio will be the calls of the right whale.
  9. North Atlantic Right Whale hanging above Gray’s Reef tank will be an aerial mother and calf image with interpretation.
  10. Shark jaws and teeth will be housed in acrylic cases and displayed on the wall to the right of the Invasive Species exhibit.
  11. Creature Cutouts – Throughout the Ocean Room will be mounted and raised cutout images of creatures with their common names and an interesting fact. Visitors will be able to match them up with the real creatures.
  12. Jellies – exhibit from the Georgia Aquarium

  1. Touch Tank – mounted above the touch tank will be a flat screen looping an invertebrate interpretive film that we are working on with the Savannah College of Art & Design.
  2. Mollusk-Crab Tank (60x18x24 – 115 gallons) – Large versions of the animals in the touch tank
  3. Sands of the World (96″x48″) – We have samples of sand taken from beaches all over the world. The background will be an atlas and the sands will be in acrylic Petri dishes, identified by location and mounted on acrylic in front of the atlas. We have about 50 samples and will encourage additional donations.
  4. Shorebirds – Throughout the room, we will have large images of shorebirds mounted to the walls along with their common name. We will use one bird to illustrate identification guidelines (breeding-nonbreeding plumage, the stages in between) and stress the importance of not disturbing their migratory feedings.
  5. Sea Oats/Sand Dunes/Dry Touch – This wall area will have a large photograph of a cross-section of a sand dune with sea oats and interpret their importance. In front of the image will be a slanted shelf with dry shells, whelk eggs, and maiden’s purses, etc. that visitors can touch. Along the edge of the shelf will be small images identifying the contents.

  1. Loggerhead Sea Turtle (800 gallons) – The tank is being donated by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and in addition to interpreting the sea turtle, we will showcase the GSTC and distribute their rack cards from the exhibit.
  2. Tybee Island Sea Turtle Nesting Map – This is a map that we’ve created with DNR, it’s a wall-size image of Tybee Island and has symbols indicating nests and nesting attempts on the island since 1997. It will also have the results of our beach front lighting surveys.
  3. Snapping Turtle (36″x18”x19”-55 gallons) – Overweight, so he looks huge. We’ll talk about PSI and his snapper.
  4. Alligators (73″x21”x19”-130 gallons) – two young ones that we will take out so people can see them face-to-face.
  5. Box Turtle – Charlie’s been with us awhile and kids really like him. He’s currently in an aquarium, but we would like to create an other type of housing for him.
  6. Corn Snake – displayed above the snake’s housing unit will be images of other types of snakes and an explanation of the difference between venom and poison.
  7. Litter Lasts! – This is a wall display of various types of marine debris and how long they last in the ocean.

  1. Diamondback Terrapin Exhibit (72″x33″x42″ – 325 gallons) – This exhibit will be paid for by a grant from DNR’s Watchable Wildlife. In addition to the animals, there is a silent slideshow interpreting the terrapins.
  2. Diamondback Terrapin Headstart (four – 23″x11″x20″ – 10/40 gallons) – Actually a part of the above exhibit. We will be adding an image of terrapin eggs and interpretation signage.
  3. Oyster-Grass Shrimp-Blue Crab Exhibit (tank 24″x24″24″ – 60 gallons) – In addition to the tank, we will build a small flat screen in the top of the cabinet to show a two-minute interpretation piece on oysters. We are working with Skidaway’s Shellfish Lab to create the video. It will be silly, with the narrator wearing an oyster shell hat. We will distribute an info piece on eating oysters developed by MAREX.
  4. Estuary – The Ocean’s Nursery wall (80″x60″) – This is a wall exhibit with an overview on the importance of our estuaries. We are going to encase a cross section of marsh mud and cord grass along with shells of the creatures you’d find in the mud. Additionally, we’ll have raised cutouts of the creatures of the marsh.
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