Selfies with Scuba Divers

Alfred Kyrollos is a volunteer who gives up most of his Saturdays to come to the Aquarium and help feed and care for the animals in the Giant Ocean Tank. In fact, we couldn't care for an exhibit as large as the GOT without our volunteers! It turns out that he and his fellow volunteers have a lot of fun, too. In this post, Alfred explains how the Saturday Crew is very social—in more ways than one. 

If you have ever been to the Aquarium, you have undoubtedly stood in awe in front of the Giant Ocean Tank. 200,000 gallons of pure awesome, a pristine example of a Caribbean coral reef. But it doesn’t stay that way on its own. To keep this tank going you need an elite team of highly motivated and trained individuals. I call them my friends, but you might know them as the volunteers.

Part of the Saturday crew, from left: Lindsay, Alfred, Lauren, Gabby

Chances are you’ve met or talked to a volunteer if you have been to the top of the tank or walked up the spiral of the GOT. We are often found target feeding or surface feeding from the two platforms at the top of the tank, or maybe inside the tank, feeding all our fishy friends or scrubbing the coral clean.


Over time a small tradition has developed among the Saturday volunteer team. It started at lunch one day while we were browsing Instagram posts with aquarium tags. To our surprise we had found that one of the divers had been posted. It was then that it really hit us. We are on display all the time, like art at a museum. Guests were walking by all the time, snapping photos of the divers doing what they do. We started scrolling through the posts, revealing more and more posts of divers. We immediately set off and set up rules of engagement, and the Saturday “Instagame” was born.


With an appointed commissioner (Jess) and rules jotted down on a piece of paper for authenticity, the race had begun, the ongoing race to appear in the most visitor posts. Essentially, when we had a spare minute in the tank, we would engage with guests through the windows and try to get a photo with them — whether it was intentional, a candid shot, or just a photo bomb (at which point they burst out laughing when they see the photo). We would have a great time and so would the guests.


This little Instagame of ours has really given the Saturday team a boost in all sorts of ways. It's brought a new facet of social media to the GOT, helped us engage with guests on a different level, and most importantly brought everyone closer as a team.


So the next time you see a diver in the tank, snap a photo or take a selfie and tag us with our location or the hashtag #newenglandaquarium on Instagram, and we’ll update our tally of who's first in the ranks :-)

— Alfred

Find us on Instagram and post your pictures with the divers! Instagram not your thing? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+, too.

And ICYMI: Here's a classic post about diver-visitor interactions, with pictures from both sides of the glass. 


Foraging with the Goatfish

We pay a lot of attention to what our 1400+ fish in the Giant Ocean Tank are eating on a daily basis - that's the main job of a GOT diver in fact. We have broadcast feedings and we have target feedings, and some fish just take matters into their own, uh... fins! One fish that finds food on its own is the yellow goatfish, Mulloidichthys martinicus.

Yellow goatfishes uses their pair of chin barbels to rifle through the sand for food, including molluscs, crustaceans, worms and other small invertebrates. It's a pretty cool adaptation that seems to work really well for them!