Not quite. But almost.
Incoming from the Two Oceans Aquarium (where we’re going on Saturday) – there’s been an invasion of isopods.
Isopods refer to a group of crustaceans that include terrestrial and aquatic species like woodlice and rock lice. Some isopods eat decaying plant and animal matter, others graze on food particles from the water around them, a few are predators, and some are internal or external parasites.
Also, my dodgy Latin says they all have the same number of feet. Or something.
You can go and have a look at the photos of this rather extraordinary “bloom” on the link above. there are an awful lot of them (Isopods, not photos). It’s fascinating, but apparently it does cause some issues for the aquarium:
Much of the water for our exhibits is from the harbour surrounding our building, and we’ve had to shut down our intake pipes. Once all the isopods die off – also as a result of oxygen deprivation – they will sink to the bottom. Then, once oxygen levels go back up (because there are fewer organisms in the water using this oxygen now) the dead isopod bodies will start decomposing like mad. This will cause an ammonia spike in the water, making the water toxic to the animals in our exhibits and so still not suitable for our use. We will be keeping the Aquarium’s life-support system on a closed system until the water quality returns to normal.
I’m not sure how long the aquarium can keep their life-support systems off, but if it’s anything like the Starship Enterprise (spoiler: it’s not), then I don’t think it’s very long at all before the guy in the red shirt suffocates. Hopefully this won’t be the case at the aquarium, because it would be nice to not have to step over dead bodies as we’re having a look round on the weekend.