Captain's Log

A Training Team Newsletter - 6.2016


Animal Spotlight: Corals

Quick! Get a mental picture of a healthy, thriving ocean habitat. Ready? Let me guess… did it feature a vibrant, bustling coral reef? Though they cover less than one tenth of 1% of the ocean floor, coral reefs provide homes for about 25% of all marine life. Our Pacific Barrier Reef habitat in Tropical Diver, one of the largest exhibits of its kind in the world, features over 200 species of coral. As we celebrate World Oceans Day this month, let’s take some time to understand these threatened invertebrates.

The words “coral bleaching” have been a frequent topic of conversation recently. This bleaching occurs when conditions in the environment become unfavorable, causing the coral polyps to expel the symbiotic algae that live in their tissue. Rising temperatures and acidification due to excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are accelerating this process globally; in recent weeks it was reported that about 80% of reefs in the northern sector of the Great Barrier Reef are severely bleached.

Major news outlets have covered this topic recently, so guests – and maybe you! – might have some questions. Many people are unaware that corals are animals, not plants, so the better we can communicate about these precious invertebrates the more likely our guests will understand them and be motivated to help. Next time you’re in Tropical Diver, get chatting about corals! Here’s some bitesize information to get you started.

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  • Coral are invertebrate animals in the phylum Cnideria. They are related to sea anemones and jellies.
  • Individual coral is called a polyp. Some species of coral remain in a single polyp - others will reproduce and form colonies of identical polyps.
  • Colonies are composed of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of polyps (same species).
  • There are two types of coral - hard and soft - and thousands of species.
  • Hard corals are reef builders; their hard exoskeleton made of calcium carbonate helps form these critical ecosystems.
  • All hard and soft coral have tentacles which provide defense, capture food and clean debris.
  • Nematocysts (stinging cells) in tentacles release an often-fatal toxin into prey or threats.
  • The color of coral is attributed to the zooxanthellae living with the polyp.
  • There are also deep-water/cold water corals, some of which can be found at depths reaching 6561 feet (2000 m) and temperatures as cold as 39° Fahrenheit (4°C).
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Employee Spotlight: Angie Bryant

Angie Bryant joined Georgia Aquarium in 2010 as part of the Theatrical Operations team for AT&T Dolphin Tales. What does she do? As the A/V Director for the Dolphin Presentations, she runs the sound and video for each pre-show and dolphin presentation. This means that she stage-manages the actors, cues each sound or video component, and programs system maintenance for the technical equipment. This is a highly technical role with artistic nuances.

Her dedication to Georgia Aquarium doesn’t stop with Theatrical Operations. Angie is the Chairperson for our Climate Change Committee. She was initially drawn to GAQ by her love of animals and the idea of such a fun place to work. One of her favorite things about GAQ is the friendly nature of our staff and volunteers. Together with the 3C, she is continually working to support and encourage a culture of positivity. When asked what advice she would give to new team members, Angie replied, “Get out and meet people. This will give you a better understanding of what they do and how we all work together.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Art Eligado

Art Eligado is one of our wonderful volunteers who can been seen interacting with guests on a regular basis. Art and his grandson were with us on opening day in 2005 as guests and annual pass holders. During their visits, he talked to some of our team members and appreciated their friendliness. It wasn’t long before he was encouraged to join the Volunteer Program.

As a new volunteer, Art was impressed with how many opportunities Georgia Aquarium had for learning as well as engaging guests. Today, one of his favorite roles is still greeter. He enjoys making a difference in people’s visits and making them feel special. To him, the smiles on their faces are the “payment” for his generosity and dedication. He enjoys this so much that he averages 1,000 hours of volunteerism per year. Art can be found supporting a variety of programs including Behind the Seas Tours, special events and the Dive Immersion Program. He also enjoys captaining offsite events and working Aquarium-wide events such as Sea Otter Awareness Week. Wherever you find Art, there are likely to be happy and comfortable guests. When asked what advice he would give to new team members, Art replied, “You always get back what you put into things, so bring happiness and that is what you will receive in return.

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Department Spotlight: Fish & Invertebrates Jelly Lab

We would like to send a big shout-out to the Fish and Invertebrates Jelly Lab team for their participation in Sea Monkey Day! On Monday, May 16th, the team welcomed a small group of staff and volunteers into the jelly lab to gain a better appreciation for sea monkeys, also known as Artemia.

The Jelly Lab staff talked about the life cycle of these animals and how we work with them here at the Aquarium. A tube of live adult Artemia (the true “sea monkeys”) was set up for easy viewing. An even closer peek at some very active juvenile Artemia swimming about the petri dish was available by microscope. Next, the group was able to observe the end of the “sort” that the staff does every day to separate the live Artemia from their cysts as part of the cultivation process. Last, but not least, the group was able to tour the new Jelly Lab and North Holding areas.


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Training Class Update

There’s a 9 foot tall penguin in the Plaza, a smack of brightly colored jellies by the 4D Theater, a swirling ocean gyre in the atrium… wait, what? You’ve seen these brightly colored creatures around the Aquarium, right? These distinctive sculptures are part of an art project known as Washed Ashore, a nonprofit organization working to bring awareness about marine debris into the public eye through engaging creations. Take a closer look at each of these sculptures - the penguin, the jellies, and the reef to name a few - and you’ll see they’re made entirely out of discarded plastic that was removed during beach cleanups.

The Washed Ashore installation will be on display at Georgia Aquarium until September, so come along to our specialty class SPC 667 Washed Ashore and learn more about the project, plastic pollution, and how we can talk to guests about this critical conservation issue.

Upcoming classes

Monday June 6th - 5:30pm-6:30pm

Tuesday June 21st - 1:00pm-2:00pm

Building Updates

  • The Guest Programs Department and the Education Department now have new homes. They are located in the former Discovery Zone Mission Control area, which is adjacent to Kid's Cove and across from the new Seaside Touch Pool.
  • Volunteer Programs is now located in the former North Conference Room opposite the Uniform Storage Cage.
  • Soon moving to a new space, First Aid will be located through the double doors at the end of the blue restroom hallway. This is the hallway between the Tropical Diver exit and the new Seaside Cafe.

Safety 101

Safety Data Sheets

OSHA’s Revised Haz-Com Standard – Safety Data Sheets (SDS’s)

[Reference 1910.1200(f) / 1926.59(f)]

For 30 years, manufacturers and importers of various products have been required to have MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). However, many of the MSDS’s look different and it was difficult to find specific safety and health data. OSHA recently revised their hazard communication standard to require manufacturers and importers of hazardous products to replace their old MSDS’s with new GHS-compliant Safety Data Sheets, also known as an SDS’s, and in turn employers must make them available to their workers.

These new SDS's are similar to the old MSDS's with a couple of major differences:

  • The new SDS's will always be comprised of 16 separated sections, and those sections will always appear in the same order for any product, regardless of where it comes from.
  • They will also incorporate the applicable Signal Word, Hazard Statements, Precautionary Statements, and Pictograms that also appear on the new GHS- compliant labels.

Section 1: Identification

Section 2: Hazard(s) Identification

Section 3: Composition/information on ingredients

Section 4: First-aid measures

Section 5: Fire-fighting measures

Section 6: Accidental release measures

Section 7: Handling and storage

Section 8: Exposure controls/personal protection

Section 9: Physical and chemical properties

Section 10: Stability and reactivity

Section 11: Toxicological information

Section 12: Ecological information

Section 13: Disposal considerations

Section 14: Transport information

Section 15: Regulatory information

Section 16: Other information

Remember to be familiar with where the SDS's are in your BTS department. If you don't know where they are located, ask your manager or supervisor.

Professional Courtesies

It's something many of us have experienced. You're gone for one day--one day!--and return to an Inbox flooded with 50+ emails needing your attention. In those circumstances, it can be easy for correspondence to get lost in the shuffle. Here are three reasons why you should make every effort to respond to those emails in a timely manner (between 12 and 24 hours during the work week).

1. It reflects upon your reliability and dependability. We are all busy, but many times, a reply is the difference between someone being able or unable to move forward with an assignment or project. Don't leave your colleagues to wither on the vine.

2. It is an indication of your attentiveness and involvement - you are aware of and invested in what is going on around you. Replying to your emails is a way of acknowledging that.

3. It encourages others to extend the same courtesy to you. If you consistently respond promptly, chances are, when you need a prompt reply, they are likely to respond in kind.

If you find yourself trying to answer emails that involve a more thorough reply than time allows, flag it or mark it as unread for later review. Send a quick reply to acknowledge that the email has been received, and that you will follow-up further in the future. Let the person know when they can expect further correspondence.

Seafood Savvy - Recipe of the Month

Baked Cod with Chorizo and White Beans

Servings: 4

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Seafood Watch Cod Recommendations

Not sure what type of cod is best to buy? Check out the Seafood Watch recommendations here.


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot, chorizo (or kielbasa) and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down and the wine is almost evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in beans and 1/4 teaspoon salt and remove from the heat.
  3. Sprinkle fish with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; place in the prepared baking dish. Top each piece of fish with equal amounts of the tomato mixture (about 1/2 cup per fillet). Pour the remaining 1/4 cup wine into the pan and cover the pan with foil. Bake until the fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the fish with the sauce spooned over the top.


1. Shopping Tip: This recipe uses fully cooked Spanish-style chorizo--spicy pork sausage seasoned with smoked paprika and chile. Find it near other cured sausages in well-stocked supermarkets or specialty food stores.

2. Ingredient Note: Overfishing and trawling have drastically reduced the number of cod in the Atlantic Ocean and damaged its seafloor. A better choice is Pacific cod (specifically, Alaskan cod). It is more sustainably fished and has a larger, more stable population, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

Source: Georgia Aquarium Seafood Savvy Pinterest board

(from Eating Well)

for more information visit:

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Looking for the Training Calendar?

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A friendly reminder from the Training team:

While we understand that navigating traffic and the parking deck can be a challenge, we kindly ask that that you plan to arrive to the Aquarium 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled class time. Arriving late to class can be distracting to the trainer, the other participants, as well as cause you to miss valuable information. The training staff reserves the right to deny admission to any staff or volunteer that arrives after class has begun. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Jill Giles, Manager of Training Programs at 404.581.4098 or We look forward to seeing you in class soon!

Georgia Aquarium Training Department

Candice Taylor (4217)

Diana Welty (4208)

Erin Burnett (4324)

Jen Richards (4276)

Terri Frazier (4271)