An ecosystem is defined as a system of organisms that interact with one another and their surrounding environment.

The coastal and marine environment has a fascinating variety of ecosystems, with each functioning as a dynamic unit under the influence of tides, sea temperature, wave action, currents, light levels, wind, type of substratum and climate.

Plankton, seaweeds, animals and bacteria form an intricate food web. As you walk through the aquarium you will notice that various exhibits are designed to represent some of the main ecosystems found along our coastline. For example, the Snorkel Lagoon represents the rocky shores where many of us recall happy childhood holidays exploring rock pools.

The Rocky Reef exhibit represents the area between the shoreline and the edge of the continental shelf beyond which lies the open ocean. In the Open Ocean exhibit larger marine species like tuna, pompano and rays may be seen, while the Coral Reef exhibit displays the many brightly coloured animals that have made the reefs along the warm east coast of southern Africa their home.