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Aquarium Goes Online

For years, the aquarium at Cabrillo High School has been lauded nationally for bringing the ocean's mysteries to life in a friendly, hands-on setting.

However, hands-on access means little if miles -- or states -- separate interested parties from the available information.

But now people from literally around the globe can tap into the high school's knowledge of the oriny depths. The Cabrillo Aquarium is on-line, with the seas accessible for free to anybody with a computer and modem.

"This computer is one small step to help people understand the scope of what we're doing," said Dave Long, aquarium adviser. "The computer is a convenient and simple way to communicate."

For six months, sophomore Kevin Richards has been creating an electronic "bulletin board", a spot in cyberspace housing any and all information related to the aquarium. He said building such a bulletin board was nothing new, having created one for himself at home.

Richards said the aquarium's bulletin board is a collection of "some big things, some little things." Among the accessible information and features are: Detailed descriptions of the aquarium, its history and it's exhibits "Ask Shamu," a marine question-and-answer forum provided by experts at Sea World in San Diego. Want to know what killer whales eat or how fast bottlenose dolphins can swim? This is the place to find out. "Tip of the Week," an advice column written by local aquarium expert William Coppock. From filter cleaning to water replacement, aquarium hobbyists should find this help invaluable. Data on the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Long said the aquariums at Cabrillo and Monterey are in a "partnership," with the experts to the north donating advice and displays to the high school. A file of any news articles written about the Cabrillo Aquarium. News messages about the aquarium E-Mail access to students and administrators involved in the aquarium's operations.

Richards said he's working to make pictures posted on the bulletin board available for downloading. He also said that one day, the aquarium may even have its own page on the World Wide Web. The net, is the vast network of sites where computer users can look up information on almost any topic known.

Long said he was glad to give Richards the opportunity to create the aquarium's bulletin board, especially because it would give the student a chance to put one of his skills to good work.

To access the Cabrillo Aquarium bulletin board, dial 733-1028. New members have 25 minutes of access a day. For a greater amount of access, a donation to the aquarium is required.