Marine Bio Classroom Converted into a Zoo

Billy Bevevino

This year the Marine Biology classroom in the basement of Sullivan Hall has stepped up its game. While in the past there have been a couple of tanks for fish and other species, this year is much different. Through the efforts of Dr. Fry, Mr. Buccutti and generous donors, the lab has transformed into a zoo.


In Tom’s River, New Jersey, marine biology students on a field trip caught the first residents of the lab. Crabs and small fish caught that day were placed into a medium sized tank. This tank began what has now has flourished into a lab that contains chameleons, piranhas and even an alligator.


Dr. Fry explained that the species were specifically chosen based of the legal standards of the State of Pennsylvania. Although many might be surprised to hear that there is a live alligator on Malvern’s campus, owning this reptile and many other dangerous pets is perfectly legal.


The marine biology lab isn’t just for show.  Students receive invaluable knowledge by coming face to face with live species. While looking at an organism in a book is one thing, coming face to face with one is a whole other experience. Hadid Thomas ‘14 said, “You get to see and interact with live animals, which is pretty cool.”


Having these animals in class everyday is more than just a great educational tool. It is also a huge morale boost for some students. The animals give Sam Linehauser ‘14 some encouragement to show up and participate. ”You look forward going into class everyday,” he said.


Though there are already plenty of tanks and animals in the room, expect the lab to grow.  With the addition of an over 200 gallon tank, there are plans to introduce live tilapia to the lab in the coming weeks. Additional animals and tanks that coincide with student’s research projects will also be placed in the classroom soon.


Even if you don’t take a class in the lab, stop by and take a look around the room. You don’t have to be a Marine Biology student to appreciate all the different animals living in the bottom of Sullivan Hall. Panamanian exchange student Jose Aquilar put it simply when asked about why he enjoys the lab so much:“I like the fish.”