Walter Adey and Coral Reef Tank

Walter Adey and the NMNH coral reef tank
Smithsonian Institution Archives

In the late 1970s, Walter Adey, a paleobiologist and coral reef researcher at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), wanted to build a tank that would make it possible to monitor and experiment on a coral reef ecosystem in the laboratory—what scientists call a microcosm.

Here Adey is with his creation in the basement of NMNH. Read more about the tank and the challenges he faced