Monday, March 12, 2018

UNSEEN OCEANS: A Splashy Review: By Polly Guerin

Dive beneath the waves and explore the UNSEEN OCEANS!  No bathing suit needed, just your innate curiosity to learn the latest advances in ocean exploration, the technologies behind them, and the mysteries that remain. 
     The American Museum of Natural History exhibition opens today and remains in a permanent space through Sunday, January 6, 2019. Plenty of time to get your feet wet, so to speak, and embark on a journey that takes you from the oceans' sunlit surfaces to their inky depths as you discover the latest ocean science and encounter the researchers and technologies that reveal our blue planet as never before.  It's a colorful world, alive with electrifying images revealing the unseen habitats of the oceans' most mysterious animals and inhospitable areas in unprecedented detail.  However, sinking deeper into the ocean, daylight fades, most colors disappear and life is bathed in blue. But diving at night with specially-designed lights and cameras museum researchers have discovered a wide variety of fishes and other marine animals are fluorescent, glowing in startling shades of red, orange, and green when illuminated with high-energy blue light. 
Photographs by Roderick Mickens, AMNH)

     Yes, our world is an ocean planet. More than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered by, yet surprisingly little of these vast realms has been explored.  Now, with the use of 21st-century technologies like robotics, satellite monitoring, miniaturization, and high-definition imaging, our concept of the vast oceans is beginning to change. 
     "All life on our planet depends on the oceans, yet they remain one of the last great frontiers," said Ellen V. Futter, president of the AMNH. "Today a new generation of marine scientists with a pioneering spirit of ingenuity and adventure, and an explosion of technological and imaging advances, are creating a golden age of ocean exploration, yielding astonishing discoveries at dark and mysterious depths." Image: Hercules,at a remotely operated exploration vehicle with instrumentation, lights and a robotic arm.  
     This multi-dimensional exhibition impresses upon the visitor that ocean exploration is as exciting and important as space exploration. In Unseen Oceans, visitors are invited to explore a series of circular, media-rich galleries showcasing a range of marine environments and introducing scientists who are using cutting-edge research tools and developing new methods to explore the oceans top and bottom.  

The ocean floor is another world swirling with discovery.  Only about 10 to 15 percent of the sea floor has been mapped with accuracy, meaning that we know the surface of Mars much better than the submerged landscapes of our own planet. But today, with the use of sound waves, radar and lasers, scientists are beginning to construct extraordinary detailed images of these environments. In Unseen Oceans you will encounter a gallery that features a scientifically-accurate re-creation of landscapes including a local "landmark": the Hudson Canyon, a spectacular underwater feature only 100 miles from New York City. Image: The Plankton Room
     PRESERVING THE OCEAN'S FUTURE As the human population has exploded, the demand for seafood has surged and destructive, wasteful fishing practises have cause the number of fish to plummet by 50 percent since 1970. Unseen Oceans also highlights the threat to the ocean's vital abundance--including over fishing and habitat degradation--as well as the conservation scientists and forward-thinking governments that are making progress toward protecting the rich diversity of living things in the sea.
      This is a breathtaking exhibition that unravels mysteries of the ocean with interactive exhibits that enchant both child and adult. For additional information, call 212-769-5100 or visit the Museum's website at
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! What a wonder world to explore. Unseen Oceans is a "must."  You will be amazed and learn more about the ocean that you never knew before. Fan mail is always welcome
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