Did you know that Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,848 metres above sea level could easily fit into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, with room to spare?
The deep ocean is the earth’s final frontier. Fewer men have dived to the deepest parts of the oceans than have stepped on the moon. And within its dark waters lie strange sea creatures – some oddly-shaped and alien-like, and others that glow eerily in the dark.
The ArtScience Museum’s latest exhibition, The Deep, sheds some light into the life in the darkest ocean. Focusing on sea-life where light barely penetrates, the exhibition presents over 40 specimens of creatures from the deepest oceans, accompanied by beautiful photographs that vividly showcases the biodiversity found in the abyss.
The Deep is curated by Claire Nouvian, president and founder of conservation organisation, BLOOM Association. Claire’s fascination with the world of the deep began in 2001 when she visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, USA and saw spectacular images of sea fauna that live up to 4,000 metres beneath the ocean’s surface. Since then, she has been collaborating with researchers to share the beauty and wonder of this rarely-seen part of the world with others.
Plunge into the Abyss
The Deep is expertly laid out to take visitors on a fantastical journey to the depths of the sea. Exhibits are displayed in a uniquely dark environment, complete with an atmospheric underwater soundtrack that accentuates the sense of diving into the ocean.
Entering into the gallery, visitors are greeted by an art installation, Hidden/Depths by Australian artist Lynette Wallworth. Commissioned by ArtScience Museum, visitors can use UV torches to explore the installation which features special jars hiding seven never-before-seen, deep-sea creatures and three films on bioluminescent animals. Surrounding the jars are deep-sea specimens that include the wide-nosed chimaera, also known as the Pinocchio of the deep-sea for its long snout.
In the ocean, the first deep-sea communities start to appear at the depth of 200 metres. However, creatures living at this depth can be easily spotted by predators lurking beneath them, their silhouettes standing out against the daylight from above. This had led to many of them adopting transparency as a means to turn “invisible”.
Below 600 metres, sea creatures are predominantly bright red and dark brown in colour. On display in this part of the exhibition is a pacific spookfish, one of the species of fish that live in this undersea depth.
Beyond 1,000 metres, daylight no longer penetrates the waters and apart from the bioluminescence produced by sea creatures, it is pitch black. Water temperature is 2 degrees Celsius and it is a hostile environment for life. Yet, a rich biodiversity exists along the bottom of the ocean. Look out for specimens such as the tube-eye fish in this zone.
The Deep also explores the myriad of life along deep ocean ridges and underwater volcanoes through detailed photographs and animal specimens.
One of the most fascinating specimens you will see is the Goblin Shark. This intriguing shark has a mouth that can extend dramatically. It is on display towards the end of the exhibition, close to the conservation gallery. [Watch a video of a live Goblin Shark in action.]
Make Your Own Deep Sea Creature
Kids can head to Making Space, an area where they can use recycled materials to create their own creatures of the deep. In addition to the basic recycled materials available for crafting, visitors can purchase a kit to make their own Anglerfish with a battery, UV LED and simple circuit.
Upcoming workshops for visitors aged five and above include Fun with Photograms (Wednesdays from 10 Jun at 4.30 pm, $5 per person) and Cyanotype Creatures (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 June at 4.30 pm, $5 per person). Master storyteller Kamini Ramachandran will also be telling stories about kingdoms below the seas on 28 June and 12 July (Recommended for families with children aged four and up).
The Deep at ArtScience Museum is a rare opportunity to see more than 40 fascinating creatures from the abyss without having to step into a deep-sea submersible. Don’t be left in the dark. Take the plunge and dive on in.
Opens 6 June 2015
Visit The Deep’s Website.