THE DEEP - Census of Marine Life

THE DEEP - Census of Marine Life

THE DEEP Exhibition Expanded version By Claire Nouvian 1. Contents 1. Contents 1. Contents 5 2. Context 9 3. Concept 13 4. Highli...

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THE DEEP

Exhibition Expanded version

By Claire Nouvian

1.

Contents

1. Contents 1.

Contents

5

2.

Context

9

3.

Concept

13

4.

Highlights of the exhibition

17 17 17 17 17

5.

Ideas for design / interactive elements T exts and captions I nteractive soundtrack Y outh pack & fun trail

21 21 21 22

6.

Unfolding

25



A. An opening introductory area

25



B. History and overview of the oceans

25 26 27 28 28



A nimals D isplay method D isplay in resin F ilms



A chronology of deep - sea exploration A n outline of the different oceanic zones / ecosystems A concise glossary A contemporary , urban cabinet of curiosities

C. The midwater B etween 200 and 400 meters : the transparent zone G elatinous organisms - masters of the universe T he vertical migration – the phantom depths of the oceans T he G iant S quid - a vertical migrator ? B ioluminescence - the most widespread form of communication T he red room : from 600 meters colors appear B etween 600 and 1300 meters : the oxygen minimum layer B eneath 1000 m - total darkness

on E arth

31 31 32 32 35 35 39 39 40



D. The mirror room

42



E. Life on the ocean floor





43 43 47 47 47 47 48

T he abyssal plain W hale carcasses P article traps : geological



formations and enhancend currents

• Elevated areas • Seamounts and canyons







F. Exit

49

7.

Ideas for the exhibition’s promotion

53

8.

Contacts

57



C hemosynthetic

ecosystems : exception to the rules

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

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2.

Context

2. Context In 2001, wildlife and scientific film director, Claire Nouvian, began to develop a passion for the relatively unknown world of deep-sea fauna, when she discovered the exceptional deep-ocean footage filmed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. She has since been working to bring this vast inaccessible environment, which accounts for 97% of the planet in volume, to the wider public. With this in mind, she has collaborated with renowned international researchers to bring together the most varied and extensive bank of deep-sea images. She is devoting all of her energy to developing an ambitious project, based around five principal axes: • A book: The Deep (University of Chicago Press, March 2007), which has been published in six languages (French, German, Italian, English, Spanish and Portuguese) in more than ten countries, and is in the process of being translated into two more languages (Polish and Japanese). It brings together previously unreleased images of animals, which, in some cases, have only ever been seen once. These images represent the very best of the scientific dives carried out over the past 20 years. The book has been a true success, and has been praised by the media, the public as well as by the scientific community as a whole. The Deep is still in its infancy, but has already well outstripped the sales that are normally expected of similar illustrated books (125 000 copies, four reprints). • An exhibition, The Deep, held at the Natural History Museum in Paris from November 21, 2007 to May 8, 2008, displaying, for the very first time, extremely rare deep-sea animal species. The exhibition will then travel to Hong Kong (from July to November 08) and then on to various destinations across Europe, Asia and the USA. A selection of previously unseen photographs and video footage will accompany the collections of deep-sea specimens. The exhibition has been a great media and public success: over 100 000 visitors despite short working hours (10am-5pm) and limited space (±200 sq.meters). • A feature documentary (cinema release), teamed with publications about the great biodiversity of the deep sea, the fascinating natural history facts and stories, the vulnerability of the deep-sea fauna and ecosystems, and the urgent necessity to preserve this unprotected habitat. • A non-profit organization, BLOOM ASSOCIATION, whose mission is to find corporations and individuals who wish to provide the means to promote the protection of deep-sea ecosystems. • A video-based website about ocean resources and exploitation issues for large education outreach with specific children / teenage / young adult target.

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

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3.

Concept

3. Concept “First of all, the abyss is dark. And that darkness seems much more oppressive than the blackest chamber inside any cavern on land.” Robert D. Ballard, The Eternal Darkness

D arkness The deep sea is irrevocably linked with darkness, crushing pressure, extreme depths and, for many still, the absence of life… The Deep recreates this inaccessible pitch-black environment, and thus offers a journey into the shady depths… But first, and against all expectations, the visitor is greeted by a world teeming with unexpected life and shining bright colors. The exhibition will include both photographs and films that have never before been displayed, and a world first: the largest collection of deep-sea creatures ever gathered to date, some of which will be encased or displayed in resin aquariums.

B acklighting

and austerity

In order to show these extraordinary creatures – true deep-sea gems because of their rarity and fragility – the design of the exhibition The Deep evokes a sense of luxury through its sheer visual quality. The photographs, exclusive to this event, are therefore exhibited in their splendor using the high-end choice for photography display: backlighting and Duratrans printing process. The animals are shown in sober contemporary columns, which resemble jewelers’ window displays. Precise, directional lighting will illuminate these “intra-terrestrial” specimens within the dark setting.

S ound

design

Other than the omnipresence of black, the sensation of immersion will be reinforced by an interactive “abyssal” soundtrack. Overall, the exhibition offers an aesthetic, original and creative design, which guarantees to enhance the reaction of the public on first contact with the deep-sea fauna.

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

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4.

Highlights of the exhibition

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

4. Highlights of the exhibition A nimals Having access to the oceans’ depths – whether through the use of submersibles, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) or trawling – requires exceptional means by definition: less than ten submersibles in the world are capable of reaching depths of more than 1000 meters (m). The specimens presented in the exhibition are extremely rare animals of which very few, if any, exist in good condition elsewhere. These fragile creatures are simply unrecognizable most of the time, as they are so damaged by the nets during trawling. Certain specimens in the exhibition The Deep have been captured in situ by the scientific samplers on submersibles or tethered robots. Others have been carefully trawled during oceanographic missions throughout the world. The visitor will thus be able to discover perfectly conserved anglerfishes (the most famous deep-sea fish amongst young children thanks to Finding Nemo) or the only whole colonies of deep-sea radiolarians displayed anywhere for example. The exhibition The Deep will bring together the largest collection of deep-sea creatures ever displayed. It will provide a unique opportunity to discover the reality of the deep first-hand, without the distance usually imposed by photographs and films.

D isplay

method

Due to the differences in pressure, temperature, salinity, light and oxygen levels between deep and shallow waters, it is impossible for the deep fauna to survive at the surface. Deep-sea animals can therefore only be exhibited in preserved form. Generally this means conserving them in ethanol, which leads to the gradual loss of pigment, the alteration of their natural color, the dehydration of tissues and changes in their body structure. As most of the animals have been specifically collected for this exhibition, they are fresh and have never been preserved in ethanol. They will be shown in a fluid environment which will be representative of their natural habitat. In order to animate the creatures and create a naturalistic effect, invisible threads embedded in resin walls will be used to suspend them within the liquid.

D isplay

in resin

After several years of experimentation, the team behind the exhibition The Deep has pioneered a technique that allows the suspension of some of these marine creatures in resin. This shows them in an environment which is as true to life as possible. The transparent resin blocks do not discolor, and the creatures unravel so naturally that children often ask their parents if the animals are alive!

F ilms The exhibition benefits from the extended scientific network that Claire Nouvian has consolidated with research institutes throughout the world and thus has access to breathtaking footage. Some of that footage was shot specifically for the exhibition. In addition to the existing 2D screens (current version of the exhibition), a film could also be displayed in an optical theatre (see further), and on heliodisplays (which project floating images into thin air), providing 3D perspectives.

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

17

5.

Ideas for design / interactive elements

5. Ideas for design / interactive elements T exts

and captions

The informative and educational texts are engaging and dynamic. • The captions and texts on the walls are backlit in a similar way to the photographs. There is therefore no outside source of light to “pollute” the density of the black (experience was made: when items or texts are illuminated with projectors, the light beam “dirties” the purity of the black on the walls, making it appear brownish. Dreadful result to be avoided by all means.) • We suggest that evocative and philosophical quotations are placed on the walls throughout, to offer reflection and inspiration. • Ideally, images would be sometimes projected onto the walls, from the ground to the ceiling, throughout the exhibition: in certain rooms, marine snow, in others, films of creatures which pass above (on the ceiling) and below (under the feet with projections on the ground) the visitor. • A recurrent animated character (piglet squid for example) could be displayed on LCD screens at several intervals throughout the exhibition, as a means of backing up captions in a very comic, cartoonistic way for children. This character would meet other deep-sea creatures as the exhibition progresses, and through their mute interaction based on gesture, situations and facial expressions, the visitor would learn very visually about different adaptations and phenomena which are particular to deep-sea fauna. The characters (Tim Burton’s style of drawing) would be very simple white line drawings on a black background.

I nteractive

soundtrack

Discrete sound stations could be located throughout the exhibition. The visitor could then press buttons on these stations to create special effects for the background sound. The ambient audio effect produced (duration up to 3 seconds) would, however, not be intrusive. The sounds would not be random or discordant; they would blend in nicely with the overall abyssal soundtrack broadcast in the exhibition and encourage visitors to associate specific sounds with phenomena. This would also be the opportunity to fight the cliché that the underwater realm is “the world of silence” as Cousteau had named it. Sound travels four times better in water than in air. Examples of sounds: Discovery of Titanic shipwreck – metal clinking Sperm whale – high-pitched, low-frequency strident noise Sound of impact of dead whale reaching the sea floor Deep-sea lobster – clicking (the US Navy previously mistook this sound for the noise made by a Russian submarine!) Hydrothermal vents – factory-type noises simulate the fabric of life Mid-ocean ridge spreading – muffled sounds giving the impression of plates moving apart Armored sea robin – bird-song-like sound which simulates the one made by this deepsea fish as it clicks its mouthparts

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

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Y outh

pack

&

fun trail

This will include a handout with educational questions and blue-lensed glasses which will simulate how creatures view each other in the deep through the filter of water. There could be a challenge for children within the pack. This would include several questions relating to the deep sea. They will be able to answer the questions thanks to the information in the exhibition. To help them, small symbols could be put next to the relevant pieces of information so that they know where to look. The content of this fun trail would put emphasis on conservation issues such as loss of deep-sea biodiversity, declining fish stocks, shark numbers caught as bycatch, structural vulnerability of deep-sea fish such as orange roughies, longevity of corals etc.

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

6.

Unfolding

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

6. Unfolding A. B. C. D. E. F.

An opening introductory area History and overview of the oceans The midwater The mirror room Life on the ocean floor Exit

The exhibition The Deep comes to life in complete darkness. An introductory zone marks the entrance, then the exhibition unfolds to reveal two themes, a split which corresponds to the differing depths: life in the midwater (the “pelagic” zone) and life on the sea floor (the “benthic” zone).

A. An opening introductory area The visitor enters the exhibition through a transitional portal which, through the use of a soft splashing soundtrack, gives the impression of a dive into the water, and thanks to the rapid loss of light, down into the deep. The exhibition The Deep begins in a totally black room, with only: - a backlit image of a fantastic creature: the alien-looking squid from the cover of the book The Deep - an inspiring quotation - a short introduction text to explain the unfolding of the exhibition to visitors - set into the wall, a Himantolophus anglerfish with an intermittently flashing diode in its lure This minimalist, sober space will serve to set the ambiance and create an impressive, enticing entrance.

B. History and overview of the oceans Up until the 1930s, the only way to explore the oceanic depths was by lowering trawling nets or dredges, sometimes down to several thousand meters. The strange creatures that were brought up to the surface were extremely popular, and became the jewels of curiosity cabinets. Although trawls are still widely used in oceanography today, the relatively new tools of immersion have shattered our understanding of the deep. This section displays: - a chronology of deep-sea exploration - an outline of the oceanic ecosystems (cross-section of the oceans) - a cabinet of curiosities - a short glossary

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

25

C hronology

of deep - sea exploration

The chronology will be composed of a graphic string of images and videos, with a timeline above and text beneath the visual string. A few inspiring quotations will branch off from the timeline. These milestones remind us that the first direct observations of the deep sea are recent, and that our view has been limited for a long time to the comic description made by Théodore Monod in 1954:

“Imagine what we would know about French fauna if we had only explored it i) from a balloon ii) through a permanent layer of thick clouds iii) by groping blindly with a grab and a salad bowl attached to a piece of string. What would we catch, even with the best luck, after fifty years, or even a century? Not a great deal, I fear: a cockerel, some tree branches, one or two pinecones, a traditional hair net from Brittany, a baby from Alsace, a bra, a few oysters, the lid of a toilet bucket, some bed springs, a hawthorn bush (probably with a chaffinch’s nest), a dead rat, some telephone wires, a policeman, and quite a bit of dirty paper… This is where we are for the deep-sea fauna.” Théodore Monod, Bathyfolages, 1954

• A “view from above” (before man’s immersion) 1848 Edward Forbes formulates the “Azoic” theory which postulates that ocean’s depths beyond 200 fathom (600 meters) are devoid of life. 1861 The first cable brought up from the depths of the Mediterranean proves opposite: sessile organisms are attached to it, Alphonse Milne-Edward examines them and concludes that life exists in the deep sea. 1872-1876 Charles Wyville Thomson and the Challenger Expedition, first circumnavigation of the globe, 4000 + new marine species described, more than 50 volumes to summarize the findings. The true “birth” of deep-sea oceanography. 1885-1915 Albert Ist of Monaco and oceanographic campaigns aboard his ships Hirondelle and Princesse Alice

• A “view from within” (after man’s immersion) 1934 William Beebe and Otis Barton in the Bathysphere a half mile down. Include a photograph of William Beebe and Auguste Piccard in Chicago in 1933, with the aim to destroy once and for all the myth which wrongly states that the Piccard’s bathyscaph had been inspired by his stratospheric balloon or by Beebe’s bathysphere: as Piccard writes himself: “Far from the idea for an underwater engine coming from the transformation of the stratospheric balloon, as it is commonly believed, it is in fact the opposite. The conception of the primitive bathyscaph gave me the means to explore high altitudes. To sum up, it was a submarine that drove me into the stratosphere.” Auguste Piccard, Au Fond des Mers en Bathyscaphe, 1954 Also add Jacques Piccard’s comic quotation: “Never would my father have accepted a mission in a bathysphere, and neither would I, for that matter …I add, to be objective, that Beebe retorted to us that he would not have, under any circumstances, put even a toe inside a ball as dangerous as our bathyscaph!”.

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

1948 Auguste Piccard: the man of extremes, the inspiration for the character Professor Calculus in The Adventures of Tin Tin, and Théodore Monod (the equivalent of Professor Aronnax on board Nemo’s Nautilus in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) on board FNRS 2. 1950-52 first dredge at 10,000 m (Galathea / Danish Anton Brunn) 1960 Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh in the US Navy’s Trieste for the world’s yet unbeaten record dive, 10 916 m to the Mariana Trench in the Pacific. 1964 Birth of Alvin, the pioneer submersible allowing “free” navigation. The breakthrough in autonomous deep-sea exploration. 1972-74 Archimède, Cyana and Alvin gathered in an unprecedented historical exploration campaign in the Atlantic: the first in situ observation of the mid-ocean ridge (operation Famous). 1977-1979 Discovery of hydrothermal vents 1984 Discovery of methane seeps 1985 Discovery of RMS Titanic by Robert D. Ballard 1987 Discovery of the first whale carcasses on the deep seafloor by a US Navy submersible.

• The future of research and exploration tools: manned or unmanned ? Graham Hawkes, designer of the famous “Deep Rovers” believes in manned submersibles that would be silent and allow never-before realized observation of the fauna. Hawkes Technologies develops winged submersibles, the “Deep Flights”, the equivalent of underwater gliders. Others and by far most, believe in remotely-operated vehicles that enable interactive and multi-disciplinary science such as ROVs, tethered-robots, or AUVs, autonomous underwater vehicles. In 2003, the deepest diving robot, Japanese-owned Kaiko, is lost at sea when the cable snaps in a storm. The construction of long-term observation stations, “deep-sea observatories” is the most recent trend in deep-sea science. They will allow for continuous measurements and hence enable further understanding of how animals interact with their environment and its physical properties.

An

outline of the different oceanic zones / ecosystems

It is important to ensure that the visitor retains the idea of the differences between the pelagic zone (the midwater), and the benthic zone (the seafloor). This cross-section of the oceans would appear on a large-format canvas (6 m x 4 m). This simplified overview (3D cross-section) of the oceans makes it easy to distinguish the various zones within the midwater (epipelagic, mesopelagic, abyssopelagic) etc. It presents us with: •

The principle relief present on the bottom

• A view of the pelagic zone divided according to the level of light penetration: Epipelagic (0-200 m) = 99% of light rays are absorbed by the water after 150 m Mesopelagic (200-1000 m) = the “dusk” of the oceans, the dangerous zone. Bathypelagic (1000-4000 m) = below 1000 m, not the slightest photon from the sun penetrates, it is pitch black Abyssopelagic (below 4000 m) • The deep-ocean ecosystems: continental margins, canyons, abyssal plain, trenches, seamounts, midocean ridges, etc.

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

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The outline is supplemented with several small images to illustrate the habitats of certain unimaginable creatures like anglerfish, the giant squid, the gulper eel, the vampire of the abyss etc. In the expanded version, the screens could also be replaced by screens showing different ecosystems, and bringing the cross-section to life. They will help to situate, from the outset, the different inhabitants and ecosystems of the deep. There will also be indications of hydrostatic pressure: at 4000 m, the force corresponds to the weight of a cow on a fingernail, at 10 000 m, it is the weight of a car on a fingernail, etc. (to be illustrated with the comic character for kids?)

A

concise glossary

Containing certain key terms: pelagic, benthic, photic, chemosynthetic, submersible, biomass, bioluminescence, biodiversity, oligotrophy, primary production, nutrients, swim bladder… as well as some etymological indications which will serve as a reminder: the origin of the word “abyss”, “bathyscaph”, “pelagic” etc. Twenty words in total will be defined and located by theme, so that the glossary is not a single uninviting block of text.

A

contemporary , urban cabinet of curiosities

This “cabinet of curiosities” could take on the form of lit windows within a black wall which altogether form an urban building façade – New York at night, inhabited by deep-sea creatures. By having some bright lit windows, and others dimmed, it would create the idea of occupancy. Beside the windows a depth scale could be placed, and the animals put in the appropriate place on the wall according to their true natural depth range. The lighting of the ‘windows’ (niches within the wall in which aquariums would perfectly fit, showing suspended animals) would be of different colors and hues, and the bulbs would be placed in varying positions within the blocks, sometimes on the upper part of the aquarium, sometimes to the sides, at angles or from beneath. Some animals would be placed more conspicuously than others to the foreground of the aquarium, with some animals placed to the rear in reduced lighting so as to invite the visitor to peer in, like an indiscrete neighbor peeking on his neighbors at night when the internal lighting makes observation possible. Some animals would have their own bioluminescent mechanisms as sole light source (a led fitted in the fish like the Himantolophus at the entrance of the exhibition). These very faintly lit creatures would engage visitors to observe them very closely so as to be able to make them out. Even with focused observation, their distinct shape would still elude the observer. These animals would lead visitors to ponder about the true aspect of the deep-sea fauna when encountered in its natural environment. This contemporary installation would suffice to be the whole of the exhibition on its own. Yet, the journey continues…

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

C. The midwater “The midwater is really quite a frightening place for a primate: so much water, so much darkness, and in all directions…” Théodore Monod, Bathyfolages, 1954 After the world of preserved animals, which were collected with nets, the visitor discovers the world of direct immersion through colorful pictures taken in situ. Deep-sea dives in the midwater (or pelagic zone) have only taken place in recent years. We can roughly date them to the mid 1980’s, when two American oceanographic institutions (Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, HBOI, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, MBARI) started developing submersibles and ROVs with specific midwater navigation capabilities. These research centers were the first ones to dedicate their research to the understanding of the pelagic zone, which had previously been considered devoid of life and therefore of little interest. Diving into the water column, the visitor discovers that this environment is actually teeming with magnificent organisms. These creatures are often gelatinous, sometimes giant in size. The visitor also learns that the water column is actually an organized body with its own rules and phenomena and that the distribution of the fauna obeys invisible frontiers: whether it be the concentration of salt or oxygen, the temperature, and the most important barrier, the availability of light. As far as the light penetrates (down to a depth of 1000 m), no matter how feeble the rays are, the creatures can still detect it. Beneath 1000 m, it is total darkness. This imposes new constraints on the fauna, but can also present new advantages. INDICATION • As the visitor enters the midwater room, we propose that some blocks are suspended from the ceiling, and do not touch the floor. On the front of the blocks will be an image, so that as the visitor enters, the effect is fully visual. This could be reproduced in the benthic zone, although here the blocks come from the ground like geological formations. Again the photographs face the visitor. The texts in both cases are on the other side of the blocks. There is thus a two-phase experience. Firstly, it is an aesthetic, visual impression; then as the visitor reaches the other side of the block, his curiosity is fed with insightful information, and scientific anecdotes. • We highly recommend placing benches throughout the show so visitors can rest and dream away in enchantment.

B etween 200

and

400

meters : the transparent zone

“When once it has been seen, the deep ocean will remain forever the most vivid memory in life.” William Beebe, Half Mile Down, 1935. In the first stage of the exhibition, the visitor experiences a world which to the human eye appears totally dark, but in which the animals are still able to detect light. It creates a great theater of Chinese shadows. It is a highly dangerous zone, but one in which food is more abundant than further down, and therefore inhabiting it is worth the risk. At the surface of the oceans, and while the light still clearly penetrates, the most effective strategy for escaping being eaten is to pass unseen. By having bodies through which light can pass, animals can trick predators by appearing invisible. Transparent tissue is highly prevalent among gelatinous plankton. The fauna residing in the upper water column is often described as the ‘glass menagerie’: salps, ctenophores, jellyfish, Venus belts, siphonophores, fish larvae, crustaceans…

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31

G elatinous

organisms

-

masters of the universe

“In the depths of the sea […] the pelagic population is so present, and so striking from the surface, down to the very bottom that the words « puree », « soup » and « broth » come up time and again in the books of observers.” Théodore Monod, Bathyfolages, 1954. The great surprise, which met the researchers who carried out the first dives into the midwater, was the discovery of the predominance of gelatinous organisms at this depth. Trawls had always reduced these creatures to unrecognizable slime. Gelatinous animals have adapted to a life without walls, without floors and without any rigid obstacles. They are surrounded by water, and are often made up of it themselves (up to 98% of their composition is water). It transpires that gelatinous organisms make up the most widespread living tissue present in the midwater. In terms of mass, they are the most abundant creatures on earth. Amongst these are the largest animals on earth! The giant siphonophore Praya dubia can reach 50 m long and Apolemia sp. more than 100 m (personal communication Jean de Vaugelas). We suggest that there is a section dedicated to these incredible predators which, against all expectations, compete with the fishing industry at certain times of the year! In fact, depending on the season, siphonophores are so numerous that they go into direct competition with juvenile fish for resources. (Cf the siphonophores in the Gulf of Maine and the cyclical collapse of fisheries). INDICATION • A wall of siphonophore images could be created, as there are sublime photographs of these beasts which show their various forms and colors.

The vertical migration – the phantom depths of the oceans By its scale, frequency and the sheer number of individuals involved, this daily migration trivializes that of wildebeest and geese. Vertical migration occurs every night in all oceans and even lakes of the world. During the day, millions of organisms hide in the dark oceanic depths in order to escape the light and the visual predators who reign at the surface. However, as night falls, they begin a long journey to reach the sunlit photosynthetic waters where food is plentiful. This massive movement of hundreds of different species (crustaceans: copepods in particular - miniscule crustaceans with a central eye - cephalopods, invertebrates, fish, especially Myctophids – lantern fish) forms such a dense layer (the ‘Deep Scattering Layer’ typically between 300 and 800 m below the surface) that it reflects acoustic waves from boats. For a long time, this natural occurrence confused ship technicians and captains: they believed that the seafloor was rising up underneath their boats. The explanatory theories put forward ranged from geological phenomena, to seismic activity and debris from eruptions. These mysterious layers were baptized the ‘phantom depths’ of the oceans. Today, we know what forms these dense clouds of animals. Yet, vertical migration, the largest daily journey in the world, is a recently discovered phenomenon, which has far from revealed all its secrets… This poses questions for science, particularly the issue of the food flux between surface and deep waters. All these animals rising from the depths (it seems that the journey is not made by those who live below 1000 m, it is not worth their while) are in a way “pushing down” the primary production of the first few hundred meters towards the deep. INDICATION • A superimposition of transparent plastic films dedicated to copepods shown to scale could be included, so as to evoke their abundance and diversity.

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

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This document is confidential, and has been registered at the French SCAM N° 2007100142

T he G iant S quid -

a vertical migrator

?

Do all the animals living in the first oceanic kilometer migrate? When navigators come across a giant squid on the surface, does that mean that it has migrated to feed, or is it an aging creature about to die? The evidence seems to indicate that the squid’s trips to the surface are exceptional. In general, they live around the 1000 m mark… The sperm whale is the squid’s principal predator, as it is able to dive to 2000 m on a single breath of air. INDICATION • Dr. Kubodera in Japan is the only person to have ever filmed a giant squid at the surface, and to have photographed a giant squid struggling with bait at depth. His very rare images could be shown. INTERACTIVE ELEMENT • Game for kids: “Draw a Giant Squid (or your favorite deep-sea animal)”. There would be a large table upon which five interactive drawing pads and tools would sit. The pads would be linked to computer screens. The visitor selects their tool of choice from an interactive menu (pencil, paintbrush etc) and can create different effects, mix colors, and be creative. At the end, the computer gives the visitor the option to save the image and input his name, age group and contact details. The images will then be judged, and prizes awarded for the best picture per age category (0-8, 8-15, 15+ years).

B ioluminescence - the most communication on E arth

widespread form of

“Two things astounded Kant: the starry sky above his head and the moral law in the heart of man. Had he been a passenger in a bathyscaph, there is no doubt that our philosopher would have added a third “wonder of the world” to his short list: the enchanting ballet of luminescent organisms dotting the dark waters of the deep.” Théodore Monod, Bathyfolages, 1954. The level of light drops very quickly in the oceans as the water absorbs it, but this is immediately counterbalanced by the light created by deep marine creatures. While bioluminescence is a rare phenomenon on land (only a few click-beetles, glow-worms and fungi produce it), it is prevalent among oceanic fauna: 80-90% of pelagic organisms produce light! Bioluminescence is without a doubt the most widespread form of communication on Earth. Bioluminescence is most often of chemical origin, but is sometimes bacterial (like the lure of the anglerfish in Finding Nemo).

“This “living light” releases very little heat; it is entirely in the spectrum of the reception of human eyes; technically speaking, it is thus incomparably superior to everything that man has invented until now.” Robert S. Dietz, 1961. Bioluminescence also exists in different forms: it is found as a sort of headlamp which serves to light up the surrounding water, and is carried not far from the fish’s eyes; The photophores can take the form of eyelids that the animals can conceal when they wish; and can be present in the lure (barbel, fishing rod...). Bioluminescent organs often take the form of an eye, to make the animal look bigger than it is (ref. Vampyroteuthis infernalis).

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Some animals spit out a persistent bioluminescent mucus (ref. Vampyroteuthis infernalis), or separate themselves from their tentacles (ref. medusa Colobonema) and flee whilst their predators follow the tentacles… Sometimes bioluminescence is in the form of a flamboyant wheel (ref. Atolla) or a firework… This phenomenon serves several functions: to attract prey (which mistakes the light for the bioluminescent bacteria which often cover organic debris), to communicate with members of the same species, to recognize each other, to signal to a potential mate. However, it is its role as a defense mechanism that is common to all creatures. We suggest dedicating a separate room within the exhibition trail to this phenomenon and showing a bioluminescent film on a small screen. Because animals’ living lights are filmed with intensified cameras that produce a poor quality of film, it is necessary to keep the size of the screen small. INDICATIONS • Counter-illumination: A demonstration device to show how ventral photophores balance out the intensity of the down-welling light against which their silhouette stands out (comparable to counterlighting used by airplanes during World War II). Ref. silver hatchetfish, Argyropelecus sp. • It is important to explain that “free” bioluminescent bacteria exist in the water, and that they often attach to small particles of food, which fall from the surface of the oceans. Most organisms are attracted to luminous points which shine in the dark as most of the time they mean food, but often times it is a trap that is set out by predators. This could be illustrated with a cartoon. • Photographs of the animals lit by artificial light will be shown next to images of them in their natural luminescing state: the fauna will be chosen based on the variety of the ways they produce bioluminescence: flashes, trails, spirals etc. (Gnathophausia: a shrimp which expulses a bioluminescent cloud from its mouth; Atolla: incredible luminescent pinwheel display; firework siphonophore; the squid Histioteuthis: the “giant strawberry of the deep” as this red animal is covered in bioluminescent photophores etc.) • There could be a space devoted to dragonfish (Malacosteidae, “loosejaws” family, species such as Malacosteus, Aristostomias, Pachystomias…), which produce a red light whilst the vast majority of light emissions are blue-green waves. The stoplight loosejaw Malacosteus also possesses visual pigments which allow it to detect red light, something other animals cannot do… The fish can therefore light up its prey undetected, and without attracting the attention of its own predators. It behaves like a sniper of the deep! • A wall could be dedicated to Stauroteuthis syrtensis, the octopus with luminous suckers, which has become a global reference for the study of the evolution of bioluminescence. Its suckers have already lost their adhesive function and most of them are in the process of transforming into bioluminescent photophores… A series of previously unpublished photographs of the octopus in many different positions could be reproduced at the actual size of the cephalopod. • The most abundant animal on the planet is bioluminescent! This deep-sea vertebrate, the Cyclothone or “round-mouth”, is only a few centimeters long. A wall of hundreds of “round-mouths”, which appear progressively until the wall is covered (and then faints away again) could be devised. INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS • Bioluminescent touchscreen pad – The visitor chooses an animal from the console menu eg. jelly fish, firework siphonophore, dragonfish, Tomopteris worm (glows yellow), Praya dubia, squid, hatchetfish... Then the visitor touches the interactive screen and it shows the creature’s use of bioluminescence. The bioluminescence will appear where (and only if) contact is made. • Creative bioluminescent paintings – Prepared petri dishes containing liquid medium inoculated with bioluminescent bacteria would be available to the visitor. Using a probe, the temporary microbiologist draws patterns in the medium, creating a glow-in-the-dark work of art. There are safety considerations for such display as bioactive compounds would be used. The visitor could for example create his bioluminescent art through a shield of hermetic plastic by fitting his hands inside gloves reaching into the isolated transparent chamber.

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This document This is confidential, document is and confidential, has beenand registered has been atregistered the Frenchat SCAM the N° French 2007100142 …. N° …

T he

red room : from

600

m colors appear

During his descent, the visitor meets animals that are exclusively confined to the great depths, and never migrate towards the surface. The common characteristic that allows them to be identified specifically as deep-sea creatures is their color. Contrary to expectations, the deeper down you go in the ocean, the more the animals’ skins are pigmented with dark colors: brown, black and dark red. Red is the first wavelength to disappear in the water, so it acts as a black cape, which camouflages the animal from predators. A possible reason as to why so many animals are red in order to appear black, and not simply black, is that it is almost certainly easier to generate red pigment from food than to generate black (therefore it is less “costly” evolutionarily speaking). Medusae of all types bear vibrant colors (red, pink, burgundy, violet, maroon, black…), which allow them to pass undetected and to hide the potentially bioluminescent prey they may have ingested. The contrast with the creatures that make up the “glass menagerie” of the first few hundred meters of the oceans is striking. INDICATIONS A photograph of a red mysid (Gnathophausia) will be included. Attached to the photograph could be a blue plastic transparency which the visitor could use to cover the image (independent from the youth pack with blue glasses as this display will also target adults). This would illustrate the effectiveness of the red pigment as a means of camouflage, and give the visitor an idea of the importance of colors in the deep. We suggest devoting a room entirely to red, pink and burgundy animals.

B etween 600

and

1300 m :

the oxygen minimum zone

The oxygen level drops progressively as distance from the surface increases and as it is consumed by the great numbers of animals populating the first few hundred meters of water. It reaches its lowest limit between 600 and 1300 m depending on the area. This is called the oxygen minimum layer (it drops to just 5% of the saturation of oxygen in air). The vast majority of animals can only stay very briefly in this zone; cephalopods in particular need concentration levels equivalent to 50% of the saturation of the air. However, there is an extraordinary creature capable of sustaining itself in this environment, and which in fact completes its total life cycle there. The famous vampire squid from hell, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, which is the mascot of the deep seas, and of which photographs are very rare. The vampire is a living fossil whose origins date back more than 200 million years. It shows remarkable adaptations to life in the oxygen minimum layer, taking oxygen from the water using an efficient blood pigment, hemocyanin… Its strategy shelters it from predators. INDICATIONS • Make this area a focus on living fossils and display, if available, a coelacanth opposite a Vampyroteuthis as well as a stalked crinoid, a picture of the lizard shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus, or the animal itself if available. It is important to explain that a living fossil does not mean that it has not evolved at all, but that it is very close to its fossil record, therefore its evolution has been limited. However, if we were to succeed in resuscitating a real fossil, today’s animal could not reproduce with its ancestor, the alliance would be unfertile. INTERACTIVE ELEMENT • Use of heliodisplays – these units produce a screen of modified air onto which films can be projected. The animals will appear to float in mid-air, and the visitor is able to pass his hand through the image.

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B eneath 1000

m

-

total darkness

The threshold of total darkness lies between 600 and 1000 m below the surface, depending on the number of particles suspended in the water. Below 1000 m it is impossible to detect the slightest photon originating from the sun. The enveloping darkness dictates new behavior and different adaptations, and the animals living below this limit do not migrate to the surface. The residents of this water level have never seen a ray of sunlight. They are, for the most part, static creatures with slow metabolisms, which resort to tricks to find their meals, rather than using force or speed. Contrary to popular belief, it is neither darkness, reduced oxygen levels, nor the hydrostatic pressure, which ultimately limit development of life in the depths. It is very simply the scarce food supply.

• The limitation of food supply and subsequent adaptations The food passes down through the water column, falling in a fine rain from the surface and finally settling on the seafloor. If we were to eat snow, it would be easier to get it from the ground, where it accumulates, than to try to gulp down enough by following the flakes in the sky. The same goes for the “bathypelagic” fauna (living between 1000 and 4000 m below the surface). Having a limited food supply has forced them to economize on their energy use and conserve muscle reserves. In addition, they do not have large skeletons and often no scales as these would demand great amounts of food to build. Of the vertebrates, most are small in size (as opposed to gelatinous organisms, which do not have to produce bones, and consequently grow very quickly.) With meals being so rare, when prey comes along, missing it is not an option. Some species have been noted to have teeth which are not in proportion with their bodies: the teeth of the viperfish Chauliodus sp. are so big that they do not fit in its mouth. Those of the fangtooth Anoplogaster cornuta are short but sharp. The stomachs of the gulper eel Saccopharynx sp. or of the pelican eel Eurypharynx sp. are extensible, and can swell so as to allow them to swallow prey, which is as big as them (the same principle as for the boa). The gulper eel is a characteristic demonstration of deep-sea adaptations in all aspects: its eyes are extremely small, its jaws are huge, its stomach is expandable and its long tail is said to bear a bioluminescent organ at its very tip.

• Buoyancy & pressure Deep-sea creatures lie in wait for their food to pass by. They have to therefore use their flawless ability to float, so as not to expend energy to stay at a given depth. There are several ways they achieve this: their bodies are often round; the skin of fish often possesses gelatinous substances which permit neutral buoyancy; the livers of deep-sea sharks are rich in oils which are lighter than water; the fins are extended to maximize the surface area for support in the water (eg. pelagic isopods Munnopsis). Pressure is only exerted on animals with organs which are filled with air, typically fish which have a swim bladder, so most pelagic deep-sea fishes do not possess one Their buoyancy is therefore as close as possible to perfection but in the absence of a swim bladder they are slightly negatively buoyant and do need to wiggle a little bit to remain at a certain depth. Those who do possess air-filled pouches such as fish that live closer to the seafloor or some gelatinous creatures, have to “change levels” in a slow enough way to allow time for gas exchange to take place inside their organs.

• In the absence of light Darkness has found its natural answer: the production of light! However, some creatures use sensitive sensory methods to survive in the dark, such as their sense of smell. An example of this is found with certain species of male anglerfish, which can “sniff out” females at great distance despite their small size. Their mode of reproduction is very strange. It was originally thought that

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the male attached himself to the female by means of a fatal bite, his tissues fusing with hers until he dissolved into a simple pouch of gonads, but it has recently been discovered that instead of disappearing, the male actually may grow progressively! Many fishes have other sensitive detection systems such as the well-known “lateral lines”, which are often very visibly developed in deep-sea species. Chondrichthians (chimaeras, sharks & rays) rely on their analysis of electrical signals emitted by prey. Overall, huge sized-eyes like those of Macropinna or Winteria are coherent with their twilight zone residency as smaller sized-eyes are a give-away factor of very deep living range. Further down, one may even encounter blind fish (deprived of eyes or only bearing residual eye structures…) INDICATIONS • The reflection could be brought onto the human-centered concept of “monster” by grouping the “dwarf monsters” of the specimen collection side by side. INTERACTIVE ELEMENT • Ideally, an optical theatre film based on Pepper’s ghosts technique would be made. The film would feature one character (a comedian or researcher) who is outspoken, engaging and witty. He would be filmed on a black background so that images of creatures can be projected in the foreground and background so as to play with the 3D layers and depth of field. The character first appears on a normal television screen to the side of the optical theatre in a mock up of a submersible, viewing fish through a small porthole. However, it is very cramped in the submersible because of the pilot next to him, and he has a limited view. He wants to get out and free-dive with the animals! So he steps out of the sub, and into the optical theater where he starts free-swimming. He finds himself 1000 m down, and can be with the animals. He talks about different creatures, and these appear next to him when he clicks his fingers. Because he is filmed on black backdrop, the scale can be adjusted, for example he is downsized when swimming next to a giant siphonophore (up to 100 m long). We get the sense of the animal’s scale through the changing size of the human character. When there is a small jellyfish next to him, he grows to oversize the jelly by several folds, if it is an enormous animal then he becomes the size of a fly. The animals are already filmed on a black background, which means they can be easily integrated into the theater. Thanks to the system of the two-way mirror, part of the light is filtered out, making the character appear to be floating. This method is perfectly suited to our subject, but the one constraint is that animals have to be whole in the picture, if cropped, the effect is lost. We can play with different layers of projection: 1st layer – animal footage, 2nd layer – human character and main film, 3rd layer – more animals and sometimes geological features as props that are lit intermittently. The first layer is only activated intermittently in order to allow certain transparent animals eg. medusae to pass in front of the character.

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D. The Mirror Room In between areas C and E we propose to display all the animals belonging to the exhibition’s unique collection in an elegant, luxurious, contemporary dark room with a mirrored floor and ceiling creating an allover black shrine. The pelagic animals would be shown in “midwater columns” which would occupy the entire height of the room, from floor to ceiling, like trees creating a deep-sea forest. Two or three illuminated creatures would be suspended in liquid inside each of these black columns at varying levels, thus creating an impression of flotation within space, similar to that felt during a midwater dive. The demersal animals (living on, or in close proximity to the seabed) would be shown in “benthic pillars” which would not run all the way to the ceiling but stop at varying heights. In this room, very slow projections of marine snow will appear on the walls so as to confuse barriers and spatial references even further and increase the immersion effect. The movement will be barely perceptible, but will contribute to the sensation of suspension. The sound design is also essential.

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E. Life on the ocean floor “The ocean floor is reassuring, even if it lies at 4000 m below the surface.” Théodore Monod, Bathyfolages, 1954. The principal message to convey to the public is that the generic term “the deep sea” covers a multitude of environments. There are various ecosystems within the deep, which radically differ from one another. Because of this, it is impossible to answer the broad question “what is a deep-sea dive like?” without having defined the location and the depth of the dive. In the same way, it is unthinkable even to try to represent “the deep-ocean floor” without describing the variety of ecosystems that are found there. It is important to show the main types of geological formations and the ecosystems that are associated with them: - The abyssal plain - Whale carcasses - Continental margins / Methane seeps - Underwater canyons - Seamounts / Coral reefs - The mid-ocean ridge - Hydrothermal vents - Trenches

T he

abyssal plain

The ocean floor is the final receptacle for all food (the rain of particles), which filters down through the water column. This food settles down at varying speeds according to its location (in the oligotrophic zone, in the center of the oceans, the rate of sedimentation is about 5 mm per 1000 years; in the zones where there is a lot of primary production, the rate reaches up to 10-20 cm per 1000 years). These particles form an organic carpet of which a great variety of creatures can take advantage, but this carpet can by no means support large numbers of animals. A trend becomes clear: biomass is low, but species diversity is high. It is important to highlight this counter-intuitive notion. In order to put this in perspective, on average there are 5 kg of organisms per square meter in the shallow marine ecosystems, whereas the biomass at great depths does not exceed 1 g/m2. It is estimated that the benthic layer houses more than 80% of marine species, even though the first 1000 m of water contain the largest biomass on the planet. The diversity in the midwater is less than that on the ocean floor, but the biomass is superior. At the same time, the number of species still to be discovered in the deep sea is without doubt many tens of times higher than the number of species at the surface (estimation 10 million species to be discovered still). Grassle and Maciolek’s carried out a study which aimed to calculate the number of unknown species in the benthos from a precise sampling effort deployed from a depth of 40 m to 2000 m. They established that 58% of the species present in the sediment were unknown to science. In conclusion, the depths make up the greatest reservoir of life on the planet. The deep-sea populations are very rich in species, but there are not great numbers of each solely because of the lack of food resources. When these resources increase, the density of animals increases proportionally.

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INDICATIONS • At the beginning of this section, the important notion of species diversity will be illustrated by means of a mosaic of photographs of small and medium size all brought together on a large backlit transparency. • Further along the route, it is important to introduce the notions of emptiness and isolation which are characteristic of the abyssal plain. It will be stressed that this diversity of species (shown on the backlit transparency) can be found on the vast abyssal plain, which represents 50% of the oceans depths. The recent discovery that the organic matter that falls to the bottom of the oceans varies according to seasons will be mentioned, as this changes the historical view of the deep sea as a perfectly stable environment. • Radiolarians (unicellular planktonic microorganisms whose siliceous skeleton form a large part of the sediment) will be displayed in resin. • Focus on larvaceans Larvaceans, which are present in the upper water column, construct a large mucus house around themselves to trap organic debris to feed on. Their mucus net periodically becomes too laden, so these minuscule animals separate from it and produce another one (calculations show that the frequency of creation can be very high: several times per 24 hours). These large pockets called ‘sinkers’ (in some cases 1 m across, cf giant larvacean, Bathochordaeus sp.), rich in organic matter, cross the water column and constitute a considerable contribution of carbon to the deep “benthos”. An area the size of a dinner plate on the bottom receives about 100 larvacean “carcasses” per year, or a carcass every 3 days. • A selection of sea cucumbers could be displayed, as they represent up to 90% of the content of trawls, particularly in trenches. This focus could be named “the kingdom of the sea cucumbers”. • This section would include a screen showing footage of the animals and habitats of the benthic zone, excluding hydrothermal vents. INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS • “Create your own deep-sea animal” - Children can choose what type of animal they would like to make (gelatinous, cephalopod, fish, crustacean) and then choose its features (size of eyes, teeth, lure etc). They also choose the depth they would like it to live at. From this information, the computer will give them information about the conditions at that depth (percentage of light penetration, oxygen saturation, hydrostatic pressure, available food resources). The computer will then show how well the creature would cope at that depth. Then the child can change the depth, thus learning how different aspects of the environment affect the survival of different animals in the deep. (To be developed.) • Focus on the infauna There will be a focus on the very active underground world of infauna, that is to say the creatures that live within the first few centimeters of sediment at the bottom. Microscopes – There could be microscopes available to allow the visitor to study these small deepsea creatures, which will have been fixed in a non-fluid material. Whatever the visitor is looking at through the microscope will be relayed to a screen so that it can be shared with other visitors.

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W hale

carcasses

In this context, it is easy to imagine the impact that the arrival of a giant whale carcass has! The carcass is a very welcome food source for the deep-sea inhabitants and allows a whole ecosystem to be sustained for close to 100 years in the case of the largest specimens (blue whale)! The deep-sea fauna has certainly found itself deprived of a source of food with which it had developed for tens of millions of years. Researchers therefore suggest that the killing of whales by man on the surface has, without a doubt, led to the extinction of deep-sea species, dependant on the whale carcasses for their survival.

“In the space of 200 years, man has killed 1,500,000 large whales. In terms of biomass, if the average weight of each was say, 70 tons, this would be equivalent to one and a half billion men. This means that a quarter of humanity would have been killed.” Lucien Laubier

P article

traps :

geological formations and enhancend currents

• Elevated areas The immediate interface between the water and the ocean floor, the current is greatly reduced, so any outgrowth – rock, gorgonian, sponge – provides an opportunity to reach out into stronger currents, which carry organic particles. It has recently been discovered that relief creates an opportunity for creatures to group together to reproduce. Some small rocks are sufficient to play the role of a nest for eggs (ref. “nurseries” discovered in 2003 in North California by MBARI).

• Seamounts and canyons Habitats where the current is enhanced by the relief (canyons, seamounts) act like “particle traps”, therefore there is an increased concentration of life in these areas compared with the abyssal plain. It is here that deep coral reefs develop and, like their cousins in the tropical surface waters, form truly complex ecosystems which are still largely unknown to man. (It is important to define seamounts and explain Taylor’s column – the current circulates around a seamount which traps plankton, creating a large food chain from the smallest to the largest creature, and from the top of the seamount to the surface.) The groups of fish and birds that congregate above seamounts (attracted by the productivity generated by the Taylor’s column) have long signaled the existence of this underwater relief to industrial fishermen. Since the 1970s these rich ecosystems, largely unknown to science, have been exploited. The trawlers used are equipped with weights which are sufficiently powerful to completely grind the coral reef on the top of the seamounts (up to 2000 m down). The dragged nets destroy everything in their path, leaving a devastated “lunar” landscape, where only a few hours earlier an architectural coral reef was blooming, which was sometimes up to 10 000 years old. Emphasis will be put on the destruction and conservation of these deep cold-water reefs, as well as the overfishing occurring at the surface.

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INDICATION • Photographs of organisms using the relief in order to reach into the current, such as crinoids and sponges literally sitting on top of the coral, a tripod fish (Bathypterois) raised on its pectoral fins, and deep-sea nurseries, will be shown. INTERACTIVE ELEMENTS • Interactive 3D submersible simulation station – This CG flyover, which integrates real footage of animals and ecosystems, takes the visitor on a journey from the west coast of Ireland to New York. On leaving Ireland, the submersible dives down and travels through many different ecosystems including the continental margin, methane seeps, the abyssal plain, seamounts (extinct volcanoes), the mid-Atlantic ridge and underwater canyons, before it arrives in New York. • Resource management game – This virtual reality game, for older children and adults, allows visitors to play the role of fishermen who must decide how and what to fish in order to be sustainable. It will be a complex, multi-factor “Sim City” type program which involves organizing and managing fisheries.

C hemosynthetic

ecosystems : exception to the rules

“Hydrothermal vents are highly ephemeral…. They turn on and off in a matter of a few years or tens of years as the deep plumbing that feeds them opens or closes with tectonic movements around the rift.” Robert D. Ballard, The Eternal Darkness, p. 183 Chemosynthetic ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents, methane seeps and whale carcasses challenge each of the general deep-sea rules concerning food resources and distribution of life, i.e: vents have little diversity (600 species) but great biomass concentrations. The visitor is taken back to the very first encounter of hot vents on the mid-ocean ridge in 1977, and told of the pilot’s very comic summary on discovering the “black smokers” and their accompanying fauna: “We find ourselves faced with a sort of locomotive smokestack that has some strange thing sticking out of it…there are some odd little fish all along the structure they look almost like bits of guts.” The “locomotive smokestack” describes a chimney made up of mineral and sulfur deposits and the “strange thing” is a dense black hydrothermal plume. The “bits of guts” are zoarcid fish with wrinkled pink flesh… This excerpt illustrates how perplexed the scientific community was when they uncovered these new life forms. The surprises continued in the years that followed, with researchers discovering a plethora of physiological adaptations exhibited by the inhabitants of this extreme environment. Once the function of “chemosynthesis” is clearly established, the later discoveries of methane “cold” seeps (1984), and chemosynthetic whale carcasses (1987) are explained. “The corner of extremes” shows nature’s responses to the complexity of the habitat. “The extremophiles” include: the most thermo-resistant organism in the world (Pyrolobus fumari, a microorganism whose optimal temperature for growth is 105°C); the most “barophile” animal (which achieves optimal growth under raised hydrostatic pressure); those that resist the highest toxic levels; those that have a taste for danger (Alvinella pompejana lives in hydrothermal smoke stacks which frequently collapse). The very recently discovered “Lost City” site in the Atlantic (30° North, discovered in 2000) will be focused on. This site has the largest hydrothermal stacks that have ever been found (60 m), and is unlike any other hydrothermal site: it does not have the classically associated fauna: Riftia, Alvinella, Calyptogena…

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The last point of focus is on the fact that the discovery of chemosynthesis has reactivated the debate about exobiology, and the emergence of life on Earth or other celestial bodies (Europe, Jupiter’s moon or Mars). It has greatly pushed the frontiers of human knowledge. INDICATIONS • If possible, obtain an entire Riftia in good condition, and display it in formalin. • A screen dedicated to High Definition footage of hydrothermal vents will be displayed in this area. The visitor will come across this screen unexpectedly along their journey through the exhibition, in order to heighten the sense of discovery.

F. Exit As at the entrance, there will be a small transitional space which is identical in aspect and size. An evocative quote could be displayed ensuring that the visitor leaves the exhibition on a reflective note:

“If we put the 4.5 billion years of our planet into one day, supposing that Earth was formed at midnight, life began at around five o’clock in the morning and developed throughout the day. At about 8 pm the first mollusks appeared. Then, at 11 pm, the dinosaurs arrived, disappearing at 11.40 pm and leaving the path clear for the rapid evolution of mammals. Our ancestors only arrived in the last five minutes before midnight, and saw their brains double in volume in the last minute. The industrial revolution only started in the last hundredth of a second!” Hubert Reeves, Joël de Rosnay, Yves Coppens et Dominique Simonet, La plus belle histoire du Monde, Le Seuil, 1996.

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7.

Ideas for the exhibition’s promotion

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7. Ideas for the exhibition’s promotion A video installation of deep-sea images could be projected onto the facade of a building in the city, with the occasional addition of computer-generated bioluminescence. This could be pulsating so as to replicate the expanding and shrinking effect of a luminescent animal. An advertising campaign, with striking visual impact, could be launched on public transport. Stunning images, such as the pink finned octopus Stauroteuthis syrtensis, could be printed on subway stations and trains. Buses could have wraps with perforated films over the windows, so that the bus is entirely camouflaged, and all that remains is one beautiful image, and the title and location of the exhibition. This would capture the attention and imagination of the general public throughout the New York transport system. A large banner with a beautiful, unusual image, and the title of the exhibition could be hung on the facade of the museum. We would propose constructing a replica of a siphonophore in plastic, and placing it outside the museum. The deep sea shelters the largest living organisms on the planet, such as the Praya dubia or Apolinia sp. siphonophores which can grow to 100 meters in length. Although they are the largest species represented in the exhibition, they are portrayed on the smallest photographs due to limits with flash photography which mean they have to be taken from frame grabs of video footage. We would like to compensate for this, and give people an idea of just how impressive and large these creatures are.

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8.

Contacts

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8. Contacts G eneral

curator

Claire Nouvian

P roducers

Columbia River Oregon Claire Forest Christophe Hébert

S cientific advisors

Steven Haddock (MBARI, USA) Samuel Iglésias (MNHN, Concarneau) Bernard Métivier (MNHN, Paris) Bertrand Richer-de-Forges (IRD, Nouméa) Brad Seibel (University of Rhode Island, USA) Tracey Sutton (HBOI, USA) Edith Widder (ORCA, USA)

D esigners Agence MOSTRA / BL Production I magery search , specimen search D evelopment of content A ssistants

to curators

BLOOM Association Samantha Bailey Elizabeth Flew

BLOOM ASSOCIATION Claire Nouvian 12, rue Hippolyte Lebas 75009 Paris - France [email protected] +33-6 13 40 50 43

Columbia River Oregon Claire Forest & Christophe Hébert Péniche Constance 10 bis Allée du Bord de l’Eau 75016 – Paris [email protected] [email protected] Tel. 33 (1) 45 24 70 80 Fax. 33 (1) 45 24 04 88

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