Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is working in conjunction with its research partner, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to put on the rare look into the deep sea. 

It’s often said humans have spent more time learning about outer space than the Earth’s own oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is ocean, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 80 percent of the ocean are unexplored. 

Although the aristocracy is getting their own space tourism industry up in orbit, the cost and complexity involved in exploring the dark depths of the ocean make deep sea entrepreneurialism unlikely in the near future. That is, unless a world-renowned aquarium, in conjunction with its world-renowned marine research partner, could bring the experience of the underwater trenches to the surface. 

Long under development, the Monterey Bay Aquarium announced Jan. 11 that it’s first-ever, immersive deep-sea exhibit, “Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean” will open to the public on April 9. The Aquarium is calling the experience an “unparalleled descent from the ocean’s surface through the dark abyss of the midwater to the sea floor.” The exhibit will offer a rare look at deep-sea marine life; some of the species will be displayed for the first time ever. Some are so newly discovered that they have yet to be named. 

Over the last year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, or MBARI, has focused on deep sea research, coming across rare species and peculiar habits from organisms living in the planet’s depths. 

“For most people, this is the first time they’ve ever seen a living deep-sea animal,” Beth Redmond-Jones, the Aquarium’s vice president of exhibitions and facilities said in a press release. “We want visitors to understand that these habitats, seemingly so distant from our lives and so different from the ocean we’re familiar with, are critically important to the health of our planet. We’re confident that ‘Into the Deep’ makes that connection and inspires people to learn more about the deep sea and support its conservation.”

The exhibition will span more than 10,000 square feet, making it the largest deep-sea exhibit in North America. The Aquarium had to design its own highly advanced water treatment system in order to replicate conditions needed to sustain the species of the deep sea. 

Tickets and more information are available at the aquarium’s website.

Christopher Neely covers a mixed beat that includes the environment, water politics, and Monterey County's Board of Supervisors. He began at the Weekly in 2021 after five years on the City Hall beat in Austin, TX.

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