The Australian Museum’s new Deep Oceans Exhibition is a fascinating look at life and exploration in the deep oceans. It is not a huge exhibition but what’s there is uniformly well-executed and fascinating. Who knew that in Angler Fish the males are tiny and live fused to the much-larger females body? Better for them indeed than the other fish species where the males just live inside the female. Although when the alternative is being out in the dark, cold, pressurised depths of the ocean who can say what is more appealing?
We found out a lot about bioluminescence and it’s uses in hunting and in avoiding being hunted. Almost all deep-sea fishes have blue bioluminescence because blue light travels further in water, the other colours soon become washed out to grey as you descend. We learnt about the enormous damage deep-sea fishing does to entire eco-systems. We discovered the sort of feast a dead whale can provide for the bottom-dwellers. In short there’s a great deal to see and it is all presented in a very entertaining fashion.
There are several interactive exhibits and only one was not working properly – the one where you get to pilot an undersea vehicle on screen was in serious need of being restarted. There’s also a conceptually clever exhibit where you put your arm in a chamber and experience gently increasing pressures. Unfortunately, neither I nor the tame marine biologist I visited with could work out the scale. But these are minor quibbles.
Overall I’d rate the Deep Oceans exhibition as one of the better I’ve seen in a long time. The fact that it is wholly home-grown, instead of being an international import, is also pleasing and the production group deserve to be congratulated.
Entry to the Exhibition, which includes general entry to the Museum is $43 for a family of four. The Exhibition is not enormous so to get full value out of your entry you should probably plan around a break and then a look at some of the other Museum exhibits. Buying online attracts a handling fee which, given the queue for entry was small on this first weekend, I’m not sure I’d bother with.
There are also a few special events coming up including kids and adult sleepovers and talks.
Full details are available at: www.deepoceans.com.au.