The deep ocean opens up

An innovative new exhibition at the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve provides glimpses into the past, present and future of our oceans. Ciência Viva has joined forces with the Ocean Technology Foundation (OTF) in Groton, Connecticut, in its first-ever collaboration with this US organisation. The science centre exhibition gives visitors a chance to explore undersea technologies, and to look inside a 12-foot long model of Ocean Base, an undersea habitat of the future, where aquanauts can live and work at depths of 600 feet for extended periods of time. Other highlights include a display on marine archaeology, which features a shipwreck site discovered recently off the coast of Faro, and displays on fisheries and biodiversity, both of which explain the importance of using our marine resources wisely.

“Portugal has such a rich maritime heritage, and in addition to celebrating that, we hope to increase the public’s awareness of the issues currently affecting our oceans. And we want the public to understand how we can deal with some of these issues by using undersea technologies,” said John Ringelberg, President of the Ocean Technology Foundation.

The exhibition also serves as an introduction to some of the career opportunities that are available to students of ocean sciences, and provides hands on activities, such as mapping a replicated shipwreck site and using a robotic arm to simulate picking up artefacts off the ocean floor. Visitors can also experience the touch pool, which allows them to hold various animals found in shallow coastal waters, and look through microscopes to view live plankton.

The Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve is a non-profit organisation established in 1998 that focuses on engaging the public in science and technology through the development of interactive exhibitions and educational programmes. Over 25,000 people are expected to visit the centre this year. The Ocean Technology Foundation is also a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering excellence in ocean exploration, marine research, and education, with an emphasis on underwater activities.The two organisations are associated through OTF’s Science, Education, and Marine Archaeology Program in Portugal, which is an ongoing study of the marine science and submerged cultural resources that lie in Portuguese coastal waters.

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