Vivid underwater images of diving penguins and deep-sea tubeworms capture the dynamic nature of the world’s oceans in a new exhibit open to the public at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.
Visitors can view the award-winning, 200-foot-long display, which highlights research conducted by scientists in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, on free tours offered this summer from June 6 through Sept. 5.
The museum-quality exhibit transports visitors from the ocean depths to shallow waters to the coastline, with explanations of researchers’ work along the way. The wall mural and informative panels received a 2014 American Inhouse Design Award from Graphic Design USA, ranking the display among the top 15 percent of more than 4,000 entries.
“I combined over 100 high-resolution images into a seamless underwater representation of some of the diverse habitats and marine life found in our seas,” said Tamara Beeson, art director in CEOE’s Environmental Public Education Office. “The resulting effect is intended to inspire visitors to learn more about ocean environments.”
From frigid waters in the Arctic to hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the sea, CEOE researchers travel the globe exploring the world’s oceans, with the scientific laboratories in Lewes as their home base. Research projects underway include studies on penguin populations, deep-sea adaptations, coastal marshes, seafloor changes and renewable energy.
The new exhibit features unusual fish and crustacean specimens pulled from the deep, as well as two aquariums containing marine life found in Delaware Bay. Visitors also learn how scientists are working to address local issues, such as the impacts of rising sea levels on Delaware’s coast.
Touring groups stop by the Global Visualization Lab for a demonstration of how researchers use Google Earth, satellites and underwater robots to examine ocean properties. Nearby, visitors can see the university’s 2-megawatt wind turbine that powers campus buildings and assists studies in wind energy development. The campus is also headquarters for UD’s marine operations, where several ships are docked while not out on the Atlantic for research cruises.
Visitors are encouraged to ask questions of the experienced, specially trained tour guides, who volunteer their time to share their enthusiasm for marine science.
In June, tours begin at 10 a.m. on Fridays. In July and August, tours begin at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with one additional tour on Sept. 5. For required reservations, call 302-645-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tours meet in the Cannon Laboratory on the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road in Lewes.