Deep Oceans: The Science of the Deep

Uploaded by austmus on 27.05.2012

The Science of the Deep
The Deep Oceans has fascinated people for 1000s of years. I’m Frank Howarth and I’m
the director at the Australian Museum.
In these short videos we want to tell you something about the preparations for our very
own Deep Oceans Exhibition.
I’m with Dr Penny Berents head of natural sciences at the Australian Museum.
Frank Howarth: Tell me Penny what sort of Deep Oceans research or things does the Australian
Museum get involved in?
Dr Penny Berents: In recent years the Australian Museum has been involved in a number of major
collaborative international deep-sea expeditions.
Working in the deep sea is very expensive, it involves big ships lots of money.
So the best way to do this is in collaboration with other organisations.
And we have been lucky to be involved in a number of these collaborative expeditions
in the last 10-20 years.
In particular one really exciting one I was very lucky to be on. Is known as Norfans.
And it is known as Norfans because it was a survey of the Norfolk ridge and it was conducted
by Australian and New Zealand scientists. So that was all combined to call it Norfans.
The expedition left New Zealand and steamed up the Norfolk ridge which is an underwater
mountain range heading north from New Zealand. Sampled all the way up the Norfolk ridge,
then went across to Lord Howe.
Frank Howarth: What sort of ocean depths are we talking about Penny?
Dr Penny Berents: Anything from 100 metre to 1500 metres.
Working on seamounts and the slope. Because the sea floor, this is one of the messages
from the exhibition. The sea floor is not just a plain of mud.
There are mountain ranges, there are chasms, there are canyons. It as much an exciting
landscape as you see on land.
So we did this big expedition worked on the Lord Howe rise and went back to New Zealand.
So this expedition worked over about a month, made fantastic collections using trawls, sledges,
dredges. Taking camera shots, using multi-beam sonar to give good pictures of the bottom
of the oceans.
And made extensive collections, which are now held in our Museum, museum victoria and
museums in New Zealand.
Frank Howarth: Penny how do we then take the science we know about the Deep Oceans and
involve it in the Exhibition?
Dr Penny Berents: That is where my role on the whole exhibition team has been a conduit
between research and collections all our scientist in research and collections in my division
and the exhibition team.
So my role has been to know who has got what expertise amongst our scientists how to balance
their exhibition input with their other work demands. Know what sort of collections items
are going to make good stories for the exhibitions.
Which sort of things are good to display as specimens, which specimens are really better
as photographs. And just generally be a conduit between the expertise that sits in our research
and collection division. And the input that is needed to develop the exhibition.
Frank Howarth: Can you tell me about any specific specimens that captured your imagination as
we were preparing for the exhibition?
Dr Penny Berents: I think one of the interesting things is people know about the big things,
the giant squids and people know the stories about whale carcasses, and all that.
The hard message to get across is the diversity of invertebrates. And these fantastic often
quite small animals, which make up most of the biodiversity are small and they don’t
preserve very well.
So it is hard to prepare them in ways that are good for exhibitions.
So we have tried to do that as well as feature all the things people expect to see, like
deep sea squids and all those sorts of things.
Frank Howarth: And by invertebrates you mean what sort of animals?
Dr Penny Berents: All those animals that don’t have a back bone.
So lots of crabs, and prawns and worms, and corals.

There are lots of corals in the deep sea. That is something that people don’t generally
know about.
So we have tried to explain all the different sorts of animals that live in the deep sea.
Also explain how little we know, that there is so much more to find out. That there is
so much we don’t know.