On 7 October, the Vancouver Aquarium will open its first deep sea exhibit featuring the remarkable “black smokers" located 300 km offshore Vancouver Island. Known as the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents, they became Canada’s first marine protected area, designated in 2003 by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Ocean Networks Canada’s cabled observatory site at Endeavour provides realtime data, including live and recorded video, to further our understanding of this extraordinary region.
The video shows how life thrives in this unique environment, fueled by the chemical energy of 350 degree Celsius fluids released from the hydrothermal vents.
The new exhibit is part of Vancouver Aquarium’s Wild Coast gallery. It stands eight feet tall and represents the tall Mothra Vent field, which rises up to 20 metres off the seafloor. The display was fabricated from 3D renderings provided by ONC’s visiting scholar from GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany—Tom Kwasnitschka. Tom worked with imagery gathered during a 1997 expedition where the University of Washington’s Deborah Kelley and others took 73 electronic still images using the remotely operated vehicle Jason and created a photomosaic of Faulty Towers, part of the Mothra Field.
Jeff Heywood, Director of Content and Digital Experience at the Aquarium said “this was a very unique project—to create a fabrication from a scientist’s 3D renderings. I think the aquarium’s over a million annual visitors will be surprised to find out that these amazing Mount Doom like structures exist just 300 km offshore and that they are in Canada’s first marine protected area.”
The project is a collaboration among Vancouver Aquarium, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Ocean Networks Canada.
Join the launch on 7 October with a talk by Ocean Networks Canada’s visiting scholar Tom Kwasnitschka starting at 6:30pm (doors open at 6:00). The talk and Q&A session will last until 7:30 followed by cash bar and snacks around the Endeavour Hot Vents marine protected area exhibit.
If you are unable to join us in person watch Tom’s talk live on YouTube and take in the Vancouver Aquarium exhibit at your leisure.