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Oceans Community Day: Deep Ocean

Oceans Community Day: Deep Ocean

On Saturday I was honoured to present at the public event, Oceans Community Day: Deep Ocean.

This event is annual and each year it has a different theme, last year focused on seafood resources and future goals. This year was all about the deep ocean. Tracy Parker and Anna-Lee Harry did a marvelous job of organising everyone for the day and the public turnout was great. Thanks to the Western Australian Museum, The UWA Oceans Insitute, the UWA Institute for Advanced Studies and Southseas Abalone for the support and sponsoring.

Photo: Maddy McAllister

I presented alongside Professor Julian Patridge and fellow PhD candidate, Anton Kuhar. Both gave fascinating insights into deep ocean fish and eyesight. Particularly, Julian discussed the underwater Perth Canyon, located past Rottnest Island. Larger then the Grand Canyon and teeming with life it become very clear that we know so liitle about our own ocean.

Photo: The UWA Oceasn Institute

The highlight, Dr Larry Madin, Vice President of Woods Hole Oceanographic Insititute gave us a mind boggling introduction to deep sea exploration technology, current and future applications. 

Photo: The UWA Oceans Institute

Perhaps what had me thinking the most was the question time at the end of the presentations. One last question asked all three of the UWA presenters what our research would bring to everyone back at the surface. For the others it is very clear that there are applications for comparing human sight and adaptations to what we are learning about deep ocean animals. For myself, what relevance do deep sea shipwrecks have to the general public? Apart from being an exciting mystery and maybe revealing unbelievably well-preserved artefacts for museum displays, what could we give back to everyone from our research?

Photo: The UWA Oceans Institute

A tricky question that made me rethink my own research and step away from the specific details of technology and software. I think the answer is somewhere in the realm of general wider understanding of past cultures and what they did, how they lived etc. But I think it is worth remembering that the public are interested in our research, we just need to make sure we can relate it to their lives and communicate the significance overall. 

So, once again, I find myself Advocating for Science and coming back to the significance of sharing our research.




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