Bruce Museum opens deep sea exhibit

Larry Madin A deep sea angler fish known as Bufoceratias wedli in an image provided by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

A deep sea angler fish known as Bufoceratias wedli in an image provided by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. —Larry Madin

Explore the mysteries of the deep sea in the Bruce Museum’s latest exhibit, Extreme Habitats: Into the Deep Sea, which launched on April 5.

The show focuses on both the highly adapted survival strategies utilized by creatures of the deep and the technology that enables researchers to record ground-breaking observations of what is often called the “last frontier on this planet.”

“Museum visitors might feel like they are in a deep-sea submersible as they look through view ports to observe the mesopelagic — or twilight zone — of the sea with its bioluminescent inhabitants,” says Peter Linderoth, manager of outreach education for the Bruce and curator of the exhibition. “They will discover the extremophiles that form the foundation of a hydrothermal vent, witness the bizarre appearances and adaptations of deep-sea species, and garner an understanding of the technology that makes deep-sea explorations possible.”

The Bruce has created cast replicas of deep-sea organisms such as the Pacific Viperfish and Gulper Eel from molds on loan from the American Museum of Natural History. Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History is lending the exhibit preserved deep-sea specimens collected from various deep-sea explorations and dives around the globe. The University of Connecticut is assisting with interpretation of the New England seamounts, or underwater mountain ranges.

Rare footage of creatures of the deep comes from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is sharing cutting edge information on the deep-sea submersible Alvin as well as their expertise on deep-sea ecosystems around the world.

“The Bruce Museum is fortunate to have a spectacular cast of collaborating organizations on this exhibit,” said Mr. Linderoth, who called on the experts to develop the show in the Bruce Museum Science Gallery. “The deep sea is not an everyday vacation destination,” he adds, “so this is a rare view into a vastly unknown world.”

The exhibition is the second in a series at the Bruce looking at extreme biological, chemical and physical factors that affect different ecosystems around the world. Extreme Habitats: Into the Deep Sea runs through Nov. 9. The show is generously underwritten by The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund. This exhibition, like many others at the Bruce, will be accompanied by a cell phone audio tour guide program, Guide by Cell, sponsored by Nat and Lucy Day. Guide by Cell instructions will be available at the front admissions desk.

For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at 203-869-0376 or visit

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