August 05, 2012
The Abyss Box
From the March 31, 2012 Economist: "Ifremer [France's oceanographic institute] researchers are searching for a way to keep deep-sea animals alive indefinitely, so that their entire life cycles can be studied. This means building high-pressure, onshore fish tanks. On April 7th the Océanopolis, a big aquarium in Brest, will unveil two such chambers. Each Abyss Box [below],
as the contraptions are known, costs €100,000 ($134,000) and contains 16 litres of seawater held at 180 atmospheres. Crucially, each has a window: a glass visor 15cm [5.9"] across and 8cm [3.1"] thick [below]."
"At the moment, one of the boxes is inhabited by 43 deep-sea shrimps. The other houses three crabs. Both come from Atlantic vents located around 1.8km [1.2 miles] below the surface. It will be the first time members of the public who are not James Cameron have had a chance to behold such creatures alive."
Wrote Hannah Hoag about the Abyss Box in the June issue of Wired magazine, "Unless you're James Cameron, you've probably never seen a Mirocaris fortunate — a shrimp that lives in the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean. Or a little white crab named Segonzacia mesatlantica [top]. That's because these deep-sea species can't survive in a standard aquarium — normal atmospheric pressure will kill them. Luckily, one of Europe's largest aquariums, Océanopolis, in Brest, France, has developed a solution: a unique high-pressure viewing cabinet called the Abyss Box. Visitors can now stare into the 4.25-gallon displays and see the kinds of deep-dwelling sea fauna you used to have to spend a Titanic-sized budget to glimpse."
August 5, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink
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How is food introduced from 1 atmosphere to 180 atmospheres?
Posted by: JoePeach | Aug 5, 2012 6:28:46 PM
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