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Shipwrecks inspire aquarium design

New York’s waters are full of wrecks and so we’ve for the past year been doing a few different dives, at different wrecks, at different levels to get a sense of you’re going to have to interpret what  it looks like to swim through a single wreck in New York. What types of species are you gonna see. There’s a lot of anemones at the deeper levels, there’s mussels at shallow levels. and that’s very different than wrecks in other parts of the world.

Over the last year, scientists with the Wildlife Conversation Society have been recording shipwrecks in New York waters. The photos and video will help architects design a new exhibit called “New York waters” at the New York Aquarium. In 2015 we’ll be opening up the Ocean Waters exhibit. It’s going to be an exhibit focusing on New York waters. It’s going to have a whole set of population of sharks from New York waters, focusing on wrecks and really opening New Yorker’s eyes to a world they’ve never seen before underwater.

We’ve got Kale Mclennon who’s our director of marine conservation and Hans Walters from the New York aquarium here diving and they’re gonna get some great visuals for us of the wreck that’s down here and also all the amazing marine life around the wreck so that it will help us design the exhibit for the New York aquarium.

The wreck today is called the Light Burn, it’s an oil tanker that went down in the late 1930’s-1939 about eighteen miles off the coast of Block Island. Sank in rather shallow waters so we have a nice twenty-five foot of depth and we can calculate on the shallows what it looks like.

The real feeling of being able to swim through a wreck is something that we want to translate for our visitors.  So great shots of what that is and whether it’s the infrastructure of the wreck or the fish that will feed down there, to recreate that experience.

Not a lot of people are out here diving on these wrecks. It’s not a very common thing. We feel this is a big missing gap in New York not a lot of people know about, you know, over twenty-five species of sharks out there with three hundred species of fish.

Unfortunately I don’t dive so I really have to rely on my colleagues to take as many pictures and images as they can so that we can use those for the design process.

A lot of the wrecks in New York’s waters are freighters, tankers, barges, things that are part of the economic history of New York and that’s what we’re going to capture, is this sort of industrial, economic shipping aspect of these waters that has been critically important for hundreds of years.

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