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Two Case Studies of Collaborations Between Aquariums and Research Institutions in Exploration and Education

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Aquariums and "blue water" oceanographic institutions in America have traditionally had completely separate missions, with the former concentrating on public outreach and education and the latter undertaking basic research. Recently, two new institutions, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and the Mystic Aquarium/Institute for Exploration (MA/IFE), were founded for the expressed purpose of bridging the gap between basic ocean discovery and public education. In both cases, the ability to bring the excitement of undersea exploration to the public has been enabled by sophisticated undersea vehicles that permit the aquarium audience to participate in the research enterprise via telepresence. The fact that the research is constantly in the public eye provides researchers with frequent opportunities to explain the importance and the relevancy of their work for the benefit of society. Despite the efforts over the past 50 years, over 95 percent of the oceans remain unknown and unexplored. This fact combined with the realization that all citizens of the twenty-first century must be well informed on the consequences of their actions on the health of this ocean planet makes it likely that such partnerships between research and educational institutions will proliferate.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2001

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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