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Public can get feel for ocean research.

Byline: Winston Ross The Register-Guard

CORRECTION (ran 6/13/03): A story on Page A1 on Wednesday misspelled the name of Oregon Coast Aquarium chief financial officer Rick Goulette. Also, an information box in a related story contained the incorrect phone number for the aquarium. The correct number is (541) 867-3474.

NEWPORT - Upon entering the Oregon Coast Aquarium's newest exhibit, the first thing you notice is a yellow submarine.

It's not the one the Beatles made famous, of course. We can't all live in it (it only holds two people), and it's technically a "submersible," not a submarine.

But none of that matters, really, because it was painted yellow in honor of the famed song.

"Undersea Explorer," which opened late last month, aims to teach aquariumgoers how scientists study the ocean, a practice that is relatively new. Consider that we know more about the surface of Mars than the depths of the world's oceans.

And with a sea of new research raising red flags about the ocean's health and water quality, the exhibit couldn't be more timely, teaching its visitors how America's top marine scientists are unlocking the darkest, deepest source of mysteries on the planet.

"What impact do we have by trying to study the ocean?" asked aquarium spokesman Hugh Dolly, hitting on one of the topics the exhibit addresses. "What do we do with an area that's never had light before, when we go down there and shine a light on it?"

There are several stations in the exhibit, which extend from nearby Passages of the Deep. Interactive displays help guests learn about the properties of density and buoyancy, and discover what effect depth has on light, temperature and pressure.

In one display case, for example, a big Styrofoam head sits next to a smaller Styrofoam head that has been submerged in deep ocean water. The sunken head is only a fraction the size of the first because the pressure has shrunk it.

There's also a station on Paul Walter Bogoslovski, known as "Bogo the Mad Russian," early diving pioneer who explored the ocean in the 1950s and 1960s and once lived in Beaverton. Some of his equipment is on display, including a log book where he recorded ideas about how to make his dives more successful.

Around the corner from Bogo is Deep Worker, a one-person submersible model and replica of the subs used for modern-day ocean exploration, reaching depths of 2,000 feet.

In fact, a real Deep Worker will navigate Passages' shark tank.

When the exhibit's finishing touches are complete, visitors will be able to remotely operate the vehicle, like the one that discovered the Titanic, and there'll be an underwater submarine virtual reality ride.

"UnderSea Explorer allows guests to totally immerse themselves in the world of deep-sea exploration," Dolly said.

UNDERSEA EXPLORER

What: Visitors can explore DeepWorker and Aquarius, submersible research vessels that explore the depths of the ocean.

When: June 28-29

Where: Oregon Coast Aquarium, 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Road, Newport

More information: Call the aquarium at (541) 867-3473 or visit the Web site at www.aquarium.org
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Title Annotation:General News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 11, 2003
Words:516
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