6th June 2008 at 01:00
Fact: the world's largest mountain ranges exist, not on land but under water
Fact: the world's largest mountain ranges exist, not on land but under water. Ninety-five per cent of the ocean is totally dark and the thousands of different types of creatures and organisms that live in the cold deep sea have had to develop fantastic body forms and behaviours to enable them to survive there.

Now, an exhibition - running at Aberdeen Maritime Museum until August 2 - highlights the work of an international research project, aimed at exploring marine life around the underwater mountains of the mid-Atlantic Ridge, located between Iceland and the Azores.

Featured in Deeper than Light are some of the most weird and wonderful specimens, displayed in glass jars, gathered by the research team in the past few years. There are also large-scale photographs of some of the deep sea creatures, as well as samples of the work created by distinguished Norwegian artist Ornulf Opdahl, inspired by his trip with the researchers in 2004.

A fascinating 50-minute film, playing on a continuous loop at the museum (in Norwegian with English subtitles), was made of that month-long trip and it forms the centrepiece of the exhibition. From the film, we learn that a Norwegian illustrator took part in the first marine research trip to the North Atlantic back in 1910; some of his meticulous drawings are included in the show. Almost 100 years later, we follow Opdahl as he joins an international group of marine biologists on the world's newest, most advanced research vessel.

The film includes footage of his preparations for the trip; the artist at work on board; an exciting, high-speed search for whales; the collection and examination of specimens and a look into the kitchen where cinnamon rolls are being made.

A must-see is the short animated film made by Aberdeen art students.

T 01224 337700.

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