Posts Tagged ‘sant ocean hall’

The Laboratory on the Ocean Floor

Monday, April 19th, 2010

We’ve mentioned before that Smithsonian scientists love studying extremes. But how about living in extreme conditions? To study the bottom of the ocean properly, you would actually have to live down there.

What do you eat? How do make your meals? Where do you get fresh water? Just as astronauts have made adjustments to their lifestyles while they are in space, scientists studying the ocean are pretty adaptable as well.

Paula Lemyre, reporting from Smithsonian Channel’s SciQ, visited the ocean floor (63 feet down) and had 30 minutes to interview and record this story. Any more time on the bottom, and Paula and her crew would face a very painful experience called “the bends” due to the reduction in pressure as they returned to sea level. Also known as decompression sickness, during the bends the body releases dissolved gas (mostly nitrogen) from the tissues and blood. As a result, bubbles are created within the circulation system and create disruptions throughout the human body. Symptoms can range from mild, dull toothache-like pain to the more serious including shock and seizures. Luckily, today we know the gradual ascension steps to avoid these kinds of situations.

Learn more about living underwater on the Smithsonian Channel’s SciQ.

Experience the Ocean Hall at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Would you want to live underwater? Share Below.

SI Research Notes: National Museum of Natural History

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) curates the largest, most comprehensive natural history collection in the world. There are now over 126 million specimens in the ever-growing NMNH collections, ranging from DNA samples to whale skulls, African baskets to Chinese shoes, algae samples to petrified logs, tiny crustaceans to giant squid, Moon rocks to the Hope diamond, and Tyrannosaurus rex bones to the oldest fossils from the Burgess Shale.

Alyssa Bobst

Visitors enjoy the newly reopened Sant Ocean Hall in the National Museum of Natural History. Photo: Alyssa Bobst

The Museum has scientists working in the fields of anthropology, botany, entomology, invertebrate zoology, mineral sciences, paleobiology, and vertebrate zoology—birds, fishes, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Research programs include field studies in over 122 countries worldwide. By comparing items gathered in different eras and regions, scientists learn how our world has varied across time and space.The Natural History Museum has become an international center for research in several fields, including taxonomy, mineralogy, petrology, physical anthropology, and North American ethnology.