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Mystic Aquarium immerses visitors in an interactive replica of Northeast Canyons preserve

Cheryl E Miller
Courtesy of Mystic Aquarium

The Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is home to a new gallery called “Ocean Solutions,” which features immersive exhibits on marine protected areas, including the Northeast Canyons national monument, and renewable ocean energy.

Katie Cubina, the senior vice president of mission programs at Mystic Aquarium, said the marine protection display will focus on the importance of protection of marine national monuments areas and other areas vital for slowing climate change.

“The oceans have been literally taking the heat for climate change for decades, in that they are a critical source of carbon absorption and carbon sinks,” Cubina said. “So as we look into the future of what areas we should protect, one of the criteria is what is the ability of that particular area to pull carbon out of the atmosphere so that it’s putting us on the right trajectory.”

The Northeast Canyons and Seamount Marine National Monument were preserved by the Obama administration in 2016, about 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod. Its deepwater marine habitat has been untouched by climate change.

Cubina said the exhibit is meant to inspire people, rather than inflict a sense of doom about climate change.

“We want people to see that there are things being done, that there is more that can be done and there’s more that they can do as individuals,” Cubina said. “And there are ways in which they can join us as an institution in our efforts to increase ocean and climate health.”

The permanent exhibit includes a replica of the Northeast Canyon and 3-D deepwater marine life depictions. It's sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.