Oceanography and marine biology

When entering MEERESMUSEUM, your first impression will be dominated by the Gothic architecture and an uncommon self-supporting steel framework installation. It separates the interior of the three-aisled Gothic hall church into three exhibition levels. This installation does not touch the historic building structure and allows many interesting perspectives. The tour starts with a multifaceted exhibition on oceanography and marine biology.

When entering MEERESMUSEUM, the visitor gets a first impression of what the museum is all about. An impressive globe shows what the earth actually is – a giant water planet.  More than 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with oceans. Some spots are even more than 10 kilometres deep. A ring-shaped info panel gives additional facts worth knowing. Since the opening of St. Catherine’s hall in 1974, every visitor passed this globe in the foyer. It is a day one exhibition piece that has never stopped spinning during opening hours since then. It is driven by an electric motor inside and has completed more than 6.8 million rotations by now.

Everybody knows: Sea water is salty. But how much salt is dissolved in one cubic metre of sea water? A rotating glass cube of corresponding size answers this question. This big chunk of salt weighs 36 kilograms! The oceans contain enough salt to cover the earth’s landmass with a 150-metre-thick salt layer. However, the brackish waters off Rügen merely contain 10 kilograms of salt per cubic metre – that is ten grams per litre.

Deeper and deeper has been the motto of scientific deep-sea exploration for a long time. The “Trieste” submersible model is a witness of this era and illustrates the history of submersibles as displayed at MEERESMUSEUM. Since 1937, Auguste Piccard had been concerned with manned deep-sea diving. In 1952, the “Trieste” was built in Italy and launched one year later. Its dimensions were remarkable: Length – more than 18 metres, width – ca. 3.5 metres, height – more than 5 metres. The vessel was christened after the North Italian city of Trieste. Initial dives led to depths of 3,000 to 4,000 metres. After further constructional modifications the “Trieste” was able to set the spectacular diving record in the Pacific Ocean.

One of Germany’s largest showcases displays a stunning 5-metre-high reproduction of a coral reef. Every 20 minutes, 2,500 energy-saving LEDs and 125 spotlights simulate day and night in quick motion. At the same time, a corresponding audio text gives interesting facts about the coral reef’s ecosystem and its dwellers. The fragile reef is protected by a giant 9-metre-high display case of glass and steel. The true to scale coral reef pillar is the biggest of its kind in Europe and has been displayed at MEERESMUSEUM for over 30 years. From 2011 to 2014 it was thoroughly reworked and redesigned. The exhibits shown originate from museum expeditions to the Red Sea in 1976 and 1979 or are “souvenir” corals confiscated by customs.