Oceans Of Health And Discovery At New Lisbon Expo

May 15, 1998

The oceans' benefits to human health will be revealed to visitors to the 14,000- square-foot U.S. Pavilion at Expo '98 in Lisbon, Portugal, beginning May 22. This major international fair, with the theme, "The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future," continues through Sept. 30.

At the U.S. Pavilion, major exhibits sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the U.S. Navy and others will introduce international visitors to ocean-based health research and technology.

The Hall of Discovery features nine exhibits with interactive elements designed to introduce visitors to the broad scope of U.S. ocean activities. The climactic Oceans Environment Room tells how five NIEHS-funded Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Science Centers produce benefits ranging from anti-toxins to high blood pressure therapies, as well as new ways to screen chemicals.

NIEHS will display an actual iceberg, created on the spot by a 21-ton compressor using condensation from the surrounding air. The exhibit explains how pollutants spread around the world, even to the snow and ice in arctic regions.

People can touch the iceberg B and also live sea creatures in a tank. There will be award-winning footage of the Titanic (the real one, not the movie re-creation) filmed underwater recently by U.S. oceanographers.

The NIEHS displays were organized by the Institute's Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Science Center at the University of Miami. Other NIEHS marine centers are associated with Duke University, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Maine, Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Navy-sponsored exhibits feature El Nino research, with a display of ocean buoys that collect data to help predict weather and climate changes. There will be periscopes to peer through and a full-scale model of the deep sea Deep Rover.

A welcoming video will show Sake the Sea Lion. Highly trained, Sake carries a camera to record migrating whales and other marine life for the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Moss Landing, Calif. Until now, most observations of whales were when they were at the surface, where they spend only 5 to 10 percent of their lives. But Sake can swim parallel to a whale, 10 to 20 meters abeam of its head and obtain footage of whale activities several hundred feet below the surface.

Additional exhibits highlight leading oceanographic institutions, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

See the Expo web at http://www.usexpo98.org

NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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