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Marine Science Center exhibit delves into unseen sea

A close-up of resident octopus, Bob’s, tentacles.  - Leila Arciero/Staff Photo
A close-up of resident octopus, Bob’s, tentacles.
— image credit: Leila Arciero/Staff Photo

POULSBO — Amidst the whales, seals and jellyfish that are most recognized in Puget Sound, are the smaller, undetectable creatures that go unseen. For the next year, the Poulsbo Marine Science Center will highlight some of those imperceptible sea animals with its “Sea Unseen” photographic exhibit.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Aquarium Director Patrick Mus said. “I hope people take away a better appreciation of our waterways and what’s underneath the water.”

The “Sea Unseen” exhibit will feature about 30 images of such miniscule organisms as diatoms and plankton but will also show detailed baby fish scales, newborn octopus tentacles and even sea animal sensory glands.

Carla Stehr, a fisheries biologist, used a scanning electron microscope to capture the images. Going beneath the waves, the microscope can magnify up to 300,000 times, allowing for much more detail than light microscopes.

“I’m excited,” Mus said. “It’ll be good for the community. It’ll be good for kids to come in and see them.”

Some of the photos even depict animals the Marine Science Center has in its collection and Mus hopes to match up the images with the sea creatures. While not all the animals featured in the photos are housed at the Marine Science Center, there are a few that are in the tanks but are too small to see.

After working for a year and a half to get the photos, Mus said he hopes “Sea Unseen” will lead to more exhibits at the Marine Science Center and also will educate people on what’s at risk in the Puget Sound.

“The idea, in my mind, is to make this place a comfortable place, a welcoming place, a place of learning,” Mus said.

The images will be available for the public to view at the Marine Science Center beginning Thursday, May 13 during regular hours of operation, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Marine Science Center is open Thursday through Sunday. Admission is free.

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