Experiencing the ocean through time

The ocean is a living place that constantly changes. It covers 71% of the Earth but the actions of humans have negatively impacted the ocean and driven near-permanent changes to the ecosystem. Begin your journey beneath the crashing waves and discover what lies below.

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This experience includes sound. Click to listen

In partnership with the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific institute (BRLSI) we have created an exhibition to give you an insight into how climate change is affecting our planet through four ocean-originating items.

The Legends of Coco De Mer

The Coco De Mer also known as ‘the double coconut’ is a seed of the Lodoicea maldivica palm tree. Native to the Seychelle islands. This large heavy seed gets its name from the french meaning 'coconut of the sea’. Each seed weighs about the same as three bowling balls (30kg) and can reach sizes of up to 12 inches long.

It sinks to the bottom of the sea due to its weight and then gets carried away eastwards by the prevailing sea currents. Historically, this plant was used as a medicine. Locals also used the leaves for thatching and plaiting. Empty shells were used as pots, and young leaf down was used to stuff pillows. Due to the impact of tourism the Coco Der Mer nut was sold as souvenirs to the point of extinction. Today, only around 8000 wild palms on the islands survive.

SIZE

12"

WEIGHT

25kg

ORIGIN

Seychelles Islands

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Journeying from the Seychelles, off the East Coast of Africa we head west to the Carribean sea where we encounter the Grooved Brain Coral.

Brain coral and the Great Barrier Reef

Diploria labyrinthiformis, also known as the grooved brain coral, is a brown or yellow hemispherical-shaped reef-building coral occurring in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, southern Florida, and Bermuda The brain coral grows in the shallow water areas of the reef and can grow to be more than 6 feet (nearly 2 m) in diameter.

SIZE

2m

WEIGHT

22kg

ORIGIN

Carribean

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Climate change, human influence, and problematic naive species are the most prominent issues to the Grooved Brain Coral.

The IUCN classifies the Grooved Brain Coral as ‘least risk' due to its widespread population. Nonetheless, they face several challenges. Coral bleaching is caused by stressors such as fluctuating water temperature, low nutrients, solar overexposure, earthquakes, and pollutant runoff.

The next object on our journey can only be found as a fossil, its nearest living relative is the nautilus.

Ludwigella Concava the Ammonite Fossil

Ammonites were alive during the Jurassic and Cretaceous times of Earth's evolution. This illustrates a total time span of about 140 million years. Ammonites went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period, at the same time as dinosaurs. The octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus are all living ancestors of ammonites, classified as cephalopods.

SIZE

N/A

WEIGHT

N/A

ORIGIN

Burton Cliff

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Travelling through time to a much more recent period, the last interglacial period about 120,000 years ago our next object was found when the sea level was 6-9m higher & global temp 7° warmer than today. The Twerton Dolphin.

The Jurassic Twerton Dolphin

The Twerton dolphin lived during the last interglacial (between 120, 000 and 115, 000 years ago). It was found in the river Avon in the twerton area of Bath. The sea levels were much higher than they are today. There was not much of an inhabitance or industrialisation during this time therefore dolphins swimming up through the Avon was not unusual.

A climate advocacy organisation has suggested that vast parts of Somerset could be submerged within 30 years due to the effects of climate change; however, this is a somewhat different situation from the interglacial era, when climate change was not a threat and sea rises of this magnitude were normal.

SIZE

Up to 4m long

WEIGHT

500kg

ORIGIN

River Avon

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