This week, IMO launched a new version of the virtual aquarium “Sumérgete” with more interactive content on the curiosities of the Pacific Ocean, aimed at making school students and the general public fall in love with marine sciences.
The Outreach team at the Millennium Institute of Oceanography (IMO) offers the community a virtual platform called "Sumérgete!: Una Travesía por el Océano Pacífico” (Dive into the sea: A voyage through the Pacific Ocean). By means of diagrams, videos, audios and interactive graphics, this website invites users to go on a tour through Chile’s different marine environments to learn about their characteristics, the organisms inhabiting them, their physical and chemical processes and the impact that humans have on them. The greatest innovation in this new version is a room called "Oceanic Islands", developed in collaboration with the Millennium Nucleus Center of Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI). What are seamounts? How are oceanic islands formed? How have the species inhabiting them adapted? These are some of the questions answered in this new room, which joins “Intertidal Zone” and “Coastal Zone”.
Bárbara Léniz, marine biologist and IMO’s Outreach deputy director, highlighted the fact that this project seeks to disseminate science to the community. "For IMO it is essential to develop tools allowing both the school community and the general public to approach marine sciences in an entertaining way. To this end, we use digital, web and audiovisual platforms, which are the ones that most appeal to people," said Léniz.
Additionally, it should be noted that the 2017 version of this virtual aquarium includes many new features that complement the project launched in 2015. "In this updated version of Sumérgete, we find a larger map of Chile, allowing for the inclusion of all the marine environments in Chile. Users can browse the home page and discover the rooms that make up this platform. In addition, this 2.0 version includes the new "Oceanic Islands" room, developed in collaboration with the Millennium Nucleus Center of Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI),” concluded Léniz.
Sumérgete a Explorar! Contest
For the second consecutive year, IMO, in cooperation with PAR Explora Biobío, has held a contest associated with the web platform Sumérgete. It is called "Sumérgete a Explorar” (Dive into Exploring), and is aimed at primary and secondary school students, who can participate by submitting their stories and/or stop motion videos. Students, along with their supervising teachers, are required to enter the website, select an environment for the story or video to take place, and do research on it. The most innovative entries with scientific backing will be awarded a marine science day at UdeC’s Marine Biology Station in Dichato, where there will be interactive workshops organized by IMO.
Rocío Cruces, coordinator of PAR Explora Biobío, evaluated the previous version of the contest positively and has high expectations for this year’s contest. "We expect more teachers in our region to take part in this contest; we also want to inspire those who teach other subjects such as Spanish and art, so that they can work together with science teachers. In 2016 we were able to determine the areas in which students want to participate the most. The stories were very well written and we have high expectations for this year," she said.
Finally, another of this year’s innovations is that both teachers and students will have the opportunity to learn new techniques to put into practice in their stories and videos. They will also be given constant scientific feedback on their projects.