Beyond the Edge of the Sea, artist and scientist explore unknown depths together

Oasisia Cluster, Paralvinella Godzilla, and Bathymodiolus Heckerae Open, by Karen Jacobsen

Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover of Duke University is captivated by the hidden world in the deep ocean. Over 15 years of collaborative research with watercolor artist Karen Jacobsen has culminated in the traveling exhibition Beyond the Edge of the Sea. Excerpts of scientific illustrations from Jacobsen’s notebooks are illuminated by Van Dover’s natural history writing and personal narratives in this exhibition. Precise renderings by Jacobsen of the strange ocean floor and deep-sea life forms allow the viewer to enter a landscape of hydrothermal vents, tube-like creatures, bivalves, and crustaceans.

Both Van Dover and Jacobsen are motivated by exploring the unknown. With this exhibition, they document new species, bring light to the dark depths of the underwater world, and promote ocean conservation. The knowledge that the two disciplines present as a team is more robust and stimulating than either alone. The exhibition encourages interdisciplinary study and reaches a wide audience.

Dr. Van Dover regularly takes oceanographic cruises with artists, scientists, and students through her Van Dover Lab, Duke University. She is a Navy-certified pilot and the first female to pilot the deep-sea submersible Alvin. She has published over 80 scholarly articles and has authored critically-acclaimed books including Deep-Ocean Journeys, a.k.a. The Octopus’s Garden, for a general audience, and The Ecology of Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents, Princeton University Press. Dr. Van Dover is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Biological Oceanography at Duke University where she serves as Chair of the Division of Marine Science and Conservation of the Nicholas School of the Environment, Director of the Undergraduate Certificate in Marine Science and Conservation, and Director of the Marine Laboratory.

Karen Jacobsen and Dr. Cindy Lee Van Dover are again cruising together next month, exploring seeps around Barbados, joined by a crew of creatives.

T’ui Malila by Karen Jacobsen

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