World Ocean Explorer

World Ocean Explorer's first exhibit
Launched March 29, 2022
Sponsored by Schmidt Ocean Institute
Jump to the DEEP SEA exhibit:

On March 29th 2022 World Ocean Observatory (W2O) and Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) announced today the launch of World Ocean Explorer DEEP SEA exhibit, creating a first-of-its-kind immersive virtual aquarium showcasing deep-sea discoveries. THE DEEP SEA is an educational, interactive online platform for ocean exploration and discovery, utilizing high-resolution video, models, and descriptive materials of newly discovered deep-sea ocean species and environments observed during science expeditions aboard research vessel Falkor with the underwater robot (ROV) SuBastian.

The DEEP SEA exhibit was designed using Unity gaming software to bring three-dimensional ocean literacy and marine science education to a worldwide audience of educators, students and individuals interested in the full spectrum of biodiversity and related value provided by the ocean–the largest, most essential natural system on earth. The virtual aquarium allows users to explore deep-sea ecosystems that cannot be observed in a traditional aquarium setting, such as hydrothermal vents, whale falls, and interactions with 3D models of newly discovered species.

Detailed quotes, links to imagery and video are included in the press release available here.
You can try the game at

Thank you for helping to share this new and exciting educational platform!

About World Ocean Explorer DEEP SEA Exhibit

Funded by Schmidt Ocean Institute, the virtual DEEP SEA exhibit showcases the encounters and discoveries during Schmidt's many deep-sea expeditions, most specifically their Australia Campaign in 2020. These expeditions of deep-sea environments, seamounts, sub-marine canyons and coral ecosystems brought to light a cache of new species and information that will be made available in the DEEP SEA.

The DEEP SEA exhibit is an online interactive platform highlighting the biological and geological finds of the cruises by Schmidt Ocean Institute RV Falkor and their ROV SuBastian. The online exhibit lets users learn about and interact with deep-sea organisms not otherwise available in a traditional aquarium setting. Features include:

  • immersive interactive displays including a hydrothermal vent and a whale fall
  • searchable and interactive species tanks
  • maps, videos, images, and 3D models
  • an Ocean Literacy exhibit

Our vision for this and future virtual exhibits is to include links to resources, the full Ocean Literacy curriculum, teaching modules and lesson plans. WORLD OCEAN EXPLORER has the capacity to increase ocean literacy worldwide, and we believe that educated and informed citizens can change human behavior on land and sea. Our strategy is simple: consolidate and expand existing innovations to reach a broader global audience. Explorer will help us to do just that, and Schmidt Ocean Institute's DEEP SEA exhibit and vast media catalog will excite visitors with the infinite possibilities associated with ocean exploration. We are thrilled to collaborate with Schmidt Ocean Institute to bring this exhibit to users everywhere at no cost.

We are eager to hear your feedback; please reach out to with any comments or observations.


April 2022
At this time we have begun work on the lobby area of the virtual aquarium. With support from the Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, we have resources in hand to construct the entrance hall—one of the virtual aquarium's key features—that will welcome visitors to the upcoming Deep Sea exhibit and future portals. The lobby will have its own displays to introduce users to the full catalogue of resource modules contained within—in effect to build the place where we welcome and introduce our educational concepts and organizational themes to what we expect to be an audience of millions globally. Our ambition is to make the ocean accessible through inclusive interaction as wide, deep, and dynamic as the ocean itself.