27 September 2000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New deep sea creatures postage stamps 
will debut underwater at Monterey Bay Aquarium

As the focus of National Stamp Collecting Month, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil its new Deep Sea Creatures commemorative stamps on October 2 in a public ceremony at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The event features a special first-day-of-issue cancellation that will be unveiled by a robot arm on the Ventana, the remotely operated vehicle tethered to MBARI's research vessel Point Lobos and operating 450 meters (1,476 feet) below the surface of Monterey Bay.

The unique underwater cancellation will be broadcast live into the aquarium’s auditorium as part of the dedication ceremony from 9 to 10 a.m. The public may enter through the auditorium door on Cannery Row to attend the cancellation ceremony. The event does not include entrance to the aquarium. First-day-of-issue cancellations and sales of the stamps will also be available outside the auditorium immediately following the ceremony.

Deborah K. Willhite, postal service senior vice president of government relations and public policy, will dedicate the stamps. Joining her will be Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium; Marcia K. McNutt, president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI); and Bruce Robison, MBARI senior scientist and photographer of two of the animals featured on the new stamps.

All five animals represented on the stamp pane—fanfin anglerfish, sea cucumber, fangtooth, amphipod and medusa—were photographed alive in tanks. All of the creatures dwell primarily in the midwater of the Earth’s oceans, which begins at a depth of approximately 100 meters (330 feet) below the surface and extends down to about 1,000 meters (3,300) feet, where sunlight no longer penetrates.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium and MBARI were chosen host this national first-day-of issue ceremony because the two institutions work closely together to bring to the public the wonders of the deep sea. MBARI’s research ships and remotely operated vehicles explore the ocean depths nearly every day, recording video of animals in their natural world, collecting specimens, and deploying sensitive measuring equipment.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s "Mysteries of the Deep" exhibit is the largest living exhibit of deep sea animals ever created, featuring more than 50 species of deep sea animals--most never before seen by the public. The exhibit also shows how people are connected to the deep sea, using its resources as food, fuel and medicine. "Mysteries of the Deep" is open through January 6, 2002, and is included with general aquarium admission. The exhibit includes daily video programs featuring MBARI’s deep sea research.

The Deep Sea Creatures stamps will be available at Monterey-area post offices starting Oct. 2 and at post offices nationwide the following day. See the "Postal News" link at www.usps.com for information about the new stamps. To order the stamps online, visit www.stampsonline.com. For more information about deep-sea research and ocean conservation, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and MBARI websites.


Scientist Bruce Robison in front of the mock-up of a stamp using one of his photographs.

MBARI President Marcia McNutt and Robison sign a visitor's program from the postage-stamp-cancellation event.

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Media contacts:
Monterey Bay Aquarium
    Electronic media: Mimi Hahn (831) 648-4918; mhahn@mbayaq.org
                      or Karen Jeffries, (831) 644-7548; kjeffries@mbayaq.org
    Print media: Ken Peterson (831) 648-4922; kpeterson@mbayaq.org
                      or Karen Jeffries, (831) 644-7548; kjeffries@mbayaq.org
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
    Debbie Meyer (831) 775-1807; pressroom@mbari.org