Built for oil and gas extraction, the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel are a unique vertical habitat, offering marine life shadows from predators, and structures on which to anchor. Open ocean water flows by. Food is abundant. Life optimized for different depths, deep water through tidal zones, aggregates and propagates to create a Marine Megatropolis
November 16, 2017 – May 19, 2018, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum hosted Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981): Photographs by Bob Evans. The Exhibit includes 23 spectacular images selected from expeditions by Bob Evans and Andrew J. McMullen of La Mer Bleu Productions in Santa Barbara. Bob and Andy photo-documented the marine life as it developed beneath the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel between 1974 and 1981.
March 29, 2018, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and Santa Barbara Public Library co-hosted Marine Megatropolis: Stewardship & Alternatives, Other-Than-Oil for the Offshore Platforms. The program was shared with a standing room only crowd and kicked off the Earth Day 2018 series for the Santa Barbara Public Library.
Also premiered in the Exhibit were images from what is believed to be the first alternative uses for offshore oil platforms.
Artifacts from these expeditions include: Self-designed camera housings, log books identifying relevant survey data from more than 850 dives (some of which were as deep as 220 feet on air beneath Offshore Oil Platform Holly) and a can from the first mussel harvest for human consumption from the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel.
The Collection as whole includes over 2,500 35-mm color slides and 7,000 feet of super 8- and 16-mm footage. The Collection forms a foundation for fish counts, animal identifications, and comparison for research being conducted today. It has unique historical, educational, scientific, political and artistic value.