Marine Megatropolis – The Exhibit

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

 Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981) Photographs by Bob Evans

On Exhibit in The Main Lobby
 at the Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) 

Marine Megatropolis: The Exhibit includes sixteen 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 marine life as it developed beneath the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel between 1974 and 1981. 

Bob Evans’ Photographic Prints
now available for purchase at 

Please contact us to purchase any image you see here that is not yet available at

Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981) Photographs by Bob Evans

Also premiered in the Exhibit are 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.


June 6, 2023 – Marine Megatropolis opened at the Santa Barbara Airport. On exhibit throughout 2023, with over one million people expected to see!

June 3, 2023, 2:00-3:00 pm – Bob Evans shares “Diving Into the Future of the Pacific Offshore Platforms,” as part of Seminar Series at the ScubaShow, Long Beach Convention Center

January 2, 2022 – Bob Evans quoted from an interview for Oil Rigs Are a Refuge in a Dying Sea by Sasha Chapman, Hakai Magazine

March 26, 2020 – Marine Megatropolis in Kamp Solutions

May 15, 2019 – August 26, 2019, Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981) Photographs by Bob Evans exhibited at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, on loan from the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

July 17, 2019 – Re-Envisioning Offshore Oil Platforms – Video of Lecture

May 15, 2019 – Marine Megatropolis: Adventure Beneath Our Offshore Oil Platforms – Video of Lecture

November 16, 2017 – May 19, 2018, Marine Megatropolis (1974-1981) Photographs by Bob Evans premiered at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Marine Megatropolis is their first Exhibit to travel.

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.

For more on what we are doing today:

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