Blue Planet 2 | Episode 1 | The Start of a Beautiful Story

I’m Kieran and I am studying a four year MSci degree in Biology and Marine Biology at the University of Southampton. I am watching the fascinating new series Blue Planet 2 and I will be sharing my insights into the programme here with you here every week.

Blue Planet II
Blue Planet II (C) Photographer: Steve Benjamin

After 16 years, the new episode of Blue Planet has aired. I attended a live screening which the Marine Conservation Society had organised, which was heaving with very excited young scientists and other enthusiasts who grew up with the original series.

There was the occasional laugh, or ‘woah’ as complex characters unfold, whether it was the charismatic cetaceans that have long captured the public imagination, or novel behaviours in otherwise unassuming reef dwelling fish. The ebb and flow of the Hans Zimmer score streams into the jaw dropping seascapes while animals soar across them, and at each other, before disappearing again into the blue. I heard people crying. The original Blue Planet can be credited as a major reason many of us are here.

What is particularly rewarding for marine science students such as myself watching Blue Planet is to see scientific knowledge translated into an understandable, and beautiful, work of art, for millions of people to enjoy and learn from. In science, we deal in datasets to understand the world as objectively as we can, and the BBC turns this into beautiful stories. As undergraduates working in science, these stories remind us why what we do is so important. Laughing at tool use in a toothfish reminds us of mapping out fish neural networks. Seeing juvenile walruses unable to rest because of diminishing sea ice emphasizes the importance of understanding how the world will change during our lifetimes. Blue Planet without the science beneath it would be beautiful images without direction, and our science without Blue Planet runs the risk of losing some of its passion for the wider world. It is very fortunate that we are here in a time when they coexist.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be bringing you more blog posts about the new Blue Planet series and linking it to three and a bit years of studying marine biology. Feel free to send questions or comments, I look forward to sharing Blue Planet 2 with you.

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