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Cold-Water Reefs: A Hidden Winter Wonderland

Guest Blog by Laura Anthony, Florida State University. Originally published on the Reefbites website. For many, the word reef conjures up images of snorkeling in bath-temperature water above vibrant corals and fishes next to a sunny beach. Yet there are more species of corals that illuminate the wintery waters of the deep sea, forming habitats that rival the colors and biodiversity of shallow-water reefs. Continue reading →

Why do we need a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development?

Oceanography is a relative newcomer to the long list of recognised disciplines studied by scholars across the planet.  We oceanographers assert that the first true ocean science was carried out in the mid 19th century. In 1872 HMS Challenger set sail from Portsmouth on the world’s first global oceanographic expedition. These early ocean scientists were often Naval officers serving on lengthy expeditions to far flung parts of the globe. Continue reading →

Professor Maarten de Wit: 1947-2020

We are hugely saddened to hear of the passing of Professor Maarten de Wit on 15th April 2020.  Professor de Wit held the Chair of Earth Stewardship Science at Nelson Mandela University and was a Visiting Professor at the University of Southampton. He was a great thinker, an outstanding geologist, a visionary Earth steward and a good friend.  Our thoughts are with his family, students and collaborators from around the world at this difficult time. Continue reading →

Exploring our ocean during lockdown

We are running our free online course, Exploring our Ocean during lockdown to support those of you home schooling young people (remember those under 13 must be accompanied by an adult learner please), to support those of you who, like me, miss the ocean and want to share images, memories, and our passion, to support our growing community of learners commited to expanding ocean literacy across the globe and changing behaviours and policies to sustain our future. Continue reading →

Journey Into The Unknown

First in our new series of posts from our students, mentors, facilitators and staff - this first post is from MSc Oceanography student Hannah Sharman: “What does it feel like to be an octopus? To be a jellyfish? Does it feel like anything at all?” So asks Peter Godfrey-Smith in his book, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness. Just one of the manifold obscure influences to feed my long-standing fascination with the oceans. Continue reading →

Forty years of vent exploration – Four weeks of sampling

Four weeks at sea and we’ve got into the steady rhythm of the ship; we log the time passed from the menu in the galley (fish-Friday, curry-Saturday) and the weekly linen change. I have studied this hydrothermal site called TAG, nearly 4km below us on the seafloor, for nearly 30 years. First for my PhD, then on and off over the years. TAG is now one of the most well studied, deep-sea vent sites anywhere on the seafloor. Continue reading →

Fair winds and following seas

In many ways the work of an oceanographer hasn’t changed since the early days of the discipline when a team of scientists sailed for several years across ocean basins making spot measurements of depth and salinity; hauling up strange creatures from the depths. We still ‘sail’ in rather larger science teams for much shorter periods of time. The rhythm of work on a ship and the lowering and hauling of wires is very familiar. Continue reading →

Five things we’ve learnt about the oceans in the last 25 years

It’s early 1993 and I am sailing across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Royal Research Ship Charles Darwin on my first deep-sea adventure. The late Harry Elderfield is our chief scientist and we are mapping out the newly discovered hydrothermal vents along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and sampling the plumes that waft upwards from the hot seafloor vents. We tow our sensors on frames hanging from conducting wires that are kilometres long, gradually building up a picture of the plumes. Continue reading →