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biology

Blue Planet 2 | Episode 6 | Coasts

We have a tendency to take our coastlines for granted. It is by far the most accessible and relatable marine habitat, with thousands flocking there every day for their primary source of food, watersports, or just to relax. The UN estimates 40% of the world's population live in coastal areas. They provide the most extensive economic and social benefits of any natural habitat, encompassing 77% of the services provided to us by all ecosystems. Continue reading →

Blue Planet | Episode 4 | Big Blue

The open ocean may seem like a vast, featureless wasteland to us outsiders, but its inhabits are intrepid navigators that use its structures to embark on some of the most epic journeys known to science. Leatherback turtles have been shown to migrate across the entire Pacific Ocean. Two hatchling leatherbacks were once tracked moving 39km in 34 hours and 82km in 39 hours, an extraordinary distance for a baby weighing less than 40g in one of the first days of its life. Continue reading →

Blue Planet | Episode 3 | Coral Reefs

It is difficult to disagree that coral reefs are of global importance – the most biodiverse, the most colourful, and often associated with tropical paradise. As well as aesthetic beauty, reefs possess huge biological and socioeconomic value. They are the primary source of food for up to a billion people, act as natural storm barriers, bring in millions via tourism, have potential in medical research and provide a nursery for species from all over the rest of the ocean (1). Continue reading →

How did you get a job like that?

I often get asked about my career path and I thought I would share my journey with you. The truth is my career has been one happy accident after another. I'm currently gainfully employed as a Research Technician in Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton. I have been within the department for 8 years now doing a variety of roles. It all began way back in 2004 when I took up a place to Study a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Aberdeen. Continue reading →

Shedding more light on bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is the emission of light from a biological organism and was wonderfully introduced from a Ted talk by Edith Widder (if you haven’t seen it you can find the link here). The idea of this blog post was to dive deeper into bioluminescence and provide some more information on this amazing and beautiful process. The first question you may have is, “how is the light produced?” and the answer to this is chemistry. Continue reading →

Which came first in whales: extreme breath-hold diving or large body size?

While preparing some size-comparisons of marine life for Week 3 of our free Massive Open Online Course on "Exploring Our Oceans", I was particularly struck by how whales are astounding animals. An adult blue whale can have a body mass of ~150 tonnes. That's around twice the body mass estimated for the largest known dinosaur ever to walk the Earth, and equivalent to the body mass of around 2000 people (i.e. the population of a village, perhaps). Continue reading →