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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 →

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 →

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 →