Our guest this week is Dr Jon Copley. Jon is a marine biologist, specialising in the deep sea. He went on the first mini sub dive to the world’s deepest hydrothermal vents, 5km down on the ocean floor, and also took part in the firs minisub dives to 1km deep in the Antarctic.
Jon is also a science communicator and writer, who worked as a science advisor on the iconic BBC series Blue Planet II. He is also an associate professor of ocean exploration and public engagement at the University of Southampton. In 2019, he also published fantastic book called Ask an Ocean Explorer which tells you all about the ocean in 25 questions.
Over three quick-fire episodes, Jon tells BBC Science Focus managing editor Alice Limpscombe-Southwell about the bizarre life found on the ocean floor, the habitats where they thrive, and what it’s like to explore the deep sea in a submarine.
Deep sea creatures
Jon talks to us about some of the bizarre species that live in the depths of the ocean, the beauty of bioluminescence, and the wonderful ways that some species of evolved to hide, hunt and survive in the inky depths.
Deep sea habitats
We take a dive into some of the incredible habitats that exist in the deep sea, including the intriguing world beneath Antarctica, the awe-inspiring trenches and mountains that ripple the ocean floor, the hydrothermal vents that support whole ecosystems, and the scavengers that quickly colonise a whale carcass.
Exploring the deep sea
Jon gives us a first-person account of how it feels to climb inside a submersible to descend to the bottom of the sea. He also tells us why deep-sea exploration and research is so important, and reveals some of the biggest threats facing the deep ocean.
Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:
- Everything you ever wanted to know about… cancer with Dr Kat Arney
- Everything you ever wanted to know about… illusions, magic and the paranormal with Prof Richard Wiseman
- Everything You Wanted To Know About… Physics with Jim Al-Khalili
- Merlin Sheldrake: How have fungi shaped the world?
- Andrew Hunter Murray and Dan Schreiber: Is there really no such thing as a fish?
- The Science Focus team: What’s inside November’s issue?
Ask an Ocean Explorer by Dr Jon Copley is out now (£16.99, Hodder & Stoughton).