The big science question: The deep ocean is our planet's largest biome, and is under increasing pressure from human activities such as resource exploitation. However, outside the scientific community, awareness of the deep ocean and its ecology is poor, limiting the ability of people to make informed choices where their behaviour as consumers or constituents may have an impact on it. In its 2007 report on "Investigating our Oceans", the Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology also noted that, "people could be drawn into many topics to increase interest in science, such as biodiversity in the deep ocean", and suggested that "a focus on extreme environments (space and oceans) could entice young people into science".
Our research programme has achieved several scientific 'firsts' since January 2008, which have underpinned our public engagement work:
We delivered a programme of public engagement with the following objectives: