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The University of Southampton

Robots, extinctions and strange creatures on the ocean floor - find out more at Southampton Oceanography Centre's Science Week talks

Published: 7 March 2002

Robots gathering data in our oceans, extreme climates causing extinctions and strange creatures on the ocean floor - these are just some of the topics to be covered in free talks at Southampton Oceanography Centre next week. The following are a selection of the talks taking place at SOC for National Science Week.

Monday 11 March at 7.30pm - 'Some like it lukewarm' - Sophie Pendlebury, a postgraduate student at SOC, will reveal the private life of animals living around deep-sea vents on the seafloor. Thousands of metres beneath the waves, meadows of metre-long tubeworms and swarms of strange shrimp thrive around volcanic springs, where scalding sulphurous water erupts from the seafloor. Sophie will talk about how these animals can grow and reproduce in such conditions.

Wed 13 March at 7.30pm - 'From Rennell to robots revisited' - Professor Gwyn Griffiths, Head of SOC's Ocean Engineering Division, will highlight some of the high-tech developments which have allowed new kinds of ocean research over the last decade. He will speak about SOC's amazing Autosub, a seven-metre long torpedo-shaped submarine which can dive to 1600 metres, as well as the technological progress made by ocean engineers at SOC and elsewhere.

Friday 15 March at 7.30pm - 'The Mid Palaeozoic: climate extremes and life crises' - Dr John Marshall from the School of Ocean and Earth Science at SOC will take you back to Mid Palaeozoic times, about 350-400 million years ago, when the planet experienced extinctions on a massive scale. Dr Marshall will explain how fieldwork in Greenland, Bolivia and South Africa allows us to link dramatic climate change with these extinction events.

The talks are all free but tickets should be requested beforehand from Daphne Woods on 023 8059 5075 or email

Notes for editors

  1. Images of Autosub are available from Sue Nottingham.
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrates its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £215 million.
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