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The University of Southampton

BBC Blue Planet II - The Deep

Episode two of Blue Planet II, 'The Deep', takes a ground breaking journey to the deep ocean. The deep ocean is an area of specialist research here at the University of Southampton.

Find out more about how our journeys to the deep have helped to inform Blue Planet.

Dr Jon Copley TEDx talk

Watch Dr Jon Copley, scientific advisor on Blue Planet II, talking about travelling to the deep ocean.

Watch the video

The world's deepest vent

The world's deepest known undersea volcanic vent was discovered by a University of Southampton team

Watch the video

Our student blog

After each week's episode our MSci students Kieran and Elin will be updating the 'Exploring our Oceans' blog. They will share their thoughts about the episode and relate it back to what they are learning here at Southampton.

This week Kieran shares his wonder at the footage gained in such difficult environments.

Photo of Read Kieran Murray's blog post
Two years after being totally captivated by Dr Jon Copley’s lecture about the ecology of deep sea hydrothermal vents, whale falls and trenches, he was directly involved in helping the BBC bring these same environments to the public’s attention.
Read Kieran Murray's blog post

Expert commentary from our staff

Research undertaken by staff here at the University of Southampton has informed much of the science that is covered in Blue Planet II.

This week Professor Rachel Mills, Professor of Ocean Chemistry, and Dr Maria Baker, Senior Research Fellow and International Project Coordinator, share their thoughts about 'The Deep' episode.

Professor Rachel Mills
Professor Rachel Mills

Professor Rachel Mills, Professor of Ocean Chemistry, writes:

“Blue Planet II vividly demonstrated the enormity of the deep ocean, the vast areas of unknown, the extreme conditions out there and the extraordinary inhabitants. It is extraordinarily difficult to light the pitch black depths and the footage shown was the best I’ve seen. However good the video footage, nothing can recreate the experience of peering through the small acrylic plastic porthole of the deep diving submersible. One of the most exciting things I have ever done is to dive to the deep sea floor in the US submersible Alvin and the Russian Mir submersibles to study the hot hydrothermal vents on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Watching the episode I was reminded of the extreme cold of the deep sea (woolly hats are essential for a long deep dive), the cramped conditions of the submersible, the intimacy of spending long hours inside a small sphere, and the wondrous sights of deep sea hot vents. Very few of us will ever get to explore the depths in this way and we share these experiences through our teaching, our engagement with people from around the globe in many different ways and through series like Blue Planet II.”

Find out more about Professor Mills' work and publications.


Dr Maria Baker
Dr Maria Baker

Dr Maria Baker, Senior Research Fellow and International Project Coordinator, writes:

"Over the past few decades, new technology has enabled so many more of us to glimpse into the dark world beneath the waves - the largest ecosystem on our planet - usually out of sight and out of mind for most.  My hope is that these incredible images and stories will inspire humankind, igniting curiosity and also consideration of the critical functions and services this huge realm provides.  We must carefully manage and protect this environment as a global community for the benefit of future generations".

Find out more about Dr Baker's research and publications

Find out more about the University's Marine Biology and Ecology Research Group.

Dr Maria Baker is also the editor of the Deep-Sea Life newsletter for the In Deep Project, an international network for scientific investigation of deep-sea ecosystems. Read the latest edition of this newsletter.

Take it further...

Seal swimming beneath iceberg. Copyright BBC

Listen to the BBC episode podcast

Dr Jon Copley features every week in the BBC's Blue Planet II podcast, in his 'Catch of the Day' feature. Go to this week's podcast - Sixgills and Submersibles.

Prof Wiedenmann diving

Inspired to study?

If you have been inspired to study our Blue Planet by the BBC's series, explore some of the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees we offer.

Brightly coloured coral reef

Explore the next episode

Extend your knowledge of the subjects covered in episode three of Blue Planet II, coral reefs

Explore coral reefs
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