March 20, 2019
Scientists, engineers, vehicle operators, and ship crew from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will be a featured part of the upcoming BBC program “Blue Planet Live,” which will air over four nights beginning March 24. The series will include two live broadcasts from the research vessel Atlantis showing launch and recovery of the human-occupied submersible Alvin.
“Blue Planet Live” follows up on the award-winning series “Blue Planet II,” which first aired on BBC One in 2017. The new series, hosted by wildlife and natural history presenters Chris Packham, Liz Bonnin, and Steve Backshall, will assess the state of the world’s oceans and celebrate marine life around the globe by following key animal species at a critical time of year and will learn how scientists are monitoring the wellbeing of our blue planet.
As part of “Blue Planet Live,” several WHOI scientists and engineers will appear in pre-recorded segments about their work:
- Marine acoustician Darlene Ketten will describe how marine mammals acoustically sense their environment and how that environment is changing.
- Marine biologist Michael Moore will speak to the threats facing North Atlantic right whales and recent technological advancements that could help relieve pressures on the critically endangered iconic species.
- Deep-sea biologist Tim Shank will address the unique characteristics that have evolved to permit life to thrive in the deepest parts of the ocean and how he studies them.
- Senior engineer Andy Bowen will describe the challenges inherent in designing vehicles and instruments to help scientists study the ocean.
- Engineers Casey Machado and Molly Curran will show the new autonomous underwater vehicle Orpheus they developed, which will soon dive to the deepest places in the ocean.
- Physicist Daniel Zitterbart, who uses artificial intelligence and remotely-operated observatories to explore animal behavior in the most remote regions of our planet, will discuss his team’s efforts to understand how humpback whales find their food.
In addition, the series will include live segments with interviews hosted by Andy Bowen on March 27 and 28 from the deck of R/V Atlantis off the U.S. West Coast. Viewers will see the human-occupied submersible Alvin return from a dive and depart for another with two scientists and a pilot on board and meet some of the people who make the sub one of the most iconic research subs in the world.
“Blue Planet Live” will be aired on BBC One in the U.K. starting March 24 at 8 p.m. GMT.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the oceans and their interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the oceans’ role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu.