We are proud to present in collaboration with TED a curated series of talks plus specially commissioned educational support materials.

TED Studies: Marine Biology - The Deep Ocean

Teachers and students can use TED Studies: Marine Biology to enhance existing curricula in undergraduate education courses. Educators and students will find activities and multimedia resources which link the study of Marine Biology to the real world, plus expanded academic content such as key terms, related journal articles and major debates in this highly topical area.  For an abridged, interactive version of this content, subscribe to the TED Studies: Marine Biology course via the iTunesU course app for iPad by clicking here.


Introductory Essay

Professor Alex Rogers (Oxford University) describes a natural realm unknown even to many scientists: the deep ocean. He conveys the great excitement which accompanied research showing that, contrary to popular belief, the coldest, darkest depths of the oceans actually teem with undiscovered species. The abundance of life is captured in Professor Rogers' own photographs, as is his enthusiasm for this fascinating yet little-known field.

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Module 1

The Earth's life support system - Protecting our oceans

Watch the 2009 TEDTalk “Sylvia Earle’s TED Prize wish to protect our oceans”. The acclaimed oceanographer calls our oceans “the blue heart of the planet” and poses this provocative question: “How much of your heart do you want to protect?” Earle explains why oceans are vital to life on Earth and how much we still have to learn about them—in particular, the ocean’s deepest zones like the Mariana Trench, into which only three humans have travelled. She makes the case for creating oceanic ‘hope spots’ – sanctuaries set aside as forever-protected no-disturb zones.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

Module 2

Deep-sea cephalopods: Hooked by an octopus

Watch the 2010 TEDTalk “Mike deGruy: Hooked by an octopus”. Underwater filmmaker deGruy spent more than three decades exploring and documenting mysteries in the darkest of ocean depths. In this TEDTalk, he explains how his early encounters with cephalopods ultimately led him to investigate underwater mountain ranges, active volcanoes, hydrothermal vents and the astonishing marine life that lives at the inhospitable bottom of our seas — an entire ecosystem that wasn’t discovered until the 1970s.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

Module 3

Chemosynthetic communities - Life in the deep oceans

Watch a classic TEDTalk from 1998, “David Gallo on life in the deep oceans”. Woods Hole scientist David Gallo opens a port hole to one of the strangest ecosystems on earth: the ocean’s hydrothermal vent communities. From single-cell bacteria to two-meter-long tubeworms, Gallo provides a glimpse of the amazing array of animals that thrive in this extremely hot, sulphidic habitat, at 4,000 psi pressure, and in pitch black darkness.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

Module 4

The twilight zone

Watch the 2010 TEDTalk “Edith Widder: Glowing life in an underwater world”. In some areas of the ocean, nearly 90 percent of the animals make light – and we’re just learning why and how. Marine biologist and inventor Edith Widder says our understanding is limited by the technology that’s been available to support scientific study of the ocean’s deep waters, and she describes her own work to develop and deploy remote-controlled camera systems to investigate bioluminescence./p>

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

Module 5

Deep investigations - Exploring the oceans

Watch the 2008 TEDTalk “Robert Ballard on exploring the oceans”. Legendary ocean explorer Robert Ballard wants to know why we’re so obsessed with outer space when we’ve barely scratched the surface of understanding sci-fi-like landscapes underwater, on our own planet. Ballard recounts some of his deep-sea expeditions and argues that it’s in our best interest to “enrich the economy” by tapping the ocean’s treasures — including valuable resources like massive, commercial-grade heavy-metal deposits.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

Module 6

The microbial world - DNA and the sea

Watch the 2005 TEDTalk “Craig Venter on DNA and the sea”. Genomics guru Craig Venter is leading a massive expedition to sample and sequence the DNA of ocean microbes, which he believes may hold the key to solving some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. For example: Methanococcus jannaschii, a single-celled deep-sea organism that captures all its carbon from the environment, suggesting that humans could one day convert atmospheric carbon into biopolymers or other products.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.

Module 7

A new paradigm for ocean management - Wiring an interactive ocean

Watch the 2010 TEDTalk “John Delaney: Wiring an interactive ocean”. As part of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative, oceanographer John Delaney is developing a next-generation array of instruments and infrastructure to study the deep ocean. Delaney hopes that the data generated through this massive, worldwide collaboration will revolutionize how we perceive and manage our natural environment.

For transcripts, downloads, and other video options visit TED.com.


Putting It Together: Summary Essay and Activities

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