The first 12-episode season of SOSF-sponsored podcast Naked Oceans, from Cambridge University-based Naked Scientists, has drawn to a close. We’re happy to announce that a second series is already in the works, but in the meantime, here is a recap of all the episodes so far:
1. July 2010. The problem of oil spills
We investigate the impacts of oil spills on the marine environment, hunting down the hidden world of microbes in Louisiana wetlands, tracing the fingerprint of oil in open oceans plankton communities, and we discuss the likely fallout from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And 14 years on, we head to the south coast of Wales to find some of the survivors of the Sea Empress Oil Spill.
2. August 2010. Climate change and the oceans
One of the most pervasive problems in the oceans today, we dive into the science of climate change to find out what changes are we already seeing and what the prospects are for the future. We call in on the Arctic and the Antarctic to find out what’s going on in some of the most vulnerable parts of the oceans, and we meet some extraordinary species from the bottom of the sea at the bottom of the world.
3. September 2010. Tracking sharks
Sharks began cruising the oceans more than 400 million years ago and they face many threats as they continue their global wanderings today. We investigate various techniques used to track shark movements and how this is helping in efforts to protect them. We chat to Brad Norman from Ecocean about how he was inspired by the stars to help track whale sharks. Mahmood Shivji from the Guy Harvey Research Institute tells us about how cutting edge genetic tools are helping to track the trade in shark fins. And on the north Norfolk coast we go on a “Great Egg Case Hunt” and find out how members of the public are helping to track some of the sharks’ less famous relatives.
4. October 2010. Census of Marine Life – celebrating a decade of discovery
In this special extended edition of Naked Oceans we celebrate the world’s first Census of Marine Life as it draws to a climax this month after ten years of groundbreaking ocean discoveries. Recorded at the census conference at the Royal Institution in London on October 4th 2010, we meet many of the people behind the census, find out how the whole grand project got going, and pick out some of the census highlights. We also hear some musical inspiration from the census and chat with distinguished oceans explorer, Sylvia Earle.
5. November 2010. Protecting the sea
We check out the latest developments in ocean protection around the globe with the creation of Marine Protected Areas – or MPAs – those areas of the ocean set aside to let wildlife recover and thrive. Hot off the press, a new report launched at a meeting on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan reveals how many MPAs there are globally, where they are, and how much of the ocean they cover. We find out about a new generation of MPAs soon to appear around the UK coast and track down bottlenose dolphins and a gaggle of sea birds in a marine reserve off the Welsh coast.
6. December 2010. The 12 critters of Christmas
In a special festive edition of Naked Oceans we count down the 12 critters of Christmas including sea angels, Christmas tree worms, and an octopus with a few party tricks up their tentacles. We meet an ocean migrant that could lend Father Christmas a helping hand, ponder whether turkey fish should be on the Christmas menu, and we venture into the deep sea to track down a fish that glows as brightly as Rudolf’s nose.
7. January 2011. Alternatives to overfishing
We investigate some of the alternatives there are to stripping the oceans bare. We find out what lies behind the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue eco-label for sustainable seafood and talk manta ray ecotourism with Andrea Marshall, "Queen of Mantas". Continuing our look at protecting the oceans, we have a report from the Philippines where we find out how coastal communities are protecting their local piece of sea by setting up fish sanctuaries.
8. February 2011. Sex on the seabed
In a Valentine’s Day special, we reveal some of the unusual mating habits of ocean animals. How do they track down a mate in the enormous oceans? What happens if they are stuck firmly in place on the seabed? And what does all this mean for our efforts to protect ocean life? We find out what happens when the animals that build coral reefs take part in a huge, synchronised love-in. We call in on the Cayman Islands to discover how the spawning habits of many fish put them in grave danger of being overfished. And we find out how jellyfish make more jellyfish and whether they really are set to take over the oceans. A longer version of the coral spawning feature from this episode was published as a Naked Scientists special.
9. March 2011. Trading the Oceans
We examine the various ways the oceans are traded on global markets from high-priced luxury goods to the carbon locked up in coastal vegetation. Helen introduces some of the issues and conservation challenges surrounding the trade in highly sought-after marine animals, including sea cucumbers, humpead wrasse, and coral. She also visits a seahorse-breeding laboratory in Florida that aims to reduce pressure on wild populations. And we ask ‘Is Blue the new Green?’ as we hear how efforts to combat climate change could help encourage the protection of mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes by converting them into carbon credits. A longer version of a news item from this episode about the Reefs at Risk Revisited report – taking a global look at the current plight of coral reefs, recorded at the Royal Society in London – was published as a Naked Scientists special.
10. April 2011. Art and the Oceans
One of the biggest problems when it comes to caring for and protecting the oceans is that for most people it remains out of sight and out of mind. We hear from artists who devote their work to busting myths about the dark, scary, monster-filled depths. We find out how a National Geographic photojournalist finds a balance between portraying the beauty of ocean life with the problems it faces today. And an underwater sculptor tells us about how he transforms art into artificial reefs, taking pressure off natural reefs and sending out strong messages about the relationship between humankind and nature. And we find out about a Victorian artist who brought the beauty of the underwater world to the masses long before the invention of underwater photography or scuba diving. A longer version of the interview recorded with underwater photographer Brian Skerry was published as a Naked Scientists special.
11. May 2011. Sensing the underwater world
We find out how marine animals see, sniff, touch, and hear in their watery realm. We discover how tiny fish and lobsters find their way home when they have a whole ocean to choose from and find out why understanding what they get up to is vital in our efforts to help protect them. Fish vision comes under the microscope as we explore how they see in different parts of the ocean. And we hear from scientists who use underwater robots to eavesdrop on the songs of rare North Atlantic right whales – even in the middle of a raging storm. A longer version of the interview recorded with Jelle Atema from Boston University about fish and lobster senses was published as a Naked Scientists special.
12. June 2011. Exploring the deep sea
In the final episode of the present series, we venture into the deep to discover how scientists are using cutting edge technologies to explore the darkest and most mysterious parts of the ocean. We find out how microbes cope with extreme life in the depths and look at some high-tech gadgets for bringing samples back from the seabed miles beneath the waves. And we discover how researchers around the world are joining force using the latest online social media tools to explore unchartered waters around Indonesia. Longer versions of the interviews recorded at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were published as Naked Scientists specials.