Importance of Biodiversity

Which parts of the ocean are still unexplored?
Answered by Julie Packard, Sylvia Earle and 1 other
  • Julie Packard

    Julie Packard

  • Sylvia Earle

    Sylvia Earle

  • Bruce Robison

    Bruce Robison

  1. Julie Packard Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium


    TRANSCRIPT:

    Most of the ocean, of course, has been touched by the human enterprise, and I guess personally -- there are two lines of thought about exploring the ocean. I'm sure if you talk to different scientists, you'll hear those points of view.

    One is that it's all about humans' need to get down there and see it with their own eyes and that human perception enables you to gather information that a video camera or technology cannot. The other is that we should develop more unmanned exploratory devices to get down there. You can stay longer. You can collect long-term data sets. It's a lot less expensive. You're not risking human life and limb.

    I kind of, maybe because of working on our MBARI, our research institute, with my father, I'm more of a technology -- develop technology to explore the ocean, because I think it's more practical, although I still love the human aspect to it. I'm really excited when I hear that an instrument's been developed that's affordable that can measure the nutrient inputs, the nitrogen pollution, in the ocean and that it maybe can be deployed on all the coasts of the planet and uploaded to a satellite, and we can finally understand what's going on and monitor it and do something about it.

     

    More answers from Julie Packard »

  2. Sylvia Earle Founder and President, The Sylvia Earle Alliance


    TRANSCRIPT:

    Most of the ocean has never been seen by anybody, let alone explored. When I say "most," it's like 95 percent. Even places that I've been too many times -- the Gulf of Mexico -- I see new things every time I go. Even in the same place, every day is different, every minute of every day. It's a constantly dynamic system. There's never a chance that we'll run out of things to explore. We're really poised on the edge with the greatest era of exploration ever. We have new technologies now that didn't exist when I was a kid. Starting with scuba, I was among the first to have a chance to do scuba in the United States in 1953. Since then I've been the first just because it comes along and I get to use it.

    Saturation diving, little submarines -- I really want a submarine to go to full ocean depths so that I can actually see what it's like 7 miles down, not just to bounce down, tear back to the surface, plant a flag. No, I really want to explore: to have the capacity to go to the deepest place because that would enable me and everyone, anyone to go anyplace. Right now, most of the ocean is off-limits because we just can't get there. We can send little robots, tiny probes here and there. But it's not the same as being there. I want to go. And I want everyone else to have the opportunity to go and see for themselves what's at stake: our lives, our future. All of that is on the line.

    When I say "most," it's like 95 percent. Even places that I've been too many times -- the Gulf of Mexico -- I see new things every time I go. Even in the same place, every day is different, every minute of every day. It's a constantly dynamic system. There's never a chance that we'll run out of things to explore. We're really poised on the edge with the greatest era of exploration ever. We have new technologies now that didn't exist when I was a kid. Starting with scuba, I was among the first to have a chance to do scuba in the United States in 1953. Since then I've been the first just because it comes along and I get to use it.

    Saturation diving, little submarines -- I really want a submarine to go to full ocean depths so that I can actually see what it's like 7 miles down, not just to bounce down, tear back to the surface, plant a flag. No, I really want to explore: to have the capacity to go to the deepest place because that would enable me and everyone, anyone to go anyplace. Right now, most of the ocean is off-limits because we just can't get there. We can send little robots, tiny probes here and there. But it's not the same as being there. I want to go. And I want everyone else to have the opportunity to go and see for themselves what's at stake: our lives, our future. All of that is on the line.

    More answers from Sylvia Earle »

  3. Bruce Robison Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

    TRANSCRIPT:

    That's a question that various people have tried to address in different ways. I think everyone will agree that we've explored less than 10 percent of it -- for having actually laid eyes on it out the window of a submersible or looking through a scuba mask, probably less than 3 percent. It's a huge unknown in terms of exploration and discovery. That's what makes it so fun.

    More answers from Bruce Robison »



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