Curiouser Podcast: Life Under Constant Pressure

Jai Ranganathan speaks to me about the biodiversity of the deep sea and my paper from last year.

More than 70 percent of the earth is ocean floor, an environment as lethal to human life as outer space. With pressures hundreds of times stronger than on the surface, no sunlight, and near freezing temperatures, it is hard to imagine that anything could survive on the bottom of the ocean.

Dr. Craig McClain, a marine biologist at the National Center for Evolutionary Synthesis, has taken robot submersibles to the ocean floor. He discovered an astonishing number of species thriving on the seafloor: a comparable number of animals to what is found in a tropical rainforest or a coral reef. He discusses what makes it possible for so many species to coexist in such a hostile environment

via Curiouser Podcast: Life Under Constant Pressure | Smart Journalism. Real Solutions. Miller-McCune..

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.