Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Blue Planet - Episode 02: The Deep

Today on Far Future Horizons we present the second episode of the acclaimed documentary series The Blue Planet narrated by David Attenborough.

In this second instalment Doctor Attenborough takes us into the deep. Over sixty percent of the sea is more than a mile deep and it forms the planet's most mysterious habitat. 

A sperm whale descends 1,000 metres to look for food and is followed. 

On the way down, a number of unusual creatures are witnessed, such as transparent squid and jellies, whose photophores give pulsating displays of colour. 

Photophores Bioluminescence

In such dark places, both being able to see (or sense movement) and the means of quick concealment are equally desirable. To that end, some use bio-luminescence as a means of detecting food or evading predators. A descent to the very bottom of the ocean — some 4,000 metres — reveals life even at such cold temperatures, much of it new to science. It is dominated by echinoderms that sweep the sea bed; however, there are occasional large hunters, such as chimaera. In addition, six gill sharks can grow up to eight metres in length and have remained unchanged for 150 million years. They are described as "living fossils" and relatively little is known about them. As the continental slope flattens out it joins the abyssal plain, which can form huge trenches. At seven miles, the deepest is the Mariana trench, and fish have been found there right down to the very bottom. Attenborough remarks that more is known about the surface of the moon. Species captured on film for the first time include the Dumbo octopus and the hairy anglerfish. 

Dumbo octopus

This episode was nominated for two Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Editing and Outstanding Sound Mixing in the non-fiction category. It was also nominated for a BAFTA TV award for Best Innovation.

This series has been described as "the first ever comprehensive series on the natural history of the world's oceans". Each of the eight fifty minute episodes examines a different aspect of marine life. The underwater photography included creatures and behaviour that had previously never been filmed.

The Blue Planet is available as a special DVD collector’s set from Amazon.com.

The Blue Planet - Episode 02: The Deep

The Blue Planet (The Deep) from Heath Cooper on Vimeo.
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