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New 'Naked Scientists' series investigates our oceans

The University of Cambridge's "Naked Scientists" are launching a new series of podcasts this week entitled "Naked Oceans".

These monthly, half-hour podcasts, funded by the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF), investigate various topics of ocean science and conservation. They are presented by Helen Scales and Sarah Castor-Perry, both members of the Naked Scientists team and Alumni of the University of Cambridge's Department of Zoology.

With the help of expert guests, they aim to make people aware of the importance of vital ocean environments and the threats they are under. As well as looking at the better known habitats and species of the ocean, Naked Oceans plans to spotlight some of the often overlooked but equally important aspects of marine life.

The shows are aimed at anyone with an interest in marine nature, from children to scientists. The podcasts are available for free on itunes, on the Naked Oceans and Save Our Seas websites.

With 80% of the world fisheries now overexploited or depleted, and more than 400 oceanic "dead zones" where there is no oxygen or life in part due to waste water and farm runoff, marine conservation is increasingly important. At present less than 1% of the ocean is protected from human activity despite of our reliance on it for food, livelihoods and even climate regulation. Naked Oceans aims to bring the situation to the public attention and offers listeners practical advice on what they can do to help ocean conservation.

Episodes include discussions with top researchers and rundowns of the latest news in marine science and conservation. There are also field reports and other highlights include the "critter of the months" feature, in which an expert must answer the question "If you were a marine critter, which would you be, and why?"

Listeners are encouraged to send in questions to the show via email, Facebook and twitter and are also invited to go on the special "Marine Science" section of the Naked Scientists Forum. On the Naked Oceans website there will be further information about the topics covered in the shows, including links and access to relevant research papers.

The first episode of the series, from July, focuses on oil spills and their impact on the ocean environment. Robinson Fulweiler from Boston University and Amy Hirons from NOVA Southeastern University in Florida discuss the potential impact of the recent Gulf of Mexico spill.

This month's episode considers climate change in the oceans. David Barnes from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and David Thomas from Bangor University will be talking about climate change in the antarctic and the arctic. This show will also include a report from the cold room at the BAS, where creatures from the Southern Ocean are kept for study.

The third show, which will be online in September, will examine the science of tracking sharks. Guests will include Mahmood Shivji from the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Centre and the Guy Harvey Research Institute in Florida, who will talk about using genetic tools to track the shark fin trade. Future episodes will look at topics such as whaling, pollution in the oceans and overfishing.

To launch the series, highlights from the first two episodes will feature in a special marine-themed episode of The Naked Scientists' weekly, one-hour podcast, available from Tuesday 24th August.


Contact: Helen Scales
University of Cambridge

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