‘Ask an Ocean Explorer’ is a vibrant insight into the life of a deep-sea biologist. Written by scientific adviser of the critically acclaimed Blue Planet II, this book answers questions often asked by ocean lovers.

Questions such as ‘how do we explore the oceans?’, ‘what are the weirdest creatures found in the deep?’, and ‘what can we learn from animals in the deep ocean?’ are just some of the queries put forth and answered masterfully by a modern-day explorer.

Much like ‘Mapping the Deep’ by Robert Kunzig, ‘Ask an Ocean Explorer’ gives a detailed account of mankind’s exploration of the deep blue, paying particular attention to those who made it possible to explore this previously unknown realm.

Be it the ground-breaking discovery of the Mid-Atlantic ridge by Marie Tharp, or the brave efforts of the first “bathynauts”, William Beebe and Otis Barton and their contribution to modern deep-sea submersibles, ‘Ask and Ocean Explorer’ expertly highlights the individuals we have to thank for our understanding of oceanography.

Dr Jon Copley pays the majority of the book’s attention to the deep-sea environment. He eloquently takes the reader on a journey from the very first submersible, all the way to the latest deep-sea discoveries (and their applications to every-day life). This book paints a rich picture of deep-sea exploration that is accessible to all.

As an undergraduate marine biologist, yet to make his mark on the world, I found this book very inspiring. Peering into the everyday life of what would be my dream job was a great pleasure. By the end of the book my resolve to become an ocean scientist was stronger than ever.

I believe that this feeling could be inspired in many individuals from all walks of life. ‘Ask an Ocean Explorer’ not only appeals to the marine biologist, but also to the engineers, historians, writers, and film-makers of the world.

Of the many wonderfully written chapters in this book, my favourite had to be chapter 22: ‘What can we learn from species in the deep ocean?’

This chapter was comparatively short; however, I found the message behind the content to be the strongest. In just four pages, Dr Copley succinctly explains just how much potential the deep ocean holds for advances in civilisation.

We are presented small-scale discoveries, such as the antifreeze proteins in deep-sea fish that are now used to make rich and creamy ice cream without the use of extra fat.

We are then introduced to the more meaningful discoveries such as a deep-sea chlorophyll that has been developed into a form of cancer treatment. These are just some of the applications that the deep sea holds for mankind, and thus the chapter leaves the reader with a new appreciation for the deep ocean.

In the era of climate change and blissful ignorance, reading just a few examples of what the ocean has to offer mankind gives me hope that readers will adopt a more ocean-friendly lifestyle.

‘Ask an Ocean Explorer’ was a pleasure to read. I believe that anybody remotely interested in our planet and its oceans would enjoy it just as much as I have.

Written by Lucas King