As mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of my goals while I am in Trinidad is to increase the public’s awareness of the deep ocean. I’ve already done one talk at the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalist Club on the deep sea around Trinidad and Tobago. Below you can find two articles that I’ve written about the deep ocean.

  1. To commemorate four years since my journey down into the Cayman Trench in the Shinkai6500 submersible, I’ve written a two part article on the experience. The first part was published in the Trinidad Newsday on 15th June 2017 and the second part on 22nd June 2017.
  2. I also wrote an article about the deep sea around Trinidad and Tobago that was simultaneously published on the Wild Tobago blog and in the Tobago Newsday on 22nd June 2017.
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HOV Shinkai6500 being launched. Photo credit: Diva Amon.


*Update: You can watch the group Q&A segment of this episode here.*

On May 18th, I was one of three experts to head to the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre to film the latest episode of CNN Inspirations: ‘Wild Discoveries’. I was joined by Kristofer Helgen, an amazing mammalogist who is responsible for the discovery of  >100 species (!), and Dean Lomax, a rather famous palaeontologist who never leaves home without his giant dinosaur claw. Needless to say, I felt WAY out of my depth! But of course, filming was a blast and everyone was lovely. We were interviewed by CNN correspondent, Max Foster, in front of a live studio audience about the most interesting marine, terrestrial and prehistoric species discovered over the last two years. I don’t want to ruin the surprises from my marine segment but to give you a few teasers, I’ll be talking about quite a few videos filmed by the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer including Casper the octopus and the viral hydromedusae from our Marianas expedition. You will have to tune in to see what else made the cut! This episode will be airing on CNN International on:

Fri 6/30/17: 410am ET and 1010pm ET

Sat 7/1/17: 810am ET and 910pm ET

Sun 7/2/17: 210am ET and 410pm ET

Adam (the producer), Kris, Dean and I should be doing a live tweet up during a few of the airings so send us your questions!

I have been terrible with keeping my website up to date so this post summarises all of my news from July 2016 to May 2017. It covers papers published, workshops attended, outreach done and some very big career changes.


Let’s get the big stuff out of the way first!

After three great years in the Smith Lab at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, I decided that it was time to move on. So in November 2016, I packed my bags and headed back to my family home in Trinidad and Tobago to spend some much needed down time with my mum and dogs.

In December 2016, I was hired as consultant by Pew Environment to help coauthor the nomination of National Marine Sanctuary Designation For The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. You can find that document here.

Then in February 2016, I got the FANTASTIC news that I had been offered a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship! So from March 2018, I will undertake two years of my own research on deep-sea mining in Dr. Adrian Glover’s lab at The Natural History Museum, London.

The Natural History Museum, London. Photo credit: Diva Amon.


In October 2016, I was fortunate to attend the OBIS-INDEEP training workshop at the UNESCO-IOC project office for IODE in Oostende, Belgium. The meeting brought together deep-sea biologists and data managers in an effort to build an international alliance with a common vision to provide open access to deep-sea biodiversity data. This will hopefully enhance our understanding of the deep-ocean ecosystem in order to better inform ocean governance and management. You can read more about it here.

In April and May 2017, I participated in a pilot study by NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research & Technology (CIOERT) as a biology expert for the Okeanos Explorer expedition to the Western Pacific between Pago Pago (American Samoa) and Honolulu via telepresence at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Exploration Command Center.


  • Cordes, E.E., D.O.B. Jones, T.A. Schlacher, D.J. Amon, A.F. Bernadino, et al., 2016. Environmental impacts of the deep-water oil and gas industry: a review to guide management strategies. Frontiers in Environmental Science 4: 58. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2016.00058
  • Glover, A., T. Dahlgren, S. Taboada, G. Paterson, H. Wiklund, A. Waeschenbach, A. Cobley, P. Martínez, S. Kaiser, S. Schnurr, S. Khodami, U. Raschka, D. Kersken, H. Stuckas, L. Menot, P. Bonifacio, A. Vanreusel, L. Macheriotou, M. Cunha, A. Hilário, C. Rodrigues, A. Colaço, P. Ribeiro, M. Błażewicz, A. Gooday, D. Jones, D. Billett, A. Goineau, D. Amon, et al., 2016. The London Workshop on the Biogeography and Connectivity of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Research Ideas and Outcomes 2: e10528. doi: 10.3897/rio.2.e10528
  • Amon, D.J., A. Hilario, P. Martinez Arbizu, C.R. Smith, 2016. Observations of organic falls in the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone, tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. Marine Biodiversity. doi: 10.1007/s12526-016-0572-4
  • Amon, D.J., P. Fryer, D. Glickson, S. Pomponi, E. Lobecker, K. Cantwell, K. Elliott, D. Sowers, 2017. Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas [in special issue: New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The E/V Nautilus, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and R/V Falkor Field Season. Oceanography. 30(1): 60-65.
  • Cormier, M.H., K.L.C. Bell, S.M. Sharuga, C. Castillo, J. Conrad, D. Amon, et al., 2017. Exploration of the Southern California Borderland [in special issue: New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The E/V Nautilus, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer and R/V Falkor Field Season. Oceanography. 30(1): 40-41.
  • Amon, D.J., A. Ziegler, A. Kremenetskaia, C. Mah, R. Mooi, T. O’Hara, D. Pawson, M. Roux, C. Smith, 2017. Megafauna of the UKSRL exploration contract area and eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean: Echinodermata. Biodiversity Data Journal. 5: e11794.

Science Communication and Outreach

In July 2016, I represented NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to present the findings of the three-leg expedition by the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer earlier that year. You can read about that here.

Now that I am in Trinidad, one of my goals is to increase the public’s awareness of the deep ocean. I intend on doing this via a series of talks, blog posts and newspaper articles. The first of those was a talk at the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalist Club on the deep sea around Trinidad and Tobago in February 2017, which you can watch below. Stay tuned for more!


I recently returned from a fantastic expedition on Leg 1 of the Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. Honestly, it was one of the best cruises of my life! The imagery was stunning, every dive was exciting, there was lots of outreach, telepresence rocks, the team on board was so much fun and so professional, and it turns out the geology lead on board (Deb Glickson) is my science soulmate. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I was invited to take part as Biology Lead. If I could do that for the rest of my days, things would be perfect but alas, it’s back to hypothesis-driven science rather than exploration and hypothesis-generating science for me! Hey, that isn’t too bad anyway 😉 (more…)

On Wednesday 20th April, I will be setting sail aboard the NOAA ship, the Okeanos Explorer, for three weeks (20th April to 11th May). The goal of our expedition is to explore the area around the Marianas Trench using an ROV. What is exciting and special about the Okeanos Explorer is that it only does exploration and science communication (not research-driven science) – it’s ROV basically just drives around looking for cool stuff! The best bit is that all dives are streamed in HD imagery LIVE on the internet so anyone can watch! (more…)