• The University of Western Australia (M470), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Alan Jamieson is Professor at The Oceans Institute and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Western Australia and the founding Director of the Minderoo UWA Deep Sea Research Centre. He has over 20 years of experience in deep-sea science, technology and exploration. He started out at Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen UK where he progressed from mechanical technician to senior lecturer in Marine Biology (2000-2016), and later moved to Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences as a senior lecturer in Marine Ecology from 2016-2021. He gained a PhD in 2004 for his thesis entitled Autonomous lander technology for biological research at mid-water, abyssal and hadal depths. He is an international authority on the deepest places in the oceans known as the ‘hadal zone’, meaning depths between 6000 and 11,000 metres. He has published over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers and book chapters and monographed the book The Hadal Zone: life in the deepest oceans for Cambridge University Press in 2015. He has participated in nearly 70 deep-sea expeditions on over 26 research vessels spanning every ocean. He also pioneered the design, construction and operations of the full ocean depth Hadal-Landers and has deployed these baited camera systems over 500 times throughout the world’s deepest trenches. Since 2018 he has been the Chief Scientist of the DSSV Pressure Drop, notably during the round-the-world Five Deeps Expedition (2018-19) and the follow-on Ring of Fire expeditions (2020-present). During that time, he completed 12 submersible dives in the DSV Limiting Factor including 7 to hadal depths and 2 greater than 10,000 m deep. He was the first British person to reach hadal depths, and at the time was the 8th deepest diving person in history. He currently holds seven Guinness World Records for discoveries in marine biology. He has co-authored the description of 12 new species and named 12 official undersea features with another 45 pending. His research has featured in several BBC, NHK and Discovery Channel documentaries. Since 2017, eight stories spanning nearly 3000 online stories originating from his papers or projects have amassed a combined global reach of 7.6 billion people.

Research

Alan Jamieson’s main research focuses on exploring the very deepest parts of the ocean, the Hadal Zone (6000-11,000 m). The hadal zone comprises deep trenches formed by tectonic subduction and centred mostly around the Pacific Rim. These extremely deep marine habitats host the deepest 45% of the ocean’s depth range yet comprise many ecologically disjunct ecosystems that differ greatly from the surrounding abyssal plains. Studying these hadal communities poses a series of challenges from access from the surface, environmental gradients at depth, reliable and available technologies, extreme and unknown topography and substrates, to various biological challenges associated with extreme hydrostatic pressure. As such, his research is a complex blend of natural history, depth related marine ecology, mapping and geology, population connectivity, and anthropogenic impacts at both inter- and intra-trench levels, and inter- and intra-ocean scales, and all underpinned by technology development and integrated taxonomy.

Geographically, his hadal research campaigns have taken him to the Japan, Izu-Bonin, Mariana, Philippine, New Hebrides, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Atacama, Kermadec and Tonga trenches, South Fiji Basin, and Black Hole (Pacific Ocean), the Wallaby-Zenith Fracture Zone, Wallaby Cuvier Plateau, North Australian Basin, Java Trench, Perth Canyon and the Afanasi Nikitin Seamount (Indian Ocean), the South Shetland and South Sandwich trenches (Southern Ocean), Molloy Hole (Arctic Ocean) and the Puerto Rico Trench and Agulhas Fracture Zone (Atlantic Ocean). In other deep-sea projects he has also worked extensively in the North and South Atlantic Ocean, East and West Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

Research Highlights so far have been unequivocally proving that decapods do exist in the trenches, filming of the deepest fish seen alive in 2008 (Click here) and again in 2014 (Click here), filming the deepest fish in the southern hemisphere (Click here), having a hadal amphipod named after him (Click here), finding the ‘supergiant’ amphipod in trenches and the southern hemisphere for the first time (Click here), the first biological exploration of the New Hebrides Trench (Click Here) and Peru-Chile Trench (Click here), proving that fish are biochemically constrained from reaching full ocean depth (Click here), reporting manmade pollutants  (Click here) and ingested microplastics at full ocean depth (Click here), finding and naming the deepest fish in the world (Click here) and being the chief scientists of the Five Deeps expedition that successful put the first person to the deepest point in every ocean (Click here).

Notable publications include: Jamieson, et al. (2017) Nature Ecology & Evolution, 1(3), 1-4 is ranked 33rd of the 353,500 tracked articles of a similar age in all journals and ranked 1st of the 79 tracked articles of similar age in Nature E&E, Altmetric score = 2185. This paper is cited, on average, 42 times per year since its publication.

Jamieson et al. (2010) in TREE, 25(3), 190-197, has been cited, on average, 18 times per year for 10 years.

Yancey et al. (2014) in PNAS, 111(12), 4461-4465, is cited an average of 20 times per year since its publication.

Jamieson and Vecchione (2020), published in Marine Biology, was highlighted by Springer Nature as one of the most popular articles of 2020 “reflecting top research that made an impact”.

Eurythenes plasticus (Weston et al. 2020) was included in the WoRMS Top Ten Marine Species of 2020.

Stewart and Jamieson (2019), published in Earth Science Reviews (IF=9.7) is currently the most downloaded paper from that journal (as of September 2021).

Linley et al. (2016) Deep Sea Research Part I, 114, 99-110, was, for several years, the most downloaded paper from the Journal Deep Sea Research Part I.

Three papers have been recommended to Faculty Opinions (formally f1000). Those were Jamieson et al. (2017), Danovaro et al. (2020) and Jamieson and Linley (2021).


Awards include the Eurythenes plasticus plastic project “Call it plastic” in collaboration with BBDO Dusseldorf, GmbH and WWF-Germany that won a series of high-profile awards at

  • Cannes Lions Festival for Creativity 2021 (1 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze)
  • German Advertising Industry Gala 2021 (3 gold, 8 silver and 5 bronze)
  • 2020 EPICA awards for creativity judged by the press (2 gold and 1 bronze)
  • 2020 EuroBest awards for creative and effective branded communications (Grand Prix, 2 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze)

Winner of a ‘Deep Sea Hero 2020’ award by ECO magazine in collaboration with the Schmidt Ocean Institute and the National Oceanography Centre (November 2020).

The Ring of Fire Expedition (2020) was runner up the Blue Marine Foundation ‘Ocean Awards 2021’in the science category.

The book, the Hadal Zone; Life in the Deepest Oceans, was nominated for the Royal Society of Biology’s ‘Book of the Year’ award in 2015.

Education/Academic qualification

Zoology, PhD, University of Aberdeen

Award Date: 4 May 2004

Design for Industry, BSc, Robert Gordon University

Award Date: 1 Jun 1999

Industry keywords

  • Oceans
  • Environmental
  • Education
  • Communications

Research expertise keywords

  • Deep-Sea
  • Exploration
  • Hadal Zone
  • Subduction trenches
  • Subsea Technology
  • Biodiversity

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