Book club: ‘The Deep’ by Alex Rogers

‘This book takes an unflinching look at the issues affecting our oceans’ – National Geographic

underwater
The submerged cover of ‘The Deep’ used as a promotional image

Dr Alex Rogers is a world-renowned marine biologist with over 30 years’ experience in deep-sea exploration. He is the director of science at REV Ocean, a professor in conservation biology at Oxford University and was also a scientific advisor for the award winning Blue Planet II series. His distinguished career at the forefront of scientific research and policy has culminated in the release of his 2019 book ‘The Deep’. In it he explores ‘the hidden wonders of our oceans and how we can protect them’ through a series of personal memories and experiences, as well as the most up to date scientific facts and predictions. It is an amazing book that manages to be informative, entertaining, alarming and inspiring all at once.

submersible
‘The Deep’ explores the deepest parts of our oceans including hydrothermal vents and underwater canyons

What makes this book so unique is that it focuses heavily on Alex’s personal experiences and love for the oceans, whilst managing to tackle big global issues at the same time. We are taken on a journey through his life from a childhood spent rockpooling in Ireland, to his student days in Liverpool and on the Isle of Man, as well as his many fantastic adventures on-board research vessels across the world. His fantastic descriptive powers take you to the bottom of the world’s oceans to explore hydrothermal vents, hidden coral gardens, magnificent seamounts and bizarre new forms of marine life, as if you were watching the live-feed from one of his remote underwater vehicles. However at the same time his experiences working in conservation and policy show you how these new wonders he has revealed to you are also in danger of disappearing completely.

deep sea coral
Deep-sea coral gardens and their unique species are heavily features in the book, as well as how deep-sea fishing and mining are putting them in danger

Unfortunately the list of major issues addressed in this book is as long as the number of fascinating discoveries you will make. It includes destructive deep-sea fishing, plastic pollution, ocean acidification, seafloor mining, de-oxygenation and most importantly commercial exploitation. However as alarming as these problems are Rogers manages to explain them in a calm and calculated way, blending scientific fact and accessible anecdotes to unravel these complex issues into something everyone can understand. Despite spending 30 years watching the places he loves be continually damaged by his own kind, he also manages to remain cautiously optimistic about their future and reminds us that the fate of our oceans is very much still in our own hands. For anyone with an interest in the future of our oceans, ‘The Deep’ is a must read.

Dr Alex Rogers
Dr Alex Rogers pictured holding his work

This review is the fourth in our new Marine Madness Book Club! At the beginning of every month we will be releasing a new review of an ocean inspired book and encouraging you to let us know what you think in the comments and via social media. To find out more visit the Book Club page here.


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