School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Alan Jamieson

Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology


I am a Senior lecturer and teach marine ecology, specialising in deep and extreme environments. My main personal research interests are in deep-sea technology for the study of deep-water fish, bioluminescence and anything from extreme depths (or anywhere that simply isn’t normal). My current research team comprises Dr. Thom Linley (PDRA), Dr. Will Reid (PDRA), Johanna Weston (PhD), Frankie Carr (MPhil), Lauren Brooks (MPhil) and Jackson Swan (MSc)

My research interests are primarily the biological exploration of the deep sea and associated technology with an emerging interest in simulating extreme marine environments in laboratory conditions. My main focus is 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. I have published about 80 peer reviewed papers and participated in 50 deep sea expeditions and have recently become a member of the Royal Geographical Society.

I have led the design on many Hadal-landers that my ever-evolving team and I have now deployed in or around the hadal trenches over 220 times over 18 cruises to the Pacific Ocean: Japan, Izu-Bonin, Mariana, New Hebrides, Kermadec, Tonga, South Shetland and Peru-Chile, as well other interesting deep-water sites such as the South Fiji Basin, Wallaby-Zenith Transform Fault and the Afanasi Niktin Seamount. Other non hadal expeditions include Antarctica, West African Margin, NW Atlantic submarine Canyons, and the East and West Mediterranean (the KM3NeT project). This work has recently diversified into exploring other extreme environments through the MASTS Deep Sea Forum, and leading a biodiscovery expedition to the South Shetland Trench in Antarctica in 2015 (‘PharmaDEEP’ Project).

The highlights of this research 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 me (Click here) and finding the ‘supergiant’ amphipod in trenches and the southern hemisphere for the first time (Click here). I was involved in 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 at full ocean depth (Click here) and more recently ingested microplastics (Click here), and finding and naming the deepest fish in the world (Click here). Check out some of the coverage from the Mariana Trench expedition on SOI's RV Falkor: BBC NewsNational Geographic , New Scientist , Science, Discovery and on Youtube.

I recently published a monograph on the hadal zone for Cambridge University Press that can be found here.  This book was endorsed by film director and explorer James Cameron who called the book "The most comprehensive book yet written on the mysteries of the ocean's deepest places, written by one of its best explorers". It was also nominated for the Royal Society of Biology Book of the Year award in 2015 (didn’t win though). You can read the review in Nature News here.

Our paper describing anthropogenic pollutants in the deepest places (Jamieson et al. 2017, Nature Ecol. Evol.) has an altmetric score of 2179 and is currently ranked 1st out 104 tracked articles of a similar age in that journal, and 34th out of 321,712 articles of a similar age in all journals.  Our other recent paper on hadal fish, Linley et al., (2017), was the most downloaded paper in Deep-Sea Research Part 1 in 2017. See Google Scholar profile here.

Interesting public outreach endeavours range from appearing on Blue Peter (Click here), to advising the Filmic Art 3D Deep Ocean Experience Blu-Ray DVD, to featuring in NHK’s 2017 David Attenborough narrated documentary Deep Ocean: Descent into the Mariana Trench, as well as my lander featuring in the Deep Sea episode of Blue Planet 2 as well as some images being printed in the accompanying book. I featured in a BBC radio documentary called Life in the Trenches, and recently took part in a BBC World Service panel show, Science in Action with Roland Pease. Me and my research were recently the topic of a question on the popular quiz show QI, where comedian Romesh Ranganathan gave his own hypothesis to explain snailfish zonation. I was also an invited speaker at the 2017 New Scientist Live event in London.

Meltwater, an advanced global digital media and intelligence monitoring company recently calculated my 2017 Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) at $15million, with a combined audience of 1.7 Billion people. The ‘social echo’ of just one of our stories was over 900,000 posts on twitter and Facebook.

He is currently the Chief Scientist on the Five Deep Expedition (

For more on the research and the scientific literature, go the ‘Publications Tab’, to read more from a popular science perspective go to the ‘Research Tab’.



Research Expeditions:

  1. RRS Discovery D252 (UK) - (2001) NE Atlantic - (AUDOS, ROBIO, FRESP, ISIT landers)
  2. RRS Discovery D255 (UK) -  (2001) NE Atlantic -  (AUDOS, DOBO, FRESP, ISIT landers)
  3. RRS Discovery D260 (UK) -  (2002) NE Atlantic -  (SPRINT, DOBO, FRESP, ISIT landers)
  4. RV Philia (Greece) -  (2002) E. Mediterranean - (SPRINT, FRESP Landers)
  5. RRS Discovery D266 (UK)  - (2002) NE Atlantic -  (SPRINT, DOBO, FRESP, ISIT landers)
  6. RV Johan Hjort (Norway) - (2002) Norwegian Fjords - (SPRINT lander, ISIT/CTD profiler)
  7. GG9  (France)  - (2004) W. Mediterranean - (ISIT lander profiling)
  8. FS Meteor M61-1 (Germany) - (2004) NE Atlantic  - (ROBIO,ISIT/GEOMAR Lander)
  9. GG9(France)-  (2004) W. Mediterranean - (ISIT lander profiling)
  10. MV Veracious II (UK) - (2004) North Sea - (ROBIO lander, Trawl processing)
  11. RRS Discovery D285T (UK) - (2004) NE Atlantic -  (DOBO lander)
  12. RV G.O. Sars (Norway) - (2004) Norwegian Fjords  - (ROBIO/ES, ISIT-CAM)
  13. RV New Horizon  (USA) - (2005) NE Pacific - (SPRINT lander, Fish Trap)
  14. FRV Scotia (UK) - (2005) North Sea  - (ROBIO lander)
  15. Helsingør harbour (Denmark) - (2005) -  (SPI camera)
  16. RRS Discovery D297 (UK)  - (2005) NE Atlantic  - (ROBIO, DOSOL Landers)
  17. RV Thompson TN187 (USA) - (2005) NE Pacific - (BICS) [w/ JASON2 ROV]
  18. RRS Discovery D300 (UK)  - (2005/06) Southern Ocean - (ROBIO, FRESP Landers)
  19. RV Seol Mara (UK) -  (2006) Loch Creran, UK - (SPI camera)
  20. Crest (UK) -  (2006) Shetland, UK - (SPI camera, Day Grab)
  21. RV Seol Mara / Calanus (UK) - (2006) Loch Creran, UK - (SPI camera, KALLE lander)
  22. FRV Scotia 1406S (UK) - (2006) NE Atlantic -  (Trap lander, trawl sampling)
  23. FS Meteor M70-1 (Germany) - (2006) Mediterranean - (ISIT profiling, CTD)
  24. RV Aegaeo (Greece) - (2007) E. Mediterranean - (ISIT profiling, CTD)
  25. RRS James Cook 10 leg 2 (UK) - (2007) NE Atlantic - (AROBIC Chambers) [w/ ISIS ROV]
  26. FS Sonne 194 (Germany)  - (2007) SW Pacific  - (Hadal-lander A and B)
  27. RV Hakuho-Maru KH-07-3 (Japan) (2007) NW Pacific  -  (Hadal-lander A and B)
  28. RV Kairei KR-07-16 (Japan) - (2007) NW Pacific - (Hadal-lander A and B)
  29. RV Sea Trident (UK -  (2008) SE Atlantic - (ROBIO Lander)
  30. RV Lydia (Greece)  - (2008) E. Mediterranean - (DAVE Lander)
  31. RV Hakuho-Maru KH-08-01 (Japan) - (2008) NW Pacific -  (Hadal-lander A and B)
  32. RV Philia (Greece) - (2008) E. Mediterranean -  (DAVE lander) [w/MAX ROV]
  33. RV Tansei-Maru KT-09-02  (Japan) (2009) NW Pacific  -  (Hadal-lander A)
  34. RRS James Cook JC36 (UK) - (2009) NE Atlantic -  (AROBICS/TOCS/Spreaders) [w/ISIS ROV]
  35. RV Kaharoa KAH0910 (NZ) -  (2009) SW Pacific - (Hadal-lander A and B)
  36. RV Sonne SO209 (Germany) - (2010) SE Pacific - (Hadal-Lander B)
  37. RRS James Cook JC62  (UK) - (2011) NE Atlantic  (DAVE lander)
  38. RV Kaharoa KAH1109 (NZ) - (2011) SW Pacific - (Hadal-Lander B, LATIS)
  39. RV Kaharoa KAH1202 (NZ) - (2012) SW Pacific - (Hadal-Lander B, LATIS)
  40. RV Kaharoa KAH1301 (NZ) - (2013) SW Pacific - (Hadal-Lander, Latis, Fish Trap)
  41. RV Kaharoa KAH1310 (NZ) - (2013) SW Pacific - (Hadal-Lander, Trap, Abyssal-Lander)
  42. RV Thomas G. Thompson TN309 (US) - (2014) SW Pacific - (Hadal-Lander, Abyssal-Lander)
  43. RV Falkor FK141109 (US) - (2014) Central Pacific - (Hadal-Lander, Abyssal-Lander, Trap)
  44. FRV Scotia 0915S (UK) - (2015) Northeast Atlantic - (Abyssal Lander, DOBO)
  45. BIO Hesperides (ES) - (2015) Southern Ocean/Antarctica - (Abyssal-Lander)
  46. FRV Scotia (UK) - (2016) NE Atlantic - (Whale bone lander)
  47. TV Shinyo-Maru (Japan) - 2017 NW Pacific (Hadal-Lander)
  48. RV Sonne (Germany) - 2017 Indian Ocean (Hadal-Landers)
  49. RV Tangaroa (New Zealand) (2017) SW Pacific (Hadal-landers)
  50. RV Sonne (Germany) (2018) SE Pacific (Hadal-Landers)


Research Grants
  • 2016: Research Infrastructure Fund (RiF) Exploration of Extreme Ocean Environments. Jamieson A.J.(Principal Investigator).
  • 2016: NERC (OGDIC) Automation of Marine Growth Analysis for Decommissioning Offshore Installations. Jamieson, AJ, Gormley, K. (Principal Investigator).
  • 2016: NERC Pressure adaptation in deep sea amphipods. Piertney, SB, Jamieson AJ, Douglas A.(Co-Investigator)
  • 2015. NERC (NBAF) Genetic Structure within and between hadal trenches in deep sea amphipods.  Jamieson, A.J., Douglas, A.  (Principal Investigator)
  • 2014. NERC (Capital asset call) PolyExESS: Polyextremophile Environmental Simulation System. Jamieson, AJ, Jaspars, M, Piertney, SB, Neilson, RN. (Principal Investigator)
  • 2014. EU (EuroFleets2) PharmaDeep: New Pharmaceuticals from the deep Antarctic. Jamieson, AJ, Jaspars, M. 8 European partners. (Principal Investigator)
  • 2014. MASTS. Anthropogenic contaminants at full ocean depth. Jamieson, AJ, Zhang, Z (Principal Investigator)
  • 2014. MASTS. Trench Connection Internship. Jamieson, A.J., Eustace, R.M. (Principal Investigator)
  • 2013. EU FP7. Fixed Point Open Ocean Observatories Network (FixO3). Lampitt, RS. et al, Aberdeen partners: Jamieson, AJ, Craig, J  (Co-Investigator)
  • 2013. Scottish Sensor Systems Centre (S3C) and AkerSolutions. Environmental Monitoring Observatory (eCON) Jamieson, AJ, Craig, J (Principal Investigator)
  • 2012. Total Foundation. Trench Connection. Jamieson, AJ, Piertney, SB, Clarke, MR, Duhamel, G  (Principal Investigator)
  • 2012. Schmidt Ocean Institute. Studying the ecology and geology of the Mariana Trench – the deepest place on Earth. Drazen, JC, Fryer, P, Yancey, PH, Shank, TM, Jamieson, AJ, Rowden, AA, Mayor, DJ, Ruhl, HA (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • 2011. NSF. Controls on hadal megafaunal community structure: a systematic examination of pressure, food supply and topography. Shank, TM, Bowen, AD, Drazen, JC, Yancey, PH, Clarke, MR, Jamieson, AJ, Mayor, DJ., Piertney, SB, Rowden, AA, Ruhl, HA  (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • 2011. MASTS.  Development of a deep sea holographic camera.  Watson, J, Jamieson, AJ, Burns N (Co-investigator)
  • 2011. Total Foundation.  Multi-disciplinary investigations of the deepest scavengers on Earth (7000-10,000m deep).  Jamieson, AJ, Piertney, SB, Fraser PJ.  (Principal Investigator)
  • 2010. European Commission. HERMIONE: Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man’s Impact on European seas.  Priede, IG, Witte, U, Bagley, PM, Jamieson AJ. (Co-Investigator)
  • 2008. European Commission.  Preparatory Phase for a DeepSeaFacility in the Mediterraneanfor Neutrino Astronomy and Associated Sciences (KM3NeT PP). Priede, IG., Bagley, PM., Jamieson, AJ. -  (Co-Investigator)
  • 2007.  NERC standard research grant, Life at extreme depth; fishes and scavenging fauna of the abyssal to hadal boundary. Priede, IG, Solan, M, Bagley, PM. Bailey, D.M., Jamieson AJ.  (Named Researcher)
  • 2006.Nippon Foundation (in collaboration with University of Tokyo). Nippon-UK Hadal Science and Education Partnership.  Priede, IG, Solan, M, Bagley, PM. Jamieson AJ (Co-Investigator)
  • 2005. BP.  DELOSContract.  Bagley, PM., Priede, IG., Sproule, D., Jamieson, AJ., Wigham, BD. (Co-Investigator)
  • 2004. BP. Pre DELOS Proposal Acquisition Contract. Bagley, PM., Priede, IG., Sproule, D., Jamieson, AJ., Wigham, BD. (Co-Investigator)
  • 2004: Support from The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation to form a UK-Japanese working group for developing a full ocean depth lander, Solan, M., Priede, IG., Jamieson, AJ. (Co-Investigator)
  • 2004. European Commission (STREP).  Integrating new technologies for the study of benthic ecosystem response to human activity: Towards a Coastal Ocean Benthic Observatory (COBO). Priede, IG., Bagley, PM, Solan, M., Jamieson, AJ. (Named Researcher)
  • 2004. Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept Fund.  Variable Buoyancy Device.  Bagley, PM., Jamieson, AJ., Player, MA. (Co-Investigator)
  • 2003. University of Aberdeen Knowledge Transfer Grant.  Variable Buoyancy Device, market research and patent application.  Bagley, PM., Jamieson, AJ., Player, MA. (Co-Investigator)
  • 2003. Commercialization grant, University of Aberdeen for the development of the world’s deepest underwater camera system.  Solan, M., Jamieson, AJ., Bagley, PM., Priede, IG. (Co-Investigator)

Public Outreach and Broader Impacts

 BBC News:   

  • Banned Chemicals persist in the deep ocean, February 2017 (Click here)
  • New record for deepest fish, December 2014 (Click here)
  • Pushing frontiers of deep sea exploration, July 2014 (click here)
  • Fishy molecule sets depth limit, March 4th 2014 (Click here)
  • New Hebrides Trench: First look at unexplored deep sea, March 3rd 2014 (Click Here)
  • Race to the bottom of the ocean: Why go down? March 2012 (Click here
  • Ocean Trench: Take a dive 11,000m down, March 2012 (Click here)
  • Supergiant crustacean found in deepest ocean, Feb 2012 (Click here)
  • New shrimp named after Aberdeen Scientist.  March 2011 (Click here)
  • Deep void yields new fish species, Oct 2010 (Click here)
  • Meet the creatures that live beyond the abyss Jan.  2010 (Click here)
  • Vivid colours of the deep. Jan. 2010. (Click here)
  • Deep-sea fish captured on camera.  Nov.  2009 (Click here)
  • Deepest ever living  fish filmed. Oct. 2008 (Click here)

Nature News

  • Man-Made pollutants found in Earth’s deepest ocean trenches. June 2016 (Click here)

  • Ocean-diving robot Nereus will not be replaced, December 2015 (Click here)

  • The Hadal Zone: Life in the deepest Oceans (Book Review), July 2015 (Click here)

Planet Earth Website (NERC):   

  • New shrimp immortalizes scientist. March 2011 (Click here)
  • Ocean trench cruise finds brand new fish. Oct. 2010 (Click here)
  • Southern Hemisphere's deepest fish caught on camera.  Nov. 2009. (Click here
  • Deepest-ever fish caught on camera.  Oct. 2008. (Click here)

The Conversation:

  • Jamieson, A.J. (2017) We discovered pollution-poisoned crustaceans in the Mariana Trench (Click here)
  • Jamieson, A.J. (2016) Ten things you never knew about the ocean’s deepest places (Click here)
  • Jamieson, A.J. (2014) How we found world’s deepest fish in the Mariana Trench – and why we must keep exploring (Click here)

National Geographic:   

  • Deepest place on earth contains 'extraordinary' pollution levels, February 2017 (Click here)
  • World’s deepest fish lurks 5 miles down in Mariana Trench, December 2015 (Click here)
  • Bizarre eels, fish found off New Zealand, Feb 2013 (Click here)
  • Supergiant shrimp-like beasts found in deep-sea, Feb 2012 (Click Here)
  • New deep-sea pictures: Snailfish, eels found in trench, Oct 2010 (Click here
  • Deepest-ever fish caught alive on camera, Oct  2008 (Click here)

You Tube:    

  • Life in the Mariana Trench (>3 million hits) (Click here)
  • Supergiant amphipods discovered 7km deep (630,200 hits; 15-3-12) (Click here)
  • World’s deepest living fish, (2.6 million hits; 15-3-12) (Click here)

Magazine Articles:

  • Jamieson, AJ (2010) Our Choice of Products (Deep-sea Landers).  Beyond Blue, 7, 52-55.
  • Jamieson, AJ (2009). The search for life at extreme depths.  The Bulletin.  Marine Ecology: Special issue.  BES, March.
  • Jamieson, AJ (2007) Lighting up the deep. Marine Scientist (IMarEST), No. 19, 16-19.
  • Jamieson, AJ, M. Solan & D. Mayor (2006) Spying on the seafloor. Marine Scientist (IMarEST), 17, 36.
  • Jamieson, AJ (2006) Deep-sea fish: How researchers are tackling the challenge of decompression.  Ocean Challenge, 14(2), 19-23
  • Jamieson, AJ & NJ King (2004). Portraits of the deep-water shark. Marine Scientist (IMarEST), 8, 26-28
  • Jamieson, AJ (2003) The observer has landed: Lander techniques for the study of deep-sea megafaunaMarine Scientist(IMarEST), 4, 52-53
  • Jamieson, AJ (2003) 'A frightening amount of data': Review of the 6th underwater science symposium: monitoring and measuring the underwater environment (SUT)Marine Scientist (IMarEST), 3, 44-45

Radio/TV Interviews:

  • BBC World Service, Science in Action (Roland Pease)    28th Sept. 2017

  • Metro Radio (Alan Robson)                                            7th Aug 2017

  • Sky News                                                        7th Aug 2017

  • Sky News (Kay Burley)                                                  13th Feb 2017

  • BBC News (Fiona Trotts)                                                13th Feb. 2017

  • PNR (Chris Joyce)                                                         7th Feb 2017

  • BBC News 24 (Chris Eakin)                                            19th Dec. 2014

  • BBC Scotland (Kevin Keane)                                          19th Dec. 2014

  • BBC Radio 4 'Into the Abyss'                                       16th July 2014

  • BBC 3 Counties (James Whale)                                      14th Aug. 2013

  • Radio New Zealand (Veronika Meduna)                           7th Feb. 2013

  • Radio New Zealand (Bryan Crump)                                 28th Jan. 2013

  • The Naked Scientist (Sarah Castor-Perry)                        15th April 2012

  • BBC World News/BBC4 News (Zeinab Badawi)               26th March 2012

  • BBC Radio Scotland (Bill Whiteford)                              26th March 2012

  • BBC Radio Wales (Gareth Lewis)                                    26th March 2012

  • BBC3 Counties (Toby Friedner)                                      20th Mar. 2012

  • The Naked Scientist (Chris Smith)                                   13th May 2011

  • Blue Peter (Andy Akinwolere)                                         13th May 2011

  • BBC Radio Scotland (Mhairi Stuart)                                3rd Mar. 2011

  • BBC Radio Scotland (Mhairi Stuart)                                11th Mar. 2011

  • Radio Ireland, (Shaun MonCrieff )                                   19th  Feb. 2011

  • STV News North (Laura Goodwin)                                   14th Oct. 2010

  • BBC Radio Scotland ( Kenneth MacDonald)                   14th Oct. 2010

  • BBC Radio Wales (Adam Walton)                                   17th May 2008

  • BBC Radio 2 ‘Life in the Trenches’., October 2007 (documentary on HADEEP cruise)

Other media publications featuring our Hadal work

  • Pennisi, E. (2015) Gelatinous sac gives deep-sea fish a swimmer’s body. ScienceMag, 7th January.
  • Ceurstemont, S. (2014) The Deepest Limits. New Scientist, December 6th, p 46-47.
  • Anderson, A. (2012) Hell and the Heavens. The Economist. November p 7.
  • Lee, J.J. (2012) Ocean's Deep, Dark Trenches to Get Their Moment in the Spotlight.  Science, 336: 141-142
  • Burton, A. (2012). Way down deep. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10: 112
  • Williams, N. (2010) Deep Ocean Species Discovered.  Current Biology, 20(21) R910.
  • Beyond the Abyss.   Planet Earth (NERC magazine).  Winter 2008, 22-24
  • Diepterecord.  Wild Zoekers (Magazine).  February 2009
  • Blick in den abgrund.  Bild der Wissenschaft.  January 2009
  • Wagner, S. (2008) Deep Discovery.  The Engineer (Magazine of the IMechE), 10-13, 35-36
  • World’s deepest fish filmed for the first time.  Marine Technology October 2008.


MST1102 - Diversity and behaviour of marine animals (Stage 1)

MST1104 – Marine Study Skills (Stage 1)

MST2104 – Marine Research and Employability Skills (Stage 2)

MAST2102 - Form, Function and adaptation of marine animals (Stage 2)

MST3102 - Advanced Marine Zoology (Stage 3) (module leader)

MST3014/3105/3106 – Research Project (Stage 3)

MST8011 - Critical appraisal of coastal production systems (MSc)

MST8022 - Environmental Research skills (MSc) (module leader)