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), and Johanna Weston (PhD).

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 (, a round the world expedition on the DSSV Pressure Drop.  The objectives are to use the new DSV Limiting Factor  2-person submersible to dive the deepest place in each ocean. During the project I became the first British person to dive to hadal depths (7180 m in the Java Trench) and have since completed a 10,715m to Sirena Deep in the Mariana Trench and 7177 m in the Puerto Rico Trench. The Sirena Deep dives makes me the eight deepest diving human in history.

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 Cruises (* indicate Principal Scientist):

Vessel (country)                                                    Year Location              

  1. RRS Discovery D252 (UK)                      (2001) NE Atlantic: Porcupine Sea Bight

  2. RRS Discovery D255 (UK)                      (2001) NE Atlantic: Porcupine Sea Bight

  3. RRS Discovery D260 (UK)                      (2002) NE Atlantic: Porcupine Sea Bight

  4. RV Philia (Greece)                                  (2002) E. Mediterranean: Rhodos Basin

  5. RRS Discovery D266 (UK)                      (2002) NE Atlantic: Porcupine Sea Bight

  6. RV Johan Hjort (Norway)                        (2002) Norway: Sognefjord, Ofotenfjord

  7. GG9  (France)                                         (2004) W. Mediterranean

  8. FS Meteor M61-1 (Germany)                  (2004) NE Atlantic: Belgica Mounds, Rockall Bank

  9. GG9 (France)                                         (2004) W. Mediterranean

  10. Veracious II (UK)                                    (2004) North Sea: Buzzard Platform

  11. RRS Discovery D285T (UK)                   (2004) NE Atlantic: Goban Spur

  12. RV G.O. Sars (Norway)                          (2004) Norway: Ofotenfjord/Tysfjord

  13. RV New Horizon  (USA)                          (2005) NE Pacific         

  14. FRV Scotia (UK)                                     (2005) North Sea: Buzzard Platform

  15. Helsingør harbour (Denmark)                  (2005) Skagerrak Sea   

  16. RRS Discovery D297 (UK)                      (2005) NE Atlantic: Nazare Canyon

  17. RV Thompson TN187 (USA)                   (2005) NE Pacific         

  18. RRS Discovery D300 (UK)                      (2005) Southern Ocean: Crozet Plateau/Abyssal Plain

  19. RV Seol Mara (UK)                                (2006) UK: Loch Creran

  20. Crest (UK)                                              (2006) UK: Shetland, UK

  21. RV Seol Mara / Calanus (UK)                  (2006) UK: Loch Creran

  22. FRV Scotia 1406S (UK)                          (2006) NE Atlantic: Rockall Trough

  23. FS Meteor M70-1 (Germany)                   (2006) East and West Mediterranean      

  24. RV Aegaeo (Greece)                              (2007) E. Mediterranean

  25. RRS James Cook 10 leg 2 (UK)              (2007) NE Atlantic: Nazare Canyon

  26. FS Sonne 194 (Germany)                       (2007) SW Pacific: Tonga and Kermadec Trenches

  27. RV Hakuho-Maru KH-07-3 (Japan)           (2007) NW Pacific: Japan Trench

  28. RV Kairei KR-07-16 (Japan)                    (2007) NW Pacific: East Mariana Basin

  29. RV Sea Trident (UK)                              (2008) SE Atlantic: West African Margin

  30. RV Lydia (Greece)*                                (2008) E. Mediterranean

  31. RV Hakuho-Maru KH-08-01 (Japan)         (2008) NW Pacific: Japan Trench

  32. RV Philia (Greece)*                                (2008) E. Mediterranean

  33. RV Tansei-Maru KT-09-02  (Japan)          (2009) NW Pacific: Izu-Bonin Trench

  34. RRS James Cook JC36 (UK)                  (2009) NE Atlantic: Whittard Canyon

  35. RV Kaharoa KAH0910 (NZ)*                   (2009) SW Pacific: Kermadec Trench

  36. FS Sonne 209 (Germany)                       (2010) SE Pacific: Peru-Chile Trench

  37. RRS James Cook JC62  (UK)                  (2011) NE Atlantic: Porcupine Abyssal Plain

  38. RV Kaharoa KAH1109 (NZ)*                   (2011) SW Pacific: Kermadec Trench

  39. RV Kaharoa KAH1202 (NZ)*                   (2012) SW Pacific: Kermadec Trench

  40. RV Kaharoa KAH1301 (NZ)*                   (2013) SW Pacific: Kermadec Trench

  41. RV Kaharoa KAH1310 (NZ)*                   (2013) SW Pacific: New Hebrides Trench

  42. RV Thomas G. Thompson (US)               (2014) SW Pacific: Kermadec Trench

  43. RV Falkor (US)                                      (2014) C. Pacific: Mariana Trench

  44. FRS Scotia (UK)                                    (2015) NE Atlantic: Hatton Rockall Basin

  45. BIO Hesperides (ES)*                             (2015) Southern Ocean: South Shetland Trench

  46. MRV Scotia (UK)                                   (2016) NE Atlantic: Faroe Shetland Channel

  47. RV Shinyo-Maru (Japan)                      (2017) NE Pacific: Mariana Trench

  48. RV Sonne SO259 (Germany)                  (2017) Indian Ocean: Wallaby-Zenith Fracture Zone

  49. RV TangaoraTAN1077 (NZ)                     (2017) SW Pacific: Kermadec Trench

  50. RV Sonne SO261 (Germany)                  (2018) SE Pacific: Atacama Trench

  51. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2018) NW Atlantic: Bahamas

  52. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2018) NW Atlantic: Abaco Canyon

  53. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2018) NW Atlantic: Grand Banks/RMS Titanic

  54. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2018) NW Atlantic: Puerto Rico Trench

  55. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2019) Southern Ocean: South Sandwich Trench

  56. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2019) Indian Ocean: Java Trench

  57. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2019) Pacific Ocean: Mariana Trench

  58. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2019) Pacific Ocean: South Solomon trenches

  59. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2019) Pacific Ocean: Tonga Trench

  60. DSSV Pressure Drop (MI)*                     (2019) Atlantic Ocean: Puerto Rico Trench

Public lectures:

June 2019            -The Five Deeps Expedition. Society for Underwater Technology, Newcastle

June 2019            -When Owners become Explorers. OceanTalks, Royal Geographical Society, London

Sept. 2017           -Beyond the Abyss: Life in the Deepest Places on Earth, New Scientist Live, London

Oct. 2017             -Life in the deepest places on Earth. Dove Marine lab.

Sept. 2015           -Life in the Deep Sea and Space, Aberdeen TechFest event

June. 2015           -Life in the Deep Sea, Energetica Summer Festival

Sept. 2014           -Life in the Deep Sea and Space, Aberdeen TechFest event

Sept. 2013           -The Deep Sea and the Solar System, Aberdeen TechFest event

Sept. 2013           -The Deep Sea and the Solar System, Aberdeen Pecha Kucha event

March 2013         -Beyond the Abyss: Life in the Deepest Places on Earth, Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

March 2013         -Progress in science and technology at full ocean depth, SAMS

Sept. 2011           -Beyond the Abyss: Life in the Deepest Places on Earth, Aberdeen TechFest event

April 2011            -HADEEP: Life Beyond the Abyss, Edinburgh University Science festival.

Feb. 2011             -HADEEP: Life Beyond the Abyss, Dove Marine Lab, Newcastle.

Feb. 2011             -Creatures from beyond the abyss, University of Abertay Dundee  (BSA)

Oct. 2010             -Lighting up the Deep.  Scottish Lighthouse Museums, Fraserburgh.

June 2009            -HADEEP: Life beyond the Abyss.  Glasgow University Science Festival, Glasgow.

Feb. 2009             -Beyond the Abyss: Observing life at extreme depths (6000-10000m). Dana centre, London.

May 2008             -Beyond the Abyss: Observing life in the hadal zone (6000-10000m).  SAMS, Oban.

Sept. 2008           -Beyond the Abyss.  Aberdeen TechFest event

June 2008            - Way Down Deep. Future Science event (Careers Scotland).  Ellon Academy.


Radio/TV Interviews:

BBC World Service                                                                           7th Sept. 2018

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

BBC News                                                                                           16th Nov. 2017

Sky News                                                                                            16th Nov. 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)


Web Media/Publicity (selected):

BBC News:

Mariana Trench: Deepest-ever sub dive finds plastic bag. May 2019 (Click here)

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? Feb 2012 (Click here)

Ocean Trench:Take a dive 11,000m down Feb 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)

Beyond the Abyss: 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)

Sky News

Microplastics found in stomachs of deep sea creatures – study. March 2019 (Click here)

Scientists discover three new species of snailfish in oceans deepest depths. September 2018 (Click here)

What lies at the bottom of the ocean? September 2018. (Click here)

Plastic Pollution reaches oceans deepest parts. November 2017 (Click here)

Pollutants banned in the 1970s found in depths of the Pacific Ocean. February 2017 (Click here)

Shock as pollutants found in deep ocean life. February 2017 (Click here)

National Geographic

Creatures in the deepest trenches of the sea are eating plastic February 2019 (Click here)

 New Fish Species lives 5-miles underwater – a record. November 2017 (Click here)

Deepest Place on Earth Contains ‘Extraordinary’ Pollution Levels, February 2017 (Click here)

Bizarre eels, fish found off New Zealand, February 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

Only three people have explored the deep oceans. Meet the next two (Click here)

The deepest of them all, in situ observations of the world’s deepest fish (Click here)

Newcastle University Discover new species in Java Trench (Click here)

Newcastle University discover new species from the extreme depths of the Pacific (Click here)

New Species of snailfish discovered (Click here)

Life in the Mariana Trench (>4.5 million hits) (Click here)

Supergiant amphipods discovered 7km deep (700,000 hits) (Click here)

World’s deepest living fish, (combined 6 million hits) (Click here)

The Conversation:

Linley, T.D., Jamieson A.J. (2018) Snailfish: how we found a new species in one of the oceans deepest places. (Click here)

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)

Science mag

'Five Deeps' mission to explore mysterious ocean trenches, December 2018 (Click here)

'Five Deeps' mission to explore mysterious ocean trenches, December 2018 (Click here)

‘Extraordinary’ levels of pollutants found in deepest parts of sea, February 2017 (Click here)

Gelatinous sac gives deep-sea fish a swimmer’s body, January 2015 (Click here)

Ocean's Deep, Dark Trenches to Get Their Moment in the Spotlight. April 2012 (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 Economist

The World’s deepest ocean trenches are packed with pollution. February 2017 (Click here)

Hell and the Heavens. November 2012. (Click here)

New York Times

They’re Blue, Pink and Purple, and No One Has Ever Seen Them Before. September 2018. (Click here)


Magazine Articles:

Stewart, H.A., Jamieson, A.J., Bongiovanni, C. (2019) Exploring the Deepest Points on the Planet.  Hydro International, May/June 22-25.

Jamieson, A.J. (2017) Extreme Life of the Sea (Book review) Underwater Technology, 34 (2), 99-100.

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


Other articles featuring research.

Excell, J. (2019) Deep Impact: Engineering an expedition to the oceans deepest points. The Engineer. March 2019.

Yong, E. (2019) A troubling discovery in the deepest Ocean trenches. The Atlantic. Feb. 2019.

Furness, D (2018) Only three people have explored the deep oceans. Meet the next two. Digital Trends Dec. 2018

Dean, J. (2018) An inside look at the first solo trip to the deepest point of the Atlantic. Popular Science. Dec. 2018.

Altman, R. (2017) How the Benzene Tree Polluted the World. The Atlantic.

Ceurstemont, S. (2014) The Deepest Limits. New Scientist, December 6th, p 46-47.

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)