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Atlantic Ocean, The (4/8)


This is also part of this series: Oceans (8)


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Grade Level: JrH-Adult
Producer: BBC
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 50 mins
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2008
Available in French: No

The Atlantic is one of the most influential bodies of water on the planet; it plays a critical role in influencing our climate. And in just one corner of this enormous ocean there is crucial evidence of our oceans’ past and clues about their future.

Paul Rose, Philippe Cousteau Jr, Dr Lucy Blue and Tooni Mahto base themselves around the Bahamas, a group of islands in the west Atlantic. Here, on the island of Andros, is a unique marine ecosystem. In one of the most dangerous dives of the series, the team enters a black hole to discover what our oceans would have looked like 350 billion years ago, when they were little more than toxic soup.

The Atlantic Ocean around the Bahamas is one of only two places in the world where stromatolites exist. Over billions of years, they transformed the oceans into the life-giving, oxygenated waters they are today. Here the expedition investigates the oldest living evidence of life on Earth.

The first inhabitants of the Bahamas are thought to have arrived here by drifting on the ocean currents in small boats from South America. The Lucayan people lived here for almost a thousand years until they were wiped out in a single generation by Western migrants. As Dr Lucy Blue becomes the first archaeologist to explore an extraordinary chain of submerged caverns, will she find the remains of the Lucayans, who buried their dead in the island’s underwater cave systems?

The team also looks for the lost British warship, the HMS Southampton, which was shipwrecked after winning a battle against an American vessel in 1912. They find a wreck on the stormy eastern edge of the Bahamas. Will it prove to be the lost ship?

The group also tests shark-repellent made out of a metal alloy to see if it protect sharks from people. If it works, scientists hope to make fishing hooks from it and reduce shark by-catch, which kills millions of sharks each year. They also dive into shark-infested waters to test a different repellent – will it be enough to deter the sharks?

Finally, the team investigates how the Atlantic has been invaded by the poisonous lion fish. A few years ago they didn’t exist in the Atlantic, but now they are decimating the local fish stocks and have already been seen as far apart as Puerto Rica and New York. Will the team discover why this species has taken over this part of the ocean?