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Horizon: The Death Of The Oceans?

Sir David Attenborough, host of "The Death Of The Oceans?"
Courtesy of Piers Leigh/© BBC
Sir David Attenborough, host of "The Death Of The Oceans?"

Airs Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

From the polar ice caps, to the tropics, Sir David Attenborough reveals how our actions are pushing the world’s oceans ever closer to the brink of destruction.

The Census of Marine Life is the most comprehensive inventory of the oceans ever undertaken and draws on the work of 2,000 scientists from 90 countries. It will transform how we see the ocean, giving us a better picture of what lives there, our impact and what the future holds.

In "The Death Of The Oceans?," HORIZON reveals the techniques, meets the scientists and explores some of the findings from this massive project.


Our appetite for fish is fast emptying the seas and one of the key aims of the census is to monitor fish stocks.

HORIZON takes a trip with a research vessel, off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and meets Nicholas Makris, a scientist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has pioneered a sonar tracking system, allowing scientists to scan large areas of the seas.

HORIZON also visits the Great Barrier Reef to meet the scientists struggling to save this unique habitat from the effects of a new peril, ocean acidification, caused by climate change. By limiting coral’s ability to grow, acidification threatens the inhabitants of this entire ecosystem.

So what can be done to save this most fragile of ecosystems? The Census of Marine Life will provide the information required to make informed decisions, based on real data. All that is needed is the political will, and economic foresight to make those calls, before it is too late.

This program is part of the HORIZON 2010/11 series from the BBC.

Preview: The Death Of The Oceans?