Though not a scientist in the educational sense, Jacques Cousteau is an explorer that Christian Heesch holds in high regard. As a marine biologist born in the 1980s, the explorations and discoveries made by Cousteau played a big part in Heesch’s desire to study marine biology and underwater mysteries. Here he discusses some of Jacques Cousteau’s most impressive feats.
- After SCUBA diving was first invented, divers were unable to stay underwater for any lengths of time, and this was something that Jacques Cousteau found very frustrating. Working with a partner, Emile Gagnan, Cousteau developed the first regulator that allowed a diver stay underwater safely for longer periods of time.
- The Cousteau-Gagnon regulator offered divers clean, compressed air as they needed it. This was very different from previous systems that forced air at all times, even if it was wasted. Hooking a compressed air tank to his own regulator, Jacques Cousteau was able to film his first underwater documentary.
- His cinematic exploits continued with his 1950 film “Silent World” winning an Academy Award. Until this point, the public had never experienced moving images of the deep sea and its inhabitants.
- In the mid 1970s, Cousteau was broadcasting a regular program on PBS known as Cousteau Odyssey. His public broadcasting series won more than thirty Emmy Awards during its run. The program received special attention because it exposed the threats of pollution and marine exploitation. Many children, like Christian Heesch grew up watching and being fascinated by Cousteau’s underwater world.
Throughout his years of postgraduate study in marine biology, New Yorker Christian Heesch has spent many days hiking around the country. Throughout his many treks and trail adventures he has learned many interesting facts about hiking.
- The Appalachian trail, a two thousand two hundred mile route carved through the Eastern United States, runs from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. The trail passes through the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. The fastest recorded hike through the Appalachian trail was set in 2011 by Jennifer Pharr Davis. She completed the entire hike in just over forty six days and eleven hours. To complete her trek, Ms. Davis needed five new pairs of shoes, a brand new set every nine days of walking.
- Hiking is a sport and recreational activity that is popular in the United States. In 2007, it is estimated that more than thirty one million Americans hiked a trail of varying length. These statistics were gathered by the American Recreation Foundation which is based in Illinois.
- The longest hiking trail in the United States is the North Country National Scenic Trail. This four thousand six hundred mile trek starts in Crown Point, New York and ends in Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota. Hikers who attempt this trail will pass through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. There are many outstanding national landscapes and environmental features to view while hiking this trail.
- The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is three thousand one hundred miles long, or sixteen million three hundred sixty eight thousand feet. This epic trail runs from Mexico to Canada, following the geographic region known as the Continental Divide. For much of the trail, hikers trek in a parallel line to the Rocky Mountains. For the roughly two hundred people who attempt the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail each year, it takes them an average of six months to complete their journey.
- In the state of Montana, Glacier National Park offers hikers more than seven hundred thirty miles of trails. The park was named as a World Heritage Site in 1995, and sits close to the city of Columbia Falls, Montana.
- In the 1930s, the Mountaineers climbing organization created a list of ten essential items for hiking and mountaineering. These items are meant to be taken of every trip in case of emergency or an unscheduled overnight stay outdoors. The ten essentials are a map, sun protection, flashlights, fire-starter, a knife, a compass, extra clothing, first aid supplies, matches, and extra food. These are items that Christian Heesch always packs.
As a Doctor of Marine Biology, Christian Heesch has unmatched knowledge in the field. His studies have exposed the necessity of studying marine biology and marine environmental sciences. Having earned his PhD in Marine Biology through Stony Brook University in New York, he understands the importance of this scientific field. Here he lists the many reasons why scientists choose to study marine biology.
- The world’s oceans and seas are a mysterious realm that have only barely been discovered over the years. In fact, many scientists equate the underwater world to that of a different planet altogether. In some aquatic areas, the depths have not been chartered at all, which is why they remain a mystery.
- Oceans and waterways make up more than seventy percent of the Earth’s surface. As the water levels continue to rise, that percentage is growing each year. Of that substantial amount, scientists have only explored five percent of the marine ecosystem. This means that as much as sixty five percent of the world has not yet been explored and understood.
- The health of the Earth’s oceans is directly related to the health of the planet. When the waters of the Earth struggle, there are lasting impacts on all other species that inhabit the world, including humans. Issues such as climate change, pollution, the destruction of coral reefs, and the introduction of invasive species poses a threat to all of Earth.
- Humans are even more so affected by a dwindling or ailing marine environment. As the water of the planet gives way to the oxygen that is necessary for human life, air and water quality are tied together. The dissolution of carbon dioxide is also a concern when examining the health of marine biology.
- The topics of sustainability and biodiversity are common among many marine biologists. These areas are impacted by the human population and their industries around the world. Overfishing is an acknowledged issue, as is the rise in the number of endangered species. These problems result in a disruption to the marine food chain.
- Marine biology is studied proactively, not solely as a reaction to a known issue. It is widely understood in the scientific communities that the oceans may hold the keys to discovering alternative sources for clean energy. Marine biology also offers new avenues for biomedical and pharmaceutical developments that may have a lasting impact on the health of the human species.
- Marine ecosystems are the primary support for all life on the planet. Before scientists mat understand and draw hypothesis about the nature of man, they must know the intricacies of the waters that nourish mankind. These are some of the many reasons that Christian Heesch chose to study marine biology.