In Deep: Life at the Bottom of the Ocean With Dr. Sarah McAnulty - Atlas Obscura Experiences

In Deep: Life at the Bottom of the Ocean With Dr. Sarah McAnulty

Tue, Sep 17, 2024
4 sessions
$70 per person
See Dates
$70 per person
$70 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this 4-part lecture series, explore the extraordinary life that’s evolved to thrive in the deep sea.

Course Description

It’s often said that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the ocean floor. For a long time, what happens in the deep sea has remained a complete mystery. But recent advances in deep sea exploration have revealed more and more about the organisms living at the bottom of the ocean—and what we’ve started to see is extraordinary.

In this course with biologist Dr. Sarah McAnulty, we’ll explore the darkest parts of the ocean where the pressure is high and the oxygen is low. We’ll meet the mighty creatures that have evolved to survive in such extreme conditions—and some of the people who have attempted to do the same in deep sea expeditions throughout history. Not only will you have a unique glimpse into life at the bottom of the ocean, but also an understanding of how it’s connected to—and affected by—life on the shore.

Syllabus at a Glance

This course includes four total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours on four Tuesdays beginning September 17.

Session 1 (Tuesday, 9/17, 8–9:30 PM ET) | The Descent

A spin through the history of deep sea exploration—from the first diving bells and William Beebe’s expeditions to today’s modern ROVs and submersibles.  

Session 2 (Tuesday, 9/24, 8–9:30 PM ET) | Fish That Go Deep

A look at deep sea fishes and their many adaptations for surviving in a deep, dark environment. 

Session 3 (Tuesday, 10/1, 8–9:30 PM ET) | Invertebrates  

A guide to the squids, sea cucumbers, jellies, ctenophores, and crabs in the deep sea. Also: brine pools and deep sea gigantism!  

Session 4 (Tuesday, 10/8, 8–9:30 PM ET) | Rolling in the Deep: Humans x the deep sea

From whaling to deep sea mining, how have humans affected the deep sea? 

Between Sessions

Dr. McAnulty will provide some suggested reading for students who wish to delve deeper into material touched on during class.

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

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Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

About Your Instructor
Dr. Sarah McAnulty
Dr. Sarah McAnulty

Dr. Sarah McAnulty is a squid biologist and science communicator. She received her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology working on Hawaiian bobtail squid symbiosis in 2019. She is currently the executive director of Skype a Scientist, a non-profit that connects over 10,000 classrooms to scientists every year. Dr. McAnulty is a prolific science communicator, with an active presence on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Tiktok. She’s been featured by Nature, Forbes, NPR Shortwave, along with many others, for her work. 

Twitter @SarahMackAttack
Instagram @SarahMackAttack
Tiktok @SarahMackAttack

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

Dates and Availability
  • Tue, Sep 17, 2024
    8:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
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