The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.

Based on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Blackbeard Biologic and our network of rogue scientists develop and implement ocean science, conservation, and education programming around the world. We provide consulting services on a range of topics centered on conservation technology, human impacts in the deep sea, and national and international ocean policy. We excel in finding novel solutions to complex problems.

Andrew Thaler, Phd
Dr. Thaler is a deep-sea ecologist and conservation technologist whose research revolves around how humans use technology to connect with and alter the ocean. He is focused on understanding the impacts of deep-sea mining on biodiversity and connectivity at hydrothermal vents and across the deep benthos, building anticipatory frameworks to guide emerging ocean technology, and developing low-cost open-source tools to study our changing world. He is the founder of Southern Fried Science, the co-founder of Oceanography for Everyone, and the editor-in-chief of the Deep-sea Mining Observer.

Ocean Science and Policy

We offer competitive rates and retainers for consultation on ocean science and policy issues ranging from regional fisheries management to the benefits and drawbacks of large, remote marine protected areas. We have worked on issues ranging from deep-sea mining to marine robotics and the integration of new technologies in the marine ecosystem to establishing and expanding new marine national monuments. We coordinate and overseer the Deep-sea Mining Observer, the online trade journal of the deep-sea mining industry. 

Conservation Technology

We are developing low-cost, open-source oceanographic tools to help mobilize a new generation of ocean scientists by making the tools of oceanography accessible to as many people as possible. We can assists with the development of new ocean science tools, provide training in open-source development, and help integrate existing low-cost alternative into your research or ocean monitoring needs. We also sponsor Oceanography for Everyone and provide core development support for their flagship OpenCTD. 

Education and Outreach

From conception to deployment, we provide full service support for ocean outreach campaigns, either through conventional or social media. We recruit from a pool of exceptional ocean science writers to help tailor an ocean outreach campaign to you needs. We also offer training in strategic communication. Our CEO teaches an annual class on Social Media for Environmental Communications at Duke University. We sponsor Southern Fried Science, one of the the leading ocean science and conservation blogs

Andrew Thaler, Rick MacPherson, and Angelo Villagomez discuss the scientific, economic, and cultural value of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. This campaign involved the use of low-cost underwater robots to help students connect with the Mariana Trench and included an intensive STEM workshop to train community leaders in the construction and operation of these robots.

Find Andrew at Conferences and Events

A great white shark attempts to swallow a Sofar Ocean underwater robot. Video by Dominik Fretz.

Selected Publications

Deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem principles: Identification of ecosystem processes, services and communication of value

Turner PJ, Thaler AD, Freitag A, Collins PC

Sizing Ocean Giants: Patterns of Intraspecific Size Variation in Marine Megafauna

McClain C, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Helm RR, Hochberg FGE, Gaskins LC, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD

VentBase: Developing a consensus among stakeholders in the deep-sea regarding environmental impact assessment for deep-sea mining–A workshop report

Collins PC, Copley J, Boschen R, Forde J, Se-Jong J, Kennedy B, Lindsay D, Marsh L, Nye V, Patterson A, Watanabe H, Yamamoto H, Carlsson J, Thaler AD

Ascomycete phylotypes recovered from a Gulf of Mexico methane seep are identical to an uncultured deep-sea fungal clade from the Pacific

Thaler AD, Vilgalys R, Van Dover CL

The effects of spatial scale on the population dynamics of Ifremeria nautilei, a hydrothermal vent endemic gastropod from the southwest Pacific

Thaler AD, Zelnio K, Saleu W, Schultz TF, Carlsson J, Cunningham C, Vrijenhoek R, Van Dover CL

Comparative population structure of two deep-sea hydrothermal-vent-associated decapods (Chorocaris sp. 2 and Munidopsis lauensis) from southwestern Pacific back-arc basins

Thaler AD, Plouviez S, Saleu W, Alei F, Jacobson A, Boyle EA, Schultz TF, Carlsson J, Van Dover CL

Fish tales: Combating fake science in popular media

Thaler AD and Shiffman D

Robots as vectors for marine invasions: best practices for minimizing transmission of invasive species via observation-class ROVs.

Thaler AD, Freitag A, Bergman E, Fretz D, Saleu W

Population structure of Bathymodiolus manusensis, a deep-sea hydrothermal vent-dependent mussel from Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea

Thaler AD, Saleu W, Carlsson J, Schultz TF, Van Dover, CL

We are currently accepting new clients. Let's protect the oceans, together.