STEPHEN CURTIS: Hey everyone, Stephen here, we're starting off this evening's episode of Light Bytes
with an update on the status of the Mariana Trench expedition. For any new listeners who might not be fully up to date on this topic, late last year, the UN came to a consensus that the declining populations of fish in the West Pacific were of significant concern, and the cause can't be ascertained without further in-depth study - quite literally, in fact. Called the Maguayan Initiative, after the ancient Visayan sea deity, the leader of this expedition was just decided upon earlier today - Dr. Demetrios Kalantzakis, former professor at the University of Crete and environmental activist. Many believe he played an instrumental role in pushing much needed amendments to the European Union's illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing regulations in the related referendum in 2034, and he has since been a very prominent figure amongst Europe's scientific elite.
MARISSA: And, today, we have the luck of getting to speak with the man himself regarding this recent honor, and also to get a glimpse into what he thinks might be rotten in Denmark - er, off the coast of the Phillipines.
STEPHEN: [Aside] That was awful.
MARISSA: I know. I'm sorry. And my apologies go out to any listeners from Denmark.
STEPHEN: [clears throat] Anyways, we've got Dr. Kalantzakis on the phone now. Can you hear me?
DR. KALANTZAKIS: Yes, thanks.
STEPHEN: Thank you for agreeing to be on our podcast, doctor; it's great to have you here. We have a few questions for you about your upcoming expedition.
DR. KALANTZAKIS: I'll be glad to answer them if I can.
STEPHEN: Great. So, to start, can you tell us any details about how you'll be surveying the Trench?
DR. KALANTZAKIS: We'll be embarking for the Trench in roughly four months' time, and will be aboard the IRV Howard for the journey. However, once we reach Mariana Trench itself, we will begin our descent into the trench itself, thanks to the development of CARAPACE exosuits, which have been tested to withstand pressure up to 10,500 meters without any harm coming to the wearer.
MARISSA: Wait, the Trench is 11,034 metres at it's deepest point, though. Those suits sound kind of dangerous. What do you intend to do if you go below their safe limit?
DR. KALANTZAKIS: Unfortunately, there is not enough time to wait for the design to be improved upon, as, if any more time is wasted before we identify what is behind the disappearance of so much biological diversity, there would be a terrible - perhaps irreversible - impact on our oceans. But there are built-in counters that allow us to see how far below sea level we are, therefore if we pass safe depth it's no one's fault but our own.
STEPHEN: Speaking of that, what's your hypothesis on the cause of the declining fish populations?
DR. KALANTZAKIS: Personally, I am of the opinion that it is quite possible that the seas have grown warm enough from the carelessness of some nations with their carbon emissions that fish suited to living in colder areas of our oceans have begun to suffer the consequences. It is possible they have either migrated further north or south to find a more livable area, and the abundance of bleached coral that the Philippines has been exporting in jewelry is somewhat telling, in my opinion.
STEPHEN: Do you think the underwater trash island and algae bloom theories hold any weight? What message would you have to those that believe that to be the issue?
DR. KALANTZAKIS: While it is quite evident there is no algae bloom causing this problem, as satellites have shown that there is no coverage of that area of the ocean by an overgrowth of any sort of plant matter, the underwater trash island is a possibility we cannot yet discount. Though, I believe that we would have seen an impact on the marine ecosystem much earlier if this was the case, seeing as ocean dumping has been illegal internationally for the past twenty years.
MARISSA: That's good to know. In that case, could I get your opinion on TrenchGate?
DR. KALANTZAKIS: ... Excuse me? I'm afraid I don't know what that is.
MARISSA: Oh. Really? It's a pretty hot topic on the Net right now; I'm surprised you haven't seen it.
STEPHEN: Marissa, please-
MARISSA: Basically, it's that the Deep Ones actually exist, and that the worlds' governments have all been working together to keep the public from knowing about their existence for hundreds of years. But the Deep Ones are becoming discontent with the lack of recognition they receive from us normal folks, and this is the beginning of the way they'll exact their wrath upon us, ending in a true doomsday.
DR. KALANTZAKIS: I see. That's a very... creative theory.
STEPHEN: [clears throat loudly] Dr. Kalantzakis, what can you tell us about the funding of your expedition, and have you been informed as to whom will be on your crew?
DR. KALANTZAKIS: While the Maguayan Initiative's main sponsor is the United Nations' International Maritime Organization, but JAMSTEC1
has supplied us with our cutting edge exosuits, among other things, and we are set to receive funding from multiple countries' scientific research foundations as well. As for my fellow researchers and the rest of our group, it appears many are still under review, and I should find out about the other researchers by the end of the month.
STEPHEN: I see. Well, thank you for your time, and we wish you the best of luck with your expedition!
MARISSA: Yeah. But if you find anything weird down there, can you give us your word that you won't let the government threaten you into silence? The world wants to know what's really
in our oceans.
STEPHEN: Oh my God
GENERIC BRITISH MALE VOICE ACTOR: Thank you for tuning in to Light Bytes
with Stephen and Marissa. We will be continue our broadcast after a quick word from our sponsors.1. Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology