Announcing a free online series sponsored by the Scottish Association of Marine Science, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the College of Exploration.

Honouring the 150th Anniversary of this historic oceanographic expedition.

Learn more about the HMS Challenger Expedition 1872-1876 in this 5 minute video. (not made by us)



Ocean Literacy Conversation: Past, Present, Future. 4pm (BST UK) 11am (EST USA)

Watch Recording


The conversational webinar series starts with the legacy of the HMS Challenger expedition on its 150th anniversary and develops a diverse global community of citizen scientists who understand the influence of the ocean on our lives and our influence on the ocean. Each conversation will cover past, present and future of the topic as it relates to the HMS Challenger.

Beginning with our series launch on September 14, ocean scientists and science historians feature in virtual roundtable discussions of the iconic voyage – its founding discoveries and achievements, as well as its controversial place in the history of British imperialism. Most of all, we will focus attention on Challenger’s relevance to marine science and conservation today, at a time of unprecedented crisis for the ocean.

Please join our transatlantic partners in this urgent public conversation on ocean exploration – past, present, and future – featuring experts in marine science, history, and education. Please note: There will be ample opportunity for audience questions and discussion with featured guests.


Conversation #1: Marine Data Then and Now    Thursday September 14 2023,

Recording of Challenger Conversation #1

Featuring: Prof. Stuart Cunningham, Oceanographer (SAMS) Dr. Erika Jones, Historian and Curator, Author of The Challenger Expedition (Royal Maritime Museum) Co-Chairs: Anuschka Miller (SAMS). Gillen D’Arcy Wood, (University of Illinois)

This first of our Challenger Conversations looks back to the marine data-gathering technologies of the Victorians and how these have evolved to the sophisticated ocean surveillance systems of today. What does today’s data tell us? And what does the future hold for the oceans and the researchers who study them?

See and look at the recent digitization of the HMS Challenger Data by the University of Illinois Super Computer Center and the SAMS Education Team.

Conversation #2: October 12, 2023 Mapping the Ocean

Recording of Challenger Conversation #2

Featuring: Laura Trethewey Ocean journalist and author of The Imperiled Ocean (2020) and The Deepest Map (2023)  Steve Hall, Head of Partnerships, Seabed 2030. Co-Chairs: Hermoine Cockburn ( Dynamic Earth) and Peter D Tuddenham (College of Exploration)

The second Challenger Conversation focuses on the development of ocean mapping from the time of the HMS Challenger to recent mapping voyages. What do we know about the ocean bottom? How much is mapped? Who and How is the ocean mapped today?

November 2023 Break to attend: “Beyond the Beyond the Ocean’s Depths: Revisiting the Challenger Expedition (1872-1876) Interdisciplinary Conference”, Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th November 2023 National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England.

Conversation #3: December 14, 2023 Minerals from the Sea

Recording of Challenger Conversation #3

Featuring Professor Nicholas Owens and Professor Andrew Sweetman from the Scottish Association for Marine Science with hosts Professor Gillen Wood from the University of Illinois and Melissa Ryan Vice President of Global Foundation for Exploration.

We will review the findings from the HMS Challenger and then explore current state of the ocean depths. Our hosts will facilitate the conversation and discuss educational opportunities with the recently available Challenger data and new exploration technologies.

Conversation #4 February 8 2024 Research Vessels – Life at Sea 5pm (GMT UK) 12pm (EST USA) for 90 minutes.

Recording of Conversation #4 Research Vessels -Life at Sea, February 8, 2024

Three conversants will present overviews of life at sea during the HMS Challenger expedition, life at sea today, and life at sea using technology in future. Penelope Hardy, associate professor of the history of science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a former U.S. Navy officer will be joined by Professor Ed Hill, Chief Executive of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton in England and Gail Scowcroft, Associate Director, Inner Space Center, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island. Our hosts will be Dr. Anuschka Miller, The Scottish Association for Marine Science and Mr. Peter Tuddenham, College of Exploration.

Research support by Professor Gillen Wood, University of Illinois, and Dr. Tina Bishiop, College of Exploration.

Conversation #5 CANCELLED Marine biodiversity


Conversation #6 May 9 2024 Art and Data Visualisation 4pm (BST UK) 11am (EST USA)

Facilitators from Woods Hole Institute: Catherine Cramer and Steve Uzzo
Presenter: Nipam Patel, Director of the Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

The conversation in May 2024 is organized by the Woods Hole Institute (WHI). In the summer of 2022 WHI hosted an evening of music and exhibition of illustrations from the HMS Challenger expedition. The work of the Marine Biological Labs (MBL) of Woods Hole in advanced optics was displayed.

Nipam Patel (Director of the MBL) gave a talk about his own extensive work with marine imaging, the MBL’s history with imaging, and tie it all to the Challenger expedition. He’ll also reference the exhibit that the Woods Hole Institute and MBL put together in 2022

Watch Recording of Conversation #6 Art and Data Visualisation

Conversation #7 June 27 2024 Education and public science – Ocean Literacy 4pm (BST UK) 11am (EST USA)

Watch Recording of Conversation #7 Ocean Literacy June 27 2024 is a project of the College of Exploration a 501c3 not-for-profit in Virginia USA. PLEASE DONATE NOW

More information on previous projects about HMS Challenger, ocean exploration and education from the College of Exploration are here