Why this deep-sea explorer thinks diversity is so important for science

By Annie Roth

Most of the deep sea, Earth’s largest habitat, has yet to be explored. Even after decades of probing and scanning the depths with submarines and remotely operated vehicles, scientists have seen just a fraction of what’s down there.

In those uncharted waters Katy Croff Bell sees a great opportunity to engage women and people of color in science.

A National Geographic Society fellow and an expert on the deep sea (below 200 meters), Bell has been on more than 40 oceanographic and archaeological expeditions since 1999. When she began, there were few women in the field.

“If we’re actually going to explore the entire ocean, we not only need new technology but also new communities of people to be involved,” Bell says. She has built a diverse coalition of deep-sea explorers and students, and has developed ways to make the area more accessible to them. 

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