The Blue Planet

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Discovery Channel (ended 2002)

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Episode Guide

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  • Season 1
    • Deep Trouble
      Episode 9
      5/5/02
      9.0
      The combination of overfishing and modern technology has depleted fish stocks across the world's oceans. The program explores the problems, and offers several solutions to said problem.
    • Coasts
      Episode 8
      5/5/02
      9.3
      From rocky cliffs to gentle dunes, the coasts are always changing. Day in and day out, they are battered by crashing waves. Seabirds come here by the thousands to nest, while baby turtles hatch and race to the sea, pursued by hungry predators. Young sea lion pups are born and play on the sand - until a killer whale attacks, crashing in on the surf. But when breeding season is over, life returns to the sea and the shores are empty once again.moreless
    • Tidal Seas
      Episode 7
      5/5/02
      9.3
      The sun and moon move billions of tons of water with every turn of the tide. The strongest tides empty entire bays, smash trees on riverbanks, and strand sea creatures on suddenly dry land. Weaker tides control the movements of huge numbers of fish, coaxing stingrays though astounding underwater arches. And as the water recedes, the tide can create unbelievable landscapes - like a sparkling world of salt crystals inhabited only by tiny shrimp and bright pink flamingos.moreless
    • Coral Seas
      Episode 6
      5/5/02
      9.4
      Bathed in bright sunlight and warm clear water, the coral reef is a rich oasis of life - the rainforest of the sea. Bizarrely adorned harlequin shrimp carry off a starfish several times their size, while haunting songs reverberate around the reef, heralding the arrival of humpback whales. Shimmering schools of brightly colored fish battle for territory in this competitive world where you have to stand out to survive.moreless
    • Seasonal Seas
      Episode 5
      5/5/02
      9.4
      As the days grow longer, billions of microscopic plankton bloom under the blazing sun. Here in the temperate seas, three-ton basking sharks graze among forests of giant kelp - the fastest growing plant in the world. The forests harbor thousands of other animals, including sea otters, brilliantly colored anemones, squid, and exquisite leafy dragons. But as the year wears on, storms rage in the icy sea... a desperate challenge for the animals that remain.moreless
    • The Deep
      Episode 4
      1/28/02
      9.9
      A place of mountain ranges, perpetual night, pressures extremes and cold... and the weirdest life forms on our planet. Dive into the depths of the ocean, an eerie world where predators with teeth so large they can't even close their mouths, chase bio-luminescent creatures of the deep. Discover the spectacular smoking chimneys of the hydrothermal vents. Go deeper down than you have ever been...moreless
    • Frozen Seas
      Episode 4
      10/3/01
      9.0
      In winter the temperature drops to -50ºC and in Antarctica most animals escape the weather. But emperor penguins stay put and huddle together, incubating their eggs and rearing their chicks in the worst weather on the planet. Weddell seals also remain, keeping their breathing holes open by scraping away the ice with their teeth. In the Arctic, animals that do stay north for the winter are forced to seek refuge in any patches of open water that haven't frozen over. Sometimes whales become trapped in these isolated tiny holes in the ice. A group of belugas are 22km from open ocean and it will be two months before the ice melts. They are painfully thin and horribly scarred. Their wounds are not inflicted by the ice but by polar bears that have spotted an easy meal. Aware of the danger, the whales stay submerged as long as they can, but they can only hold their breath for 20 minutes. Eventually a bear makes a catch. In spring, female polar bears emerge from winter dens with their cubs. The mother hasn't eaten for five months and is starving. Seal pups are a favorite, and she can detect them hidden in the snow from 2km away. As the ice melts, thousands of belugas congregate in large estuaries for a communal exfoliation! In warm shallow water they rub vigorously against the gravel to slough off dead skin and encourage molting. On Zavodovski Island is the largest penguin colony in the world. About two million chinstrap penguins come to breed on the snow-free slopes of this live volcano. But emperor penguins stick it out on the ice. At the water's edge they are nervous as leopard seals patrol this border. These seals are Antarctica's equivalent of polar bears. As winter closes in again and the ice begins to freeze, male emperor penguins trek south, away from the open sea, to spend the dark months of winter out on the ice.moreless
    • Open Ocean
      Episode 3
      1/28/02
      9.5
      In the immense space of the open ocean the sea bed is a staggering five miles below the surface and the nearest island is over 300 miles away. Yet here live many of the most spectacular predators in the ocean. Marvel as you experience ruthless and beautiful battles between hunter and prey.moreless
    • Frozen Seas
      Frozen Seas
      Episode 2
      1/27/02
      9.3
      An environment where only the toughest survive, the Arctic and Antarctic are unrelenting habitats. Only in spring does life begin again. Plankton blooms and feeds fast hordes of migrating fish, walruses rake the seabed for clams, and minke and humpback whales gorge themselves on gigantic swarms of krill. But it is a brief spring feast - the ice soon returns and pushes life back into the ocean.moreless
    • The Deep
      Episode 2
      9/19/01
      9.5
      A thousand meters down, in the twilight zone, most animals are transparent, hoping to pass unnoticed. Hatchet fish, for example, have flattened bodies and silvered sides that reflect any light and make them invisible. Below 1,000 meters is the dark zone. Predators here have massive teeth and enormous mouths as food comes along so rarely that they have to grab prey of any size. The hairy angler is the size of a beach ball and its body is covered in long antennae designed to pick out the movements of any prey foolish enough to venture close to its terrifying teeth. The fangtooth has the largest teeth in the ocean for its size - so big it can't close its mouth. Gulper eels can swallow prey as big as themselves. The animals themselves, through bioluminescence, produce the only light here. Shrimps and jellyfish use this to confuse their predators while angler fish use giant flashing lures on their heads to attract their prey. Female angler fish use their lures to hook a male. Just one-tenth the size of their partner, a male fuses itself on to the female's body, becoming little more than an attached bag of sperm. The continental slope, extending for thousands of miles, gradually descends to the abyssal plain at 3,000 meters. The abyssal plain covers more than half the Earth's surface. It's mostly flat, but in places the seabed drops down into massive trenches miles wide. The deepest of these and the deepest point in the ocean is the Marianas Trench, which drops to more than seven miles below sea level. Only five manned submarines in the world can reach the abyssal plain, so almost all of it is unexplored. In a few places, along volcanic ridge lines, animals survive off energy produced by hot vents. When scientists discovered the hot vents they were amazed that so much life could survive without energy from the sun. Since their original discovery in 1979, a new species has been described every 10 days.moreless
    • Ocean World
      Ocean World
      Episode 1
      1/27/02
      9.7
      Experience the power of the blue whale - the largest mammal ever to grace our planet. Learn how the sun and moon help control and tame the ocean. Travel far and wide - from the Eastern Pacific to Alaska, from the Bering Sea to the shores of Southern California - and begin to understand the complexity and power of our oceans.moreless
    • The Blue Planet
      Episode 1
      9/12/01
      0.0
      The oceans cover three-quarters of our planet, and their influence dominates the world's weather systems. The first program in the series aims to introduce the viewer to the sheer scale and power of the Blue Planet. We will review the forces, both physical and biological, that make the oceans work and explain exactly where and why life congregates. All life in the oceans depends on a constant supply of nutrients and, more than any other factor, the ocean's currents control their distribution. But nutrients alone are not enough to produce life. The sun’s annual journey north and south across the planet injects energy into the oceans on a seasonal basis. In Alaska the spring return of the sun to the Northern Hemisphere signals the return of millions of herring to shallow waters to spawn. Spring in Alaska also signals the return of the Grey whales to the Bearing Sea from their breeding grounds in the Sea of Cortez. The sun's daily cycle is also vital. Each sunset is the starting gun for the largest migration on the planet. Millions of animals from the deeper ocean travel to shallower water to feed off the energy injected during the day into the surface. One of the most spectacular examples of vertical migration is the annual appearance of Opulescent squid off the coast of California. Millions of squid that normally spend their lives at depth come to the shallows in enormous shoals to breed and lay their eggs over a number of days. The moon’s daily cycle also plays a key role in controlling the oceans. Its gravitational pull is responsible for the ebb and flow of the tides, which is closely related to life in the oceans. Each year on the coast of Costa Rica, turtles start appearing from the sea. Over just three nights a hundred thousand turtles come to one beach just a mile long. This spectacular breeding congregation, an arribada, seems to be totally coordinated round the phases of the moon.moreless
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