Blue Planet - Seas of Life

Watch Blue Planet - Seas of Life

  • TV-G
  • 2001
  • 1 Season
  • 9.0  (35,820)

Oceans make up around two thirds of the surface area of the planet Earth. This series will do its best to review how the seas have been filled with life over the years. Blue Planet - Seas of Life is a British nature documentary that was filmed in different locations. The series itself was produced by the BBC and premiered in 2001 for audiences in the United Kingdom. Blue Planet - Seas of Life is narrated by David Attenborough, who is renowned for his work on other nature documentaries. The series received quite a bit of critical acclaim from reviewers. This also earned Blue Planet a Prime Time Emmy Award, which was provided in the Best Music category. Blue Planet also comes with an eighty minute behind the scenes look at the series. Fans can even check out 10 minute feature vignettes of each episode.

Blue Planet - Seas of Life
Filter by Source

Seasons
Coasts
8. Coasts
October 31, 2001
Each year the population of green turtles living off the coast of Brazil undertakes a massive 5,000-mile migration to the tiny island of Ascension. After laying three to four clutches of eggs each every two weeks or so, they make the return journey to Brazil. The whole cycle takes six months and the turtles do not feed at all during this time. Four hundred thousand Ridley's turtles coordinate their return to land in a massive simultaneous egg lay called an arribada. Fish also drag themselves on the beach to lay eggs. Every year, millions of capelin appear along the coasts of Newfoundland, throwing themselves out of the sea writhing along the beach for miles. In summer, four million seabirds crowd the cliffs of Talan, in the Sea of Okhotsk in Eastern Russia. The world's largest eagle, the Stellar's sea eagle, steals kittiwakes from their nesting cliffs. As sunset approaches, hundreds of thousands of crested auklets appear out to sea like great clouds of smoke. They return together to their cliffside nests to avoid the peregrines, ravens and sea eagles that swoop on them in mid-air. Walruses come to the land each year to molt and rest from the cold, and on Round Island in the northern Pacific 40,000 of them cram onto a mile or so of beach. When they emerge from the water they are still white but they soon turn pink! At sea they restrict their blood flow to the center of their bodies to keep in the heat, but when they land they dilate their vessels and blood flushes their skin. Every year along the coast of Patagonia, a group of killer whales makes an appearance at exactly the same time as the sea lion pups are starting to swim. As the pups play in the surf a whale comes, trying to snatch them. Though it seems the whale has an advantage, it has to be careful not to get stranded on the beach. The hunting season is short, however, and soon the pups learn to stay clear of the water.
Tidal Seas
7. Tidal Seas
October 24, 2001
A huge tidal wave sweeps 200 miles inland up the River Amazon. This happens on key days each month, when the moon and sun combine their gravitational pull to maximum effect. As the moon orbits the Earth, its gravitational pull causes the sea level all over the world to rise and fall. In the Bay of Fundy, Canada, two billion tons of water flow in and out each day - more than all the rivers on Earth combined. Five hundred finback whales come here to gorge on the rich herring pickings. Believe it or not, the best 'back-heel' in the world belongs to a tiny sand bubbler crab. These beach-dwelling Aussies convert an entire beach into minute footballs as they work at breakneck speed to filter food out of sand grains. They religiously practice their skills every day as the tide goes out. And in South Africa the world's fastest snail surfs the waves on its big foot, hunting for food on the falling tide. Raccoons in British Columbia also have a passion for seafood. Twice a month the moon pulls with maximum force, making the sea level rise and fall even further than normal. And when the sea is as far out as possible, a female raccoon passes on a few tips in crab cracking to her youngsters. On Christmas Island, land crabs time their annual migration to November and December nights when the tides are weak. They need weak tides for good reason - they must spawn in the sea and they are land crabs. They can't breathe or swim underwater, so they wait for weak tides to get into the water to shed their eggs - that way they're less likely to drown. Off Florida, a small group of bottlenose dolphins have a cunning plan. As they work their way inland they are forcing mullet to leap right into their waiting mouths. One animal peels off from the group and swims rapidly in a circle, stirring up the mud and driving the fish towards the other dolphins that have lined up in a row. The fish leap out of the water at just the wrong moment and the dolphins feast until the tide retreats.
Coral Seas
6. Coral Seas
October 17, 2001
Life on a coral reef starts with one coral larva that lands in the right place and grows. Soon it's a coral head, cemented and secure on the seabed. A tiny alga that lives in its tissues allows the coral to grow night and day and as more corals settle, a reef develops. Overcrowding follows as corals expand and soon they're fighting - digesting their neighbors alive under cover of darkness. A hard, limestone skeleton protects corals, but bumphead parrot fish bite straight through rock and coral with their powerful jaws. These fish erode the coral and the material they swallow comes out the other end as fine sand. On a single reef they can produce tons of sand every year. This soft sand forms beautiful tropical white beaches and eventually creates tropical islands. A sinister crown of thorns starfish slides on to a coral, spreads its stomach over the polyps, and digests them whole. The only protection a coral can hope for is a small crab that takes up residence in the coral's branches and uses its pincers to nip the starfish to see it off. Night on the reef is a tough time. Moray eels slither around the corals hunting by smell. Whitetip sharks use their electrical sense to trace any movement in the sleeping fish. Feeding frenzies disturb the otherwise eerie calm of the reef. An entire reef can be destroyed by one big storm: hundreds of years of growth wiped out in a few hours. But out at sea, new life continues to develop and, in time, coral larvae return to colonize the rubble and a new reef grows on the wasteland.
Seasonal Seas
5. Seasonal Seas
October 10, 2001
Just when the weather is at its worst, 100,000 gray seals haul themselves up through the surf on to Sable Island off Nova Scotia. This is the world's largest colony of gray seals and perversely they've come to breed in winter. Within 18 days the pups are abandoned, but spring is on its way with plenty of food. An eight-ton basking shark filters 1,000 tons of seawater through its gills every hour to sieve out plankton, and large numbers are attracted to plankton blooms. On the seafloor, seaweed stretches towards the sunlight, and off the coast of California, underwater forests of giant kelp grow up to 100 meters high. Massive schools of fish shelter here and sea otters snooze at the surface winding strands of kelp around themselves as anchors. By July, the seasonal seas are warming up fast. On the coast of Nova Scotia large female lobsters are marching 150km from cold, deep waters where they spent the winter, to warm shallows where they can incubate their eggs. In August, pacific salmon return to the coast of Alaska and are hunted down by huge salmon sharks. By early autumn, Pacific white-sided dolphins are turning up in British Columbia in great numbers. Rather than fish for herring they like to play - engaging in a dolphin's version of tag, as they pass a strand of seaweed from flipper to flipper. As fast as winter approaches in the north, spring is coming back at the opposite end of the world. Handfish walk across the bottom of the sea, using their fins like hands. There is also a beautiful courtship ballet performed by Australian squid that change color as they dance. A male leafy seadragon is a devoted parent, carrying dozens of eggs on his belly and relying on his perfect leafy camouflage to hide them from other hungry fish.
Frozen Seas
4. Frozen Seas
October 3, 2001
In winter the temperature drops to -50C 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.
Open Ocean
3. Open Ocean
September 26, 2001
An unfortunate shoal of sardines is first attacked by three-meter-long striped marlin with meter-long, needle-sharp javelins on their heads. The commotion attracts juvenile yellowfin tuna and then a 14-metre Sei whale scoops up the remains. David Attenborough says: "Predators and prey are locked in a deadly three-dimensional contest of hide and seek, played out over immense distances." None are better at tracking down food than dolphins. A school of spotted dolphins herd mackerel, but the noise of their sonar attracts one of the most glamorous fish in the sea, a sailfish. With a top speed of over 120km/h, it herds the fleeing fish with its unique sail before gunning them down with ease. Human flotsam and debris that pollute the sea sometimes becomes a floating home or nursery for small fish. Patches of giant seaweed also become mobile cleaning stations. Giant sunfish line up, waiting for small cleaner fish to pick off their parasites. For the more stubborn parasites they summon passing seagulls that dig out the bugs with their savage bills. All ocean life, however, is not hard work. Spinner dolphins gather in their thousands, putting on a stunning aerobatic display as they while away the daylight hours. Common dolphins meet a passing school of pilot whales, chirping and rubbing together as they head towards their summer breeding grounds, flirting as they travel. Traveling is the key to success. A pod of common dolphin reaches the Azores, off the Portuguese coast, in early July. They are looking for mackerel but are not alone - 400,000 Cory's shearwaters have already arrived. These elegant gliding seabirds are superb divers - reaching depths of 15 meters they snatch food from right in front of both dolphins and yellowfin tuna.
The Deep
2. The Deep
September 19, 2001
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.
The Blue Planet
1. The Blue Planet
September 12, 2001
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.
Description

Oceans make up around two thirds of the surface area of the planet Earth. This series will do its best to review how the seas have been filled with life over the years.

Blue Planet - Seas of Life is a British nature documentary that was filmed in different locations. The series itself was produced by the BBC and premiered in 2001 for audiences in the United Kingdom. Blue Planet - Seas of Life is narrated by David Attenborough, who is renowned for his work on other nature documentaries.

The series received quite a bit of critical acclaim from reviewers. This also earned Blue Planet a Prime Time Emmy Award, which was provided in the Best Music category. Blue Planet also comes with an eighty minute behind the scenes look at the series. Fans can even check out 10 minute feature vignettes of each episode.Blue Planet - Seas of Life is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (8 episodes). The series first aired on September 12, 2001.

Where to Watch Blue Planet - Seas of Life

Blue Planet - Seas of Life is available for streaming on the BBC Earth website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Blue Planet - Seas of Life on demand at Amazon.

  • Premiere Date
    September 12, 2001
  • IMDB Rating
    9.0  (35,820)