Autun Purser

How did you get interested about the deep sea?

Growing up by the sea I was always keen to explore rock pools and the shallow depths, poking any creatures found and thinking about who might eat who.  At university I studied Geology, but was always most interested in animals, and spun off into a MSc in Oceanography, which I loved; particularly the studies of deep sea life. I enjoyed the many open questions on life in the deeps, so I studied that for my PhD and in my post docs.

Autun Purser
Autun Purser, PhD, HGF-MPG Group for Deep Sea Ecology and Technology Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany (AWI)

What do you imagine that deep-sea biological sciences can do?

I think the biggest impact deep-sea biological sciences can have on the general population is to reveal the great diversity of approaches to existence life can take on this planet, the extreme environments that can be populated, and the bizarre reproductive strategies. I think this both illuminates the possibilities for life elsewhere and hopefully makes those reading or watching discoveries in the deep feel some connectivity to these scarcely known areas.

Why do you think that bridging Art & Science is important?

I think Art can make some of our more obtuse research more accessible. With my own stuff, often a mix of the quite graphical with incorporated brief typography, I like to think the colourful designs and slightly odd sentences can draw in observers, and trigger off an interest they may follow up with a quick google or wikipedia search – to bring them in slightly to the exploration of the deep. By georeferencing many of my pictures explicitly I also hope that my Art helps to illustrate the great spatial variability in life in the deep – the deep sea is far from being one homogenous ecosystem, but is a mix of beasts and environments of great variety.


  • Have a look at Autun’s postcards inspired by deep-sea biology imagery – soon available for purchase and gifting!
  • Autun’s website it teeming with designs and Illustrations

Posts about Autun’s works soon!