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How to Be an Ocean Explorer

"How to Be an Ocean Explorer" artwork. Cartoon of scientist in front of ocean life.


NGSS Standards:


Want to explore the hidden treasures of the deep sea? Come on board the EV Nautilus, a research ship that searches the seafloor with the help of robot submarines! Our guide is Taylorann Smith, who’s just 25 years old, but on her third expedition on the ship. We’ll witness a whale fall, meet the submarines, and learn how Taylorann discovered what it really means to be a marine biologist.

Ocean Explorer - Taylorann Smith - Script _ outlin
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Taylorann grew up far from the ocean, in Chicago. But she always loved to explore.

Photo of Taylorann Smith working on aquatic life in a tank.

It took a long time for Taylorann to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. “I just knew that I wanted to make an impact in the world, and I wasn't sure what way I wanted to do that,” she told us. “I knew that I loved science and I loved animals.”

It wasn’t until she watched the Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, that she got hooked on marine biology. It featured Sylvia Earle, a famous marine biologist.

Taylorann has written about her own experiences in marine science as a woman of color. You can read them here:

Now, Taylorann is passionate about microplastics in the ocean. You can hear her speak more about her interests and her research in this video.


Because the Nautilus has a mission to share its explorations with the public, you can experience it from home! The website is packed with videos, galleries, blogs, educational resources and more. Below we share our favorites:

The Whale Fall video featured in the episode:

You'll LOVE watching all the highlights from the 2019 expeditions, for a taste of all the action!

You can toggle between views of Nautilus’ live cams on the website. Here’s all live channels: has so much more to explore!

Educational materials for teachers:

Discover careers onboard the Nautilus:

Learn more about the science and technology on the missions:

This episode was supported by The Ocean Exploration Trust with support from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

To hear more from our interview with Taylorann, listen to our bonus interview episode when you sign up to support Tumble at the $1 level or higher on


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