Planet Tuna

Lluis, Hannah and Patricia prepare to film a hand-drawn video.

Three years ago I was contacted by Patricia Reglero, a researcher at the local Oceanographic Institute who works with tuna and other large pelagic predators. The sea just south of Mallorca is an important breeding area for Atlantic Bluefin tuna and much of her research has to do with how, where, when and at what temperature these giant tuna spawn. Patricia was bothered that the work she and her colleagues were doing wasn’t reaching the general public, so she asked me, fellow illustrator Flavia Gargiulo, and journalist Maria Lopez whether we’d be interested in brainstorming the best way to combine words and images in order to explain ocean science to a broad audience. The result of much thinking and experimenting is planettuna.com, a web site with articles, videos, species fact sheets, and more. It’s available in English, Spanish, and Catalan. Two more people have joined the team since we started up, Anna Aguil√≥ as our social media guru, and Lluis Fern√°ndez who films and edits our videos. The background illustrations such as the opening underwater lab scene and many of the article illustrations (for example the Bluefin Tuna fact sheet) are by Flavia Gargiulo, who is a terrific mix of great illustrator and savvy designer. Others (for instance the illustrations — and the text in this case — of the evolution article are mine: http://planettuna.com/en/our-tuna-relatives-the-evolution-of-vertebrates-including-ourselves-and-tunas/

Planet Tuna has allowed me to dive into something new to me: making videos. I love the way videos allow me to tell a story, and two I’m particularly fond of are the one in which I describe how we’re related to tuna, and a very recent one about ocean bacteria. Oh how I love the ocean microbiome!

Enjoy! We add material to the site on a regular basis, so check back in from time to time, and sign up for the social media if so inclined.