He finds ocean science has a deep following

Special CorrespondentFebruary 15, 2010 

This week we're introducing an edited Q-and-A with the people who produce interesting blogs about science.

Meet Craig McClain, who blogs at DeepSea News.com . McClain, 34, is assistant director of science at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham. He created Deep Sea News five years ago, a blog about ocean science. He tweets as @DrCraigMc.

Q: This January, Deep Sea News was featured on the Nature Blog Network, where it routinely ranks in the top dozen blogs out of 970. What drives DSN's popularity?

We did not start with our 1,000-2,000-a-day hit rate. We slowly built our audience through consistent posting, passionate writing, engaging the readers, and fostering connections to other science bloggers. We strive for DSN not to be a dry or formal forum of science.

Q: DSN also covers deep sea cultural items, in addition to science, with posts about how to tie knots and century's old mariner's poems. Why this scope and span across time?

Tying knots, mariner's songs, and of course rum are part of the rich history of exploring the oceans and thus intertwined with ocean science. The fact that DSN is a science blog and maritime culture blog reflects the passions of my co-bloggers and I.

Q: Do you view your blogging as scientific outreach to lay audiences? If so, what's the main thrust of your message?

At the very core of science is the communication of knowledge. Science blogging allows me an outlet to directly communicate to the public. We can also increase public awareness of and participation in resolving conservation issues. People protect what they know and love.

Q: Your writing style is infused with elements of comedy, wit and mirth. Is this natural, or do you do it to draw in readers?

We are often playful, provocative, facetious, and salty - pardon the pun - at DSN. In part, this is calculated to dispel common stereotypes of "mad" scientists in lab coats. We are simply trying to make science engaging, entertaining, and of course informative and accurate. On the other hand, my posts are full of wit, frankincense, and mirth because that is who I am in the real world.

T. DeLene Beeland: scwriter.db@gmail.com

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