Texas A&M Galveston Professor/Researcher and Students to be Featured on NatGeo Cable TV Special

Pete van Hengstum & Jeff DonnellyTexas A&M University at Galveston marine science professor Pete van Hengstum will be featured on the National Geographic Channel show "Years of Living Dangerously" on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 9 p.m.

The episode, titled "Storms of the Future," will feature van Hengstum's research on the history of hurricanes though thousands of years by taking core samples from ocean caves called blueholes.  By studying the samples, scientists can learn more about the frequency of hurricanes over thousands of years ago.

Also featured on the show is Jeff Donnelly, senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The show will document them collecting sediment cores from deep blueholes during a research cruise aboard the M/V Alucia.

This program shows Donnelly in a submarine diving into a large bluehole on Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas.  Blueholes are a good way to study hurricanes because they are an ideal sediment trap at the bottom of the ocean, and when a hurricane passes by, a layer of sand is deposited into the hole that is otherwise filling with mud.

"Some blueholes are filling up with mud so fast that the sand layers in the cores can document most hurricanes that have passed the bluehole over hundreds or even thousands of years," says van Hengstum.

"It still remains poorly understood how regional hurricane activity will change during this century, but by documenting how climate and hurricane activity co-evolved in the past, we can help provide important clues for how hurricane activity may change in the future".

Texas A&M-Galveston doctorial students Richard Sullivan and Tyler Winkler and master student Victoria Keeton, will also be shown during the documentary.

The purpose of the series is to pair scientific and social experts studying current climate change topics with celebrity correspondents to help communicate the science and issues to a broader non-scientific audience.  Topics examined in the past include droughts, wildfires, and ocean acidification. "Storms of the Future" will feature celebrity correspondent Ian Somerhalder (from "The Vampire Diaries," and "Lost") and his wife, activist and actress Nikki Reed, who interviewed Donnelly, van Hengstum, and graduate students from Woods Hole and Texas A&M-Galveston during the show.

Season one of "Years of Living Dangerously" won two Emmys in 2014 – one for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series' and another for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming, and is executively produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others.

For more information, you can follow van Hengstum's team at @coastal_geoscience_group on instagram.