Meet the Hosts

Dr. M. SanjayanDr. M. SanjayanDr. M. Sanjayan – Co-Host
Dr. M. Sanjayan is a leading conservation scientist, writer, public speaker and Emmy-nominated news contributor, specializing in how conservation can improve human well-being. He serves on Conservation International’s senior leadership team as executive vice president and senior scientist.

Earlier in 2015, he hosted the PBS series EARTH A New Wild, produced by National Geographic Television in association with Passion Pictures, which revealed how humans are inextricably linked with nature. Dr. Sanjayan’s broad-reaching television experience includes the BBC documentary Planet Earth: The Future, and Discovery Channel’s Expedition Alaska, Mysteries of the Shark Coast and its acclaimed four-part series on energy, Powering the Future

Dr. Sanjayan holds a masters degree from the University of Oregon and a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His peer-reviewed scientific work has been published in journals including Science, Nature and Conservation Biology. He is a Clinton Global Initiative Senior Advisor, a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of National Geographic Society’s Explorers Council.


Liz Bonnin – Co-Host
Liz Bonnin is BBC television host, and co-presents BBC One’s science magazine show Bang Goes the Theory, now in its eighth series.

Liz BonninLiz Bonnin Inaddition, she has worked on several other programs, including BBC Two’s Museum of Life, a series about the Natural History Museum in London; popular British wildlife strands Springwatch and Autumnwatch; and BBC One’s Super Smart Animals, a series about animal intelligence that saw her travel the length and breadth of the globe to investigate the science of animal cognition and emotional intelligence.

Her latest projects include Operation Snow Tiger, a series on Amur tigers for BBC Two, tracking the world’s largest big cat during the harsh winter of the Russian far east, and Horizon: Tomorrow’s World, a special on the latest science and technology  set to transform our lives. 

Bonnin kick-started her TV career as an entertainment presenter and worked on such shows as BBC One’s cult TV show Top of the Pops before returning to her science roots. A biochemistry graduate, in 2008 she completed a masters in wild animal biology and conservation with the Zoological Society of London and Royal Veterinary College. 


Dr. Joy S. ReidenbergDr. Joy S. ReidenbergDr. Joy S. Reidenberg – Contributing Scientist
Dr. Joy S. Reidenberg, Ph.D., is a comparative anatomist who has traveled the world to study a variety of species ranging from insects to whales. Her research is focused on examining unusual anatomical adaptations that evolved from the same basic structures present in other animals, including humans.

Dr. Reidenberg’s research and scientific expertise have been featured in many science and educational television documentaries. She was a co-host of PBS’ Sex in the Wild, which examined animal reproduction, and Inside Nature's Giants, which explored the anatomy, function and evolution of large animals.

Dr. Reidenberg is a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Her work has garnered many awards, including a BAFTA for Inside Nature's Giants and the Basmajian Award of the American Association of Anatomists (the highest prize in her field, honoring excellence in both teaching and research).


Steve BackshallSteve BackshallSteve Backshall – Contributing Scientist
Steve Backshall is a professional adventurer and a part of the BBC’s Natural History Unit’s expedition team. He has appeared in Expedition Borneo, in which he made the first ascent of a jungle peak and dropped into a vast sinkhole in the Mulu mountains, and Lost Land of the Jaguar, where he made the first ascent of Mount Upuigma in Venezuela. In Lost Land of the Volcano, Backshall was the first outsider to enter the Mount Bosavi volcano, where the team discovered as many as 40 new species, including the largest rat in the world. Backshall also took part in a brutal caving expedition opening up new passage in Mageni Cave in New Britain.

Other series include Expedition Alaska, in which he was almost swallowed by humpback whales and was swept into the guts of a glacier, Wilderness St Kilda, Extreme Britain – Caves, Springwatch Trackers, Nature Reports for the One Show and The Venom Hunter.


Dr. Joe Hanson - Digital Host​
Dr. Joe HansonDr. Joe Hanson Joe Hanson is a biologist, writer, and the creator and host of PBS Digital Studios’ science education series It’s Okay To Be Smart, which takes a fun-loving look atthe world of science through the lens of pop culture, art, and comedy.

Joe will bring the sights and species of Monterey Bay to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram throughout Big Blue Live, connecting this historic event to digital audiences worldwide. He’ll also be taking a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into an event like this. Please follow the PBS Facebook page so you don’t miss a moment.

Joe’s award-winning writing has been published in WIRED, Nautilus,, and It’s Okay To Be Smart has been nominated for IAWTV and Streamy Awards for excellence in online video.

About Big Blue Live

About Big Blue Live

Big Blue Live is a live television and online event celebrating amazing marine creatures.



We’ve worked with some incredible people to make Big Blue Live come to your screens.

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a spectacular marine protected area.

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