David Gallo: Underwater Astonishments

David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square’s worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean. This short talk celebrates the pioneering work of ocean explorers like Edith Widder and Roger Hanlon.


Watch the TED talk, listen carefully and answer the questions below:


Comprehension Questions


  1. What percentage of the ocean have we explored?


  1. What did he call Cephalopods when he was a kid?


  1. What colour do the squid turn when they become aggressive?


  1. What is the shallow water full of?


  1. The octopus can change its colour and what else?





Watch the video again from 01:21 to 01:49 and fill in the blanks:


That’s the (6) _______ world, and today we’ve only explored about 3 percent of what’s out there in the ocean. (7) ________ we’ve found the world’s highest mountains, the world’s deepest valleys, underwater lakes, underwater waterfalls — a lot of that we (8) _______ with you from the stage. And in a place where we thought no life at all, we find more life, we think, and diversity and density than the (9) ________ rainforest, which tells us that we don’t know much about this planet at all. There’s still 97 percent, and (10) _______ that 97 percent is empty or just full of surprises.



True or False?


Listen to the material again and answer true or false to the following statements:


  1. Dr. Edith Widder works for NASA.


  1. Gallo is a trained geologist.


  1. There is still 95% of the oceans to discover.


  1. Dr. Roger Hanlon works at the Marine Biological Lab.


  1. The male squid can split its colouration.






  1. 3%
  2. calamari
  3. white
  4. predators
  5. its texture
  6. Already
  7. shared
  8. tropical
  9. either
  10. (F) she works at the ocean research and conservation centre
  11. (T)
  12. (F) there is 97% still left to discover
  13. (T)
  14. (T)

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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