Paul Yancey aboard research submersible Alvin

When James Cameron, the self-proclaimed “King of the World” and director of the blockbuster films “Titanic” and “Avatar,” decides to dive to the deepest spot in the ocean, who does his scientist call for guidance?

Whitman biology professor Paul Yancey.

“I was in email contact with Cameron’s chief scientist during Cameron’s dives,” said the Carl E. Peterson Endowed Chair of Sciences. The biology professor said he advised Cameron’s scientist what specimens to sample and how to take and preserve tissues.

Yancey is an expert on the ecosystems of hadal trenches, the ocean’s deepest trenches. He is scheduled to navigate a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, 36,000 feet below the surface of the sea. The ROV is called Nereus, and Yancey will dive the sub to Challenger Deep in 2013.