A FORDINGBRIDGE professor has been recognised by the Queen in the New Year Honours List.

Professor Paul Tyler of Frogham Hill has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to science.

The 67-year-old emeritus professor of the University of Southampton National Oceanography Centre has been singled out for his research and work in deep sea biology.

He was responsible for the Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), which travels four miles beneath the ocean to observe habitats in the sea bed, and has discovered hydrothermal vents off Georgia in the southern ocean, off Hawaii in the east pacific and off Mexico.

Recognition for his work came as a surprise to Professor Tyler, whose first research trip into the deep sea was in Antarctica in 1977.

“I am absolutely delighted. I had no inclination whatsoever that I would receive an MBE,” he said.

“The deep sea is reliant on material that sinks from above. Deep sea communities rely on the sun, plankton and other matter but hydrothermal vents are the only environment where the primary energy source is hydrogen sulphide.

“What we get is bacteria, and animals that use the bacteria, resulting in a wide diversity of eco-systems and habitats in the sea beds.”

Professor Tyler added: “Some 77 per cent of planet earth is ocean and 50 per cent of the entire surface of the planet is the deep sea, which is made up of a variety of eco systems.

“There is much exploitation through fisheries and marine mining that is destroying these habitats.”

The announcement of his honour came on day of his retirement, December 31.

“I formally retired today,” he confirmed. “This honour was a much unexpected and very delightful end to my career.”