Sonke Johnsen

Biology

  • For my work, I go on research cruises around the world, where we go down in deep-sea submarines to study bioluminescence, vision, light, and camouflage in the deep-sea.
  • The most recent cruise I ran in 2019 captured the first ever footage of a giant squid in US waters. Because of this research, I have consulted for the magic treehouse kids book series, the Pixar Movie "Finding Nemo", and various government agencies.
  • I was originally trained in math, physics, art, and modern dance, and was a carpenter, kindergarten teacher, and a programmer for the very first Macs before going to Biology graduate school.
  • I'm also interested in outreach and have written two books on light and vision, and am writing a third on ocean life and the people who study it.
  • I am the immigrant child of war refugees, and am married to another immigrant who is also an immigration attorney, so I care deeply about immigrant and refugee issues.
  • My wife and I live on a 25 acre horse farm half an hour west of campus, where I spent the summer painting our barns, clearing pastures, cutting up trees, and running our dog, Bonnie.
  • My daughter Zoe is a junior at UC Boulder, which has caused me to see undergraduate concerns in a new light.
Sonke Johnsen Image
Sonke Johnsen
sjohnsen@duke.edu