The Science of Sustainability

Joan Johnson

Joan Johnson

Joan Johnson is an TV Associate Producer for QUEST. Joan got her start making science television back in 1998 when she joined the team at Sea Studios in Monterey, working as a researcher and production coordinator on National Geographic Television projects for 4 years. Following that she pursued a career in features and network television down in Los Angeles, working on seven full length feature films, three television shows and several pilots. Joan graduated in 1993 from U.C. Santa Cruz with honors in Biology, and spent several years working as a marine biologist, naturalist and SCUBA guide. Originally from San Francisco, Joan is thrilled to be home and working on QUEST, fulfilling a long-term goal of combining her interests in science and entertainment.

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Joan Johnson's Latest Posts

Geothermal Heats Up

Geothermal Heats Up

Solar and wind power may get the headlines when it comes to renewable energy. But another type of clean power is heating up in the hills just north of Sonoma wine country. The Geysers, the world's largest power-producing geothermal field, has been providing electricity for roughly 850,000 Northern California households, and is set to expand even further.

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Into the Deep with Elephant Seals

Into the Deep with Elephant Seals

Thousands of northern elephant seals — some weighing up to 4,500 pounds — make an annual migration to breed each winter at Año Nuevo State Reserve, on the San Mateo County coast. Marine biologists are using high-tech tools to explore the secrets of these amazing creatures, which can hold their breath for an hour and dive a mile below the surface.

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Cool Critters: The Golden Eagle

Cool Critters: The Golden Eagle

Although not as famous as its bald cousin, Golden Eagles are much easier to find in Northern California – one of the largest breeding populations for Golden Eagles is right here in the Mount Diablo valley. Meet one of the largest birds of prey as QUEST visits the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA.

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Why I Do Science: Healy Hamilton

Why I Do Science: Healy Hamilton

Could you have a career studying rare Amazon River Dolphins, tiny octopuses and endangered sea horses? Healy Hamilton does, and she works with kids to encourages them to become scientists.

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Profile: Sylvia Earle

Profile: Sylvia Earle

She's spent much of the last five decades exploring and protecting the world's oceans. Find out why legendary marine biologist Sylvia Earle thinks that we may only have a few years left to save what she calls "the blue heart of the planet."

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Producer's Notes – Why I do Science: Healy Hamilton

Producer's Notes – Why I do Science: Healy Hamilton

When I first head about Healy Hamilton at a meeting QUEST was having with the California Academy of Sciences, I just knew I was going to like her.

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Cool Critters: Turkey Vultures

Cool Critters: Turkey Vultures

Ever wonder why a vulture's head is bald? QUEST visits the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA, to meet their resident Turkey Vulture and learn about what life is like in the Bay Area for these bald "beauties."

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Producer's Notes: Seahorse Sleuths

Producer's Notes: Seahorse Sleuths

This planet may have seemed endlessly bountiful 2000 years ago, but today we can no longer afford to take the survival of non-human species for granted.

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Seahorse Sleuths

Seahorse Sleuths

Seahorses are some of the most enchanting and mysterious creatures in the ocean. They are struggling to survive in threatened habitats around the world, while large-scale trading of seahorses for the traditional Chinese medicine market goes unchecked. Meet the Seahorse Sleuths – local scientists who are working to save them from extinction.

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Web Extra: Raising Seahorses in Captivity

Web Extra: Raising Seahorses in Captivity

Seahorse aquarist Jonelle Verdugo of the Monterey Bay Aquarium talks with Quest about the biology of seahorses on some of the challenges of raising them in captivity.

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Cool Critters: Opossums

Cool Critters: Opossums

Did you know that opossums are good to have in your backyard? Learn why and a bunch of other cool critter facts when we visit the wildlife ambassadors that live at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA.

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Producer's Notes for Cool Critters: Opossums

Producer's Notes for Cool Critters: Opossums

Did you know that opossums are good to have in your backyard? Learn why and a bunch of other cool critter facts when we visit the wildlife ambassadors that live at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA.

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Asteroid Hunters

Asteroid Hunters

Everyone knows that eight planets orbit the Sun. But thousands of other objects, including icy comets and football field-sized asteroids, are also zooming around our solar system. And some of them could be on a collision course with Earth. QUEST explores how these Near Earth Objects are being tracked and what scientists are saying should be done to prevent a deadly impact.

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Zeppelins Resurrected

Zeppelins Resurrected

In 1935, the USS Macon went down in 1000 feet of water off the coast of Monterey, California. Now, as scientists study the recently-discovered wreckage, dirigibles are returning to the Bay Area. But these aren't the same dirigibles – these are new and improved.

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Producer's Notes: Zeppelins Resurrected (Bonus)

Producer's Notes: Zeppelins Resurrected (Bonus)

It's easy to see how these new, nearly silent zeppelins could be used in a myriad of ways – from spying on whales to aerial photography to weather and climate monitoring.

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Inside an Explosion

Inside an Explosion

What happens when something explodes? Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are now getting a first glimpse of the microscopic properties of an explosion.

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Bio-Inspiration: Nature as Muse

Bio-Inspiration: Nature as Muse

For hundreds of years, scientists have been poaching design ideas from structures in nature. Now, biologists and engineers at UC Berkeley are working together to design a broad range of new products, such as life-saving milli-robots modeled on the way cockroaches run and adhesives based on the amazing design of a gecko's foot.

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Producer's Notes for Bio-inspiration: Nature as Muse

Producer's Notes for Bio-inspiration: Nature as Muse

Bio-inspired design borrows its creative inspiration from models and systems in nature, that is, plant and animal parts that have been slowly tweaked for over 3.8 billion years. But that doesn't mean that nature's designs are perfect.

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HIV Research: Beyond the Vaccine

HIV Research: Beyond the Vaccine

Over the past 15 years, the number of people who die of AIDS each year in the United States has dropped by 70 percent. But AIDS remains a serious public health crisis among low-income African-Americans, particularly women. QUEST meets two Bay Area research groups studying innovative approaches that could lead to new treatments and possibly a cure.

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Producer's Notes for Cool Critters: Fruit Bats

Producer's Notes for Cool Critters: Fruit Bats

In honor of Halloween this month, Quest offers up a short story on bats. But these are not your screeching, swarming, bloodsucking Hollywood movie bats.

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