BEIJING-China is leading the world in certain areas of deep-sea exploration, said U.S. marine biologist and oceanographer Sylvia Earle in a recent interview.

Earle, who became the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said China goes back centuries leading the world in ocean exploration.

“You are doing it again, not only on the surface but going down,” noted the 83-year-old scientist and explorer. She hailed China’s manned submersible Jiaolong and Rainbow Fish series of deep-sea landing devices, saying that “this is the greatest era of exploration ever.” The manned submersible Jiaolong completed its deepest dive of 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012. The Rainbow Fish series of devices descended over 10,000 meters underwater and completed sea tests in the Pacific Ocean in December 2016. Earle made the remarks when she attended the Elysium Epic Trilogy Exhibition Tour. The tour, which kicked off in Beijing on Monday, showcases photos and films taken during expeditions to the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Coral Triangle. Talking about polar tours and travel, Earle said “there are issues about more people in sensitive places like the Arctic, the Antarctic, coral reefs and rainforests,” calling on travelers and explorers “to go with respect.”

Dubbed “Her Deepness,” Earle is known for dedicating her life to exploiting and researching the seabed and the conservation of the oceans and was called a “living legend” by the U.S.