National Geographic Pristine Seas is dedicated to protecting the last wild places in the ocean.
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A blacktip shark swims in the murky waters of a mangrove on Isabela Island in the Galápagos. Blacktips gather in aggregations to set up pup nurseries in shallow waters like mangroves. Young blacktips will continue to live in the coastal nurseries as juveniles, which likely helps them avoid predation from larger sharks.
Shot by @enricsala on our 2015 expedition to the iconic Galápagos archipelago.
Shot by @EnricSala | The Department of Interior's public comment period closed on July 10, but you still have an opportunity to make your voice heard about why the nation's marine monuments are important: The Department of Commerce is currently "reviewing" marine sanctuaries and monuments designated or expanded over the past 10 years, including Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of California, Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary off Michigan, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument in the Atlantic, and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the Pacific, where the remarkable reef above was photographed during our expedition to the northern Line Islands. Changes to these monuments and sanctuaries could threaten unique habitats and thousands of marine species and birds that call these places home. Take action by July 26 to tell the Department of Commerce why these special places need protection! Submit your personalized message at: www.monumentsforall.org/marine.
Shot by @enricsala | #tbt to our 2009 expedition to the Southern Line Islands, where top predators keep the marine ecosystems healthy and productive. In the words of expedition leader @enricsala: “Diving in the Southern Line Islands is like getting in a time machine and traveling back to the reefs of the past, when sharks - and not humans - were the top predators.” Visit @NatGeoMuseum’s Sharks exhibit this summer to learn more about sharks and why they need our help. #NatGeo#pristineseas#SummerOfSharks#sharks SouthernLineIslands #ocean#conservation#exploration
Shot by @enricsala | Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are not only the largest sharks found at Costa Rica’s Cocos Island - they are also the largest fish in the ocean! Unlike most of their toothy cousins, these ocean giants are filter-feeders, cruising through the water with their mouths wide open, gathering plankton and other small marine organisms. Along with an abundance of other shark species, their presence during our 2009 expedition to the waters around Cocos Island signals a healthy marine ecosystem. However, they are vulnerable to fishing pressure and vessel strikes, and are currently classified as endangered by the IUCN. The good news is that by creating well-managed marine reserves, world leaders can work to protect these beautiful behemoths and the ecosystems they inhabit.
Come visit @NatGeoMuseum’s Sharks exhibit to learn more about sharks and the crucial role they play in keeping ocean ecosystems in balance. #NatGeo#pristineseas#SummerOfSharks#whaleshark#Rhincodontypus#CocosIsland#shark#ocean#conservation#exploration
Shot by @enricsala | Silky sharks visit our divers in the waters of San Benedicto Island, during last year's expedition to Mexico's Revillagigedo islands. These gentle animals swam next to the team as they jumped off the stern of the expedition ship and followed the divers as long as they were in the water. From the field, expedition leader Enric Sala wrote, "After spending an hour with them, we returned to the ship and thought that everyone who is afraid of sharks because of movies like ‘Jaws’ should spend time in places like these, where sharks are abundant. That would change people’s minds about the sea. The most dangerous part of an expedition is actually the taxi ride to the airport!" But if you can't find your way to the water this summer, come visit @NatGeoMuseum’s Sharks exhibit to find out how sharks are a vital part of our ecosystem — and why they need protecting. #NatGeo#pristineseas#summerofsharks#marine#ocean#conservation#exploration#sharks
Shot by @EnricSala | A gray reef shark patrols Kingman Reef, a pristine atoll in the Northern Line Islands that is now protected by the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument. It was here that our team discovered that, in a pristine reef, top predators such as these sharks outweigh their prey. By preventing one species from monopolizing resources and helping to remove sick and weak marine animals, sharks play a vital role in maintaining ecosystem diversity and serve as an indicator of ocean health.
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument protects one of the most unique marine environments in the northeast Atlantic. The marine species that call it home include deep-sea corals, Kemp's ridley sea turtles, deep-sea fish, and sperm, fin, and sei whales. The subject of scientific exploration since the 1970s, this marine monument also recognizes the unique role that fishing plays in the region's economy and culture, and preserves these resources for future generations. Chime in and tell the Department of the Interior why protecting this unique marine environment matters! Link in profile. #BlueParks#MonumentsForAll#NatGeo#pristineseas#conservation#protection#exploration#marine#ocean#monument#wild#seamounts#canyons
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Today we are celebrating the 11th birthday of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument — a remarkable marine conservation area in the northwestern Hawaiian islands. It's home to more than 7,000 unique species, 25% of which are only found within the monument’s waters, including 22 species of seabirds, 22 species of whales and dolphins, 5 species of endangered sea turtles, and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Papahānaumokuākea protects intact ecosystems and its total area makes up less than one percent of the Pacific Ocean, yet it is under "review" by the current administration. If you support our nation's dedication to protecting our wild places, you can click the profile link to add your voice on behalf of the national monuments! #BlueParks#MonumentsForAll#NatGeo#pristineseas#conservation#protection#exploration#marine#ocean#monument#wild
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America’s ocean monuments including Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Pacific Remote Islands, Papahānaumokuākea, Marianas Trench, and Rose Atoll are under "review" by the current administration right now. All American land and marine monuments stand as important examples of our nation's dedication to protecting our wild places. The people have a brief window — until July 10 — to weigh in and make sure that these monuments stay protected. Please submit a comment to the Department of the Interior to let them know that our marine monuments protect incredible places in the ocean! You can click the link in our profile to do so. #MonumentalMonday#BlueParks#MonumentsForAll @NatGeo#pristineseas#conservation#protection#exploration#marine#ocean#monument#wilderness
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Photo by @PaulNicklen/SeaLegacy | Orcas carousel feeding on herring with other species of whales. And Fjord, near Andenes, Norway. #SpeakForNature
Photo by @CristinaMittermeier /SeaLegacy | Emperor Penguins in the Ross Sea of Antarctica may be flightless birds, but a technique they utilize involving bubbles in their feathers allows them to rocket out of the water and into the air, escaping predators as they fly for a moment. #SpeakForNature.
Today is our last day at sea after a truly terrific expedition to Ascension. We are coming home at the perfect moment, as today is World Ocean Day and another key day at the UN Ocean Conference. For us ocean-lovers these global events are good news, and they have helped build an unprecedented level of awareness and smart actions in ocean conservation. Just a quick reflection on the bare expedition statistics keeps us going as we file our reports, organize tons of cargo, and make our extensive onboard preparations for landing in Cape Verde tomorrow: ·An expedition science team of 21
·The ship’s team of 27 ·10 institutions
·One of the world’s finest research ships, the RRS James Clark Ross
·The St Helena vessel, the mighty MFV Extractor
·3,290 miles at sea
·32 surveys of sea bird and flying fish
·21 days of flying fish sampling
·277 sq kms of seamount summits mapped
·330 sq kms of bio-acoustic surveys
·500 miles of on–passage swath surveys
·7 species of sharks recorded
·8 deep sea trawls
·48 pelagic camera deployments
·18 drop camera deployments = spending more time on the bottom of the sea than on the ship!
·14 acoustic arrays deployed which will run for the next 5 years
·21 camera lander surveys
·18 CTD deployments
·32 small CTD deployments
·22 plankton net deployments
·32 small plankton net deployments
·39 sharks tagged with GPS / acoustic
·8 tuna tagged with GPS / acoustic
·1 drone lost to the South Atlantic Ocean
·1 jellyfish sting
·Enough sleep to survive
Our planet is truly a blue one: The ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth and shelters an incredible diversity of life, from microscopic plankton to colossal whales. It gives us food, jobs, and more than half the oxygen we breathe. We swim and sail it, travel to be near it, and learn from it. But we are taking too many fish out of the ocean, polluting it, and making it warmer and more acidic. And only three percent of it is protected. There has never been a more important time for ocean stewardship than now, for all future generations. Regardless of where you are as you read this, you are connected to the ocean. Do what you can to help celebrate and protect it every day! Use less single-use plastics, make sure any seafood you eat is sustainably sourced, and support organizations that are working to find ways to ensure the protection of our ocean. Happy World Ocean Day, everyone!
World Ocean Week kicks off with good news! Today, Gabon announced the creation of Africa’s largest network of marine protected areas, home to a diverse array of threatened marine life, including the largest breeding populations of leatherback and olive ridley sea turtles and 20 species of dolphins and whales. The network of 20 marine parks and aquatic reserves will protect 26 percent of Gabon’s territorial seas and extend across 53,000 square kilometers.
Off the coast of Gabon, oil platforms like this one act as artificial reefs, attracting fish and other reef animals necessary to support a healthy fish assemblage. Shot by @enricsala on our 2012 expedition to survey Gabon's 885-kilometer coastline in partnership with @waittfoundation@theWCS and the Gabonese National Parks Agency.
Learn more at the link in our profile!
We never know what deep-sea creatures will find our drop-cameras on the ocean floor. When the cameras return to the surface and we check the results, it’s always a period of patience combined with eager anticipation and the hope of something exciting. Last night our patience was rewarded when our camera returned from a depth of 2,100 feet here on Unnamed Seamount with footage of a beautiful sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus)! These sharks are found at depths reaching 8,000 feet. Since they spend most of their time in deep water, very little is known about their behavior.
Overnight work results in our first map of Grattan seamount, an underwater mountain that rises to less than 300 feet below the surface and is located along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Ascension and St. Helena. Today we used this map to accurately deploy our survey gear around the seamount!
Say hello to the RRS James Clark Ross and the expedition team aboard it! Led by @paulroseexplorer our team is now nearing our first target seamount. The 1,200 nautical mile passage from Recife to Ascension is just long enough for us to prepare all of our equipment, from our shallow underwater and pelagic camera systems to our deep-sea drop cameras. We will be deploying these rigs into unknown territory and are prepared to make new discoveries as we develop a better understanding of Ascension's waters, from seafloor to surface!
We are officially back at sea! We've set sail from Recife, bound for the remote mid-Atlantic island of Ascension. Aboard the Antarctic research ship, the RRS James Clark Ross, we will be surveying and documenting Ascension's offshore and deep-sea environments — including the isolated, biodiversity-rich seamounts. Follow us here as we explore these waters in collaboration with the Ascension Island Conservation Department, the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
This Endangered Species Day, we're reminded that there is still time to save threatened and endangered species, from the large and charismatic to the lesser-known but equally important microscopic creatures that inhabit the ocean.
Pristine Seas is committed to protecting the last wild places in the ocean in hopes of rebuilding populations of threatened and endangered species, such as these Scalloped Hammerhead sharks we encountered on our 2016 expedition to the Galápagos Islands. Shot by @Enric_Sala.
#TBT to our expedition to Chile's Juan Fernandez Islands, where the team encountered this magnificent octopus while surveying the seafloor. How strange we must look to these incredible contortionists, whose ancestors have traversed the ocean for hundreds of millions of years! Shot by @enricsala
If someone were to ask you to picture a healthy marine ecosystem, what would be the first image to come to mind? Would it look something like this: a scene where it's hard to make out the spaces between the fishes? Predators patrolling a rocky reef that teems with life against a sunlit backdrop?
It's easy to forget that these scenes do still exist, and that they are important to helping us understand what the ocean might have looked like hundreds of years ago. Pristine places, the last wildernesses of the ocean, are all we have left of the seas of the past, and they are the best baselines we have of what is natural.
Shot by @EnricSala | A throwback from our expedition to Chile's Diego Ramirez Islands, the southernmost albatross breeding site in the world: dotting the landscape, grey-headed albatross chicks sit atop their raised mud nests. Grey-headed albatross eggs are laid in October and hatch during December, but most young won't depart from the natal nest until May. In the meantime, their parents will continue to carry out foraging journeys over vast areas of ocean, traveling as far as over 1,000 km from their colonies even during breeding season.