Diving Pristine Seas with Enric Sala, Marine Ecologist
One of National Geographic’s newest Explorers-in-Residence, Dr. Enric Sala developed a passion for the sea while growing up on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Witnessing the adverse impacts that pollution, overfishing, climate change, and industrialization were having on marine ecosystems, he dedicated his career to finding ways to restore health and productivity to the ocean.
To help save the last pristine places in the ocean, Sala has mounted a series of National Geographic expeditions to some of the most remote, uninhabited and untouched sites on the planet. These include a magical place in the remote South Pacific, the Southern Line Islands. Beyond shipping lanes and fisheries and far from human civilization, Sala discovered there what a healthy reef looks like—with crystal clear water, abundant multi-colored corals, and an amazing abundance of top predators. Sala has led other expeditions to places such as Cocos Island, Costa Rica, and Sala y Gomez, Chile. He has shared the stories of these stunning places through National Geographic films and publications.
Using a combination of science and media, and partnering with local conservation organizations, Sala has succeeded in inspiring country leaders to protect some of these pristine places. Now, he is racing to help establish a series of marine protected areas around the world to save the remaining pristine places that are still unprotected.
A former professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and at Spain’s National Research Council, Sala is now leading the Pristine Seas project at National Geographic. He is also a 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a 2007 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and a 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum. In 2011 he was named a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.