Pristine Seas@natgeopristineseas

The National Geographic Pristine Seas project is dedicated to protecting the last wild places in the ocean.

http://pristineseas.org/

Today is Endangered Species Day! Across the planet, species are vanishing at rates greater than ever before. But we still have time to help save threatened and endangered species by protecting the habitats and ecosystems that they rely on. These endangered scalloped hammerheads were photographed by @EnricSala on our 2015 expedition to the Galápagos Islands. The following year, the government of Ecuador created a marine sanctuary in the Galápagos, fulling protecting about 40,000 square kilometers of a vibrant ecosystem that is home to the highest abundance of sharks on the planet.
#EndangeredSpeciesDay #NatGeo #pristineseas #hammerhead #sharks #ocean #exploration #marine #conservation #protection #wild


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A gray reef shark patrols Kingman Reef, a pristine atoll in the Northern Line Islands that is part of 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.

Shot by @enricsala | #MonumentsForAll #BlueParks #NatGeo #pristineseas #NorthernLineIslands #shark #reef #coral #ocean #conservation #marine #exploration


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A crown-of-thorns sea star crawls over giant clams at Kingman Reef, one of the many intact coral reefs protected by the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. These sea stars have decimated corals elsewhere, but on pristine reefs their numbers are controlled by their main predator, the giant triton.

Shot by @enricsala | #MonumentsForAll #BlueParks #NatGeo #pristineseas #NorthernLineIslands #shark #reef #coral #ocean #conservation #marine #exploration


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Just when we thought we'd be keeping dry on the vessel for a few hours, something brilliant would draw our attention back to the water at Malpelo. Today we are back in port, having completed the most comprehensive scientific expedition to date in Malpelo, with more than 300 dives, 20 mesophotic dives, 20 submarine dives, 30 deep water drop camera deployments, pelagic camera deployments, shark tagging, and baited remote underwater video camera deployments.
Video by @jonbetzfilms and @manusanfelix_official, and edited by @gnoolster, on our expedition to the waters of Colombia's Malpelo Island in partnership with @fundacionmalpelo and @parquescolombia, and aboard the Argo vessel with @underseahunter.


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Photographed here at a dive site known as "Bajo del Monstruo," our technical divers dive up to 70 meters to explore the depths that standard divers cannot reach. Using high tech rebreathers and breathing helium mixtures, these divers are able to conduct deep-water transects and look for new fish species.
Shot by @manusanfelix_official on our expedition to the waters of Colombia's Malpelo Island in partnership with @fundacionmalpelo and @parquescolombia, and aboard the Argo vessel with @underseahunter.


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Spotted! This six-meter-long whale shark was filter-feeding close to the surface as our science team was ascending from a dive. Whale sharks, the largest of living sharks, feed on plankton and other small marine creatures, which they suck into their open mouths as they swim. As photographer @manusanfelix_official writes, it's not often that we encounter a whale shark that looks this healthy — having perfect fins and no scars, and looking well-fed.
Shot on our expedition to the waters of Colombia's Malpelo Island in partnership with @fundacionmalpelo and @parquescolombia, and aboard the Argo vessel with @underseahunter.


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The Malpelo anole, Anolis agassizi, is one of the endemic lizards on Malpelo island. Because of the nutrient-rich deposits of bird guano, the rocky island is populated with colonies of algae, lichens, mosses, and ferns that give the rock surface a green covering.

Shot by @jonbetzfilms on our expedition to the waters of Colombia's Malpelo Island in partnership with @fundacionmalpelo and @parquescolombia, and aboard the Argo vessel with @underseahunter.


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Yesterday we took a break from diving to explore the island of Malpelo. Malpelo hosts the biggest colony of Nazca boobies (Sula granti) on the planet. This bird is also the most abundant species in Malpelo: its nests, built with small stones, cover almost the entire surface of the main island and can also be found on almost all of the surrounding islets.
Shot by @manusanfelix_official on our expedition to the waters of Colombia's Malpelo Island in partnership with @fundacionmalpelo and @parquescolombia, and aboard the Argo vessel with @underseahunter.


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Warm tropical waters and cooler temperate waters converge at Malpelo. The first 10 meters of the water are very warm, and harbor vibrant corals. But as you dive deeper down the thermocline, the water becomes colder, and the seascape changes as much as the temperature does, with fewer corals like this appearing.
Shot by @manusanfelix_official on our expedition to the waters of Colombia's Malpelo Island in partnership with @fundacionmalpelo and @parquescolombia, and aboard the Argo vessel with @underseahunter.


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Captured by @manusanfelix_official on a morning dive this weekend, a school of hammerhead sharks is silhouetted against the vast waters. Malpelo is an important part of the tropical Eastern Pacific marine corridor, supporting large aggregations of migratory species, including hammerheads, that may travel from the Galápagos Islands northward along Cocos Island and Malpelo Island, and as far as the Revillagigedo Islands.

From our expedition to the waters of Colombia's Malpelo Island in partnership with @fundacionmalpelo and @parquescolombia, and aboard the Argo vessel with @underseahunter.


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Today we made our first dives of the expedition. Here, a sailfin grouper eyes the camera against a backdrop of barracudas. This fish is endemic to the Eastern Pacific- a familiar friend from our dives in the Galápagos!


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With marine data scientist @juanmayorgahenao aboard for the first submersible dive of the expedition, the DeepSee sub descended to 90 meters, revealing nearly 360-degree views of schools of hammerheads, groupers, and snappers.


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