The National Geographic Pristine Seas project is dedicated to protecting the last wild places in the ocean. Currently exploring: Azores, Portugal.
Princess Alice Bank is a submerged seamount known for the abundance of pelagic marine life seen there. And sure enough, during one of our dives at the seamount yesterday we found ourselves among this school of box rays, Mobula tarapacana, gliding gently through the water, feeding on plankton. This species of ray can reach up to 12 feet in width!
The perfect conditions for exploration don’t just put wind in your sails; they put a spring in your step and an extra tug in your arms. And we were lucky to have them on our side as we set sail from Flores for Gigante Seamount, where we are deploying our drop cameras for a look at the depths around the seamount.
Underwater cinematographer @manusanfelix_official captured this close-up of a huge dusky grouper eye surrounded by fish lice while diving at Corvo Island. “It is so impressive to dive with big fishes that you don’t pay attention to small details. But this grouper was so curious and friendly that I saw the fleas concentrated around his eyes,” he wrote from the field. These tiny parasitic copepods feed on the mucus and blood of their host fish.
Spotted by @fotonunosa and photographed by @manusanfelix_official on expedition: This striking pelagic nudibranch, Glaucus atlanticus, spends its life drifting upside down on the ocean’s surface and feeding on other pelagic creatures, including the venomous Portuguese man o’ war. Despite possessing a gladiator-like name and diet, this strange little sea slug is only about one inch long!
This World Oceans Day, we were excited to have 60 children from the Lajes das Flores school come visit the Santa María Manuela, meet the expedition team, and learn about the wonders of their local seascape and how we conduct scientific research to better understand it!
The high seas - marine waters beyond any country’s jurisdiction - cover 64% of the ocean’s surface, and are dominated by a handful of fishing countries that reap the biggest benefits of fishing in these global commons. The main types of fishing in the high seas target tuna, sharks, squid, krill, and deep bottom-dwelling fish. But do these countries really benefit from that distant fishing? And who does? Our new study reveals that, without large government subsidies, fishing in more than half of the current high seas fishing grounds would be unprofitable. In fact, on aggregate, subsidies to high seas fishing (more than $4 billion per year) are more than twice larger than the profits. These results support the idea of eliminating subsidies that perpetuate overfishing and destruction of the marine environment. For a bolder proposal for conservation of the high seas, watch @EnricSala's TED talk at the link in our profile.
While diving in the channel between S. Jorge and Pico islands, @ManuSanFelix_official spotted this Portuguese man o'war. Although the Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis) looks like a single multi-cellular organism, it's actually a siphonophore—a colonial organism made up of multiple individual, specialized animals!