The Ocean

  • Picture of explorer Paul Rose in Franz Josef Land

    Childhood Dream Come True

    Paul Rose Shares the Thrill of Tracing Fridtjof Nansen's Steps

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Franz Josef Land, a remote Russian archipelago, harbors a wild Arctic ecosystem that includes polar bears, walruses, whales, seals, and large nesting colonies of seabirds. But global warming may be affecting this remote ecosystem in ways we still do not fully comprehend.

In July-August 2013, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala led a Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in collaboration with Russkaya Arktika National Park, the Russian Geographical Society, and National Geographic. An international group of scientists and filmmakers assessed how pristine the ocean-land ecosystem is and compared its current state with historical scientific baselines and photographs obtained by explorers in the late 1800s.

The scientific results of the expedition will inform the management and conservation of this Russian Arctic jewel. In addition, National Geographic will produce a documentary film to showcase the natural wonders of Franz Josef Land and the efforts of Russian authorities to preserve this unique area's globally significant biodiversity and historical value.

Facebook Live Interview: Pitcairn Islands

Last year Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala phoned in from the South Pacific to give an update on the Pitcairn Islands expedition and answer questions from Facebook fans around the world.

Pristine Sea Expeditions

  • Photo: Moai statues

    Salas y Gómez Expedition

    National Geographic and Oceana, in collaboration with the Chilean Navy, travelled to the remote Salas y Gómez Island, some 200 miles (about 323 km) east of Easter Island, Chile.

  • Photo: Silver tip sharks swimming near Cocos Island

    Cocos Island Expedition

    In September 2009, Enric Sala, Sylvia Earle, and a team of scientists gathered in Costa Rica to document the pristine waters of Cocos Island and study the Gemelas Seamounts.

  • Photo: Red snapper

    Southern Line Islands Expedition

    During the spring of 2009, Enric Sala and a team of scientists returned to the central Pacific-this time to the southern Line Islands, a province of the Republic of Kiribati.

  • Photo: Large coral colony at Kingman Reef

    Northern Line Islands Expedition

    In 2005 and 2007, Dr. Enric Sala and a team of scientists traveled to the northern Line Islands in the North Pacific.

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Video: NG Live! Pitcairn Islands

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala dives deep into the waters of one of the most pristine places on Earth—the Pitcairn Islands—only to discover its delicate ecosystem is not as unspoiled as it may seem.

Ocean Topics

Your Ocean

  • Photo: Clown anemonefish

    For Kids

    Learn about the ocean with activities, photos, and games.

  • Photo: A school of fish and a shark swim in a coral reef.

    Ocean Education

    Bring engaging and important ocean learning to your classroom.

Explore the Ocean

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    Ocean Life

    Order ocean books, DVDs, maps, and more from the National Geographic online store.

  • Photo: Leopard seals on a glacier

    Ocean Special Issue

    Explore the world's oceans, from their prehistoric beginnings to modern-day efforts to preserve their natural wonder.

  • Photo: Ocean Atlas from National Geographic

    Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas

    Immerse yourself in the wonders of the deep through colorful maps, photos, and satellite images.

Engage, Conserve, Restore

  • Photo: Sunset at waterfalls

    Freshwater Initiative

    The National Geographic Society’s freshwater initiative is a multi-year global effort to inspire and empower individuals and communities to conserve freshwater and preserve the extraordinary diversity of life that rivers, lakes, and wetlands sustain.