Many of you have been following our wonderful team of explorers, including the esteemed Enric Sala and our social media savant Andrew Howley, as they conducted a nearly one-month-long tour of research in the Pitcairn Islands of the South Pacific. The object of the research was to better understand the effects of human impacts on pristine seas and biodiversity. Pristine means an environment, such as a coral reef, that is almost entirely unharmed and unaltered by anthropogenic (human) activity. Being located in the most remote corner of the Pacific Ocean, Pitcairn seemed to be a good candidate for such a study. As it turns out, the waters around the various islands are an excellent example of pristine seas, and invoked a sort of reverent awe in the minds of our seasoned scientists and team members.
In the last 3 weeks, Enric, Andrew, Michael Fay, and other vital team members visited the 4 islands of the Pitcairn Archipelago, conducting nearly 400 dives and spending over 450 person-hours underwater. They counted and documented tens of thousands of fishes, urchins, algae, and corals. You can read more about their firsthand experiences and findings, both scientific and informal, here. Aside from his interest in ocean conservation and figuring out innovative ways to mitigate the decline of pristine coral reefs and ecosystems, Dr. Sala is also a talented underwater photographer, as demonstrated below by the beautiful image of sharks swimming over thriving coral heads near Ducie Atoll.
Grey reef sharks soar above an extensive bed of coral at Ducie atoll. Photo: Enric Sala