Pitcairn Islands Expedition Photos: A World in One Coral

Diving at Henderson it is so easy to be fascinated by the sharks and other large fishes, that we risk missing entire little universes. This gallery shows animals that I photographed inside a single Pocillopora (cauliflower coral) head—the size of a watermelon. And this is only a sample. Many more creatures are too small to be seen by the human eye underwater, or hide deep inside the branches. No matter what scale we view things at, Henderson reefs are full of life.

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Marine ecologist Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who combines science, exploration and media to help restore marine life. Sala’s scientific publications are used for conservation efforts such as the creation of marine protected areas. 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.