Changing Planet

Google+ Hangout: Saving the Ocean’s Amazing Creatures

[Updated 2/28/2014] Thanks to all who joined us for this live Google+ Hangout with three great ocean explorers. Watch the full replay above and follow National Geographic on Google+ to be a part of future Hangouts!

(Photo by Alan Friedlander) Taken from
A mola-mola drifts through sunlit water during a Pristine Seas expedition to the Desventuradas Islands. (Photo by Alan Friedlander)

Our next Google+ Hangout brings together a cadre of ocean explorers helping to save the ocean’s amazing creatures.

Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala is marine ecologist with a mission to preserve some of the last remaining stretches of pristine ocean. This ongoing program, called Pristine Seas, is an exploration, research, and media project to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. So far, Enric and his team of filmmakers and scientists have successfully helped create protected reserves in the Northern Line Islands, around Cocos Island, and in Salas Y Gomez.

Also joining the Hangout will be Emerging Explorer Tierney Thys. Marine biologist and adventurer, she is perhaps best known for her work tracking massive 10-foot long, 5,000-pound ocean sunfish, or mola, around the globe. Not only is Tierney a champion for the ocean in the scientific world, but also in the world of theater and dance. Along with fellow ocean advocate, Sylvia Earle, the duo acted as lead science advisers for the performance Okeanos, a multidisciplinary portrait of ocean life through dance.

Last but not least, Young Explorer Erika Bergman shares the thrill of diving in a submersible with classrooms and onlookers all over the world. A submarine pilot and diesel engineer, Erika mounts external and internal cameras to her sub giving viewers a new vantage point as she pilots through the deep coral reefs of Curacao and Honduras. Through awareness and outreach, she hopes to inspire enthusiasm for ocean conservation using these exciting inner space vehicles. Erika’s work navigating the ocean is made possible through her close collaboration with OceanGate, Inc., a privately held company that provides subsea manned submersible for commercial, research and military expeditions.

How to Participate in the Hangout

You can be a part of our next Google+ Hangout. Send in your questions for these National Geographic Explorers and they may be asked on air. Submit your questions by…

  • Uploading a video question to YouTube with hashtag #LetsExplore
  • Posting a question on Google+ or Twitter with hashtag #LetsExplore or
  • Commenting directly on this blog post

Follow National Geographic on Google+ or return to this blog post to watch the Google+ Hangout Friday, February 28th at  5:30 p.m. EST (10:30 p.m. UTC).

Other Hangouts From National Geographic:

Hangout With the Adventurers of the Year
Hangout With Buzz Aldrin and Conrad Anker
Hangout With Explorers on All Seven Continents

  • Janet Gannon

    I am endlessly fascinated by Mola mola, but I will limit my endless questions to just a few for Dr. Thys:

    I recently heard that Mola are not actually basking in the sun when they lay on the surface. What do you think they are doing?

    Quite a few people have asked me if Mola are becoming more common in the Gulf of Maine. I know they have always been at least occasional visitors, but it does seem they are around more. We’ve been seeing an influx of mid-Atlantic fish here recently. I’m wondering if you know if they have always been common here, or if it is possible we are seeing more of them in the past few years?

    and finally;
    Are Mola actually plankton?

    Many thanks!

  • Karen Thompson

    actually seen a large sunfish in the Barnett Bay years ago…AWSOME

  • Katrin

    My questions would be: how do keep encouraged and motivated when it seems like politics and climate change actions are not supportive? And, what would be your advice for young people who would like to get active?
    Thank you and i’m looking forward to the hang out!

  • Annastasia Tuttle

    Hi, my name is Annastasia and I am a high school senior! I currently live in the midwest, and will be majoring in Marine Biology in the fall. Does anyone have any advice for my college years, going into this program? What are some very important areas of schooling that I really need to focus on, and what opportunities I should try and look for and take? In your guys opinion what University offers the best program for Marine Biology? .. If you guys could answer any of these questions or something similar, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank-you for your time,


    A high school senior [:

  • Wendy

    It’s been reported on news stations, via “experts,” that the radiation from Fukishima will have a negligible effect once it reaches our shores. Do you agree? Please explain.
    Thank you,

  • Gabriole Van Bryce

    What changes have you observed in marine species that are the result of warming seas and ocean acidification? How widespread are the changes?

  • Devin Kazlauskas

    I have a couple questions,
    1)What are your favorite ocean creatures?
    2) Have ever seen Killer Whales in the wild, if so what did you think of that experience?
    3) What made you decide to become a marine biologist/ecologist?
    4)Whats the best part of your job?
    5)What schooling would be needed to get your job?

  • Denisse Fierro

    I’m currently undertaking my bachelor in Marine Science and Zoology. My main interest is shark conservation and to be honest, the study of sharks in general (i.e., population distribution, reproduction, migration patterns). What courses would you suggest for me to take in order to increase my chances of getting a job in this area?

  • Jenna Lilly

    Seeing as some of my questions have already been posed, I will ask these:

    to Enric–how do you decide where to have an ecological preserve, and once that is decided, how do you go about formally making it one?

    to all–how did you start off your careers to become explorers, adventurers, marine biologists, and ecologists? (I would love to have a job like you all have!!)
    Thanks!!! 🙂

  • Jack Cooper

    Hi explorers,
    I was just wondering if you could give me your dive favourite dives that I can add to my bucket list!

  • Andrew Howley

    Thanks everyone for your questions and for joining us for the live event! Follow National Geographic on Google+ to be a part of all our future Hangouts:

  • Tara Kerr

    Hi my daughter has the National Geographic Crystal Growing Kit but we have lost the instructions, can you help at all.
    Thank you.

  • Dragon

    How will we save the marine life?

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