World Oceans Day Celebrated in Compelling Photos

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world.

Three Easy Ways to Protect our Oceans:

Help Fund the iLCP Mesoamerican Reef Expedition

Stop One-Use Plastic such as plastic bags and straws with Mission Blue

Head to your Local Beach and host a Clean-Up

From the vastness of the world’s oceans, the mystery of underwater ecosystems to humankind’s reliance on marine processes, the ocean is a wonderfully strange, altogether necessary part of our world. It is on World Oceans Day that we reflect on all of the benefits, mysteries, and wonders of the ocean.

Images of fishing, fish, and fishermen. From a September 2010 assignment in Loreto, Baja del Sur, Mexico to document Rare Conservation's Pride & Fisheries Fellows program to support the development of more sustainable fisheries by empowering the local community to learn about, take pride in, and better manage their resources. Learn more at www.rareconservation.org.

MR diver swimming over healthy reef system with a variety of tropical fish.

Maria Aliyah collecting nudibranch eggs during the low tide in the sea beds around Bilangbilangan island. The precarious houses in the island and the well protected sea around in the same picture.

First, try to imagine the expanse of the ocean. It’s hard to conceptualize how to even think about how to imagine it! The average depth of the ocean is just over 12,000 feet. That means, that your run-of-the-mill, nothing special depth of the ocean would be just over 21 times deeper than the Washington Monument is tall.

Crowded shore with houses about to fall into the sea, Bilangbilangan Island, Danajon Bank, Central Visayas, Philippines, April

Scalloped hammerhead sharks(Sphyrna lewini) Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The mysteries of the ocean are astounding, astronomical in number, and – sometimes – simply strange. Take the electrolocation abilities of some sharks, for example. According to Malcolm McIver, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University, sharks have the ability to sense electrical fields using evolved electrical sensors. Using this for navigation and honing in on prey, some sharks have the ability to detect electrical fields down to the nanovolt level. This electrical field is so small, and the detection so well developed, that the shark can use earth’s magnetic field to navigate instead of relying on other indicators like light, wave direction, or water currents.

A small colorful nudibranch (Phyllidia sp.) feeds over the coral reef.

Lantern/seahorse fishermen, Danajon Bank, Philippines

Finally, we humans not only explore and study in wonder the great processes of the ocean, but we rely completely on them as well. Take algae, perhaps on the surface the most mundane of underwater life forms. Algae, with the help of underwater vegetation and coral, store over 90% of the world’s carbon dioxide.

Closeup of a crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci). If corals had eyes, this would be last thing they would see if a crown of thorns sat on them about to digest them.

Divers inspecting cave with sponges, Blackish Point, Utila Island, Bay Islands, Honduras, April

iLCP in collaboration with the Smithsonian Marine Station, Think Beyond Plastics and Healthy Reefs Initiative are headed to the Mesoamerican Reef to support their respective programs in small scale fisheries, reef management, and reduction of plastics waste.

An artisanal or small-scale lobster fisherman free dives using a lassoís to catch the Caribbean Spiny Lobster.

Sandy Cay, rented for tourism, with privately owned Southwest Cay in the distance, Utila Cays, Utila Island, Bay Islands, Honduras, April

The expedition to Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize aims to provide visual media that will help reach, teach, and influence key constituencies in the Mesoamerican Reef region and around the world about the benefits of adopting digital technologies, specifically SI’s new OurFish App, for improved small scale fisheries management.

Cancun. Yucatan RAVE 2009

A baby swims near the surface.

Central America, El Salvador, Pacific Ocean, turtle hatchlings

It is the goal of iLCP, in collaboration with our Fellows, Partners, and Affiliates to make ocean conservation a daily effort so that we may study, learn from, and be inspired by the ocean for generations. Happy World Ocean’s Day!


Support the work of the International League of Conservation Photographers by donating at this link.

Photos by iLCP Fellows and Text by Victoria Mizell 

The mission of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. iLCP is a Fellowship of more than 100 photographers from all around the globe. As a project based organization, iLCP coordinates Conservation Photography Expeditions to get world-renowned photographers in the field teamed with scientists, writers, videographers and conservation groups to gather visual assets that are used to create conservation communications campaigns to foment conservation successes. iLCP is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Support our work at this link.
  • Lakiesha

    At last! Someone with real exeprtise gives us the answer. Thanks!

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media