Named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2004, Tierney is a California Academy of Sciences Research Associate, expert for National Geographic Expeditions, Daily Explorer in Animal Jam (Nat Geo’s online animal world), TED Allstar speaker and
- Why are sharks so awesome
- The secret life of plankton
- How life begins in the deep ocean
- How life came to land
- How to fly around the world without fuel
National Geographic has held a long-standing interest in giant sunfish, says Tierney, in this post she wrote for the Society blog. From supporting satellite-tagging research in California (1), Galapagos (2,3), South Africa (4), Japan (5) and Bali, Indonesia (6), to helping host international underwater biotelemetry training workshops (7). Nat Geo has also featured sunfish discoveries in its magazines, educational publications, and school textbooks (8).
She has received numerous grants from the Society, has active marine study sites in Indonesia and Galapagos, and has developed student expeditions in Monterey, Belize and Bali. Additional research activities include investigating how nature imagery influences brain activity and the effects of nature on incarcerated populations.
“When I first started studying sunfishes in 2000, there were very few of us,” Tierney says. Now, battalions of talented sunfish researchers collaborate and span the globe from Australasia to Japan, South America to the UK. We now know sunfish can dive to 1000m, and that they don’t just eat jellies but change their diets as they get larger and older. We know that they migrate latitudinally and target frontal systems — and are eaten by orcas, sea lions and sharks.”
Additional online media:
How nature engages your brain | Tierney Thys
Strange Sunfish and Hope for the Ocean | National Geographic
This Is Your Brain on Nature | Nat Geo Live
National Geographic Kids: Meet Tierney Thys