This video was recorded on March 28, 2012 as part of the Pristine Seas Expedition to Pitcairn, a remote island in the Pacific ocean. Explorer-in-Residence and expedition leader Dr. Enric Sala answered questions submitted by listeners via social media. The conversation was facilitated by National Geographic's Andrew Howley.


Calling from a remote Pacific island, Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala gives an update on the Pitcairn Expedition and answers questions from around the world. Enric is on a mission at the site of the infamous H.M.S. Bounty mutiny to help save one of the last pristine stretches of water left on Earth. Dr. Enric Sala is a marine ecologist who fell in love with the sea growing up on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Witnessing the harm people do to the oceans led him to dedicate his career to understand and find ways to mitigate human impacts on marine life.


Andrew Howley is a member of the National Geographic Mission Programs team, working to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. Andrew traveled with the Pitcairn expedition and reported from the field.


  • Introduction to Enric and the expedition (start-00:55 min.)
  • Enric talks about his dive that morning and answers the question, "Do coral reefs need sharks to survive?" (00:56-2:02 min.)
  • What has been the most exciting moment? The scariest? (2:03-2:58 min.)
  • Why did you choose to explore Pitcairn? (2:59-3:35 min.)
  • About Enric's work and the Pristine Seas Expeditions (3:36-4:56 min.)
  • What steps can I take to do the things that you do, Enric? (4:57-5:58 min.)
  • The logistics of the dive: how deep are you diving? (5:59-6:49 min.)
  • What do you do to ensure that future generations will be able to see the beauty of the ocean? (6:50-7:29 min.)
  • What can we do in our day-to-day lives to help protect the ocean? (7:30-8:41 min.)
  • The people of Pitcairn: Are they receptive to the expedition? How do they interact with the ocean? (8:42-9:55 min.)
  • How are the four islands different from each other? (9:56- 11:09 min.)
  • What has been your favorite moment while diving so far? (11:10-12:22 min.)
  • What is it that you love about your work? Where does your daily motivation come from? (12:23-13:34 min.)
  • How do you go from being a university student to having your job? (13:35-16:07 min.)
  • Photo monitoring: What's your opinion? Can amateurs be helpful? (16:08-17:48 min.)
  • Do you travel far out into the ocean to dive? Or stay near the islands? If you do both, how are the environments different? (17:49-19:20 min.)
  • Have you discovered any new species? (19:21-19:57 min.)
  • How has your work affected external parties in protecting the ocean? (19:58-20:45 min.)
  • What are the pros and cons of privately versus publicly funded exploration? (20:46-22:43 min.)
  • Is the wreck of the Acadia, shipwrecked in 1881, still visible? (22:44-24:02 min.)
  • What is the community on Pitcairn like? (24:03-26:19 min.)
  • Have you seen any coral bleaching around these islands? (26:20-27:56 min.)
  • What effect will rising water levels have on underwater environments? (27:57-29:20 min.)
  • What is it like, day to day, on this expedition? (29:21-31:57 min.)
  • What is the single factor that is most negatively affecting pristine waters around the world? (31:58-33:00 min.)
  • What's left for the expedition? At the halfway point, what is there left to do? (33:01-35:00 min.)
  • What is your greatest fear while diving? (35:01-end) 


Strategies for Using Video in a Variety of Learning Environments

  • Have students preview several of the videos and choose the one they find most inspiring. Have students describe in writing a conversation they might have with the speaker(s).
  • Freeze the video on a relevant image. Have students observe details in the still image and jot down predictions of what the full video might address. Discuss students’ ideas before and after watching the video.
  • Pose an open-ended question before students watch the video, and have them discuss their ideas before and after in small groups.
  • Have students determine what they think the key message of this video is. Was the speaker effective in getting his or her message across?
  • Show a short clip to engage students during class, and then have students watch the full video at home and write a paragraph responding to the content or a question you give them.
  • Have students note statements that represent facts or opinions, including where it’s difficult to tell the difference. What further research might help distinguish facts vs. opinions? How might the speaker’s viewpoint compare with others’ viewpoints about a topic?

person who studies and works at an activity or interest without financial benefit or being formally trained in it.

coral bleaching

loss of symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) in corals, leading to a loss of pigmentation.

coral reef

rocky ocean features made up of millions of coral skeletons.


to descend beneath the surface of water.


journey with a specific purpose, such as exploration.


pre-eminent explorers and scientists collaborating with the National Geographic Society to make groundbreaking discoveries that generate critical scientific information, conservation-related initiatives and compelling stories.

marine protected area (MPA)

area of the ocean where a government has placed limits on human activity.


large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.


force pressed on an object by another object or condition, such as gravity.


pure or unpolluted.


predatory fish.