This Sunday is Earth Day. We’d like to mark the day by honoring our guests, whose generosity and thoughtfulness has done much to protect the planet’s wild places.
Just this month, many of our guests in Galápagos took time off from their expeditions to work with the national park service removing invasive blackberry and replacing it with the Cafetillo, or Psychotria rufpes. This shrub serves as a buffer zone around the last remaining stand of the giant daisy, Scalesia pedunculata, an endemic plant of Galápagos that forms a forest of elfin-like ambience of mosses and lichens.
See a few of the other amazing things our guests have done for the Earth.
Save the whales? There’s an app for that. The Whale Alert app created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration links real-time acoustic buoy information to an iPhone or iPad. The app is constantly updated with the location of right whales, allowing captains navigating the North Atlantic to be certain of steering a course clear from this rare, endangered whale.
Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle and friend of Lindblad-National Geographic, has embarked on a cross-country lecture series to spread the word on reconnecting in the digital age.
“The Nature Principle offers a vision of the future in which our lives are as immersed in nature as they are in technology. Louv created the phrase, “Nature Deficit Disorder,” which has stimulated a world-wide conversation about the relationship between people, especially children, and nature. He discusses the power of not living with nature, but in it.”
He’ll be in New York City at Columbia University’s Altschul Auditorium on Wednesday, April 11 at 6pm. See a full list of his appearances online.
Lt. Don Walsh, USN (bottom) and Jacques Piccard (center) in the bathyscaphe Trieste
Yesterday National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron broke the solo dive record when his bright green, vertical-dive sub hit bottom in the very deepest part of the Mariana Trench. He now holds the record for the deepest solo dive—but he’s not the first person to reach this extreme depth.
On January 23, 1960, two explorers who reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench, and one of them was a part of Cameron’s expedition team this time around. Lieutenant Don Walsh of the U.S. Navy and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard spent twenty minutes at the deepest part of the sea in the bathyscaph submarine Trieste that employed gasoline and electromagnetically controlled iron pellets as ballast.
Dr. Walsh was aboard James Cameron’s support ship during his dive yesterday, and he was one of the first to congratulate him back at the surface. And soon Dr. Walsh will be aboard our ship, National Geographic Explorer.
He will be one of our global perspective speakers during our Nov 7 expedition to Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands and also our Nov 27 expedition to Antarctica. There are still a few cabins available, join us to explore one of the planet’s wildest places and learn about the pioneering and ongoing exploration of the deepest parts of the sea from Dr. Walsh.
Is fungus one of the answers to the world’s waste problem? A group from Yale University discovered a plastic-eating fungus in the Amazon rain forest. The exotic fungus is able to survive by growing on polyurethane in an oxygen-free environment. The discovery holds promise in the discovering new possibilities for managing plastic waste.
If you’re interested in making some of your own discoveries in the rain forest, join us for an Amazon River cruise.
Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic
National Geographic explorer in residence James Cameron is preparing to dive into the deepest part of the world’s ocean. He’ll descend in a custom-made, vertical-dive sub that was built in secrecy over 8 years in Australia.
If Cameron’s dive is successful, he’ll join a very exclusive club. So far only two other people have made it to Challenger Deep, nearly 8 miles below the surface of the Pacific. Comparably space (500 visitors so far) and even the surface of the moon (12 visitors) seem like well-trodden destinations. Cameron will spend 6 hours of bottom time taking photos and collecting samples to examine back at the surface.
Learn more in The New York Times or visit Deepsea Challenge.
Photo from California Academy of Sciences
Scientists studying the deep sea around the Galápagos Islands have identified a previously unknown species of shark. The 1.3-foot-long fish is a catshark, but when seven of the specimens from Galápagos were compared to known species of catsharks at the California Academy of Sciences, they discovered coloration differences.
Though much is known about wildlife on the islands that makeup Galápagos, relatively little is known about the undersea.
Image from Huffington Post.
Get a live peek at polar bear cub Siku. The bear lives in the Scandinavian Wildlife Park in Denmark where he is being cared for. Siku was born here in captivity, though his mother was unable to produce sufficient milk. The webcam is organized by Scandinavian Wildlife Park and hosted on explore.org, and their goal is to, “appeal to people everywhere [to] reduce their carbon footprint to save the arctic ice and all the species which depend on it for survival.”
You can look in on Siku live from 9a.m. to 11a.m. EST. And if you’d like to see polar bears in the wild, join us in high Arctic aboard National Geographic Explorer.
Photo by Robert Elmes
Photographer and researcher Rachel Sussman is aboard the National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica right now. She’s joined us as a guest speaker and is embarking on a quest of her own—a search for a 5,500-year-old rare Antarctic moss. It’s part of her project called The Oldest Living Things in the World. See some of her work and follow her reports from the ship on The New York Times photography blog, Lens.
Two NOAA researches who worked aboard National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica this season tagged several killer whales. The tags transmit the animals’ locations and sometimes their depth back to NOAA. The group has put all that information online in an easy-to-use Google Earth app that lets you follow killer whales around the Southern Ocean.
Read more about the killer whale research, see where the whales are now, or join us in Antarctica next season and see some of these graceful creatures for yourself.