Tierney Thys

National Geographic Staff

Dr. Tierney Thys is a National Geographic Explorer, biologist, filmmaker and Research Associate at California Academy of Science. She has a biology degree from Brown University and PhD from Duke and has received numerous grants from National Geographic for a host of diverse projects including: satellite-tracking giant ocean sunfish, mapping connections between nature and human wellbeing through brain imaging and quantifying nature’s effect on incarcerated populations. She also serves as Daily Explorer in the popular kid's online game, Animal Jam, which currently has 180 million registered players in 7 countries. As past Director of Research for the documentary studio, Sea Studios Foundation, she helped produce the award-winning PBS series Strange Days on Planet Earth and Shape of Life.  Thys is a frequent TED speaker, TEDed contributor e.g.The Secret Life of Plankton(Wildscreen Panda Winner) and a board member for the innovation think tank, ThinkBeyondPlastic and Journal of Animal Sentience.

An experienced diver, private pilot and ultra runner, Thys has traveled to more than 60 countries and served as an expert for Nat Geo Expeditions for 15 years. While an undergraduate she conducted research on sea hares at Catalina's Wrigley Marine Science Center and fell in love with the Channel Islands. This love runs in her family as her father in law had a 30-year fish study site on Catalina with National Marine Fisheries and her husband grew up on the island. From conducting research to running the Catalina Trail Marathon, the Channel Islands remain one of her all-time favorite places.

Upcoming Expeditions

  • Sep 14, 2019

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