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Closer Look: Reasons for Hope, Tierney Thys on the State of Our Oceans

National Geographic Explorer Tierney Thys, marine biologist and adventurer extraordinaire, is perhaps best known for her work tracking massive 10-foot long, 5,000-pound ocean sunfish, or mola, around the globe. Her research on giant mola has spanned over a decade, and this breezy Northern Californian gives no indication of slowing down anytime soon.

Not only is Tierney a champion for the ocean in the scientific world, but also in the world of theater and dance. Along with fellow ocean advocate, Sylvia Earle, the duo acted as lead science advisers for the performance Okeanos, a multidisciplinary portrait of ocean life through dance.

Tierney conveys an inspiring message of hope, even amidst seemingly constant bad news. “I see incredible hope in the eyes of our children,” says Tierney. She is currently working with National Geographic Student Expeditions to create a summer marine-biology expedition for high-schoolers in Belize.

Her work in the field, in classrooms, and on-line as the Daily Explorer in National Geographic’s Animal Jam, an interactive game for young explorers-in-training, makes Tierney one of our most well-rounded and well-respected Emerging Explorers.

Learn More

Tierney Thys’s Website

Track Sunfish for Science

Video: Swimming with Molas


  1. Wictor
    October 23, 2012, 5:32 am

    Pretty fantastic blog post. I just stmeulbd upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly liked reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  2. Anon
    October 1, 2012, 5:44 pm

    None of what she stated as hopeful does anything about the effects being pushed on the oceans everyday. Acidification, raising levels, freshwater icebergs the size of states braking off and melting into it…where does her hopes intercede with these?