VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
For National Geographic photographer Ronan Donovan, it was well-worth manhandling a decomposing bison carcass and eluding hungry grizzly bears in order to document Yellowstone’s iconic wildlife.
“Sharkcano.” It’s not the title of some campy summer blockbuster, but rather a real-world phenomenon that went viral in 2015, when scientists on a National Geographic expedition found sharks living inside one of the most active underwater volcanoes on Earth. Not surprisingly, the team was eager to go back and learn more, but how do you explore an environment that could easily kill you? You send in robots, of course.
“Usually if it’s been done, I’m not too interested in it.”
That’s according to National Geographic grantee Eddie Kisfaludy, a marine biologist, pilot, and extreme data collector. And that’s how he found himself flying a tiny helicopter 8,000 miles over some of the most remote regions on Earth, including Greenland’s most epic landscapes.
With more and more great whites being spotted off the beaches of Cape Cod, Skerry set out to document the massive predators, hoping to learn about their behaviors and shed some light on the oft-misunderstood carnivores. But a lot more than just a beautiful photo was riding on this assignment.
You may not have had “cheetah matchmaker” featured at your high school career fair, but that’s just what Vincent van der Merwe’s business card may as well read. But trying to repopulate the highly vulnerable species can be as dangerous as it is exciting. Watch the video to see what happens when van der Merwe tries to translocate a very unhappy cheetah across South Africa.
What would you do if you came face-to-face with a 175 pound, agitated leopard? If you’re conservation power-couple Marlice and Rudie van Vuuren, you’ve been on the receiving end of such a scenario about 112 times.
Watch the real-life “bone collector” in action. Biological anthropologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Marina Elliott ventured a hundred feet deep into an ancient cave, at times squeezing through passages only eight inches wide, to recover the remains of what turned out to be a newly discovered, extinct human ancestor.
“For me, diving in Cortes Bank is like diving into an underwater kaleidoscope.” Join National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry in the vibrant waters of Cortes Bank and prepare for a sensory overload.
What would you do to be a National Geographic photographer? Would you trudge across a snowy volcano with a hundred pounds of gear thrown over your shoulder? Would you trek by yourself across a giant river oft visited by grizzly bears? Would you stake out in the dark wilderness with the howls of wolves getting closer and closer? Conservation photographer Ronan Donovan did all that and more for a year and a half to photograph Yellowstone National Park and the wolves that call it home.
As a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Kobie Boykins has the awesome privilege of building stuff, only to blast it millions of miles away into space at thousands of miles an hour. He goes into work every day with the enviable job of revealing the remarkable mysteries of our universe, and as part of that mission, he’s…
In a pitch black, 140-foot-deep underwater cave, three divers make a stunning 13,000-year-old discovery: the oldest complete human skeleton ever found in the Americas. In this video, see the ancient remains, venture through the remarkable deep-water chamber, and see how a skeleton belonging to a teenage girl from the last ice age lead scientists to a major revelation about the earliest Americans.
How would you like to hop in the water with a giant sea creature that can grow almost 25 feet across and weigh up to two tons? For marine biologist and National Geographic grantee Joshua Stewart, it’s all in a day’s work. He has a soft spot for giant oceanic manta rays and is fighting to protect these gentle giants.
Encounters with massive alligator gars, manatees, and rattlesnakes are all par for the course when National Geographic photographer Carlton Ward embarks on a 1,000 mile, 70 day trek to protect Florida’s hidden wilderness.
Polar expeditions to explore the ocean are not for the faint of heart. Above the water’s surface, you better be on alert for polar bears. Below, you better be game for diving 60 feet under sea ice into freezing temperatures. Watch National Geographic grantee Branwen Williams lead a team to the Canadian Arctic to do both in an effort to better understand how our oceans and the climate are changing over time.
In the fight against Zika, bubonic plague, and other infectious diseases in the Amazon, microbial biologist and National Geographic grantee Ryan Jones has found an unlikely and adorable ally: puppies.