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Mikayla Wujec & Andrea Reid

Mikayla Wujec is a National Geographic Young Explorer Grantee (YEG) with a passion for all things aquatic. Toronto born, she grew up with her toes firmly entrenched in Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada and her nose stuck in countless books of adventure. At age 18 Mikayla travelled to the opposite edge of the world to become a certified SCUBA diver on the reefs of Vanua Levu, Fiji. That experience, and her BA in geography and biology from Concordia University in snowy Montreal, guided Mikayla into her roles as research consultant to international conservation organizations and a LEED-certified ambassador for sustainability in institutions of higher education. These pursuits are on hold as Mikayla now returns to the distant South Pacific as an aquatic conservationist studying threatened fish and the ecosystems that support them. She is using graphic imagery and storytelling as educational tools in promoting the conservation work she is currently doing and illuminating broader themes in sustainable development.

On this YEG expedition, Mikayla is teaming up with YEG Andrea Reid who is an aquatic biologist and science communicator based in Montreal, Canada. You can learn more about her work at www.andreajanereid.com.

Large, Strange Fish at the “Last Wild Island”

After six weeks of searching for this rapidly vanishing species, it was cause for underwater celebration to finally lay eyes on sizable schools of the largest parrotfish species in the world.

3-D Modelling Corals on the Real Skull Island

On Skull Island, the skulls of head-hunting victims lie entombed beneath the skulls of their captors, while under the waves, a living treasure of coral is being enshrined digitally for all to see.

Diving the Site of JFK’s WWII Shipwreck

While looking for bumphead parrot fish, it was striking to think of the future U.S. president, roughly at our age, brought for a very different reason to this same remote Pacific island.

Diving the (Almost) Most Biodiverse Reef in the World

Among large numbers and variety of sea creatures, we finally catch a glimpse of the elusive bumphead parrotfish we’ve come to study.

Searching for the Fish That Built the Beach

Bumphead parrotfish are few and far between now, but their coral-chomping ancestors helped build the very beaches we sit on today.

Starting the Search for Underwater Giants in the Solomon Sea

Landing at Gizo Harbour, it was clear to see that we’d picked an ideal venue for our research. The visibility in the aquamarine waters was greater than anywhere we’d ever been scuba diving—it took all of our willpower to keep ourselves from diving right in.

Mike Fay’s Pitcairn Journal: Tragic Sighting

In the early evening of March 27, NG Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay made an unfortunate discovery on the remote Henderson Island. Read his account of the day.