Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence actively engaged in exploration, research, and communications to advance ocean conservation. He created the Pristine Seas Project to identify, study, and protect the last wild places in the ocean. His over 120 scientific publications are widely recognized and used for conservation efforts such as the creation of marine reserves.
Formerly, Sala was a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California (2000–2007) and at Spain's National Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) (2007–2008).
Sala’s present goals are to help protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide, and to develop new business models for marine conservation. He conducts expeditions to some of the most remote places in the ocean, to carry out the first comprehensive scientific surveys of these pristine areas to obtain a baseline of what the ocean used to be like. He also produces documentary films and other media to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy ocean, and to inspire country leaders to create large marine reserves. Sala also wrote the book, Pristine Seas: Journeys to the Ocean's Last Wild Places, published in 2015.
Working with key conservation organizations, Dr. Sala helped to inspire the creation of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, USA; the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park, Chile; the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, Palau; the Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park, Chile; the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve, UK; the Southern Line Islands Marine Reserve, Kiribati; Gabon's system of marine parks; the Seamounts Marine Managed Area, Costa Rica; the Darwin and Wolf Marine Sanctuary, Galapagos; the expansion of the Russian Arctic National Park around Franz Josef Land and the expansion of the Malpelo Reserve, Colombia. In all, the Pristine Seas project has helped protect more than 3 million square kilometers of ocean territory.
During expeditions to the Northern Line Islands, Dr. Sala and his team of scientists discovered that natural predators accounted for roughly 85% of the local biomass.