GC Marine Program
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08.26.2016

National Geographic’s Pristine Seas in Mexico

Blog, Conservation, General

In April of this year Octavio Aburto, Ismael Mascareñas Osorio, Carlos Sanchez and I were lucky enough to participate in a National Geographic expedition to the Revillagigedo Islands 300nm west of Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. The expedition forms part of a larger global project run by National Geographic called Pristine Seas. The projects remit is to visit remote marine sites such as Revillagigedo that are deemed pristine due to their isolation and low levels of human impacts. These sites are then explored and documented by a team of scientists, photographers and videographers. These documentations then serve to describe the uniqueness of the chosen sites and support cases for their protection.

 

Dr Andrew F Johnson explores the waters around San Benedicto of the Revillagigedo islands in the Argo’s UnderseaHunter Submarine (followed by a giant manta (Manta birostris)).
Dr Andrew F Johnson explores the waters around San Benedicto of the Revillagigedo islands in the Argo’s UnderseaHunter Submarine (followed by a giant manta (Manta birostris)).

 

This year’s spring expedition on board the RV ARGO was an amazing experience that produced both stunning images and interesting data, but that certainly isn’t the end of the story. In late July the scientific team from the expedition re-convened in La Paz, Baja California Sur to organize, analyze and discuss the data that was collected 3 months earlier at the islands. Results from pelagic drop down cameras, Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs), SCUBA diver monitoring surveys and submersible dives were all topics of discussion.

 

Dr Octavio Aburto Oropeza of Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) leads the discussion on the best way to present shark biomass data collected around the Revillagigedo islands. © Alex Muñoz | National Geographic
Dr Octavio Aburto Oropeza of Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) leads the discussion on the best way to present shark biomass data collected around the Revillagigedo Islands. © Alex Muñoz | National Geographic

 

The challenge was to filter down through the data and extract the most important findings that related to the biodiversity, abundance and biomass of the species at Revillagigedo. With these results the team will be able to write a final summary report describing the marine ecology of the islands and why it is so important that they remain “pristine” with low human impacts. This project is ongoing so stay tuned for more news!

 

The Revillagigedo Pristine Seas scientific team discusses how best to analyze the large amount of data collected form the expedition to the Revillagigedo Islands. From left to right: Carlos Sanchez (UABCS), Mauricio Hoyos (Pelagios-Kakunjá), Octavio Aburto Oropeza (SIO), Pelayo Salinas (Charles Darwin foundation), Alan Friedlander (Pristine Seas), Andrew Frederick Johnson (SIO). © Alex Muñoz | National Geographic
The Revillagigedo Pristine Seas scientific team discusses how best to analyze the large amount of data collected form the expedition to the Revillagigedo Islands. From left to right: Carlos Sanchez (UABCS), Mauricio Hoyos (Pelagios-Kakunjá), Octavio Aburto Oropeza (SIO), Pelayo Salinas (Charles Darwin foundation), Alan Friedlander (Pristine Seas), Andrew Frederick Johnson (SIO). © Alex Muñoz | National Geographic

 

Author: Andrew F. Johnson

Postdoctoral Researcher at SIO. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on the impacts of marine fisheries on fish populations and habitats. Since beginning his studies in marine biology in 2002, Dr. Johnson has traveled extensively, working with nine different fisheries in six countries gaining valuable experience in a range of fishing methods and management strategies. His doctorate at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University (UK, 2012) focused on determining the habitat requirements of demersal fishes and how this knowledge can be used in MPA design. He is passionate about integrating sound ecological knowledge of fishes and ecosystems with the behaviour and patterns of fisheries in order to help predict the future impacts of current exploitation levels. He aims to use such synergies to aid the Gulf of California Marine Program in the design of future, sustainable management strategies for Mexican fisheries.


  • Susan C

    wish I saw a woman sitting at this table..but all and all wonderful work