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Pristine Seas explores lesser-known Palau

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The last Pristine Seas expedition to Palau was in September 2014 (Manu San Felix / National Geographic Pristine Seas)
The last Pristine Seas expedition to Palau was in September 2014 (Manu San Felix / National Geographic Pristine Seas)
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National Geographic Pristine Seas has returned to Palau in the western Pacific Ocean 10 years after its last major trip to conduct surveys of its marine environment that it says will provide data needed to fill marine-science gaps and inform planning. 

The expedition team includes local scientists, who will live and work aboard the Pristine Seas vessel mv Argo. The initiative is being carried out in partnership with Palau’s Ministry of Environment, One Reef, the Palau Conservation Society, the Ebiil Society and the Palau International Coral Reef Centre.

Palau is renowned for its biodiversity (Enric Sala / National Geographic Pristine Seas)
Palau is renowned for its biodiversity (Enric Sala / National Geographic Pristine Seas)

Palau, south-east of the Philippines and north-east of Indonesia, is made up of some 340 islands and contains more than 1,300 species of fish and about 700 species of hard and soft corals, as well as marine lakes filled with non-stinging jellyfish.

The team plans to study deep-sea environments, seamounts and remote areas to assess the health of some of Palau’s least-explored marine environments, using deep-sea cameras, baited remote underwater video, photo-mosaics and environmental DNA – as well as scuba.

“We’re excited to learn more about our oceans and how we can better protect them, while also ensuring that our people benefit from this resource that has sustained Palauans for thousands of years,” commented the nation’s President Surangel Whipps Jr. 

Coral goby (Enric Sala / National Geographic Pristine Seas)
Coral goby (Enric Sala / National Geographic Pristine Seas)

During the expedition students at Palau High School will have the opportunity to meet and talk to the scientists on their vessel and during livestreamed classes. 

Pristine Seas kicked off its latest Global Expedition last year, with a mission to spend five years exploring the tropical Pacific and supporting communities and governments in their efforts to protect the ocean.

Last year it explored the Southern Line Islands, Tongareva, Niue, the Marshall Islands andthe Federated States of Micronesia. Regular updates are available on social media and in National Geographic’s Field Notes.

Nautilus (Enric Sala / National Geographic Pristine Seas)
Nautilus (Enric Sala / National Geographic Pristine Seas)

Since 2008, NatGeo says that its Pristine Seas programme has conducted 43 expeditions around the world and helped to establish 27 marine reserves, covering more than 6.6m sq km of ocean.

Also read: Palau: An unforgettable adventure for divers & snorkellers, Diving Palau from the Luxurious Black Pearl, PADI and National Geographic Pristine Seas join forces

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