Pristine Seas Expeditions | Franz Joseph Land
In July-August 2013, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala led a Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in collaboration with Blancpain, the Russkaya Arktika National Park, the Russian Geographical Society, and National Geographic. This remote Russian archipelago harbors a wild Arctic ecosystem that includes polar bears, walruses, whales, seals, and large nesting colonies of seabirds. But global warming may be affecting this remote ecosystem in ways we still do not fully comprehend. An international group of scientists and filmmakers is now assessing how pristine the ocean-land ecosystem is and comparing its current state with historical scientific baselines and photographs obtained by explorers in the late 1800s. The scientific results of the expedition will inform the management and conservation of this Russian Arctic jewel. In addition, National Geographic will produce a documentary film to showcase the natural wonders of Franz Josef Land and the efforts of Russian authorities to preserve this unique area's globally significant biodiversity and historical value.