Enric Sala (born November 26, 1968, Girona) is a former university professor who saw himself writing the obituary of ocean life, and quit academia to become a full-time conservationist as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Sala’s present goals are to help protect critical marine ecosystems worldwide, and to develop new business models for marine conservation. He also produces documentary films and other media to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy environment, and to inspire country leaders to protect more of the natural world.
|Nationality||Spain and United States|
|Alma mater||Ph.D. University of Aix-Marseille II, France, 1996 |
B.Sc. University of Barcelona, 1991
|Awards||Heinz Award in Public Policy (2018), Recyclapolis Foundation, International Award: Chile (2018), Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences NOGI Award (2017), Price Waterhouse Cooper Natura Mare Award (2017), Sailors for the Sea Award (2016), Russian Geographical Society Crystal Compass Award (2016), Oceana’s Ocean Hero Award (2015), Environmental Media Association Hero Award (2014), Royal Geographical Society Fellow (2014), The Explorer's Club Lowell Thomas Award (2013), Spanish Geographical Society Research Award (2013), Coco Island World Heritage Site Award on Communications and Education (2009), World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2008) Blue Ocean Institute Award (2008), Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation (2006), Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow (2005)|
|Fields||Marine ecology |
Early life and educationEdit
Sala grew up near the Costa Brava in Catalonia, Spain, where he developed a lifelong passion for the ocean. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Barcelona in 1991 and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Aix-Marseille, France in 1996. Sala then moved to the United States to become a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Sala was a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California (2000–2007) and a researcher at Spain's National Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) (2007–2008). At Scripps, Sala helped create the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, an innovative multidisciplinary program to train future leaders in marine conservation. In 2006, Enric moved back to Spain to hold the first position on marine conservation ecology at the Spanish National Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).
One day, Sala was hit with a stark realization: “What I was doing was simply writing the obituary of the ocean," he says. "I was describing how ocean life was dying with more and more precision, but not offering a cure. I felt like the doctor who was telling the patient how she was going to die, but not offering a solution."
Following this realization, Sala read a National Geographic Magazine article about Mike Fay, a National Geographic Explorer who trekked across central Africa and convinced the president of Gabon to create 13 national parks. Sala was inspired—this sort of project was exactly what he wanted to do in the ocean. Shortly thereafter, Sala decided to approach National Geographic with a plan. “I went to National Geographic and proposed a project combining exploration, research, and media to inspire governments to make marine reserves–national parks in the sea."
Since 2008, Sala has led National Geographic Pristine Seas. Pristine Seas is a project to explore, document and protect the last wild places in the ocean. Using a combination of expeditions, science, media and policy analysis, the Pristine Seas team has helped to inspire the protection of 22 marine protected areas covering more than 5.7 million square kilometers of ocean. Pristine Seas is a small team of less than thirty people based in Washington, DC and other sites around the world. The team has conducted 31 expeditions, published more than 90 scientific papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and produced 28 documentary films.
Sala's research not only shows the human impacts in the ocean, but it also shows how marine ecosystems can recover, and develops practical solutions to improve the health of our oceans. His scientific publications are widely recognized and used for conservation efforts. Pristine Seas’ research results include the discovery of an inverted biomass pyramid in pristine coral reefs, new species of fish and invertebrates, previously unknown populations of deep-sea animals, the deepest plant ever found in the ocean, descriptions of some of the healthiest ocean ecosystems, and a description of the ecological and economic benefits of no-take marine reserves. In 2018, Sala published a study revealing that without government subsidies, more than half of fishing activity on the high seas would be unprofitable.
- The Last Ice (2019)
- Cape Horn: The sea at the end of the world (National Geographic Channel International, 2017)
- Juan Fernández: The sea forever (National Geographic Channel International, 2017)
- Revillagigedo: Mexico’s wildest seas (2017)
- Wild Galapagos: Pristine Seas (NatGeo Wild, 2016)
- Before the Flood (Fisher Stevens, 2016)
- Inn Saei (Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir, 2016)
- Palau: Pristine Paradise (NatGeo Wild, 2016)
- Russia’s Far North (NatGeo Wild, 2015)
- Africa's Wild Coast (NatGeo Wild, 2014)
- Lost Sharks of Easter Island (NatGeo Wild, 2012)
- Secrets of the Mediterranean: Cousteau's Lost World (NatGeo Wild, 2011)
- Shark Island (NatGeo Wild, 2010)
- Journey to Shark Eden (National Geographic Channel, 2009)
Sala has authored over 150 publications; a selection is listed here.
- Sala, Enric (2020). The Nature of Nature. National Geographic.
- Sala, Enric (2015). Pristine Seas: Journeys to the Ocean's Last Wild Places. National Geographic.
- Jackson, Jeremy B.C., Alexander, Karen E., Sala, Enric (2011). Shifting Baselines: The Past and Future of Ocean Fisheries. Island Press.
Select research publicationsEdit
- Dinerstein, Eric. et al. (2019). "A global deal for nature: guiding principles, milestones, and targets". Science Advances 5. eaaw2869. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaw2869.
- Sala, Enric & S. Giakoumi (2018). “No-take marine reserves are the most effective protected areas in the ocean”. ICES Journal of Marine Science 75 (3): 1166-1168 https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsx059
- Sala, Enric. et al. (2018). "The economics of fishing the high seas". Science Advances 4(6): eaat2504. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat2504.
- Sala, Enric et al. (2013). “A general business model for marine reserves”. PLoS One 8 (4), e58799 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0058799
- Worm, Boris. et al. (2006). "Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services". Science 314, 787–790. doi:10.1126/science.1132294
- Sala, Enric & N. Knowlton (2006). “Global marine biodiversity trends”. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 31, 93-122. doi:10.1146/annurev.energy.31.020105.100235
- Pandolfi, John M. et al. (2003). "Global trajectories of the long-term decline of coral reef ecosystems". Science. 301(5635):955-8. doi:10.1126/science.1085706
- Sala, Enric. et al. (2002). "A general model for designing networks of marine reserves". Science. 298(5600):1991-3. doi:10.1126/science.1075284
- Aburto-Oropeza, Octavio. et al. (2001). "Large recovery of fish biomass in a no-take marine reserve". PLoS ONE 6(8): e23601. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023601
- "UnderwaterTimes.com | Enric Sala, James Cameron Named National Geographic's Newest Explorers-In-Residence". www.underwatertimes.com. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
- Society, National Geographic. "Pristine Seas". www.nationalgeographic.org. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
- "Enric Sala - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
- Sandin, Stuart (January 9, 2008). "Baselines and Degradation of Coral Reefs in the Northern Line Islands". PLOS ONE. 3 (2): e1548. Bibcode:2008PLoSO...3.1548S. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001548. PMC 2244711. PMID 18301734.
- Sala, Enric; Mayorga, Juan; Costello, Christopher; Kroodsma, David; Palomares, Maria L. D.; Pauly, Daniel; Sumaila, U. Rashid; Zeller, Dirk (2018-06-01). "The economics of fishing the high seas". Science Advances. 4 (6): eaat2504. Bibcode:2018SciA....4.2504S. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat2504. ISSN 2375-2548. PMC 5990315. PMID 29881780.
- "Before the Flood - Doctor Enric Sala". Before the Flood. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
- "Enric Sala - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
- Personal Website: Enricsala.com
- Enric Sala at TED
- Enric Sala on Twitter
- Enric Sala on Instagram
- Pristine Seas on Instagram
- Washington Post: National Geographic's Enric Sala is a man on a mission (2011)
- Project Syndicate: Now or Never for Saving Our Natural World (2020)
- New York Times: A Marine Ecologist Strives to Protect the Seas (2015)
- The National: To the ends of the earth: Enric Sala, the explorer saving life in our oceans (2018)