Franz Josef Land, a 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.
In July-August 2013, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala will lead a Pristine Seas expedition to Franz Josef Land in collaboration with Russkaya Arktika National Park, the Russian Geographical Society, and National Geographic. An international group of scientists and filmmakers will assess how pristine the ocean-land ecosystem is and compare its current state with historical scientific baselines and photographs obtained by explorers in the late 1800s.
Approaching the first island, Enric Sala opens a group session on proposed field research goals and processes.
Photo by Andy Man
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.
Follow the expedition day by day on http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/explore/pristine-seas/franz-josef-land/