A world-class team of National Geographic explorers, wildlife biologists, naturalists, and conservationists will accompany this unique expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. Listed below are experts joining this trip.
Field biologist and wildlife photographer Tim Laman earned his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University, where he is a Research Associate in the Ornithology Department. Multiple grants from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration and its Expeditions Council have supported his fieldwork, which includes a long-term comprehensive study of the exquisitely ornamented birds of paradise. Tim photographs and writes for National Geographic and other popular magazines to promote the conservation of endangered species and habitats. His photographs have received numerous awards, and he has been named both BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the North American Nature Photography Association’s Outstanding Nature Photographer. On the February departure, Tim will join the expedition in Borneo. On the October departure, Tim will accompany the entire expedition.
Marine ecologist Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who is actively engaged in exploration, research, and communication to advance ocean conservation. Enric leads the Pristine Seas project to help protect the last wild places in the ocean. He was key in inspiring the creation of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, U.S.A; the Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park, Chile; and the Seamounts Marine Management Area, Costa Rica. Enric is a 2005 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a 2006 Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, and a 2008 Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Enric will join the expedition in the Maldives.
Naturalist, conservationist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay walked more than 2,000 miles through intact forest in Congo and Gabon surveying trees, wildlife, and human activity during his Megatransect across Africa in 1999 and 2000. That historic walk resulted in the protection of more than 11 percent of Gabon’s land and the creation of 13 national parks in the country. Mike followed this up with his eight-month Africa Megaflyover—an aerial survey that produced more than 100,000 images now visible on Google Earth—and a year-long, 1,800-mile hike along the range of the California redwood. Currently Mike is creating a marine park system in Gabon and working to curb illegal fishing. Mike will join the expedition in South Africa.
Wildlife biologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Luke Dollar first came to Madagascar as an undergraduate field assistant in 1994, and went on to conduct more than a decade’s research there on the island’s fossa—a catlike nocturnal mammal—and the lemurs on which it preys. The rate of habitat loss he witnessed convinced him that scientists must find effective ways to inform and influence public policy, and quickly, if wildlife conservation is to succeed. Luke now manages the Society’s Big Cats Initiative, and will join the expedition in Madagascar.
National Geographic photographer and marine biologist Paul Nicklen has spent much of his scientific and photographic career within the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. A native of the Canadian Arctic, Paul has tracked sea lions in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, documented spirit bears in Canada's Great Bear Rainforest, dived with minke whales off of Australia's coral reefs, and sailed in Antarctica and Arctic Norway on assignment for National Geographic magazine. His photographs have also appeared in the magazines Natural History, International Wildlife, and Equinox. Paul was named the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year for a photo of bubble-jetting emperor penguins. Paul will accompany the entire expedition.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Mireya Mayor is a primatologist and conservationist who has reported on wildlife issues for more than a decade. As a correspondent on National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorer television series, she went underwater with six-foot-long Humboldt squid, tracked gorillas in central Africa, and worked with leopards in Namibia. In 2000, Mireya co-discovered a new species of mouse lemur in Madagascar and convinced the nation’s leaders to declare the species’ habitat a national park. Mireya has worked extensively with the gorillas of central and eastern Africa and was featured in the Nat Geo Wild program Mystery Gorilla. A Fulbright scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow, Mireya has appeared in numerous publications and on MSNBC, CNN, and NBC’s Today show. Mireya will join the expedition in Rwanda.
Zoologist Kristofer Helgen is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who has led research expeditions to remote areas on almost every continent to search for undiscovered species. From the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the slopes of the Andes, Kris has identified some 100 new mammal species and documented viable populations of animals previously thought to be in major decline or even extinct. Kris currently serves as curator of mammals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Kris will accompany the entire expedition.
Conservationist and National Geographic grantee Marc Brody conserves giant pandas and their habitat, helping restore the balance between people and nature in and around China’s Wolong Nature Reserve. Marc has worked with Wolong since 2000 and serves as the reserve’s senior advisor for conservation and sustainable development. He founded Panda Mountain, an NGO entrusted by the Wolong Administration to manage a conservation and sustainability training and learning center and promote green livelihoods for indigenous villagers. Marc has also served as president of the U.S.-China Environmental Fund for 20 years. When not in Wolong, he is actively restoring an oak savanna and prairie on his land near Madison, Wisconsin. Marc will join the expedition in China.
Conservation biologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Krithi Karanth received the Society’s 10,000th research, conservation, and exploration grant to support her work in India’s Western Ghats. She works on conservation issues such as human-wildlife conflict, land use change, people-wildlife relationships, and styles of tourism that threaten India's elephants, leopards, and tigers. The daughter of a renowned tiger biologist and Indian conservationist, Krithi has accompanied field expeditions since she was just a year old, and spotted her first leopard at the age of three. She earned her Ph.D. from Duke and a Masters degree from Yale. Krithi will join the expedition in Nepal.
A 28-year veteran of the National Geographic Society, Rob Hernandez began as a senior editor for National Geographic magazine and later founded its International Publishing division, which publishes magazines, books, and other media in more than 35 languages. Raised in Cuba and Spain, Rob spent his early career doing ecological field research and documenting the wildlife and culture of the world’s more remote places. He filmed a television special on lions in Namibia, explored the wilderness of New Guinea, journeyed to rarely visited corners of South America, and circumnavigated the Indian and Pacific Oceans in a small sailboat for 2 years. Rob has traveled extensively across the globe, and he looks forward to sharing his knowledge of and passion for the world's wildlife with National Geographic travelers. Rob will accompany the entire expedition.
Marine biologist Sylvia Earle is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" in 1998, Sylvia has pioneered research on marine ecosystems. She is former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and author of more than 125 scientific and popular publications. Sylvia led the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, documenting life in the U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries. Today, Sylvia and her SEAlliance have partnered with the Geographic on Mission Blue, a global initiative aimed at restoring health and productivity to the ocean by inspiring people to care and act, reducing the impact of fishing, and promoting the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs). Sylvia will join the expedition in the Maldives.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Elizabeth Lonsdorf began researching primates as an undergraduate student at Duke University. Later, while completing a Ph.D. at the Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies at the University of Minnesota, she spent several months each year studying wild chimpanzees at Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park. She returns annually to Gombe to maintain a research program focused on chimpanzee health and infant development. In addition to serving on the faculty of Franklin & Marshall College, Elizabeth is the Vice President for Education and Outreach for the International Primatological Society. Elizabeth will join the expedition in Rwanda.