General Thinker Profile


Nominated by:

Remo Giuffre
Founder & Director
Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia

My Network Friends

Tierney Thys

National Geographic Explorer | National Geographic

Carmel, United States

"Healthy water is a healthy planet"

Generally thinking:

Education & Academia
Technology & The Future
Global Issues
Sustainability & Environment
Media & Journalism
Arts & Entertainment
Creativity & Design
Body, Mind & Science

My tags:

ActivismArtEducationEnvironmentFilmScienceMediaMuseumsSocial ChangeSustainabilityTechnologyTravelVisual Arts

Very good at:
+ taking on big projects, organizing teams and getting things done
+ connecting people
+ telling far too many dirty jokes

About me & my work:

I am a marine biologist, filmmaker, ocean conservationist and mom who adores combining science and art to help educate all ages about the wonders of the natural world and the usefulness of the scientific method.

After receiving a PhD studying fish biomechanics at Duke University, I became Director of Sea Studios Foundation and helped create films and outreach products for NatGeoTV including The Shape of Life series ( and Strange Days on Planet Earth ( winner of Best Series Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, England. I am currently producing an online film series for TEDed called Stories from the Sea--the first episode of which, Secret Life of Plankton, won Best Short film at Wildscreen in 2012.

My latest research project explores the effects of nature imagery and sounds on the brain--a field I have coined Neurobiophilia. With funding from National Geographic, I am working with NG Explorer Tan Le, creator of the Emotiv headsets, and NG Fellow, Nalini Nadkarni, forest ecologist and science educator, to explore how editing styles and biomes affect human wellbeing. This work evolved from an ongoing partnership with Dr. Nalini Nadkarni to incorporate nature into severely nature-deprived settings e.g. maximum security prison.

I serve as an expert on research and tourist expeditions to Alaska, Antarctica, Baja, Bali, Belize, Caribbean Islands, Galapagos, South Africa. I am Founder of the Adopt a Sunfish Project ( dedicated to researching and conserving ocean sunfishes.

I believe that we need to tap all our creative talents to help conserve our vital ocean resources. I consult and work closely with photographers, dancers, writers, filmmakers and other artists to help infuse quality science and conservation messaging into their work. Recent collaborations include narrating and serving as lead science advisor for Okeanos created by the renowned San Francisco dance troupe, Capacitor. I am the daily underwater explorer in National Geographic’s Animal Jam—an online game for kids with more than 20 million players in 150 countries. I serve as judge for the NSF's Science/Engineering Visualization Challenge, am a STEM speaker for the US Embassy and a member of the global advisory board for Wildscreen and the TED braintrust (

A mother of two, I am also writing a children's book series with acclaimed illustrator Elizabeth Martin about an intrepid group of animal ocean explorers due for completion, spring 2015.

My links:

Ocean Sunfish | Home to all things sunfish including my citizen science sightings site

Neurobiophilia | Exploring nature imagery as a therapeutic tool for social good

Tierney Thys | Where I post the latest projects I'm doing

Strange Sunfish and Hope for the Ocean | A 3 minute video about me and the ocean sunfish

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