Long-Term Ecological Monitoring is Sexy Too


The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund aims to protect the last wild places in the ocean while facilitating conservation, research, education, and community development programs in the places we explore. This blog entry spotlights some of the exciting work our grantees are doing with support from the LEX-NG Fund.

‘Sexy’ marine research subjects tend to get all the love, don’t they? Great white sharks. Humpback whales. Dolphins. People love dolphins; I know I do. Someone is collecting money to save the dolphins? Here’s twenty bucks!

Not to say that these causes aren’t worthy of our support—they most certainly are!—but there are other equally important research projects happening that are chronically underfunded because they don’t grab the public’s attention in quite the same way.

Take, for example, long-term ecological marine monitoring, which involves collecting sample data from a body of water at various depths; measuring properties such as temperature, salinity, and oxygen levels; and repeating the tests consistently over the course of years. If your eyes just glazed over reading that last sentence, you’re not alone. Many people outside the world of marine biology don’t consider this a ‘sexy’ research topic.

And that’s a shame, because long-term ecological monitoring is incredibly important.

100% of guest donations made to the LEX-NG Fund support projects on the ground, such as Dr. William Gilly’s work in the Sea of Cortez. © Ralph Lee Hopkins

One such long-term study currently underway is being led by Dr. William Gilly of Stanford University and the Sustainable Use and Research of the Mar de Cortes program. With support from the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund, Dr. Gilly is conducting a long-term ecological monitoring study of the Gulf of California, the body of water between mainland Mexico and Baja, California, also known as the Sea of Cortez.

Dr. Gilly, along with his —> Read More