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Srimal Ocean Project

The Primal Ocean Project is a first step in protecting the oceans through expeditionary science, public education and policy initiatives. Through a series of expeditions, we are locating and documenting ecologically healthy ocean regions that have not been altered by human activity, and study the function of marine protected areas to conserve ocean wildlife. The specific goals include creating long-term conservation regimes around these sites and producing high quality educational products.

Phoenix Islands:
New England Aquarium scientists conducted two diving expeditions around the Phoenix Islands in the South Pacific discovering new species and investigating how an "untouched" coral reef ecosystem functions. The team found new species of marine life and added vast information on the biodiversity of the region. These expeditions have successfully documented ecologically healthy regions of the ocean that resemble pre-human, or pre-exploitation, conditions. New England Aquarium staff members are now working with the Kiribati Government to create a marine protected area around these reefs. See also Stone, G. 200, Phoenix Islands, National Geographic Magazine, 205(2): 46-78;; and the "Biodiversity Hotspots" article on Phoenix Islands at Conservation International.

Download Phoenix Islands Reports
Phoenix 2000 report (Full report) Adobe PDF (5.9 MB)
Phoenix 2002 report (pt 1)
Phoenix 2002 report (pt 2)
Phoenix 2002 report (pt 3)
Adobe PDF (5.2 MB)
Adobe PDF (2.5 MB)
Adobe PDF (11 MB)
Download Acrobat Reader

Exploring Antarctica’s Islands of Ice:
In March 2000, an iceberg the size of Connecticut, and the largest in recorded history, broke free from Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. The New England Aquarium, the National Geographic Society and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute sponsored an expedition to study this and other icebergs in the Ross Sea in early 2001. This expedition was featured in a television documentary and in a book titled "Ice Island: Expedition to Antarctica's Largest Iceberg," written by Gregory Stone. It also appears in Islands of Ice: Exploring Antarctica's Islands of Ice, National Geographic Magazine, 200(6): 36-52. The expedition's website is

Aquarius Missions:
Coral Health and Marine Protected Areas: Aquarius is the world’s only underwater research station. Located in Florida's National Marine Sanctuary, scientists live under the high-pressure conditions of the ocean as saturated divers. In two missions, we have studied coral health and pioneered new techniques to track fish with electronic acoustic tags. Tracking fish provides information critical to understanding the movements of fish, which in turn helps in assessing the effective boundaries of protections. See also Stone, G., 2003, Deep Science, National Geographic Magazine, 204(3): 78-94; and NOAA's Aquarius: America's Innerspace Station.

Publications and programs:
Stone, G. 2003. Ice Island: Expedition to Antarctica's Largest Iceberg. New England Aquarium Press, Boston, MA. ISBN# 1593730179

Kurtis Productions. 2001. High definition one-hour documentary on the expedition to study B-15, the largest iceberg in history.

Stone, G. 2003. Deep Science: Sleeping with the Fishes. National Geographic Magazine, September, 2003, pp. 78-93.

Stone, G. 2001. Exploring Antarctica’s Islands of Ice. National Geographic Magazine. December 2001 issue.

Stone, G., D. Obura, S. Bailey, A. Yoshinaga, C. Holloway, R. Barrel and S. Mangubhai. 2001. Marine Biological Surveys of the Phoenix Islands. 107 pages. Expedition report published by the New England Aquarium.

National Geographic. 1999. Television documentary on the Aquarius Underwater Habitat featuring New England Aquarium scientist Dr. Gregory Stone and Kenneth Mallory who were studying the health of corals in a National Marine Sanctuary.

For more information, please contact:

Gregory Stone
Vice President, Global Marine Programs
Tel: 617-973-5229
Fax: 617-973-0242

Ice Island photo: Wes Skiles

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