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Assignment

Saving Our Oceans

This assignment ran from Feb 20 to Mar 20, 2017.

As National Geographic was preparing a series of articles in 2016 to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service we realized that we had an opportunity to bring America's best idea to where it is most urgently needed - our waters. Past anniversaries of the National Parks have led to expansions of the parks system so we thought a story that highlighted marine protected areas – as well as areas worthy of protection – might do the same for expanding ocean parks.

Why? Well, our nation is blue. More than 50% of the contiguous U.S. is under water. Over half of us live within 100 miles of the coast with nearly 39% living in coastal counties. Healthy ecosystems are needed to support fishermen, tourism, and other local businesses. Like our terrestrial parks, oceans and lakes support communities in countless ways. And, fully protected marine areas are proven to combat threats to ocean health. Yet there are no fully protected marine reserves anywhere in the continental U.S. or Alaska. Our only comprehensive ocean protection is currently in the remote Pacific and Hawaii.

Of course, the need for expanded protection for marine ecosystems goes beyond U.S. waters. Conservationists have called for a goal of protecting 30% of the oceans by 2020. It is a challenge, to be sure, but a worthy one. National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry and I would like to know what the oceans mean to you – how you have celebrated the beauty, the power and the wonder of being in and on the water.

This Your Shot assignment is a call to produce photographs of special underwater places that are worth protecting. While it can be argued that all underwater places are worthy of conservation, we are seeking images that bring the viewer into a special ecosystem or marine habitat and the reasons why you feel strongly about this place. Please make sure in your caption information to let us know where the image was taken and why you feel this area should be protected.

Submission deadline is March 20, 2017 at 12PM EST.

Curated by:

Brian Skerry
National Geographic Photographer

Kathy Moran
National Geographic Senior Photo Editor
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
We are busy curating images. Check back on Apr 3, 2017 to view the published story.
Assignment Closed

The Importance of Captions

Posted mar 16, 2017

Many thanks to everyone that has submitted to the ‘Saving Our Oceans’ assignment on Your Shot! It has been clear from the moment we began reviewing images that each photographer has a personal connection with the sea and understands the complex relationships of wildlife within these ecosystems.

In the days that remain with this assignment, we would love to see images and read captions that explain why specific locations deserve protection. Beautiful photographs are always interesting, but understanding the relationship an animal has with a special place helps people better understand why conservation is needed. Tell us why the places you love in the sea are important to you, what you have observed and why others should care.

Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry

National Geographic Photographer
Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine covering a wide range of subjects and stories. In 2014 he was one of five photographers named as a National Geographic Photography Fellow. In 2015 he was named a Nikon Ambassador. For NGM, Brian has covered a wide range of stories, from the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries to dolphin intelligence, all cover stories. During 2016 NGM published three consecutive feature stories by Brian about predatory sharks. His latest work, a cover story in the February 2017 issue of NGM, focuses on protecting special underwater ecosystems in US waters. During his coverage for this story Brian produced the first images of a US President underwater.

Kathy Moran

Kathy Moran

National Geographic Senior Photo Editor
Kathy Moran is Senior Photo Editor and National Geographic magazine’s first senior editor for natural history projects. A 30-year veteran of the Society, Kathy has produced feature stories about terrestrial and underwater ecosystems since 1990, and she has edited more than 200 stories for the magazine. Her recent projects include Nick Nichols’ “Giant Sequoias” and Tim Laman’s “Birds of Paradise,” both for the December 2012 issue.