The oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the Earth's surface. So much so that one of the most famous photographs of the Earth from space, taken in 1972 by the astronauts of Apollo 17, the last mission of NASA's lunar programme, was nicknamed The Blue Marble. This is what our planet looks like. If that were not enough, as further evidence of the importance of these immense expanses of water, one of the most widely accepted theories is that life originated in the oceans.
Yet we still know little about the oceans. We have sailed the length and breadth of the oceans in the age of navigation, but their depths still hold many secrets for us. Thanks to the development of sophisticated diving technologies and photography, we only began to study and discover them in the mid-20th century.
Oceans, the Last Frontier is a photographic exhibition dedicated to the exploration of the seas, from pioneers such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Sylvia Earle, National Geographic's historic explorer and one of the first women to devote herself to oceanography, to more modern exploits such as the discovery of the Titanic.
We will encounter the most fascinating species of the deep, from giant marine mammals to the fiercest predators, but also carpets of algae where fish go to breed and feed, and the colourful expanses of coral reefs. With a special section devoted to the inhabitants of our sea, the Mediterranean.
For some decades now, however, the oceans too have been suffering from the impact of human activities. Some rooms are dedicated to three of the main problems of the oceans.
Climate change: warming waters and changing acidity are creating problems for marine wildlife. Tropical species are moving to what used to be temperate latitudes, including in the Mediterranean, huge algal proliferations, as in the Sargasso region, and the bleaching of large areas of coral reefs, from the Maldives to Australia.
Overfishing: in recent decades, fishing has endangered some of the most important species in marine ecosystems, such as bluefin tuna. It has also led to a decline of up to 75% in fish populations.
Finally, plastic, the latest threat: let's take a look at the large garbage patches, the patches of plastic found at almost every latitude, but also the dangers to fauna, from turtles to sea birds.
But there are also positive messages, including from satellite images, which now allow us to monitor the health of the oceans as never before.
And finally, there is National Geographic's Pristine Seas project, which is making a decisive contribution to monitoring the most pristine areas of the planet.
National Geographic is making a decisive contribution to monitoring the most pristine areas of the planet, encouraging governments to protect them and making a concrete contribution with its missions to the 30X30 campaign, which aims to protect 30% of the surface of the oceans by 2030.
National Geographic Society is a global, not-for-profit organisation that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonders of our world. For more than 130 years, we have documented our extraordinary planet and all that lies within.
National Geographic chronicles the world's adventures, cultures and most pristine places through exhibitions, experiences and live events designed for audiences of all ages. From large-scale, interactive photographic exhibitions to smaller ones, National Geographic partners with national and international museums, science centres, universities and galleries to open a window on the world.
For more information: https://palazzoblu.it/mostra/explore-oceani-ultima-frontiera/
For more information on National Geographic exhibitions, visit natgeo.org/exhibitions