Dr. Tierney Thys is an ardent ocean scientist, conservationist, media producer and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. After receiving her PhD studying fish biomechanics, she became enthralled with the power of film to teach science and convey conservation messages.
As past Director of Research at Sea Studios Foundation in California, she made films for National Geographic Television for more than ten years. Her film and outreach projects funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) included the 8 hour Shape of Life series, and 6 hour Strange Days on Planet Earth project which garnered the environmental Oscar at the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, England. Tierney is currently working on a web-based film series for TEDed (Technology, Entertainment and Design) entitled Stories from the Sea. The first installment on the secret life of plankton was launched in March 2012 (http://www.ted.com/talks/the_secret_life_of_plankton.html).
She has led and serves as an expert on numerous expeditions around the world from Alaska to Antarctica, Bali to Baja, Taiwan to South Africa. Founder of the Adopt a Sunfish Project dedicated to researching and conserving the giant ocean sunfishes, she has tagged giant sunfish around the world as a member of the Census of Marine Life – the largest oceanographic project in the history of humanity. Her work has been featured in numerous documentaries by National Geographic, NHK, BBC and German Television.
Tierney’s additional current projects target all ages: For preschoolers, Tierney has been working with National Geographic Kids Entertainment and the National Science Foundation to build a national movement in the United States encouraging and inspiring preschoolers and their parents to get outdoors, engage in the natural world and become the next generation of planetary stewards. For 6-9 year olds, Tierney has recently become the daily explorer in the popular online game National Geographic’s Animal Jam--a virtual world where players became animals and explore a wealth of engaging activities. More than 2.5 million kids are currently playing this on-line game. For high-school students, Tierney is helping design a new international National Geographic Student Expedition focused on marine biology that will open for registration in the spring of 2013.
Tierney believes strongly in the power of art to teach science and convey conservation messages. For the past two years she has been working as the lead science advisor for the renowned San Francisco dance troupe, Capacitor. During April 12-15, 2012, Capacitor premiered their landmark work, Okeanos, to a sold-out house in San Francisco. Okeanos is a multi-sensorial ocean-themed experience to improve human ocean relations featuring spectacular dance, circus, high definition underwater video, live vocals and musicians.