Enric Sala is a former university professor who saw himself writing the obituary of ocean life, and quit academia to become a full-time conservationist as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. He founded and leads Pristine Seas, a project that combines exploration, research, and media to inspire country leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped to create 25 of the largest marine reserves on the planet, covering an area of more than 6.5 million square kilometers. He has earned numerous honors for his work, including 2008 World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader, 2013 Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award, 2013 Environmental Media Association Hero Award, 2016 Russian Geographical Society Award, 2018 Heinz Award in Public Policy, 2021 Prince Albert I Grand Medal, and 2021 National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Sala earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Barcelona and a Ph.D. in ecology from Aix-Marseille University, France.