Tierney Thys is a marine biologist and science educator. She studies the behavior of the Mola mola, or giant ocean sunfish — and works with other scientists to make films that share the wonders they see.

Why you should listen

Marine biologist Tierney Thys has fallen head over heels for a big, goofy fish: the Mola mola, or giant ocean sunfish. In studying the mola -- where they go, what they eat, what eats them -- she's also hunting for clues to the behavior of all life in the open ocean. With their enormous, odd bodies, peaceful habits and lust for jellyfish, these giants can be key to understanding life in the open ocean. Thys and her team are tagging and tracking molas worldwide to learn about how they live, and how climate change may be affecting all ocean life.

Thys is a National Geographic Explorer with a passion for marine education. She was also past director of research at the Sea Studios Foundation, a team of scientists and filmmakers that makes media to raise awareness of environmental issues -- including the PBS series Strange Days on Planet Earth and targeted videos that influence policymakers and businesspeople. Sea Studios was also instrumental in helping eBay stop the trading of invasive species.

Tierney Thys’ TED talks

Tierney Thys on the TED Blog
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Live from TED2014

Nuclear fission reactors, Africa’s Einsteins and the healing power of nature: A recap of “Beauty and the Brain,” All-Stars Session 2 at TED2014

March 19, 2014

By Liz Jacobs and Thu-Huong Ha   Our brains work in mysterious ways. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and sometimes, they make us 19-year old geniuses. The 11 speakers in this All-Stars session specialize in areas of the brain as diverse as personality, trauma and gender, but they all agree: Our minds […]

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Science

Sharing the story of Plankton Chronicles Project: Q&A with Tierney Thys

April 3, 2012

Yesterday’s featured TED video comes from a new TED-Ed partnership with the marine biologist Tierney Thys — whose passion (aside from swimming with the giant Mola mola fish) is sharing new ideas in science using amazing film and images from underwater expeditions. The first product of the Stories from the Sea series is “The secret […]

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4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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Quotes from Tierney Thys

Being a loner is a great thing, especially in today’s seas, because schooling used to be salvation for fishes, but it’s suicide for fishes now.
Tierney Thys
TED2003 • 659K views May 2007
Informative, Fascinating