National Geographic Expert

John Mark Francis

John Francis recently retired as Vice President for Research, Conservation and Exploration at the National Geographic Society. A marine biologist and National Geographic grantee, John began his career studying the behavioral ecology of seals and sea lions on remote islands in North and South America. A film on his work led to his role as a producer of wildlife films, covering everything from chimps and tigers to whales and sharks. From there he took on the grant-making side of National Geographic, supporting explorers around the world and sharing their stories through diverse National Geographic media. 

Outside of his National Geographic responsibilities, John served on boards and committees for the U.S. National Park System, the Commission for Education and Communications of the IUCN, and the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. He now serves on the Sustainable Travel International and Congo Basin Institute boards and advises the National Geographic/Lindblad Fund supporting marine and other projects visited by travelers around the globe.