Ocean Collaborators

Schooling fish know that working together is better for everyone. The same is true on the Ocean Portal, where we are gathering a group of outstanding organizations in the fields of marine science, education, media, conservation, and other areas. By pooling our expertise and top assets, we can provide a richer experience than any one of us could alone. Get to know each organization by exploring their contributions on the OP and visiting their websites.

Featured Collaborators

Laetitia Plaisance is a marine biologist who received her doctor of philosophy degree from the university of Perpignan in France. She has since been studying coral reefs in many locations around the world. As a research scientist at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, she specialized in the study of coral reef biodiversity. She has developed, as part of the international Census of Marine life project, new methods to assess and monitor this extraordinary and threatened diversity. In collaboration with the Australian Institute of Marine Science she is now exploring how ocean acidification will impact coral reef biodiversity in the future and the ecological consequences for the entire ecosystem.

Phil Colarusso is a marine biologist in the Coastal and Ocean Protection Section of EPA New England, and is an avid diver. He's living the dream in Wenham with wife JoAnn, two kids, dog and white picket fence.

The Census of Marine Life is a global network of researchers in 80+ nations engaged in a ten-year scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the world’s oceans - past, present and future. Conducting research in under-explored and well-studied habitats alike, in both coastal and deep waters, the Census is identifying new organisms, collecting new information on ocean life, analyzing historical documents, and modeling future ecosystems. This will enable scientists to compare what once lived in the oceans to what lives there now, and to project what will live there in the future. The world's first comprehensive Census of Marine Life - past, present, and future - was released in 2010.

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is a regional Native nonprofit organization founded for the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. SHI was established in 1981 by Sealaska Corp., a for-profit company formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). SHI, formerly Sealaska Heritage Foundation, administers Sealaska Corp.'s cultural and educational programs.

Save Our Seas Foundation is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Its purpose is to implement and support diverse Conservation, Awareness, Research and Education (CARE) programmes centred around the protection of the Earth's marine environment.

The global threats facing the marine environment lie at the core of all the projects funded by Save Our Seas Foundation. Overfishing, pollution and lack of effective resource management of the marine environment is destroying our ocean’s habitats and threatens the existence of many marine species.

Since its launch in 2003 the Save Our Seas Foundation has provided funding and support for over 100 diverse projects in more than 40 countries: from funding a patrol boat to help prevent illegal fishing of hammerhead sharks in Costa Rica, to the long-term funding of research into the behavioural ecology of great white sharks in South Africa.

BBC Earth is the global brand for all the BBCís natural history content spanning the last 50 years. The BBC is the largest producer of natural history programming in the world and the brand highlights the vast scale of incredible content which is produced in this genre. Visible across all platforms; TV, digital and merchandising as well as expanding across TV stings, DVDs and digital products throughout 2009, BBC Earth encourages engagement with current as well as classic programs such as Planet Earth and The Blue Planet.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) is a nonprofit research institution where scientists and engineers work together to explore and study the sea. In the words of founder David Packard: "The mission of MBARI is to achieve and maintain a position as a world center for advanced research and education in ocean science and technology, and to do so through the development of better instruments, systems, and methods for scientific research in the deep waters of the ocean." MBARI scientists and engineers conduct multidisciplinary research in a variety of fields, including marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, physical oceanography, and marine technology. Located in Moss Landing, California, MBARI is supported primarily by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The Ocean is important to all life, including yours. Join us.

Welcome to the Ocean Portal – a unique, interactive online experience that inspires awareness, understanding, and stewardship of the world’s Ocean, developed by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and more than 20 collaborating organizations.

You are among the first wave of visitors to the Portal, an experience which we hope will empower you to shape and share your personal Ocean experiences, knowledge, and perspectives.

The input you provide through feedback modules and comment boxes will help us to shape future Ocean Portal content and functionality. Like the Ocean, which is made of millions of marine species, your comments, questions, and clicks will help to bring the Portal closer to the vastness and variety of the Ocean itself.

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 370 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) was established to make comprehensive, authenticated information about the world’s biodiversity freely available over the Internet. Encyclopedia of Life’s portal includes hundreds of thousands of authenticated species pages, 1.4 million base pages and links to 13 million pages of digitized biodiversity literature. The features available on the EOL portal make participation possible by everyone. Users including students, scientists and members of the public can contribute photos and videos via the EOL Flickr Group, apply tags to images and provide comments on the content.

The EOL provides an engaging and informative learning platform where students and others can work together to help build this global resource and learn about biological diversity worldwide.

ARKive is a unique global initiative, gathering together the best films, photographs and audio recordings of the world's threatened animals, plants and fungi into one centralized digital library. Films and photographs are a powerful means of building environmental awareness - they can bring a scientific name to life, show what a species looks like and why it is special. Continued habitat destruction and the rise in extinction rates also mean that for many species, films and photographs may soon be all that remains. They are, therefore, important historical and scientific records of the species they depict. ARKive is leading the 'virtual' conservation effort by creating comprehensive and enduring multimedia species profiles, complementing other species information datasets, and making a key resource available for scientists, conservationists, educators and the general public. These important audio-visual records are being preserved and maintained for the benefit of future generations and are freely available at www.arkive.org.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. The National Research Council has ranked Scripps first in faculty quality among oceanography programs nationwide. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today in 65 countries. The institution has a staff of about 1,300, and annual expenditures of approximately $155 million from federal, state and private sources. Scripps operates one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration.

NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Their reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as they work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them.

From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA's products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America's gross domestic product. NOAA's dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

NOAA's roots date back to 1807, when the Nation's first scientific agency, the Survey of the Coast, was established. Since then, NOAA has evolved to meet the needs of a changing country. NOAA maintains a presence in every state and has emerged as an international leader on scientific and environmental matters.

The National Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Network, comprised of 12 Centers plus a Central Coordinating Office, is charged with "engaging scientists and educators to transform ocean sciences education." Funded by the National Science Foundation with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, COSEE focuses on innovative activities that transform and broaden participation in the ocean science education enterprise. A key player in the national ocean literacy movement, COSEE’s objectives are to develop partnerships between ocean scientists and educators and foster communication and coordination among ocean science education programs nationwide. Since 2003, COSEE has grown into the nation's most comprehensive ocean science and education network with over 200 partners, including universities and research institutions, community colleges, school districts, informal science education institutions, and state/federal agencies. COSEE has engaged over 500 ocean scientists with thousands of teachers and the public.

Smithsonian Contributors

Patricia Newman and Annie Crawley joined scientists on the SEAPLEX expedition with Project Kaisei to The North Pacific Gyre, more commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and together released Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch about three scientists on the expedition. Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a Junior Library Guild Selection, a finalist for the AAAS Science Books and Film prize, a Nerdy Book Club Award winner, and an NSTA-recommended book. Take a deep dive and explore.

Patricia Newman writes fiction and nonfiction books and magazine articles for children. She is a frequent speaker at schools and libraries. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.

Annie Crawley specializes in the underwater realm as an underwater photographer, filmmaker, educator and ocean advocate. Traveling as a scuba diving instructor around the world with a camera in hand, she shares the ocean with you. She has traveled and documented expeditions around the world. Visit her at www.AnnieCrawley.com.

Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in the Republic of Panama collect and analyze data for use in studies on coral bleaching and the fluctuations in ocean temperatures that is known as the El Niño phenomenon. Recent studies by STRI researchers have revealed that coral reefs contain on average nearly five times as many species as had previously been realized. STRI is perhaps most widely known for discovering that sex change is quite normal for coral reef fishes.

As the Scientific Diving Safety Officer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Christian McDonald, manages the oldest and one of the largest and most active scientific diving programs in the United States. Christian’s interest in marine science began as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) while studying kelp forest ecological dynamics both in Central California and later on the remote island of Shemya, in the outer Aleutian chain, southwest of Alaska. Upon graduation from UCSC with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology, Christian spent 5 years working in and exploring diverse locations around Antarctica as a scientific diver, natural history cinematographer, commercial diver, and senior marine technician aboard National Science Foundation (NSF) supported polar classed research vessels. In addition to the scientific diving training, support, and oversight provided to the Scripps research community, Christian has recently served as chair of NSF’s Office of Polar Programs Diving Control Board and is a Past-President of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.

I began studying coral reefs during my undergrad at Colby College in central Maine, and over the last several years have become passionate about trying to understand how global change influences coral reefs and what the prognosis for reefs is in the near-future.

Now I am a third year PhD student in Dr. Jennifer Smith’s lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I study a variety of aspects of coral reef ecology, and am lucky in that my research takes me to some remote, uninhabited islands to study global change effects on coral reefs and how benthic organisms influence reef biogeochemistry. I am particularly concerned about the implications of ocean acidification for coral reef organisms. My research addresses the question: are there differential effects of ocean acidification on coral reef seaweeds?

Although my primary research interests are in algae (especially crustose coralline algae), I also have spent time studying different aspects of benthic ecology including: recruitment and survival of the American lobster in the Gulf of Maine, invasive tunicates in the Gulf of Maine, and spiny lobster feeding preferences at Catalina Island. Most recently I had the unique opportunity to take part in the 2013 expedition to the Southern Line Islands, where I conducted experiments to quantify benthic productivity across five uninhabited islands. With my love for both research and teaching, my ultimate goal is to become a professor with a research focus in understanding the implications of global change for marine ecosystems.

Patrick Schwing is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science. His research focuses on determining human impacts on coastal and marine sedimentary depositional environments. He received his bachelors degree in marine science from Eckerd College in 2006 and his Ph.D. in chemical oceanography from the USF, College of Marine Science in 2011. He is currently working with two groups affiliated with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) to determine the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon Blowout in 2010.