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

The New England Aquarium is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation. The Aquarium uses innovative exhibits and education programs to encourage audiences worldwide to Live Blue for a better planet. From leading expeditions to some of the most remote places on the planet to running education programs in Boston’s inner city neighborhoods, the Aquarium has a vast array of projects that are dedicated to educating the public about the most challenging problems facing the oceans today. The Aquarium is among the region’s most-visited tourist attractions and is the only cultural institution in Boston whose mission focuses primarily on the environment. Each year, the Aquarium acts as an educational resource for more than 130,000 school children and thousands of teachers throughout New England. Its website is an electronic gateway to for ocean conservation issues and provides unique research and information from across the globe.

Dr. Carole Baldwin is a well-respected authority on marine biology, especially tropical-marine and deep-sea fishes. She grew up in coastal South Carolina and studied at James Madison University, the College of Charleston, and the College of William and Mary. She has published over five dozen scientific articles, and her work includes the discovery of new species of fishes in Belize, Tobago, Cook Islands, Australia, El Salvador and the Galápagos Islands.

Dr. Baldwin is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Aquarium, D.C. Venue. She has devoted much time to sharing her experiences as a marine biologist with students and the general public and is a role model for young girls considering careers in science. Dr. Baldwin is senior author of One Fish, Two Fish, Crawfish, Bluefish -- The Smithsonian Sustainable Seafood Cookbook, which features educational information and recipes for U.S. seafood species fished or farmed in an environmentally sound manner. Most recently, Dr. Baldwin served as a curator of the Sant Ocean Hall at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History where she holds the position of Research Zoologist in the Division of Fishes.

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 Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society. www.pewtrusts.org

Pew is a major force in educating the public and policy makers about the causes, consequences and solutions to environmental problems. We actively promote strong conservation policies in the United States and internationally. Pew applies a range of tools in pursuit of practical, meaningful solutions-including applied science, public education, sophisticated media and communications, and policy advocacy.

Our marine work is aimed at preserving the biological integrity of marine ecosystems and primarily focuses on efforts to curb overfishing, reduce bycatch and prevent the destruction of marine habitat. Learn more at http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_category.aspx?id=126.

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.

The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California is to inspire conservation of the oceans. The aquarium explores one of Earth’s richest and most diverse marine regions through award-winning exhibits, education programs and cutting-edge marine research. It has established itself as a leader among aquariums worldwide, consistently ranking as the nation’s top aquarium both overall, and for families. Since opening in 1984, the aquarium has attracted more than 45 million visitors and more than 200,000 members. Some 90,000 students and educators take advantage of its free education programs each year.

The aquarium’s flagship Seafood Watch program seeks to raise national awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources. Based on rigorous research, its recommendations advise consumers and seafood purveyors which seafood to buy or avoid.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is dedicated to research and education to advance understanding of the ocean and its interaction with the Earth system, and to communicating this understanding for the benefit of society.

EarthEcho International empowers youth to take action that protects and restores our water planet. The organization was founded by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., son of Jacques Yves Cousteau. EarthEcho International is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower youth to take action that protects and restores our water planet. EarthEcho International believes that if we truly want to save our water planet, then we must foster tomorrow’s leaders by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to do. To that end, EarthEcho International engages youth to bring about global change by taking action in their communities, helping them to understand the vital connections between their lives and today's critical ocean and fresh water issues. Our programs leverage cutting-edge technology and the highest quality educational content to empower youth to both understand the conservation issues facing the environment and then take action through service-learning to solve them. The organization was founded by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., famous son of the legendary explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau.

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest environmental network, with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organization, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in over 160 countries. IUCN’s Global Marine Programme (GMP) pioneers pragmatic solutions to marine environmental challenges. The Programme highlights science and technology for the sustainable management and conservation of marine ecosystems by connecting scientists and conservationists with decision-makers in governments and with private and public sector partners across its extensive network to develop policy, laws and best practices. Through its comprehensive network, GMP provides a convening power, connecting members and partners on both national and regional scales. IUCN’s recognized imprimatur serves to amplify leading voices in ocean conservation. GMP uses its strategic communication and outreach skills to advance science-based solutions, mobilize decision-makers, the media and raise public awareness on key marine issues from climate change and endangered species to fisheries and marine world heritage. In addition GMP works alongside IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Marine to promote the establishment and effective management of a world-wide representative network of marine protected areas.

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 ocean is essential to all life on Earth and Ocean Conservancy is the world's oldest and largest conservation organization dedicated solely to protecting this life support system. We're starting a sea change for generations to come.

The World Heritage Marine Programme was created in 2005 with the aim of establishing effective conservation of all unique marine areas protected under the 1972 World Heritage Convention. Today, about 50 World Heritage sites are located in marine or coastal areas. Together, they represent the 'Crown Jewels of our Ocean' and are recognized for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological or geological processes. They are selected under strict criteria and through a rigorous nomination, evaluation and inscription process. In cooperation with a variety of partners, the World Heritage Marine Programme is developing innovative ways to support site managers with their conservation challenges, while simultaneously advancing the application of the World Heritage Convention for protecting the planet’s most valuable and unique marine places. The World Heritage Marine Programme is one of the six thematic programme's of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, headquartered in Paris, France.

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.

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.

Smithsonian Contributors

Jessica has been a diver since the age of twelve and the activity is close to her heart. She is a Senior Naut in the non-profit organization called SCUBAnauts International, which inspires kids to be actively involved in the marine sciences while teaching leadership skills. Aside from diving, she is an avid runner and takes pride in learning. Jessica is the salutatorian of her graduating class at Dixie M. Hollins and will attend the University of Florida in fall of 2015. Thanks in part to the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, she hopes to become a physical therapist.

Lindsay Aylesworth is a PADI dive instructor, marine biology consultant and PhD student with Project Seahorse at the University of British Columbia. Lindsay has carried out monitoring and survey work in the tropical marine environment for ten years, starting as an undergraduate on the coral reefs in the Yucatan coast of Mexico. As a Fulbright Scholar, Lindsay worked in Brazil to identify the habitat preferences of the longsnout seahorse, Hippocampus reidi. She holds a Master's in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.S. from Georgetown University. Lindsay's PhD research focuses on implementing international policy for conservation action using seahorses as a case study.

Daniel B. Botkin has 45 years of experience in ecological research and solving major environmental problems. He began research on possible ecological effects of global warming in 1968 and has been a major contributor to this research since. He helped NASA begin the use of satellite observations of Earth's ecosystems; helped the National Science Foundation start its program in long-term ecological research; developed the first successful and best-validated computer model of ecosystems, widely used around the world, including forecasting effects of climate change on forests. He has published 15 books, including books for lay people about what it is like to do ecological research and his adventures in the field, and one of the leading college textbooks in environmental science.

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.

John spent his youth in the fog in San Francisco playing in the halls of the Steinhart Aquarium, the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. On weekends with favorable tides, his family drove up the coast to spend the afternoon “tidepooling.” And for vacations they backpacked in the Marble Mountains, Sierra and Cascades, wherever they were least likely to encounter others on foot. Only later did he realize that not all young boys had fathers who took great joy and pride in identifying and telling stories about most of the flora and fauna of the western states. Curiosity about nature, how it works, and why—instilled by these early experiences—formed the foundation of what was to come.

A biology major at Lewis and Clark college with an intense interest in literature and philosophy, John was headed to medical school when he discovered the concept of natural selection, which he still thinks is the most important and powerful idea in all of western thought. An almost random single application to grad school at Cornell University resulted in an acceptance letter followed quickly by a nearly non-stop road trip across the US (an inordinate time spent crossing Montana!) in a VW bug loaded to the headliner with a stereo and speakers, all the best LPs from the 60’s, and other essentials.

An early field course in methods in behavior and ecology transported John from the dark cold days of an Ithaca spring to the much warmer and sunnier Gulf Coast of Florida where he first saw and studied fiddler crabs. But primate behavior, particularly howler monkey social behavior, had become John’s passion (why DO they howl?), so John first had to find out first-hand how difficult it is to study big mammals in the tropics. Tired of looking up with craned neck high in the canopy at silhouettes of what he thought were howler monkeys doing uncertain things, he instead waited for the tide to recede, opened a lawn chair, picked up a pair of binoculars, and proceeded to spend the next 40 years—30 of those in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute—observing and doing experiments in the field to understand the reproductive behavior and ecology of fiddler crabs.