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 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 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 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.

SeaWeb is an international, nonprofit, communications organization dedicated to creating a culture of ocean conservation. We work collaboratively to inform and empower diverse ocean voices and conservation champions in strategic, targeted sectors to encourage market solutions, policies and behaviors that result in a healthy thriving ocean. We transform knowledge into action by shining a spotlight on workable, science-based solutions to the most serious threats facing the ocean such as climate change, pollution and overexploitation.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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 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.

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.

Smithsonian Contributors

For the past six years, Matt Dozier has worked as a writer and editor for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is involved with a wide variety of outreach projects and publications, including the magazine Sanctuary Watch, sanctuary brochures, social media outreach, and OceansLIVE streaming Web broadcasts. Matt holds a master’s degree in science-medical writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Mark J. Spalding is the President of The Ocean Foundation and is an authority on international ocean policy and law. He is the former Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program, and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development, at the Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS), UC-San Diego. Spalding has also taught at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD's Muir College, UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, and University of San Diego's School of Law. He was a research fellow at UCSD's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a Sustainability Institute – Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a SeaWeb Senior Fellow. He is chair emeritus of the National Board of Directors of the Surfrider Foundation, and was the chair of the environmental law section of the California State Bar Association. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a Master in Pacific International Affairs from IR/PS.

Laurence Yeung is currently a researcher at UCLA in the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences. He studies how carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen are distributed in the environment, using their stable isotopes as tags to track how they move about the Earth system (more gory details are available on his webpage). You can also find him on Facebook or Twitter, where you can ask him about his experiences working on science communication projects with PHD TV and the Board on Life Sciences at the National Academy of Sciences as a Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow.

Cristina Castillo is currently the project coordinator for the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). Her previous work at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History includes program assistant for the Latin American and Caribbean Countries Collections Management Training Program and Program Coordinator for the inaugural year of the Youth Engagement through Science! (YES!) program. She came to the museum two years ago as a research intern in the Vertebrate Zoology Department. She studied ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Texas at Austin and looks forward to continuing her education in marine conservation biology.

Yachtmans, scuba diver, and scientist, Dr. Rob Edwards works at the interface of biology and computing as an Associate Professor at the Departments of Computer Science and Biology at San Diego State University. Rob’s research is leading to breakthroughs in our understanding of how viruses interact with their hosts, and how viruses samples from around the world carry important genetic information. In 2014 Edwards and his team discovered the crAssphage virus that appears to be present in about half the worlds population.

After receiving his Ph. D. from the University of Sussex, in England studying nitrogen regulation in bacteria, Dr. Edwards moved to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, to study how a leading cause of traveler’s diarrhea (E. coli) causes disease. Dr. Edwards then moved to the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign to study another food-borne pathogen, Salmonella. These studies merged the nascent area of genomics with traditional microbial genetics to investigate how a particular type of Salmonella became the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States.

From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Edwards was an Assistant Professor at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, TN. Here, Dr. Edwards continued his studies on pathogenic bacteria, notably Salmonella and the bioterrorism weapon Francisella. Dr. Edwards received FBI clearance to work on these bacteria, and was invited to the NIH to comment on the use of Select Agents at basic research laboratories. In 2004, Dr. Edwards moved to the non-profit Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes to work at the interface of biologists and computer scientists, and worked with their team at Argonne National Laboratory. He remains an active software developer for Argonne and the Fellowship, developing open source software such as the PERL and Python modules for biological analysis and parallel computing that are used by scientists worldwide.

Using breakout technologies, like pyrosequencing, Ion Torrent sequencing, and high throughput bioinformatics analysis, Dr. Edwards’ studies are pushing the forefront of both sequencing technology and bioinformatics. This work was highlighted in three independent publications in Nature at the start of 2008.

Dr. Edwards is also an advanced scientific SCUBA diver having led teams to study Coral Reefs all over the world. In his spare time, he is an avid international yachtsman, competing in long-distance offshore races.