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 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

The National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) brings together those interested in the study and appreciation of both fresh and salt water and provides a focus for marine and aquatic studies all over the world. The NMEA organization includes professionals in education, science, business, government, museums, aquariums and marine research.

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.

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 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 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 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.

Smithsonian Contributors

Dennis Waters is a lichenologist from Lawrence Township, NJ, who has been intrigued by lichens since childhood. He decided to pursue their serious study following the publication of Dr. Irwin M. Brodo’s Lichens of North America in 2001. A retired Internet publisher, Dr. Waters spends much of his spare time cataloging the lichens of central New Jersey, leading local lichen workshops, and traveling around eastern North America on organized forays to study lichen ecology. He received his Ph.D. in advanced technology from the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University.

Irwin Brodo was a Research Lichenologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature for 35 years, and was the Chief of the Botany Division for over eight. A native of New York City, he received a B.S. from City College in New York, an M.S. in biology from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in botany from Michigan State University. He has published over 90 research papers, mainly in the fields of lichen taxonomy and ecology, including several monographs, numerous papers on British Columbia lichens, and an identification guidebook on the lichens of the Ottawa Region, now in its second edition. Although interested in lichens of all kinds, he mainly focuses on the less conspicuous crustose species.

Dr. Nancy Knowlton is the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a scientific leader of the Census of Marine Life. She wrote the book, Citizens of the Sea, to celebrate the ten years of the Census. She founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego. Knowlton has devoted her life to studying, celebrating, and striving to protect the multitude of life-forms that call the sea home. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.

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.

Monica Palaseanu-Lovejoy is a research geographer at the U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center. She received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Engineering Geology from the University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania, the Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Policy as a Fulbright Scholar from the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on remote sensing image analysis and interpretation, geographic information systems, exploratory spatial data analysis, spatial statistics, geomorphology and environmental numerical modeling.

I am a marine microbiologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. My research is centered on the microbiomes of marine animals, and especially those that are threatened or endangered including marine mammals and corals. Research in my laboratory uses molecular and microscopy-based techniques to characterize animal-microbiomes. I seek to understand the potential for microorganisms to aid in the health of their host, or to provide information about the ocean environment that these animals inhabit.