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

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

JAMSTEC was reorganized on 1 April 2004 with the main objective to promote marine scientific research and related technology, and to contribute to the advancement of academic research with engagement in fundamental research and development concerning ocean, and in cooperative activities on academic research related to the Ocean, for the benefit of peace and human welfares.

JAMSTEC considers the Earth as a unique system which is largely influenced by the Ocean and is involved in a wide scope of fundamental research to improve our knowledge on global environmental change through observational research, prediction research, and related technological development. At the same time, JAMSTEC aims to contribute to the sustainable advancement of the human community and to endeavor to ensure its peace and security, socio-economic development, and the improvement and expansion of knowledge enabling the scientific research results and other outcomes of the Agency's activities available to the public and further speeded knowledge and cognizance.

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 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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

Smithsonian Contributors

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.

Kristina Cammen is a PhD candidate at the Duke University Marine Lab broadly interested in ocean health and molecular ecology. Kristina uses molecular techniques to study threats to marine mammal populations. Her recent research has investigated susceptibility to harmful algal blooms in Florida bottlenose dolphins, the role of genetic diversity and declining ice cover in U.S. harp seal strandings, and immune system genetics in grey seals in the United Kingdom.

Brianne Soulen is a first year PhD student at the University of North Texas working in an aquatic toxicology lab. She has broad interests in toxicology, with an emphasis on heavy metals, and genetics on marine mammal and seabird species. Her recent research has investigated the methylation of sediments due to burrowing activity, the speciation of mercury in fish livers, the role of genetic diversity and declining ice cover in U.S. harp seal strandings, and mercury contamination in red snapper from the Gulf of Mexico.

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.

Jeremy Jackson is the scientific director of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, senior advisor on coral reefs for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, emeritus professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and emeritus staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

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.