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

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

MarViva is a regional, non-governmental organization focusing on the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources involving protection and support for the management of marine protected areas. MarViva works in Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama.

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.

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

The Smithsonian Marine Science Network is a unique array of laboratories and research vessels that spans the latitudinal gradient of the western Atlantic and crosses the isthmus of Panama. Research focus is on the Chesapeake Bay, Indian River Lagoon, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, and the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Panama.

The Smithsonian Marine Science Symposium contained over 70 oral and poster presentations by Smithsonian scholars and collaborators and represented the first major dissemination of marine research results since the establishment of the Marine Science Network (MSN) in 1998. The MSN operates a unique array of laboratories and research vessels that spans the latitudinal gradient of the western Atlantic (Chesapeake Bay, Indian River Lagoon, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and Panamanian Coast) and crosses the isthmus of Panama. The Network is dedicated to understanding the rich biodiversity and complex ecosystem dynamics that sustain coastal processes and productivity. We study evolutionary, ecological, and environmental change in the ocean’s coastal zones, increasing scientific knowledge of these environments, and improving society’s appreciation of the ocean’s effect on our lives. Coastal environments are of immense economic and environmental importance and comprise 95% of the ocean’s fisheries. Our coasts are the most densely populated and fastest growing communities in the U.S. The MSN ensures integrated support of “Discovering and Understanding Life’s Diversity,” a core Smithsonian scientific mission. MSN goals are to ensure that the whole of the integrated Network is larger than the sum of its parts leading to enhanced productivity through collaborative and comparative research, marine infrastructure development and support, professional training and outreach, and effective allocation of resources.

Doug Fenner received his BA from Reed College in 1971. While in college, he spent a couple of summers at a marine lab in Hawaii assisting professors in their research, when he published a paper on sea urchin anatomy. He went on to get a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and a first career in animal behavior.

During that period, Doug began scuba diving on Caribbean reefs, going on to publish several papers describing the coral reefs of several islands for the first time. He learned that to describe a reef you need to know how to identify coral species, and at that time field guides to corals were rudimentary. He then turned his attention to Hawaii, studying the coral species there, and eventually publishing a book Corals of Hawaii. Doug then spent two years in the Philippines helping NGOs survey reefs for choosing MPA (Marine Protected Area) sites, and learning to identify many more species of coral.

After that, he moved to Australia, where he worked at the Australian Institute of Marine Science for Dr. J.E.N. Veron, one of the world’s top coral taxonomists. During his 6 years there, he joined several research expeditions to places like the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Andaman Islands (India) and Rodrigues Island in the Indian Ocean. He then moved to American Samoa, accepting a position in the Dept. of Marine & Wildlife Resources of the American Samoa government, doing coral reef monitoring there supported by grants from NOAA. There were more trips to a variety of other reefs for coral surveys.

Doug has been in American Samoa for 11 years now, and now is a consultant, primarily working for NOAA on the coral species proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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.

My name is Madison Stewart, to my friends ‘pip’ (dads a pirate, mums a hippy, and so I became ‘pippy’) but probably now known better as ‘shark girl’. I began scuba diving at age 12, left school at age 14 to begin home schooling and picked up an underwater camera for the first time. I have always grown up in the oceans, living on a yacht form the age of two and then growing up on the water in Australia’s Gold Coast. At 12 years old I was a certified open water diver at Sundive in Byron Bay, where I now live. My next view of the underwater world was the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone has a special memory of wonder from their childhood, my obsession quickly became the Great Barrier Reef. I left school to start home schooling at age 14 and in an agreement with my father I traded my school fees for an underwater video system, a simple tape camera in a housing. From that point on, the sharks, the Great Barrier Reef, and the oceans worldwide became my normality, my classroom and my home.

I work for sharks, they are everything to me, and my story is one of loss at the hands of environmental injustice, and I work to take back what I believe is mine, and that is a future in an ocean that has sharks. The most important career I can hope to be involved in, is the protection of this planet, and thus my own future. I want a future with sharks in it, this is the end I am fighting for. I have seen a change in my lifetime, I am not an activist, or a conservationist, I am just a person, who refuses to believe they will loose their home in their lifetime, at the hands of governments and worldwide neglect of this species. Not now, nor has it ever been impossible for one person to make a difference.

 

Photo: Ernst Stewart

 

 

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.