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

Caty Fairclough, an Ocean Portal writing intern, is a rising senior at Brandeis University and is a dual major in Environmental Studies and Creative Writing. She spent her childhood reading as many library books about the ocean as possible and spending a large amount of time at the beach. Last summer she interned at the Connecticut Audubon Society teaching children about flora, fauna, and their local marine environment. This summer she has the privilege of interning at the Ocean Portal.

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 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.

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.

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 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 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 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.

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 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.

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 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.

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that represents 95 of the leading public and private ocean research education institutions, aquaria and industry with the mission to advance research, education and sound ocean policy. The organization also manages ocean research and education programs in areas of scientific ocean drilling, ocean observing, ocean exploration, and ocean partnerships. Specifically, Ocean Leadership manages the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), the Census of Marine Life (CoML), the U.S. Science Support Program, the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), and the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB). Ocean Leadership’s vision is a global society that views its own well-being as intimately connected to the ocean.

Smithsonian Contributors

Seabird McKeon is a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Marine Science Network. His work focuses on the role of interspecies interactions in the formation and maintenance of biodiversity. 

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.

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.

Caty Fairclough, an Ocean Portal writing intern, is a rising senior at Brandeis University and is a dual major in Environmental Studies and Creative Writing. She spent her childhood reading as many library books about the ocean as possible and spending a large amount of time at the beach. Last summer she interned at the Connecticut Audubon Society teaching children about flora, fauna, and their local marine environment. This summer she has the privilege of interning at the Ocean Portal.

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.