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

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.

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.

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.

Oceana seeks to make our oceans as rich, healthy and abundant as they once were. We believe in the importance of science in identifying problems and solutions. Our scientists work closely with our teams of economists, lawyers and advocates to achieve tangible results for the oceans.
Our campaigns are working to do the following:
• Protect marine habitats and creatures, such as sea turtles and sharks, that are most at risk from irresponsible fishing methods.
• Combat the effects of pollution and climate change on the oceans and advocate for clean energy and an end to offshore drilling.
• Protect some of the world’s most beautiful and threatened marine places, from the Arctic to Patagonia.
The good news is that we can restore our oceans to their former glory. In many cases, laws governing fishing and pollution already exist – we simply need enforcement.

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 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.

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 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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

Smithsonian Contributors

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.

Trina Bayard is the Director of Bird Conservation at Washington Audubon. In addition to her formative experiences exploring Puget Sound tide-pools and Cascade mountain meadows, Trina's path to Audubon includes more than ten years of experience on a broad range of plant and wildlife studies in eastern Oregon, coastal California and coastal Connecticut including her doctoral research on Saltmarsh Sparrows. She has worked in the public and private sectors and has studied and traveled in East Africa and Southeast Asia. She holds a Ph.D in Ecology from the University of Connecticut, and earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Lewis & Clark College.

Anne Wiley is a Peter Buck postdoctoral fellow at the National Museum of Natural History in the Division of Birds. She uses molecular tools such as stable isotopes to study modern and ancient vertebrate populations, and is particularly interested in seabirds and the influence of humans on their biology.

Jessica is a PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park and research student at the Smithsonian. She is broadly interested in marine invertebrate evolution and systematics, but her main focus has been primarily on opisthobranchs (sea slugs). Her research will focus on the systematics of a group of sea slugs called Cladobranchia and the evolution of nematocyst sequestration in that group.

Jessica has been a diver since the age of twelve and the activity is close to her heart. She is a Senior Naut in the non-profit organization called SCUBAnauts International, which inspires kids to be actively involved in the marine sciences while teaching leadership skills. Aside from diving, she is an avid runner and takes pride in learning. Jessica is the salutatorian of her graduating class at Dixie M. Hollins and will attend the University of Florida in fall of 2015. Thanks in part to the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, she hopes to become a physical therapist.