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 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 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.

EarthEcho International empowers youth to take action that protects and restores our water planet. The organization was founded by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., son of Jacques Yves Cousteau. EarthEcho International is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower youth to take action that protects and restores our water planet. EarthEcho International believes that if we truly want to save our water planet, then we must foster tomorrow’s leaders by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to do. To that end, EarthEcho International engages youth to bring about global change by taking action in their communities, helping them to understand the vital connections between their lives and today's critical ocean and fresh water issues. Our programs leverage cutting-edge technology and the highest quality educational content to empower youth to both understand the conservation issues facing the environment and then take action through service-learning to solve them. The organization was founded by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father Philippe Cousteau Sr., famous son of the legendary explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau.

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.

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.

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 Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society. www.pewtrusts.org

Pew is a major force in educating the public and policy makers about the causes, consequences and solutions to environmental problems. We actively promote strong conservation policies in the United States and internationally. Pew applies a range of tools in pursuit of practical, meaningful solutions-including applied science, public education, sophisticated media and communications, and policy advocacy.

Our marine work is aimed at preserving the biological integrity of marine ecosystems and primarily focuses on efforts to curb overfishing, reduce bycatch and prevent the destruction of marine habitat. Learn more at http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_category.aspx?id=126.

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 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 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 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.

Smithsonian Contributors

With a PhD in marine ecology, a dive master qualification and a healthy dose of adventure, Caine has been travelling the world working on coral and temperate reef ecosystems. He is interested in the patterns and processes influencing reef ecosystems at large scales—such as along entire continental margins. He is also interested in and has worked on many marine protected areas (MPAs) and considers these one of the key components for the future health of reef ecosystems. He has played a role in both the design and implementation monitoring programs for MPAs across the world from Cuba to Mozambique.

Caine also recognizes the importance of engaging the volunteer community to play an important role in science and conservation. Many hands make light work, and the volunteer community can be utilized to increase the amount of surveying effort and data processing for any research program. When not in the water conducting research or taking photos, you will either find Caine rock climbing, surfing, snow boarding or trying to get lost in the mountains.

The Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems program operates out of the Carrie Bow Cay field station, located on the unique Meso-American Barrier reef in Belize. Carrie Bow Cay has been in operation since 1972 and hosts up to 100 scientists annually. The work done at the station investigates the vital interactions between species and their environment, not only on coral reefs, but also in the important and interconnected seagrass and mangrove ecosystems. Discoveries made at Carrie Bow Cay impact the preservation of these critically endangered systems.

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.

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.

Laura Brodbeck is currently working as a youth internship coordinator at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology--with a focus on evolutionary biology--from Queen’s University, Canada.

Laura worked in a toxicology lab researching hypertension in the kidneys before she headed off to Japan for a year to teach English. She continues to share her combined interests in science and education through her work at the museum and contributions to the Ocean Portal.