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.

Dr. Megan N. Dethier is a Research Professor in the Biology Department at the University of Washington but is in full-time residence at the Friday Harbor Laboratories. She did her undergraduate work at Carleton College in Minnesota, despite the apparent lack of ocean there, then PhD work under Bob Paine at the University of Washington, near a real ocean. Since 1976 she has been in working on the shoreline ecology of the Pacific Northwest. Her first love is rocky shores, but she now also works in mud, gravel, and salt marsh habitats. She designed a marine habitat classification system for Washington state, and has worked with the National Park Service and various Washington agencies designing shoreline mapping and monitoring programs. Her current research efforts are mostly focused in Puget Sound, investigating the linkage between physical features of shoreline habitats and their biota, and the effects of human impacts (such as shoreline armoring) on this linkage.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Smithsonian Contributors

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.

Erik Zettler joined the Sea Education Association (SEA) in 1994 and works with faculty and administrators at academic institutions to describe the unique off-campus study opportunities in marine studies that SEA programs provide to students from all academic disciplines. In addition, he coordinates and facilitates research collaborations with students, faculty, and scholars interested in data, samples, or ship time on SEA voyages.

Erik is a microbial ecologist and has been a member of the Woods Hole scientific community for many years, having worked as a Research Associate in the Biology Dept. at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before joining SEA. He has participated on over 50 research cruises on SEA and UNOLS vessels and has done field work in Antarctica, Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, Spain, and USA. Whenever possible, he teaches in the field including on board the SEA vessels.

His research interests include microbial ecology, microbial biogeography, extreme environments, and the use of instrumentation and multivariate statistics in microbial research.

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.

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

 

 

Stuart Sandin is a marine ecologist with the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Sandin is trained in both field research and mathematics and has applied both of these skills to consider the role of human activities in altering the structure and functioning of coral reef ecosystems. His research goals are to apply marine ecological insights to improve the management of the world’s imperiled coral reefs. Sandin has been chief scientist on a number of expeditions to the coral reefs of the central Pacific, including the recent cruise to the Southern Line Islands.