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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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 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 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 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.

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 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 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.

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.

Smithsonian Contributors

Ed is mostly an evolutionary biologist, with ecology, biogeography, molecular and developmental biology thrown in the mix. Hailing from Argentina, he completed his undergraduate studies at the Universidad Nacional del Comahue (Bariloche, Argentina) and later obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park (USA). He is currently a visiting scientist at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. While his current work focuses on the distribution of regenerative ability in marine worms, he has amputated a variety of other critters, and also worked in freshwater ecology and biogeography, and even as an IT developer.

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

Ari S. Friedlaender is a research scientist at the Duke University Marine Laboratory and an Associate Researcher with Southall Environmental Associates in Aptos, CA. Dr. Friedlaender’s work focuses on using tag technology to study the forgaing ecology of baleen whales around the world. Dr. Friedlaender has helped to develop novel analytical tools to better visualize the underwater feeding behavior of baleen whales and how these relate to changes in their environment.

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.

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.