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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
As a kid, Chris Meyer filled his closet with shoeboxes of baseball cards, sand from various beaches, anything that indulged his “hyper-active collector gene.” Now, as a Smithsonian scientist and the Director of the Moorea Biocode Project, Chris has turned his hobby into a full-time job collecting and studying marine life in spectacular places like Moorea. Chris’ work is helping to document marine biodiversity, figure out how ecosystems function, and predict how they will respond to change. These are big issues to tackle, because in most of the ocean, the more you look, the more life forms you find. “I see it as a kind of huge scavenger hunt,” Chris says. “It’s very rewarding to pursue questions you are curious about.”
Sean Sheldrake is part of the Seattle EPA Dive unit and is also a project manager working on the Portland Harbor cleanup in Oregon. He serves on the EPA diving safety board, responsible for setting EPA diving policy requirements.
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.