Ocean Collaborators

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

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 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 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coastal and deep waters, the Census is identifying new organisms, collecting new information on ocean life, analyzing historical documents, and modeling future ecosystems.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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

Tina Tennessen has a background in radio journalism and loves hearing a good story. She is a science writer, web editor, and a former radio producer. Before joining the Ocean Portal team as a web content and social media producer in early 2011, she held the position of Public Affairs Officer at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Md. While at SERC, Tina created and edited a news blog called Shorelines and publicized Smithsonian research and educational programs, generating press coverage and public attention for issues such as ocean acidification, hypoxia, invasive species, sea-level rise, shoreline development, and over-fishing. Tina grew up near five of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes and feels fortunate to be working among marine scientists who have dedicated their lives to understanding the underwater realm and the issues that affect it.

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.

Trish Mace is an Ocean Education Specialist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. She also manages the Museum’s partnership with the National Science Foundation’s Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence. Trish enjoys sharing her excitement for ocean discovery and fostering an awareness of ways we are all connected to the ocean.