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

Dr. Helen Scales is a freelance science writer, documentary-maker and marine biologist based in Cambridge, England. Her stories about the ocean have appeared in Natural History Magazine, the Guardian, BBC Wildlife Magazine and National Geographic News. She makes radio documentaries for the BBC and teaches marine biology at the University of Cambridge. Her latest book, Spirals in Time, examines the secret life and curious afterlife of seashells.

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.

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 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.

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.

Smithsonian Contributors

For the past six years, Matt Dozier has worked as a writer and editor for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is involved with a wide variety of outreach projects and publications, including the magazine Sanctuary Watch, sanctuary brochures, social media outreach, and OceansLIVE streaming Web broadcasts. Matt holds a master’s degree in science-medical writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Marah Hardt and Colleen Howell are Research Co-Directors at Future of Fish (FoF), a non-profit that designs and supports market solutions to ocean challenges. FoF envisions global seafood supply chains that produce legal, traceable, trustworthy fish; that reward responsible fishing with better prices; and that foster resource conservation.

Dr. Michael Webster is Executive Director of the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL). An expert in the fields of coral reef science and conservation management, Michael earned a Ph.D. in coral reef fish ecology from Oregon State University. Prior to joining CORAL, Michael coordinated scientific research for Oregon State University’s Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), and later managed grants for the conservation, management, and scientific understanding of Pacific salmon ecosystems at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Michael is a certified divemaster and has conducted coral reef field research in the Bahamas and Australia.

Mark J. Spalding is the President of The Ocean Foundation and is an authority on international ocean policy and law. He is the former Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program, and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development, at the Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS), UC-San Diego. Spalding has also taught at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD's Muir College, UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, and University of San Diego's School of Law. He was a research fellow at UCSD's Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a Sustainability Institute – Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a SeaWeb Senior Fellow. He is chair emeritus of the National Board of Directors of the Surfrider Foundation, and was the chair of the environmental law section of the California State Bar Association. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a Master in Pacific International Affairs from IR/PS.

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.