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 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 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.
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John spent his youth in the fog in San Francisco playing in the halls of the Steinhart Aquarium, the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. On weekends with favorable tides, his family drove up the coast to spend the afternoon “tidepooling.” And for vacations they backpacked in the Marble Mountains, Sierra and Cascades, wherever they were least likely to encounter others on foot. Only later did he realize that not all young boys had fathers who took great joy and pride in identifying and telling stories about most of the flora and fauna of the western states. Curiosity about nature, how it works, and why—instilled by these early experiences—formed the foundation of what was to come.
A biology major at Lewis and Clark college with an intense interest in literature and philosophy, John was headed to medical school when he discovered the concept of natural selection, which he still thinks is the most important and powerful idea in all of western thought. An almost random single application to grad school at Cornell University resulted in an acceptance letter followed quickly by a nearly non-stop road trip across the US (an inordinate time spent crossing Montana!) in a VW bug loaded to the headliner with a stereo and speakers, all the best LPs from the 60’s, and other essentials.
An early field course in methods in behavior and ecology transported John from the dark cold days of an Ithaca spring to the much warmer and sunnier Gulf Coast of Florida where he first saw and studied fiddler crabs. But primate behavior, particularly howler monkey social behavior, had become John’s passion (why DO they howl?), so John first had to find out first-hand how difficult it is to study big mammals in the tropics. Tired of looking up with craned neck high in the canopy at silhouettes of what he thought were howler monkeys doing uncertain things, he instead waited for the tide to recede, opened a lawn chair, picked up a pair of binoculars, and proceeded to spend the next 40 years—30 of those in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute—observing and doing experiments in the field to understand the reproductive behavior and ecology of fiddler crabs.
Andrew Solow is a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where he has worked since 1985. His research is in the field of environmental and ecological statistics. He holds a PhD from Stanford University.
Jessica is a PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park and research student at the Smithsonian. She is broadly interested in marine invertebrate evolution and systematics, but her main focus has been primarily on opisthobranchs (sea slugs). Her research will focus on the systematics of a group of sea slugs called Cladobranchia and the evolution of nematocyst sequestration in that group.
Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in the Republic of Panama collect and analyze data for use in studies on coral bleaching and the fluctuations in ocean temperatures that is known as the El Niño phenomenon. Recent studies by STRI researchers have revealed that coral reefs contain on average nearly five times as many species as had previously been realized. STRI is perhaps most widely known for discovering that sex change is quite normal for coral reef fishes.