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

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 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.

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 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.

Smithsonian Contributors

Stuart Sandin is a marine ecologist with the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Sandin is trained in both field research and mathematics and has applied both of these skills to consider the role of human activities in altering the structure and functioning of coral reef ecosystems. His research goals are to apply marine ecological insights to improve the management of the world’s imperiled coral reefs. Sandin has been chief scientist on a number of expeditions to the coral reefs of the central Pacific, including the recent cruise to the Southern Line Islands.

Courtney Gerstenmaier is a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow spending her time jointly with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the NOAA Fisheries Communication Office. She is working with the ocean education and outreach team at NMNH focusing on the topics of climate change and fisheries. Courtney’s love of water started at young age when her family took her to a lake in Michigan and overtime this love transitioned into a love for the ocean. She received her undergraduate and masters degrees in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston, where she worked on the impacts of a non-native species of seaweed on a southeastern mudflat. Courtney is really interested in species interactions and what happens when something disturbs their natural equilibrium. Her favorite sea creatures are spotted eagle rays, whale sharks, and deep sea isopods and amphipods.

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.

Erik Zettler joined the Sea Education Association (SEA) in 1994 and works with faculty and administrators at academic institutions to describe the unique off-campus study opportunities in marine studies that SEA programs provide to students from all academic disciplines. In addition, he coordinates and facilitates research collaborations with students, faculty, and scholars interested in data, samples, or ship time on SEA voyages.

Erik is a microbial ecologist and has been a member of the Woods Hole scientific community for many years, having worked as a Research Associate in the Biology Dept. at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before joining SEA. He has participated on over 50 research cruises on SEA and UNOLS vessels and has done field work in Antarctica, Bermuda, Canada, Costa Rica, Spain, and USA. Whenever possible, he teaches in the field including on board the SEA vessels.

His research interests include microbial ecology, microbial biogeography, extreme environments, and the use of instrumentation and multivariate statistics in microbial research.

Dr. Nancy Knowlton is the Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a scientific leader of the Census of Marine Life. She wrote the book, Citizens of the Sea, to celebrate the ten years of the Census. She founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego. Knowlton has devoted her life to studying, celebrating, and striving to protect the multitude of life-forms that call the sea home. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.