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 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.

Laetitia Plaisance is a marine biologist who received her doctor of philosophy degree from the university of Perpignan in France. She has since been studying coral reefs in many locations around the world. As a research scientist at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, she specialized in the study of coral reef biodiversity. She has developed, as part of the international Census of Marine life project, new methods to assess and monitor this extraordinary and threatened diversity. In collaboration with the Australian Institute of Marine Science she is now exploring how ocean acidification will impact coral reef biodiversity in the future and the ecological consequences for the entire ecosystem.

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 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.

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.

Smithsonian Contributors

Monica Palaseanu-Lovejoy is a research geographer at the U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center. She received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Engineering Geology from the University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania, the Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Policy as a Fulbright Scholar from the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on remote sensing image analysis and interpretation, geographic information systems, exploratory spatial data analysis, spatial statistics, geomorphology and environmental numerical modeling.

Stephen Kress is Vice-President for Bird Conservation for the National Audubon Society, Director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Director of the Hog Island Audubon Camp. His career has focused on developing techniques for managing colonial nesting seabirds. In this role, he manages 13 seabird nesting islands in Maine that are home to more than 42,000 seabirds of 27 species. Each year his program trains about 20 interns; hundreds of professional seabird biologists can trace their first interest in seabirds to Project Puffin. Methods first developed in Maine such as chick translocations and social attraction are now standard practice worldwide. Dr. Kress received his Ph.D. from Cornell University and his Master’s and undergraduate degrees from Ohio State University.

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.

Ari S. Friedlaender is a research scientist at the Duke University Marine Laboratory and an Associate Researcher with Southall Environmental Associates in Aptos, CA. Dr. Friedlaender’s work focuses on using tag technology to study the forgaing ecology of baleen whales around the world. Dr. Friedlaender has helped to develop novel analytical tools to better visualize the underwater feeding behavior of baleen whales and how these relate to changes in their environment.

As the Scientific Diving Safety Officer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Christian McDonald, manages the oldest and one of the largest and most active scientific diving programs in the United States. Christian’s interest in marine science began as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) while studying kelp forest ecological dynamics both in Central California and later on the remote island of Shemya, in the outer Aleutian chain, southwest of Alaska. Upon graduation from UCSC with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology, Christian spent 5 years working in and exploring diverse locations around Antarctica as a scientific diver, natural history cinematographer, commercial diver, and senior marine technician aboard National Science Foundation (NSF) supported polar classed research vessels. In addition to the scientific diving training, support, and oversight provided to the Scripps research community, Christian has recently served as chair of NSF’s Office of Polar Programs Diving Control Board and is a Past-President of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.