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. 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 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.

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.

Smithsonian Contributors

Cristina Castillo is currently the project coordinator for the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). Her previous work at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History includes program assistant for the Latin American and Caribbean Countries Collections Management Training Program and Program Coordinator for the inaugural year of the Youth Engagement through Science! (YES!) program. She came to the museum two years ago as a research intern in the Vertebrate Zoology Department. She studied ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Texas at Austin and looks forward to continuing her education in marine conservation biology.

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.

Dr. Carole Baldwin is a well-respected authority on marine biology, especially tropical-marine and deep-sea fishes. She grew up in coastal South Carolina and studied at James Madison University, the College of Charleston, and the College of William and Mary. She has published over five dozen scientific articles, and her work includes the discovery of new species of fishes in Belize, Tobago, Cook Islands, Australia, El Salvador and the Galápagos Islands.

Dr. Baldwin is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Aquarium, D.C. Venue. She has devoted much time to sharing her experiences as a marine biologist with students and the general public and is a role model for young girls considering careers in science. Dr. Baldwin is senior author of One Fish, Two Fish, Crawfish, Bluefish -- The Smithsonian Sustainable Seafood Cookbook, which features educational information and recipes for U.S. seafood species fished or farmed in an environmentally sound manner. Most recently, Dr. Baldwin served as a curator of the Sant Ocean Hall at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History where she holds the position of Research Zoologist in the Division of Fishes.

Daniel B. Botkin has 45 years of experience in ecological research and solving major environmental problems. He began research on possible ecological effects of global warming in 1968 and has been a major contributor to this research since. He helped NASA begin the use of satellite observations of Earth's ecosystems; helped the National Science Foundation start its program in long-term ecological research; developed the first successful and best-validated computer model of ecosystems, widely used around the world, including forecasting effects of climate change on forests. He has published 15 books, including books for lay people about what it is like to do ecological research and his adventures in the field, and one of the leading college textbooks in environmental science.

Anne Wiley is a Peter Buck postdoctoral fellow at the National Museum of Natural History in the Division of Birds. She uses molecular tools such as stable isotopes to study modern and ancient vertebrate populations, and is particularly interested in seabirds and the influence of humans on their biology.