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

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.

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.

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.

Save Our Seas Foundation is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Its purpose is to implement and support diverse Conservation, Awareness, Research and Education (CARE) programmes centred around the protection of the Earth's marine environment.

The global threats facing the marine environment lie at the core of all the projects funded by Save Our Seas Foundation. Overfishing, pollution and lack of effective resource management of the marine environment is destroying our ocean’s habitats and threatens the existence of many marine species.

Since its launch in 2003 the Save Our Seas Foundation has provided funding and support for over 100 diverse projects in more than 40 countries: from funding a patrol boat to help prevent illegal fishing of hammerhead sharks in Costa Rica, to the long-term funding of research into the behavioural ecology of great white sharks in South Africa.

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.

Smithsonian Contributors

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.

Jennifer Sneed is a research biologist at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce studying chemically mediated interactions between organisms in the marine environment. She specializes in understanding the roles that marine microbes play in the ecological interactions of other organisms. She has a MS in biology from the University of South Florida and a PhD in analytical chemistry from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. Jennifer began working at the Smithsonian Marine Station as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011 and was hired on as a full time research biologist in the fall of 2012.

Yachtmans, scuba diver, and scientist, Dr. Rob Edwards works at the interface of biology and computing as an Associate Professor at the Departments of Computer Science and Biology at San Diego State University. Rob’s research is leading to breakthroughs in our understanding of how viruses interact with their hosts, and how viruses samples from around the world carry important genetic information. In 2014 Edwards and his team discovered the crAssphage virus that appears to be present in about half the worlds population.

After receiving his Ph. D. from the University of Sussex, in England studying nitrogen regulation in bacteria, Dr. Edwards moved to the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, to study how a leading cause of traveler’s diarrhea (E. coli) causes disease. Dr. Edwards then moved to the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign to study another food-borne pathogen, Salmonella. These studies merged the nascent area of genomics with traditional microbial genetics to investigate how a particular type of Salmonella became the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States.

From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Edwards was an Assistant Professor at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, TN. Here, Dr. Edwards continued his studies on pathogenic bacteria, notably Salmonella and the bioterrorism weapon Francisella. Dr. Edwards received FBI clearance to work on these bacteria, and was invited to the NIH to comment on the use of Select Agents at basic research laboratories. In 2004, Dr. Edwards moved to the non-profit Fellowship for Interpretation of Genomes to work at the interface of biologists and computer scientists, and worked with their team at Argonne National Laboratory. He remains an active software developer for Argonne and the Fellowship, developing open source software such as the PERL and Python modules for biological analysis and parallel computing that are used by scientists worldwide.

Using breakout technologies, like pyrosequencing, Ion Torrent sequencing, and high throughput bioinformatics analysis, Dr. Edwards’ studies are pushing the forefront of both sequencing technology and bioinformatics. This work was highlighted in three independent publications in Nature at the start of 2008.

Dr. Edwards is also an advanced scientific SCUBA diver having led teams to study Coral Reefs all over the world. In his spare time, he is an avid international yachtsman, competing in long-distance offshore races.

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.

Jessica has been a diver since the age of twelve and the activity is close to her heart. She is a Senior Naut in the non-profit organization called SCUBAnauts International, which inspires kids to be actively involved in the marine sciences while teaching leadership skills. Aside from diving, she is an avid runner and takes pride in learning. Jessica is the salutatorian of her graduating class at Dixie M. Hollins and will attend the University of Florida in fall of 2015. Thanks in part to the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, she hopes to become a physical therapist.