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 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 Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is a US-based non-profit foundation dedicated to conserving and restoring ocean ecosystems. The Foundation’s strength lies in its multi-disciplinary network of marine scientists, dedication to applied science, and use of technology to conduct rapid ecological assessments.The Foundation surveys coral-reefs using a state-of-the-art research ship which allows the science team to reach remote and often unstudied locations.

In 2011 the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation launched the Global Reef Expedition, a six year study of coral reefs around the world. The scientific goals of the Expedition are to map and characterize coral reef ecosystems, identify their current status and major threats, and examine factors that enhance their resistance to and recovery from major disturbances such as bleaching. The Foundation conducts research in association with local partner scientists .The scientific results are shared freely with participating countries, scientific and regulatory organizations, and the public. They will be used by countries for developing sound management strategies for coral reefs and marine conservation.

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.

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest environmental network, with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organization, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in over 160 countries. IUCN’s Global Marine Programme (GMP) pioneers pragmatic solutions to marine environmental challenges. The Programme highlights science and technology for the sustainable management and conservation of marine ecosystems by connecting scientists and conservationists with decision-makers in governments and with private and public sector partners across its extensive network to develop policy, laws and best practices. Through its comprehensive network, GMP provides a convening power, connecting members and partners on both national and regional scales. IUCN’s recognized imprimatur serves to amplify leading voices in ocean conservation. GMP uses its strategic communication and outreach skills to advance science-based solutions, mobilize decision-makers, the media and raise public awareness on key marine issues from climate change and endangered species to fisheries and marine world heritage. In addition GMP works alongside IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Marine to promote the establishment and effective management of a world-wide representative network of marine protected areas.

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

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.

The Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems program operates out of the Carrie Bow Cay field station, located on the unique Meso-American Barrier reef in Belize. Carrie Bow Cay has been in operation since 1972 and hosts up to 100 scientists annually. The work done at the station investigates the vital interactions between species and their environment, not only on coral reefs, but also in the important and interconnected seagrass and mangrove ecosystems. Discoveries made at Carrie Bow Cay impact the preservation of these critically endangered systems.

Igor Krupnik is Curator of Arctic and Northern Ethnology collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. He is currently in charge of some 30,000 ethnological objects at the NMNH originating from Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Siberia, and the southern portion of the NW Coast. He has degrees in Geography (1973, University of Moscow), ethnography/cultural anthropology (Ph.D. 1977, Institute of Ethnology, Russian Academy of Sciences), and in ecology/subsistence management (Full Doctorate, 1991, Institute of Ecology, Russian Academy of Sciences). His area of expertise includes modern cultures, ecological knowledge, and cultural heritage of the people of the Arctic, primarily in Alaska and Siberia; culture change and contact history; human ecology; history of Arctic science and Arctic indigenous studies; impact of modern climate change on Arctic residents, their economies, and cultures. For the past twenty years, he has worked with local Yupik and Inupiat communities in the Bering Strait Region (in Alaska and Russia) on various collaborative efforts, primarily in the documentation, publication, and sharing cultural knowledge with the host communities, and in opening archival and museum collections for people’s use in educational and heritage programs. He published and edited several books and collections, and numerous papers, including five edited volumes on indigenous knowledge and use of sea ice, and observations of Arctic environmental change

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.

Katrina Lohan is a MarineGEO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution and is co-advised by Dr. Gregory Ruiz at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and Dr. Robert Fleischer at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the National Zoological Park. Her current research involves using genetic tools to examine diversity, host specificity, and distribution of oyster parasites in various locations throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean waters.

Katrina's work has brought her to Southampton College of Long Island University where she majored in Marine Science. While there, Katrina became particularly fascinated with the use of genetic tools to be able to study marine organisms and wanted to learn more about these techniques. To do this, she obtained a Master’s degree in Biology from American University. Her Master’s thesis involved the use of genetic tools to examine parasite lineages infecting a small migratory songbird, the common yellowthroat. It was through this work that she became fascinated by parasites and disease ecology. She went on to obtain a PhD in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary. Her PhD research was conducted at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and involved examining the distribution, host specificity, and population genetics of a parasitic dinoflagellate that infects crustaceans, notably the American blue crab.