Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2020


9 Jun, 2020

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Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2020: Biodiversity

The breadth of life in our ocean and Great Lakes is astounding. A healthy planet is essential to our health, well-being, and economic livelihood. Nature provides the clean air we breathe, the fresh water we drink, the food we eat, the medicines we take, and the raw materials we use. It is estimated that, globally, nature provides services worth $125 trillion a year. Nature also contributes up to one-third to global climate change mitigation efforts. Scientific studies document the threats facing our planet from climate change, overfishing and habitat losses, and they also inform the solutions for policymakers. 2020 provides the opportunity for a turning point to begin reversing the trend of biodiversity loss and restoring nature for the good of the planet and all of us who depend on it.  

Protecting biodiversity and building a sustainable global economy that protects nature is critical to people’s health and well-being. With its accessible virtual format, Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2020 is the opportunity for people from across the U.S. and the globe to engage in dialogue on actions we can take to conserve the variety of life on Earth for the long term health of our communities and the planet.   

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2020 Plenary Sessions

Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection Sponsored by Nestlé

Across the globe, nations are expanding marine and freshwater protected areas to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services, mitigate the effects of climate change, and safeguard areas critical to communities and sustainable food production. While the percentage of protected waters grows, however, we are still losing species and habitats at an ever-accelerating rate. How can we effectively halt this trend? What does effective protection mean?


Global Action for Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity Sponsored by the UN Foundation

Many called 2020 the “super year for the ocean” with events and actions planned at the World Ocean Summit in Japan, the high seas negotiations in New York, the U.N. Ocean Conference in Lisbon, the World Conservation Congress in Marseille, Our Ocean Conference in Palau, U.N. Committee on Fisheries in Rome, the Convention on Biodiversity’s COP15 in China, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s COP26 in Glasgow. Leaders from across the UN system share their insights into the ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus, how work is progressing to ensure the health of our global ocean, what the coronavirus pandemic has meant to these efforts in 2020, and what happens next.


High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean Sponsored by The Philip Stephenson Foundation

The high seas lie beyond any nation’s exclusive economic zone, the 200 nautical miles from a country’s shore. Covering two-thirds of our ocean, the high seas belong to everyone and no one. Their health and sustainable management is vital to our global ocean and to people’s livelihoods. Climate change, overfishing, shipping, plastic pollution and mining pose growing threats. Learn why protecting the high seas is important and how first-ever global efforts are defining how nations can join together in governance of these waters.   


A New Age of Exploration

The ocean depths are our planet’s last frontier. People feel an innate curiosity about what lies below the waves and in the darkest depths. New partnerships and technologies, such as submersibles, artificial intelligence and eDNA, are making it possible to explore deeper and further from shore, helping us take the pulse of our planet and the life it sustains. Join us for a discussion on how exploration and improved scientific knowledge can strengthen management and governance of the marine environment for the health of our ocean and the people, communities, and businesses that rely on it.

2020 Concurrent Sessions

Cooperating for Our Global Ocean

From seabed mapping to biodiversity monitoring, nations are coming together to enhance understanding of the ocean and all species living in it. Hear more about these global initiatives and partnerships to document diversity and track changes. 

Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring Sponsored by XPRIZE

Drones, robots, and other modern tools are expanding our reach, reducing costs, and enhancing impact in biodiversity restoration and monitoring. In this panel, hear about exciting achievements and new approaches. 

Inspiring Action with Media and Art

Stories and visual media can ignite the mind in a way that talk and text don’t, providing opportunity for education, emotional connection, and broader public engagement in biodiversity conservation. In this session, see how creative minds are using stories, photography, and sculpture to put biodiversity issues in front of new audiences and inspire action.

Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature Sponsored by the Marine Mammal Commission

What does biodiversity loss mean for us and what actions can we take to turn the trajectory around? During this plenary, we will hear from emerging voices in science, technology, and conservation on why we need to conserve a variety of life on earth, our role in stewardship of nature, and the integration of biodiversity protection into our economy.

Restoring Our Waters 

From coral reefs to wetlands, restoration can improve habitat and recover species in order to increase biodiversity and ecosystem functions that have been degraded or lost. In this panel, hear from practitioners about their work to restore marine and Great Lakes species and habitats.   

Changing Climate, Changing Strategies Sponsored by COMPASS  

Climate change profoundly affects marine and Great Lakes biodiversity. How do we address climate impacts in our conservation planning? How can local and regional actions have an impact in the face of global change? 

Transformative Technologies 

Crossovers! New collaborations! Across geographies and disciplines, novel thinking and partnerships are helping us better understand and protect biodiversity. This panel will dive in and highlight just a few of these surprising combinations.   

The Power of Protection

How do we define a protected area in our ocean or Great Lakes? Why does protection matter? Learn about the value of area-based management and new ideas that are helping to maximize impact. 

Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2020 Sponsors

Media sponsor

Media sponsor


Avatar: Aaron J. Adams, Ph.D.

Aaron J. Adams, Ph.D.

Speaker - Restoring our Waters

Director of Science and Conservation

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

[simple_tooltip content="Aaron received a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College in Maryland, a Master’s degree from the College of William and Mary, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and also holds a Coast Guard Captain’s License. He has lived, worked, and fished on both coasts of the US, and in the Caribbean, where he has been conducting fish research for more than 25 years. His pursuit of effective fish and habitat conservation are rooted in his years growing up near Chesapeake Bay, where he witnessed the decline of the Bay’s habitats and fisheries.
As Director of Science and Conservation, Aaron is responsible for formulating, overseeing, and implementing BTT’s science and conservation plan, and applying scientific findings to conservation and management via interactions with resource management agencies and other non-governmental organizations. Aaron has been an author or co-author on more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications, has authored three books, and contributed chapters to four books. You can see his scientific publications on his Researchgate page: In addition to his scientific focus, he spends considerable effort translating fish science into angler’s terms."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Eugen Babau

Eugen Babau

Opening Remarks - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean

Executive Director

The Philip Stephenson Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="Eugen Babau leads the projects of the Philip Stephenson Foundation dedicated to understanding, protecting and enjoying the oceans. Eugen’s affinity for the Caribbean islands for the past 18 years led him to applying his extensive marketing and communications skills to promoting sustainability and conservation in hospitality operations, as well as the creation of marine protected areas in the region.

Eugen’s experience spans more than two decades and six countries, with particular expertise in media relations, government and community relations, public affairs and crisis management. Driven by a sense of mission, he loves immersing himself in new, fluid situations presenting a challenge and the possibility to act as an agent of change. His current interests are in marine conservation, energy and renewable resources, climate and environment, infrastructure and sustainable development including the hospitality industry, social marketing and more.
He also enjoys writing, reading historical novels, traveingl to remote places, discoveries, spicy healthy food, yoga, skiing, swimming and SCUBA diving.

Eugen Babau earned his B.A. in journalism and public relations from California State University, Chico and is a dual citizen of Romania (EU) and the United States, with strong West Indian family influences."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: David Balton

David Balton

Speaker - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean

Senior Fellow

Polar Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center

[simple_tooltip content="David A. Balton joined the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Polar Institute in 2018 as a Senior Fellow. He previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries in the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, attaining the rank of Ambassador in 2006. He was responsible for coordinating the development of U.S. foreign policy concerning oceans and fisheries, and overseeing U.S. participation in international organizations dealing with these issues. His portfolio included managing U.S. foreign policy issues relating to the Arctic and Antarctica.
Ambassador Balton functioned as the lead U.S. negotiator on a wide range of agreements in the field of oceans and fisheries and has chaired numerous international meetings. During the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2015-2017), he served as Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials. His prior Arctic Council experience included co-chairing the Arctic Council Task Forces that produced the 2011 Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and the 2013 Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. He separately chaired negotiations that produced the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Jim Barry, Ph.D.

Jim Barry, Ph.D.

Speaker - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring

Senior Scientist

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

[simple_tooltip content="Jim Barry, a Senior Scientist and Chair of the Research Division at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), is a marine ecologist whose research centers on the influence of natural and human-driven change in ocean conditions in marine ecosystems. His studies have ranged from California’s rocky shores to the marginal seas of Antarctica, combining field observations and experiments with laboratory studies to understand how ocean change, including acidification, warming, and reduced oxygen affects the lives of marine animals and the function of marine ecosystems. Much of his deep-sea field research is based on unmanned robotic submarines that probe the deep ocean with cameras, sensors, and samplers. Currently, these studies have focused on the biology and biodiversity of deep-sea coral gardens on seamounts off the California coast. Deep-sea corals are highly vulnerable to human disturbance and Barry, in collaboration with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, is testing novel methods to restore impacted habitats. Dr. Barry has published over 150 scientific papers, and has helped inform the public and policy-makers on ocean acidification, ocean carbon sequestration, and climate change in congressional briefings and hearings."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Lars Bejder, Ph.D.

Lars Bejder, Ph.D.

Speaker - Transformative Technologies


Marine Mammal Research Program

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Bejder is the Director of the Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP) at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa where he supervises higher degree research students (PhDs and MScs) and is responsible for the academic and strategic development of the MMRP. He has studied various aspects of cetacean biology, ecology and conservation in New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and US (Hawaii, Florida and California). He has published >120 research journal articles and book chapters on cetaceans focusing on behavioral ecology, analysing and developing quantitative methods to evaluate complex animal social structures; evaluating impacts of human activity (coastal development, tourism, habitat degradation) and health assessments. He works closely with wildlife management agencies to optimise the conservation- and management outcomes of his research.

He advises on anthropogenic impacts on cetaceans to: IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group, US Marine Mammal Commission; US National Marine Fisheries Service; Australian Federal Government; Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife; New Zealand Department of Conservation. He currently serves on the Pacific Scientific Review Group (NOAA), and on the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Dr Bejder is an adjunct Professor at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia and at Aarhus University, Denmark.

The focus of his research includes both empirical and applied research themes, many of which support conservation and management objectives. Studies addressing anthropogenic impacts focus on the quantification of the specific effects and overall biological significance of human activities on cetaceans, and the development of appropriate mitigation approaches and management strategies. Research on cetacean population dynamics and behavior involves efforts to assess population connectivity and identify appropriate units for management, to estimate abundance at local and regional scales and assess spatial and temporal patterns in abundance, and to measure and quantify individual behavior in order to examine social structures. His research includes the use of innovative technology (non-invasive suction cup tagging and unoccupied aerial systems; UAS, drones) to quantify habitat use, movements, communication, calf suckling rates and body condition of marine mammals."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Sara J. Bender, Ph.D.

Sara J. Bender, Ph.D.

Speaker - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean

Program Officer

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="Sara is trained as an ocean scientist and has an interdisciplinary background in the environmental and life sciences. She is interested in the development of new tools and technologies to unravel the complexities of the natural world.
At the Moore Foundation, Sara is a member of the Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems and Marine Microbiology Initiatives, where she focuses on understanding how microbes shape the world around us. She also co-manages the Moore Inventor Fellows program, supporting scientist-inventors with a high potential to accelerate progress in the foundation’s areas of interest: scientific discovery, environmental conservation and patient care.
Outside of this work, Sara is interested in how science is portrayed and communicated to broader audiences and is a member of the Science Advisory Board for the Sloan-San Francisco Film Society’s Science in Cinema program.
Prior to joining the foundation, Sara was a postdoctoral scholar in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Sara earned a B.A. in biology at Rutgers University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in biological oceanography at the University of Washington. As part of her research, she participated in scientific cruises, working in the coastal Pacific Northwest, as well as Cape Cod Bay. While she misses her time at sea, she now enjoys the ocean and its mysteries from her surfboard."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Suzanne Bonamici

The Honorable Suzanne Bonamici

Opening Remarks- Changing Climate, Changing Strategies

U.S. House of Representatives, OR-01 and Co-Chair, House Oceans Caucus

Avatar: Meg Caldwell, J.D.

Meg Caldwell, J.D.

Moderator - Plenary: Global Action for Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity

Deputy Director for Oceans

David and Lucile Packard Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="Meg Caldwell joined the Packard Foundation’s Conservation and Science program in April 2015 as Deputy Director, Oceans. She leads the Oceans team where she manages growth in the scale and ambition of our oceans-related grantmaking, provides strategic direction across our subprograms, fosters the increasingly team-oriented approach to this work, and helps to amplify the work of our Foundation and our grantees as a thought leader on ocean conservation issues. Prior to joining the Foundation, Meg directed the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program at Stanford Law School. While at Stanford, she also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS). Meg played a critical role in the creation of COS and led the organization in the development of a Pacific Ocean-wide assessment of the major threats to marine and coastal ecosystems, along with the communities that depend on them—the first assessment of its kind. She also served as a Senior Consultant to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The Commission ultimately adopted a majority of the recommendations for regulatory reform that were developed by COS. Meg served on the California Coastal Commission from 2004-2007 and 2009-2012, including two years as its chairperson, during which time she also served on the board of the California Coastal Conservancy. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1994, Meg was an instructor at San Jose State University; an associate in the environmental law group of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen; and a Policy Analyst with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco. Meg holds a Bachelor’s in Science in business administration (with an emphasis on economic analysis and policy) from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from Stanford Law School."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Ed Case

The Honorable Ed Case

Opening Remarks - The Power of Protection

U.S. House of Representatives, HI-1

Avatar: Dr. Jennifer Caselle

Dr. Jennifer Caselle

Speaker - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring

Research Professor

Marine Science Institute, University of CA Santa Barbara

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Jenn Caselle is a Research Professor with the Marine Science Institute at University of California Santa Barbara in CA, USA. She is a marine ecologist, with specific interests in the study of both kelp forest and coral reef ecosystems. Jenn’s research focuses broadly on the ecology of coastal marine organisms, their role in nearshore ecosystems, and the response of these ecosystems to environmental change and human impacts. Research questions range from early life stages to whole ecosystems, including: (1) understanding connectivity among populations and habitats via movements of larval and of older life stages; (2) investigation of the causes and consequences of demographic and life history variation among populations; and (3) evaluation of changes in the structure and function of kelp forest and coral reef communities associated with marine protection. Through these research themes, Jenn has conducted research on spatial ecology and movements of a variety of temperate and tropical fishes with recent focus on animal mediated nutrient distribution. Jenn helps to lead the monitoring of Marine Protected Areas in California using a variety of tools across multiple habitats."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Kathy Castor

The Honorable Kathy Castor

Opening Remarks- Changing Climate, Changing Strategies

U.S. House of Representatives, FL-14 and Chair, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

Avatar: Julie Cattiau

Julie Cattiau

Speaker - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring

Product Manager

Google A.I.

[simple_tooltip content="Julie is a Product Manager in Google AI, specifically focused on Google’s AI for Social Good program. She is involved with the bioacoustics project at Google, which goal is to use AI to help monitor endangered species thanks to sounds."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Vince Cavalieri

Vince Cavalieri

Speaker - Restoring our Waters

Wildlife Biologist

National Park Service

[simple_tooltip content="A Michigan native, Vince is a conservation biologist specializing in birds and the Great Lakes ecosystem. He has a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from Oklahoma State University. Currently a wildlife biologist with the National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Vince formerly worked as an Endangered Species biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 9 years. Vince has spent much of his career working with different shorebird research and conservation projects including Upland Sandpipers, Mountain Plover and most recently the critically endangered population of Great Lakes Piping Plovers. Vince is fascinated with how migratory birds connect ecosystems across the world, which is exemplified by the importance of both the coastal regions of the Great Lakes and those of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean in the full life cycle of the piping plover."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Ralph Chami

Ralph Chami

Speaker - Changing Climate, Changing Strategies

Assistant Director

The International Monetary Fund

[simple_tooltip content="Ralph Chami is currently Assistant Director in the Institute for Capacity Development (ICD), International Monetary Fund, where he oversaw the development and implementation of the internal economics training program for all IMF economists. Most recently, he was Assistant Director and Division Chief in the Middle East and Central Asia Department where he oversaw surveillance and program work on fragile states, and was Mission Chief for Libya and Somalia. He is the recipient of the 2014 IMF Operational Excellence Award for his work on Libya. Previously, he was the Chief of the Regional Studies Division, where he oversaw regional surveillance for 32 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia regions. He joined the IMF in 1999. From 1991 till 1999, he was on the faculty of Finance in the Department of Finance, University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Ralph Chami has a BS from the American University of Beirut, an MBA in Finance and Statistics from the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Johns Hopkins University. His areas of specialization are: fragile states, financial markets, and remittances. His hobbies include music. Ralph was a semi-professional guitarist for over 40 years"] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Demian D. Chapman, Ph.D.

Demian D. Chapman, Ph.D.

Speaker - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring

Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

Florida International University

[simple_tooltip content="Demian Chapman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at FIU. A molecular ecologist by training, he leads the Global FinPrint project, the world’s largest shark and ray survey, and studies the Asian shark fin trade. He has published more than 90 scientific papers and appeared on BBC and the Discovery Channel. His efforts have contributed to species protection in the form of shark sanctuaries, improved shark management in Belize, and the listing of multiple shark and ray species on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). He is pioneering the implementation of in-port DNA testing to combat illegal trade of sharks, rays, and other wildlife."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Dr. Francisco P. Chavez

Dr. Francisco P. Chavez

Speaker - Transformative Technologies

Senior Scientist


[simple_tooltip content="Francisco Chavez is a biological oceanographer interested in how climate variability and change regulate ocean ecosystems on local and basin scales. He was born and raised in Peru, has a BS from Humboldt State and a PhD from Duke University. He is a founding member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) where he has pioneered time series research and the development of new instruments and systems to make this type of research sustainable. Chavez has over 250 peer-reviewed publications with 12 in Nature and Science. He is a past member of the US National Science Foundation Geosciences Advisory Committee, has been involved in the development of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), is a member of the Governing Board of the Central and Northern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) and the Science Advisory Team for the California Ocean Protection Council. He is a member of the Group on Earth Observations Programme Board. Chavez is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences; honored for distinguished research on the impact of climate variability on oceanic ecosystems and global carbon cycling. Chavez is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union; honored for advancing fundamental knowledge of the physical-biological coupling between Pacific Decadal Oscillations, productivity, and fisheries. He was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universidad Pedro Ruiz Gallo in Peru in recognition of his distinguished scientific career and for contributing to elevate academic and cultural levels of university communities in particular and society in general. Chavez is the 2014 recipient of the Ed Ricketts Memorial award."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Ko Barrett

Ko Barrett

Speaker - Plenary: Global Action for Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity

Vice Chair

International Panel on Climate Change

[simple_tooltip content="Ko Barrett is the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where she supervises daily operations and administration of NOAA’s research enterprise. In 2015, Ko Barrett was one of the first women elected to serve as a vice chair of the IPCC. For over 15 years, she has represented the United States on delegations charged with negotiating and adopting scientific assessments undertaken by the IPCC. She has also served for over a decade as a lead negotiator for the United States on the United Nations treaty on climate change. Ko Barrett is widely recognized as an expert on climate policy, particularly on issues related to climate impacts and strategies to help society adapt to a changing world."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Sean Cosgrove

Sean Cosgrove

Moderator - The Power of Protection

Program Officer

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="With more than 20 years of experience in conservation advocacy, Sean was previously at the Conservation Law Foundation, where his work focused on Congress, federal agencies and ocean policy. He worked to support the implementation of the National Ocean Policy and developed policy and outreach campaigns for CLF’s ocean program, including fisheries, habitat protection, ocean planning and national marine sanctuaries. Prior to CLF, Sean was a Senior Washington Representative for the Sierra Club.
Sean has earned a B.S. in environmental science and a B.A. in history from Western Washington University, where he graduated with honors from Huxley College of the Environment."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Joe Cunningham

The Honorable Joe Cunningham

Opening Remarks - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

U.S. House of Representatives, SC-01

Avatar: Dr. Anni Djurhuus

Dr. Anni Djurhuus

Speaker - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

Assistant Professor, Biology

University of the Faroe Islands

[simple_tooltip content="She is an assistant professor of biology at the University of the Faroe Islands. She works on the use of genetic techniques to characterize communities of microorganisms, viruses and animals in natural systems. He has worked in a variety of different marine environments, including seamounts, hydrothermal vents, tropical and temperate climates. Much of Anni's career has been devoted to developing methods to explore and map biodiversity. As co-PI of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network, Anni is responsible for making these observations applicable to different marine habitats."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Carlos M. Duarte

Carlos M. Duarte

Speaker - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean


King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

[simple_tooltip content="Professor Carlos M. Duarte is the Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in Saudi Arabia and holds an adjunct position at the Arctic Research Center in Aarhus University, Denmark. Duarte’s research focuses on understanding the effects of global change in marine ecosystems and developing nature-based solutions to global challenges, including climate change, and develop evidence-based strategies to rebuild the abundance of marine life by 2050. He has conducted research across all continents and oceans, spanning most of the marine ecosystem types, from inland to near-shore and the deep sea and from microbes to whales. Professor Duarte led the Malaspina 2010 Expedition that sailed the world's oceans to examine the impacts of global change on ocean ecosystems and explore their biodiversity. Professor Duarte served as President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography between 2007 and 2010. He has published more than 800 scientific papers a and has been ranked within the top 1% Highly-Cited Scientist in all assessments of this rank. He has received many honors, including the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award from the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography in 2001, the National Science Award of Spain (2007), the Prix d’Excellence by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES, 2011), the Carlo Heip award for excellent in Marine Biodiversity (2018), the Ramon Margalef Ecology Award (2019), and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award on Ecology and Biological Conservation, and honorary doctorates from the Université de Québec a Montrèal (Canada) in 2010 and Utrecht University (The Netherlands) in 2012.
More information:"] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: J. Emmett Duffy Ph.D.

J. Emmett Duffy Ph.D.

Speaker - Plenary: Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection

Director, Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network

Smithsonian Institution

[simple_tooltip content="Emmett Duffy is Director of the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network (TMON) and coordinates its Marine Global Earth Observatory (MarineGEO) program. MarineGEO is a global network of partners who use a common toolkit of coordinated observations and experiments to understand ongoing changes in marine biodiversity and their consequences for the healthy functioning of coastal marine ecosystems. Dr. Duffy is a marine ecologist with extensive global field experience, primarily in seagrass and coral reef ecosystems. He is active in international scientific syntheses and networks, notably the Steering Committee of the international Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), and works closely with the US MBON. He received a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was the Glucksman Professor of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science before joining the Smithsonian in 2013. Dr. Duffy is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, and author of the forthcoming book “Ocean Ecology. Marine life in the age of humans” (Princeton University Press)."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Jenn Eckerle

Jenn Eckerle

Speaker - The Power of Protection

Deputy Director

California Ocean Protection Council

[simple_tooltip content="Jenn Eckerle is the Deputy Director of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), where she supervises staff and helps set the strategic priorities for coast and ocean policy California. Before joining OPC, Jenn spent eight years as an ocean policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s West Coast Ocean Program. Prior to NRDC, she worked as a coastal program analyst for the California Coastal Commission and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Jenn earned an M.S. in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Vermont."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Shanna Edberg

Shanna Edberg

Speaker - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

Director of Conservation Programs

Hispanic Access Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="Shanna Edberg is a longtime conservation advocate and promoter of environmental justice in the U.S. and abroad. She directs Hispanic Access Foundation’s conservation programs to promote environmental stewardship in the Latino community, elevate Latino voices in conservation policy, activate Latino conservation leaders, and provide them the resources they need to create a more sustainable and equitable future. Prior to joining Hispanic Access Foundation, Shanna’s background includes working on sustainable development at the World Bank and Global Environment Facility as well as climate policy at the nonprofit Climate Interactive. While pursuing her education, Shanna worked in Peru to protect forests in the Amazon, researched and published on civil rights in Mexico, and supported city sustainability in Baltimore. She earned her M.A. in Latin American Studies and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and B.A. in International Studies from Johns Hopkins."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Patricia Espinosa

Patricia Espinosa

Speaker - Plenary: Global Action for Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity

Executive Secretary

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

[simple_tooltip content="Ms. Espinosa is the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Ambassador of Mexico to Germany since 2012 and from 2001 to 2002, Ms. Espinosa was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 2006 to 2012, bringing over 30 years of experience at highest levels in international relations. As Chair of the Third Committee of the UNGA (1996), she played a key role in the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action. Ambassador of Mexico to Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and the UN in Vienna (2002-2006), Chief of Staff to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs (1989-1991) and responsible for economic issues at the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva (1982-1988)."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Frank Ettawageshik

Frank Ettawageshik

Speaker - Changing Climate, Changing Strategies

Executive Director

United Tribes of Michigan

[simple_tooltip content="Frank Ettawageshik lives in Harbor Springs, Michigan, with his wife Rochelle. He served in tribal elected office for sixteen years, fourteen as the Tribal Chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs, Michigan. During his tenure as Tribal Chairman he was instrumental in the adoption of the Tribal and First Nations Great Lakes Water Accord in 2004 and the United League of Indigenous Nations Treaty in 2007. Recently he was appointed Tribal Court Appellate Justice for his tribe.
Since 2009 Frank has been serving as the Executive Director of the United Tribes of Michigan. He also serves on the Michigan Water Use Advisory Council, and on the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission. Internationally, he has represented the National Congress of American Indians at several meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Paris, France, in Bonn, Germany, in Katowice, Poland, and in Madrid, Spain. He has also participated in meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Molly Fogarty

Molly Fogarty

Opening Remarks - Plenary: Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection

Senior Vice President, Corporate & Government Affairs


[simple_tooltip content="Molly Fogarty has more than 20 years of hands-on public policy experience at Nestlé and on the staff of federal elected officials. As Head of Corporate & Government Affairs for Nestlé in the U.S. and a member of the Executive Leadership Team since 2017, Molly leads development and execution of strategy in the areas of public policy and advocacy; government relations; industry affairs; external stakeholder engagement; and corporate issues management. Molly joined Nestlé in 2004. During that time, she built and continues to lead the Corporate and Government Affairs function for Nestlé in the U.S., which is comprised of eight operating companies: Nestlé USA, Nestlé Waters North America, Nestlé Purina, Gerber, Nestlé Health Science, Nestlé Professional, Nestlé Skin Health, and Nespresso."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Timothy C. Gallaudet, Rear Admiral (USN-Ret)

Timothy C. Gallaudet, Rear Admiral (USN-Ret)

Moderator - Plenary: A New Age of Exploration

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere/Deputy Administrator NOAA

Department of Commerce/NOAA

[simple_tooltip content="Rear Admiral Gallaudet is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). From 2017-2019 he served as the Acting Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. Before these assignments, he served for 32 years in the US Navy, completing his service in 2017 as the Oceanographer of the Navy. In his current position, Rear Admiral Gallaudet leads NOAA’s Blue Economy activities that advance marine transportation, sustainable seafood, ocean exploration and mapping, marine tourism and recreation, and coastal resilience. He also directs NOAA’s support to the Administration’s INDOPACOM-Pacific Strategy, oversees NOAA’s Arctic research, operations, and engagement, and is leading the execution of the NOAA science and technology strategies for Artificial Intelligence, unmanned Systems, ‘Omics, Cloud, and Citizen Science. Rear Admiral Gallaudet has a Bachelor’s Degree from the US Naval Academy and a Master’s and Doctorate Degree from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, all in oceanography."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Jonatha Giddens, Ph.D.

Jonatha Giddens, Ph.D.

Speaker - Inspiring Action with Media and Art

National Geographic Fellow & Chief Scientist

National Geographic Society's Exploration Technology Lab Deep-Sea Research Project

[simple_tooltip content="Ocean ecologist Dr. Jonatha Giddens is a Fellow with the National Geographic Society, and Chief Scientist for the Exploration Technology Lab’s Deep-Sea Research Project. Utilizing deep-sea cameras around the world, the Lab is working to accelerate our understanding of underexplored and vulnerable deep-ocean ecosystems, and to provide the science needed to protect deep-sea biodiversity. By contributing vital data to the global ocean science community, this work will help to decode the ecological processes and human impacts that drive patterns in deep-sea biodiversity, so that we can better steward and protect our oceans.
To build capacity for science communication and further ocean literacy, Dr. Giddens is bringing art and science together in field research. An art-integrated methodology contextualizes, enriches, and informs analytical approaches, and articulates direct experience of ocean places as an important knowledge system of global benefit. The human-natural relationships developed through artistic activities complement and provide context for quantitative data-collection that connects the deep-sea with the surface waters and human culture with nature.
With a background in both natural and social sciences, and as an artist at heart, Dr. Giddens is working at the intersection of science, art, and storytelling to draw us closer to the voice of the sea and inspire an ocean-literate generation."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Kristina M. Gjerde

Kristina M. Gjerde

Speaker - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean

Senior High Seas Advisor


[simple_tooltip content="Kristina M. Gjerde is Senior High Seas Advisor to IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme and an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, where she teaches international environmental laws of the sea. Kristina has been representing IUCN in meetings dealing with high seas and deep sea biodiversity since 2003. To advance science-based progress, Kristina co-founded and currently serves on the boards of four initiatives: Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), a multidisciplinary scientific partnership, the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, the Sargasso Sea Project and the High Seas Alliance. Most recently, Kristina became a member of the Executive Planning Group of the UN Decade of Ocean Science."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Raúl M. Grijalva

The Honorable Raúl M. Grijalva

Opening Remarks - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

U.S. House of Representatives, AZ-03 and Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee

Avatar: Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, Ph.D.

Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, Ph.D.

Speaker - Plenary: Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection

Assistant Professor

Oregon State University

[simple_tooltip content="Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, PhD, Assistant Professor at Oregon State University, is a marine ecologist who studies ocean ecosystems and how to protect, conserve, and sustainably use them to achieve long-lasting benefits for all. She received her PhD from the University of Miami after conducting her research in the Florida Keys and has since studied marine protected areas across the US and around the world. She has worked with COMPASS and the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), and is the co-lead on The MPA Guide—a new system for clarifying and maximizing the benefits of marine protected areas to meet global goals for a healthy and productive ocean. She co-founded the science storytelling community Tales from the Sea for ocean scientists to share the experience and impact of their research with the wider world. Dr. Grorud-Colvert also directs the Science of Marine Reserves Project, an international collaboration that shares data from protected areas to help find solutions to the challenges facing our ocean."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Deb Haaland

The Honorable Deb Haaland

Welcome and Opening Remarks

U.S. House of Representatives, New Mexico-01

Avatar: Dr. Neil Hammerschlag

Dr. Neil Hammerschlag

Speaker - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean

Research Associate Professor

University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Neil Hammerschlag is a marine ecologist and Research Associate Professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science and Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy. He also serves as Director of the Shark Research & Conservation Program at the University of Miami. Neil’s research centers on the behavioral ecology of marine top predators under global change. His current research activities focus on determining the biophysical drivers, ecosystem impacts and conservation implications of large shark movements exposed to urbanization, overfishing and climate change. He has projects currently underway in Florida, Bahamas, South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands. Neil’s research has been publicized widely in the media, including features on Discovery Channel, National Geographic, NBC’s Today Show, CNN, and ABC’s Good Morning America – to name a few."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Vidar Helgesen

Vidar Helgesen

Speaker - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean

Norway’s Special Envoy for the Ocean

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

[simple_tooltip content="Vidar Helgesen (born 21 November 1968) currently serves as Norway’s Special Envoy for the Ocean. Prior to this Helgesen was Minister of Climate and the Environment (2015-2018), Minister of EEA and EU Affairs (2013-2015) and Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Erna Solberg (2013-2015). Helgesen was Secretary-General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance from 2005 to 2013 and State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2005. He graduated from the University of Oslo with a Master of Law."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Charlotte Hudson

Charlotte Hudson

Moderator - Changing Climate, Changing Strategies

Project Director

Lenfest Ocean Program

[simple_tooltip content="Charlotte Hudson is the director of the Lenfest Ocean Program, a grant-making program that identifies, supports and communicates marine science concerning threats facing the world’s oceans. She is responsible for identifying thematic areas of research and overseeing the design and implementation research projects that meet the criteria of the Lenfest Ocean Program. She also oversees stakeholder engagement and communication of research results in ways that inform policy decisions and promote the sustainable management of the oceans.

Prior to joining the Program in 2005, Hudson served as a senior marine scientist at Oceana, where she was responsible for coordinating protected species policies and designing campaign strategies.

Previously, she worked as a marine resources analyst for the Ocean Law Project, where she reviewed federal government compliance with marine conservation statutes. Hudson is the co-author of many papers on the role of science, philanthropy and policy in decision-making. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Davidson College and a master’s degree in environmental management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: The Honorable Jared Huffman

The Honorable Jared Huffman

Opening Remarks - The Power of Protection

U.S. House of Representatives, CA-2

Avatar: Dr. Neil Jacobs

Dr. Neil Jacobs

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, performing the duties of Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere

Department of Commerce/NOAA

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Neil Jacobs is the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, performing the duties of Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Dr. Jacobs is responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of over $5.54 billion in annual spending, including key investments in developing a community model framework to advance U.S. weather modeling and prediction, space innovation, streamlining unmanned systems research to provide critical data across NOAA’s mission areas, and unlocking the partnership potential of non-governmental and private organizations to study our nation’s oceans and promote a blue economy.

Previously as the Chief Atmospheric Scientist at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, he directed the research and development of both the aviation weather observing platform and weather forecast model programs. He was previously the Chair of the American Meteorological Society’s Forecast Improvement Group, and also served on the World Meteorological Organization’s aircraft-based observing systems expert team.

Dr. Jacobs holds a bachelor degree in mathematics and physics from the University of South Carolina and masters and doctoral degrees in atmospheric science from North Carolina State University."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Peggy Kalas, J.D.

Peggy Kalas, J.D.

Speaker - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean


High Seas Alliance

[simple_tooltip content="Peggy Kalas is an environmental lawyer with over 25 years of experience working on international environmental policy issues. Since 2014, Peggy has directed the High Seas Alliance, an international coalition of over 40 environmental non-governmental organizations, focused on improving ocean governance and organizing coalition efforts at the United Nations and in world capitals to obtain a new global treaty for the conservation of marine life in our ocean’s global common that comprises nearly half the planet. Prior to leading the Alliance, Peggy served as the UN Coordinator of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, orchestrating efforts at the United Nations to secure a UNGA resolution limiting deep sea bottom fishing in international waters. Before her ocean advocacy work, she practiced international law at private firms in New York City and Washington, DC. Peggy holds an LL.M. in International Law from New York University School of Law, a Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of Maryland School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame. She also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Maryland Journal of International Law, and has authored numerous articles on environmental governance, and resides in New York."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Amb. Michael Imran Kanu (SJD)

Amb. Michael Imran Kanu (SJD)

Speaker - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean

Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative (Legal Affairs)

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations

[simple_tooltip content="Ambassador Michael Imran Kanu is Deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations (UN) in New York. He is the President of the Twenty-ninth Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and Coordinator of the African Group in the ongoing negotiations on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. He has acted as head/member of Sierra Leone’s delegation to various diplomatic conferences/negotiations/States Parties meetings, including meetings of the International Seabed Authority. Ambassador Kanu was called to the Sierra Leone Bar in 2008, and his education includes a Bachelor of Law with honours from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone; Master’s in International Business Law and Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD), summa cum laude, from the Central European University. He was a Junior Academic Visitor, Commercial Law Centre, Faculty of Law, Oxford University; and Visiting Scholar, Columbia University School of Law. He is a UN International Law Fellow 2019."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Marcy Kaptur

The Honorable Marcy Kaptur

Opening Remarks - Inspiring Action with Media and Art

U.S. House of Representatives, OH-09

Avatar: The Honorable Angus King

The Honorable Angus King

Opening Remarks - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean

U.S. Senate, Maine

Avatar: Martin Koehring

Martin Koehring

Moderator - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean


World Ocean Initiative, The Economist Group

[simple_tooltip content="Martin Koehring is the head of The Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative. His mission is to support the sustainable development of the ocean economy by harnessing the convening power, research capabilities and media amplification of The Economist Group. He is primarily responsible for developing, shaping and implementing the Initiative's vision and strategic objectives. This includes ensuring the Initiative's leadership on global discussions on the blue economy as well as leading, developing and implementing the Initiative's thematic areas of focus, particularly in blue finance, innovation and governance.

Previously he was managing editor and global health lead at The Economist Intelligence Unit's thought leadership division. He has led major research projects in sustainability and global health, for example, on food sustainability, sustainable infrastructure and global access to healthcare. Before that he was Europe editor in the EIU's country analysis department.

Martin earned a bachelor of economic and social studies in international relations (first class honours) from Aberystwyth University and a master’s degree in EU international relations and diplomacy studies from the College of Europe."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Dr. Anne Larigauderie

Dr. Anne Larigauderie

Speaker - Plenary: Global Action for Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity

Executive Secretary

Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Anne Larigauderie (France) is the first Executive Secretary of IPBES the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. She was appointed by the Executive Director of UNEP in February 2014. Anne Larigauderie received her Master’s Degree in plant molecular biology from the University of Toulouse, France, and her PhD in plant ecology, from the Université des Sciences et Techniques du Languedoc and CNRS in Montpellier, France. As a plant ecologist, she spent ten years performing experimental and field work at different institutions looking, in particular, at how climate change will affect plant physiology and ecology in various contexts: study of gas exchange in first pilot project performing CO2 enrichment of natural ecosystems in the arctic tundra (San Diego State University, USA), of root competition for nutrients in California grasslands (University of California – Davis, USA), of responses of grass species to various scenarios of elevated CO2 and temperature (Duke University, USA), and of the adaptation of dark respiration of alpine plant species to future elevated temperatures (University of Basel, Switzerland).

She is the former Executive Director of DIVERSITAS, the international programme dedicated to biodiversity science, under the auspices of ICSU and UNESCO, which became in January 2015, a component of the new Future Earth programme for global sustainability. In 2010, she was made “Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur” by the French Government."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Nicole LeBoeuf

Nicole LeBoeuf

Moderator - Restoring our Waters

Acting Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management

NOAA's National Ocean Service

[simple_tooltip content="Nicole LeBoeuf is a long time professional in the DC area with more than 20 years of scientific and program management experience. She currently serves as the Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS), where she provides strategic vision and leads the implementation of activities that support NOS's priorities of safe and efficient transportation and commerce; preparedness and risk reduction; and stewardship, tourism and recreation. Nicole works to actively establish and grows partnerships with other federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry. Prior to her current leadership role, Nicole served as the NOS Deputy Assistant Administrator. She has also served in NOAA Headquarters in the NOAA Budget Office and as NOAA’s finance lead during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Nicole brings a global knowledge to her current role in NOS, having previously worked in NOAA Fisheries’ Office of International Affairs and as Special Assistant to NOAA Fisheries Science Director, during which time she represented NOAA at the U.N. General Assembly and the World Conservation Union. Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Texas A&M University and she has a master’s degree in sustainable development and conservation biology from the University of Maryland."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Bonnie Lei

Bonnie Lei

Speaker - Transformative Technologies

Head of Global Strategic Partnerships – AI for Earth


[simple_tooltip content="Bonnie Lei is a founding member and Head of Global Strategic Partnerships for Microsoft’s AI for Earth program, a five-year, $50 million cross-company effort dedicated to delivering technology-enabled solutions to global environmental challenges. In this role, she has awarded 500+ grants in 80+ countries, spearheaded strategic partnerships with leading organizations, and directed investments in promising environmental technology start-ups. She has been recognized as a Corporate Eco Forum Emerging Sustainability Leader in 2019, and a National Geographic Explorer in 2018.

Leveraging her experience as a conservation biologist, Bonnie identifies and fosters technology innovations with maximum potential for positive environmental impact and feasible implementation. Previously, in the field, she helped initiate the marine program for Wildlife Conservation Society in Myanmar, discovered a new sea slug species in the Caribbean, and researched climate adaptation of endangered penguins in South Africa. She received her degree in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and was an inaugural Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University.

Bonnie is based in Seattle, where she serves on The Trust for Public Land’s Next Generation Advisory Council and the city’s Urban Forestry Commission."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Margaret Leinen

Margaret Leinen

Speaker - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean


Scripps Institution of Oceanography

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Margaret Leinen is the Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences of University of California at San Diego. She is an ocean biogeochemist and paleoceanographer whose research includes study of ocean carbon cycling and the role of the oceans in climate. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the AAAS and the Geological Society of America. She served as Assistant Director for Geosciences at the National Science Foundation from 2000-2007. She has served as the President of the American Geophysical Union, the President of The Oceanography Society and the Chair of the AAAS Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Science. She has been the Vice Chair of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme, Chair of the US Global Change Research Program and Vice Chair of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. She currently serves as a member of the Executive Planning Group of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D

The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D

Welcome and Opening Remarks

University Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University & former U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Lubchenco is a world renowned environmental scientist who has deep experience in the worlds of science, academia, and government. She is a champion of science and of the stronger engagement of scientists with society. She was the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 2009-2013. Nominated by President Obama in December 2008 as part of his “Science Dream Team,” she is a marine ecologist and environmental scientist by training, with expertise in oceans, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well-being. To introduce her to his Senate colleagues for her confirmation hearing, Senator Ron Wyden called Lubchenco ‘the bionic woman of good science.’"] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

Speaker - Plenary: Global Action for Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity

Acting Executive Secretary

Convention on Biological Diversity

[simple_tooltip content="Elizabeth Maruma Mrema was the Director of the Law Division and has worked with UNEP for over two decades. Prior to joining the Law Division in June 2014, she was the Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division, in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery from 2012 and for one year, also serviced as Acting Director to the same Division.

In 2018, in addition to her role as the Law Division Director, she was also the Acting Director of the Corporate Services Division where she led the management of the human resources, financial operations and management and other administrative functions for the entire Organization

In 2009 she had been appointed as the Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Acting Executive Secretary of the UNEP/ASCOBANS and Interim Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Gorilla Agreement, all based in Bonn, Germany and held that position until 2012 and thereafter she joined the Ecosystems Division in Nairobi, Kenya. In these portfolios, she over saw and ensure effective conservation of migratory animals globally as well as implementation of a number of specific species agreements covering geographical areas where animals or birds or marine species migrate during their lifetime."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: The Honorable Brian Mast

The Honorable Brian Mast

Opening Remarks - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring

U.S. House of Representatives, FL-18

Avatar: Barbara Matilsky, Ph.D.

Barbara Matilsky, Ph.D.

Moderator - Inspiring Action with Media and Art

Art Historian/Curator

[simple_tooltip content="Born in New York City, Barbara Matilsky developed an affinity with nature while summering at her grandparent’s bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains. She majored in art history after experiencing the transformational power of landscape painting. At New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, she wrote her PhD thesis on nineteenth century French alpine and polar landscape paintings and their relationship to the emerging field of natural history.

Barbara has been a curator of art for thirty years, organizing multidisciplinary exhibitions that address the intersection of art, natural science, and environmental issues. For New York City’s Queens Museum of Art, she curated the ground breaking Fragile Ecologies: Contemporary Artists' Interpretations and Solutions (1992). It toured museums around the country under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions Service.

At the Whatcom Museum, Bellingham WA, Barbara organized the international traveling exhibition, Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012 that examined the art history of glaciers and icebergs within the context of climate change. Soon after, she organized Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity (2018) in response to the current extinction crisis."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Courtney Mattison

Courtney Mattison

Speaker - Inspiring Action with Media and Art

Ceramic Sculptor and Ocean Advocate

Our Changing Seas Exhibitions

[simple_tooltip content="Courtney Mattison creates intricately detailed and large-scale ceramic sculptural works inspired by the fragile beauty of coral reefs and the human-caused threats they face. She raises awareness for the protection of our blue planet, urging policy makers and the public to conserve our changing seas. Mattison has been commissioned to create work for permanent collections including those of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Art in Embassies, Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endurance ship and private patrons. Her work has been exhibited at prominent venues including the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, the American Museum of Ceramic Art, the U.S. Department of Commerce headquarters and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2020, the United Nations Postal Administration included Mattison’s work on a postage stamp to commemorate Earth Day. Born in 1985 and raised in San Francisco, Mattison received an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree in marine ecology and ceramic sculpture from Skidmore College in 2008 and a Master of Arts degree in environmental studies from Brown University with coursework at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. Her work has been featured by international outlets including Smithsonian Magazine, Good Morning America, Oprah Magazine, CNN Indonesia, BBC World Service and Science Magazine. She lives and works in Los Angeles."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Sara M. Maxwell, Ph.D.

Sara M. Maxwell, Ph.D.

Speaker - Changing Climate, Changing Strategies

Assistant Professor

University of Washington, Bothell

[simple_tooltip content="My research focuses on the development of science-based solutions to sustainability issues in the ocean, and my expertise is in the application of spatial tools, such as satellite tracking and movement modeling. I use these tools to understanding the distribution of large marine predators, how these predators interact with ocean processes, and how this knowledge can be applied to managing predator populations, human activities and ocean resources. Through my research, I aim to fulfill three goals: (1) conduct innovative, ‘management-ready’ science that is applied to conservation and management issues, (2) build knowledge and capacity in underdeveloped regions of the world, and (3) use research as tool for teaching and engaging students. I was chosen as a 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Ocean Sciences, awarded to early career scientists in 'recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field’."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Juan S. Mayorga

Juan S. Mayorga

Speaker - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

Marine Data Scientist

University of California, Santa Barbara; National Geographic Society, Pristine Seas

[simple_tooltip content="Juan Mayorga is a marine data scientist, conservationist, photographer, and explorer dedicated to making a difference in the way we protect, understand, and manage our oceans. His work lies at the intersection between data science and marine conservation. He uses emerging earth monitoring technologies - in combination with marine ecology, fisheries science, and economics - to glean insights into our ocean’s socio-ecological systems and uses them to inform conservation and fisheries management policies. He currently leads a partnership between the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project, the Sustainable Fisheries Group at U.C Santa Barbara, and Global Fishing Watch, to leverage the power of satellite technology, big data, and machine learning to advance marine conservation and fisheries science. Bytracking fishing activity around the globe - at very high resolution and in near real time - the partnership works to transparently analyze trade-offs between conservation and fisheries, highlight threats to unique marine environments, and identify opportunities for innovative conservation."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Craig McLean

Craig McLean

Moderator - Transformative Technologies

Assistant Administrator, NOAA Research

DOC/NOAA/Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research

[simple_tooltip content="Craig McLean is responsible for NOAA’s research enterprise including a network of research laboratories and the execution of NOAA programs including the Climate Program, Weather Research, National Sea Grant, and Ocean Exploration, to name a few. Among a number of formal international engagements in science and technology, Mr. McLean serves as the U.S. Representative to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and as the U.S. Representative for the U.S.-European Union-Canada Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation.

Mr. McLean has previously served throughout NOAA, in the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Ocean Service, NOAA’s General Counsel, and was the founding Director of NOAA’s Ocean Exploration program. He served in uniform for nearly 25 years in NOAA's Commissioned Corps, retiring at the rank of Captain. Mr. McLean is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and of the Marine Technology Society, and a past-president and former chairman of the Sea-Space Symposium."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Dr. Marcia McNutt

Dr. Marcia McNutt

Moderator - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean


National Academy of Sciences

[simple_tooltip content="Marcia McNutt (B.A. in physics, Colorado College; Ph.D. in Earth sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography) is a geophysicist and the 22nd president of the National Academy of Sciences. From 2013 to 2016, she was editor-in-chief of Science journals. McNutt was director of the U.S. Geological Survey from 2009 to 2013, during which time USGS responded to a number of major disasters, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. For her work to help contain that spill, McNutt was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard’s Meritorious Service Medal. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Association of Geodesy. McNutt is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, UK, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 1998, McNutt was awarded the AGU’s Macelwane Medal for research accomplishments by a young scientist, and she received the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her contributions to deep-sea exploration."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Dr. Kathryn Mengerink

Dr. Kathryn Mengerink

Moderator - Plenary: Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection

Executive Director

Waitt Institute

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Kathryn Mengerink leads a team of ocean experts in developing and implementing blue prosperity programs, including marine spatial planning and blue economy projects. She works in partnership with governments, NGOs, and ocean experts across the globe. Kathryn brings more than 20 years of ocean expertise to bear in her work, combining marine science and law and policy to inform decision-making.

Previously, she founded and led the Environmental Law Institute’s Ocean Program for ten years. Under her leadership, the Ocean Program launched a number of law and policy projects related to ecosystem-based ocean management, marine spatial planning, fisheries management and enforcement, ocean and coastal restoration, marine protection, deep seabed mining and more. During this time, Kathryn also served as a lecturer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and an advisor to its Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.

Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Texas A&M University, Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a J.D. with a certificate in Environmental Law from University of California, Berkeley."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: The Honorable Jeff Merkley

The Honorable Jeff Merkley

Opening Remarks - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean

U.S. Senate, Oregon

Avatar: Vera Kingeekuk Metcalf

Vera Kingeekuk Metcalf

Speaker - Plenary: Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection

Executive Director, Kawerak Eskimo Walrus Commission; Executive Council Member-Inuit Circumpolar Council

Kawerak Eskimo Walrus Commission

[simple_tooltip content="Vera was born and raised in Savoonga (Sivungaq) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. Since 2002, Vera has been the Director of the Eskimo Walrus Commission (EWC) at Kawerak, Inc., which represents 19 coastal Alaskan communities in areas such as promoting community involvement in research, documenting local traditional ecological knowledge, and co-management of the Pacific walrus population. Vera represents the EWC in various forums, including the Indigenous People’s Council on Marine Mammals. Vera is a Special Advisor on Native Affairs on the Marine Mammal Commission, an Advisory Panel member of the North Pacific Research Board, a Steering Committee member for the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, a committee member on the Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program/University of Alaska, and a member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Executive Committee and Alaska board. Vera is also a Bering Strait Commissioner for the U.S. Department of State, facilitating travel between Chukotka, Russia and the Bering Straits region of Alaska. Vera is a strong advocate for the subsistence lifestyles of Arctic Indigenous peoples, and passionate about strengthening Indigenous languages and cultures."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Sophie Mirgaux

Sophie Mirgaux

Speaker - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean

Belgium’s Special Envoy for the Ocean

Federal Public Service Health – DG Environment

[simple_tooltip content="Sophie Mirgaux is Belgium’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and co-lead of the Multilateral Ocean Team of the Ministry for Health DG Environment. She has been representing Belgium for more than a decade in the BBNJ negotiations, where she also takes on the role of lead negotiator for the European Union for the topic of Area-Based Management Tools. Sophie has been representing her country, as well as the EU in other multilateral ocean negotiations, as well, in particular within the Convention on Biological Diversity."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Dr. Megan Morikawa

Dr. Megan Morikawa

Speaker - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

Global Director of Sustainability

Iberostar Group

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Megan Morikawa is the Global Sustainability Office Director at Iberostar Group where she leads the work that is being done under the company’s Wave of Change movement, an initiative based on three complementary but different action lines: moving toward a circular economy, promoting responsible seafood consumption and the improvement of coastal health.

Dr. Morikawa joined Iberostar in early 2018 to work as an advisor for the company’s work in coastal health, focusing on leading the on-ground research on coral reef restoration in the Americas. She now leads a strong sustainability team along with Gloria Fluxà, who is part of the company’s fourth generation leadership and ownership, in scientific actions for Wave of Change’s three pillars and to connect Iberostar Group with the greater scientific community to provide a strong foundation towards the movement’s action lines.

Megan received her BS from Duke University, where she was a Robertson and Udall scholar. She received her PhD at the Palumbi Lab at Stanford, where she researched multi-species coral nurseries to see if coral reef restoration can be made ready for climate change using genomic tools to unveil natural diversity in reefs in the Pacific."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: The Honorable Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

The Honorable Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Opening Remarks - Restoring our Waters

U.S. House of Representatives, FL-26

Avatar: Frank Muller-Karger

Frank Muller-Karger

Speaker - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring


University of South Florida

[simple_tooltip content="Frank Muller-Karger is a biological oceanographer who conducts research on marine primary production and the diversity of life in the sea. He combines field and satellite remote sensing oceanographic methods to study patterns of variation of phytoplankton and of coastal wetlands and how these change over time. Muller-Karger studies the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and has some work of global scope. He promotes STEM education and recruits under-represented groups into marine science. Muller-Karger has received several honors, including the Gulf Guardian Award from the EPA, the NASA JPL Award for Outstanding Contributions, the NASA Administrator Award for Exceptional Contribution and Service, the Julius A. Stratton Award for Leadership, and served on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and on the Ocean Studies Board. He is involved in several international working groups including the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) of GEO BON, the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) Bio-Eco panel and the Ocean Best Practices Steering Committee of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. He holds B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Science and a Master in Management. He has authored or co-authored over 300 scientific publications. He is fluent in Spanish and speaks German."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Lisa Murkowski

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski

Opening Remarks - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean

U.S. Senate, Alaska and Co-Chair, Senate Oceans Caucus

Avatar: Brian Neilson

Brian Neilson

Speaker - The Power of Protection

Administrator, Division of Aquatic Resources

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

[simple_tooltip content="Brian Neilson is the Administrator of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources. He’s been working in natural resources management for over 20 years and worked for the State of Hawaii for the past nine-years, focusing on near-shore fisheries, aquatic invasive species, coral reef monitoring and restoration, marine debris, and watershed management. He began his career in Oregon and Alaska working as a Fisheries Technician and Biologist. He holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Oregon State University focusing on Fisheries Science and Management."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Jimmy Panetta

The Honorable Jimmy Panetta

Opening Remarks - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring

U.S. House of Representatives, CA-20

Avatar: Douglas R. Pearsall, Ph.D.

Douglas R. Pearsall, Ph.D.

Speaker - Plenary: Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection

Senior Conservation Scientist

The Nature Conservancy in Michigan

[simple_tooltip content="Doug plays a lead role in conservation planning for the Great Lakes and in Michigan, including the biodiversity conservation strategies for Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. He manages the Coastal Wetland issue for Blue Accounting – working closely with the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly – and assists all MIFO project teams in documenting and reporting on conservation progress. He manages the Science Team for TNC in Michigan and leads a collaborative research project evaluating the cost effectiveness of using biomass from invasive plants as a crop soil amendment. He is co-lead of the Midwest franchise of the Conservation Coaches Network, an international organization applying, promoting and advancing the Open Standards for Conservation. He is a member of the Coordinating Team of the incipient Saginaw Bay Water Quality Monitoring Project.

Doug received his Ph.D. in natural resources in 1995 from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), Ann Arbor. He and his wife Nancy have two grown sons and live in East Lansing. They enjoy walking, biking, and hiking, especially on Great Lakes shores."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Ruth Perry, PhD

Ruth Perry, PhD

Speaker - The Power of Protection

Marine Scientist and Regulatory Policy Specialist

Shell Upstream Americas

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Ruth Perry joined Shell as a Marine Scientist and Regulatory Policy Specialist in 2014. She supports Shell’s US offshore energy projects by advising on environmental permitting and in working with stakeholders to develop science and data solutions to understanding potential impacts to the environment. Ruth integrates marine science and ocean technology into regulatory policy advocacy and decision-making in the areas of marine sound, marine spatial planning, renewable offshore energies, ocean observing, and marine mammal and life science in the Americas. Ruth is also responsible for helping Shell to develop public-private science and data collaborations, such as real-time monitoring programs with deep-sea ROVs, ocean buoys and autonomous technology, to improve energy industry and the communities’ knowledge of the offshore marine environment. She has a number of peer-reviewed and media publications on these collaborations, including Popular Mechanics. Ruth has nearly 15 years of ocean technology research and system implementation, environmental permitting advising, and ocean policy and regulatory analysis and advocacy. She also serves as a member of many offshore national scientific steering committees and Boards, notably including the National Academy of Sciences Ocean Studies Board and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Advisory Board and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. She earned a doctorate in Oceanography from Texas A&M University in 2013 and worked for NOAA for joining Shell."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Vincent Pieribone, PhD, BA

Vincent Pieribone, PhD, BA

Speaker - Plenary: A New Age of Exploration

Vice Chairman


[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Vincent Pieribone is Vice Chairman of OceanX, an initiative of Dalio Philanthropies. In addition, he is a Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology and Neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine and a Fellow at the John B. Pierce Laboratory. His research is directed at discovering and engineering methods to measure brain activity using a combination of light and proteins found in the ocean. Over the past 15 years, he has conducted ocean research expeditions across the globe. He has started both a pharmaceutical company and a medical diagnostic company. Vincent also serves as a Research Associate for The American Museum of Natural History and on the Scientific Board of Directors of the Mystic Aquarium.
Vincent attended New York University College of Arts and Sciences where he received a baccalaureate degree in Biology and Chemistry in 1986. He then attended New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and received his doctorate in Philosophy in 1992 in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. He later received his Masters of Art privatum from Yale University. From 1990 to 1992 he was a National Science Foundation and Fogarty International Fellow at the Nobel Institute of Neurophysiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. From Sweden, Vincent did post-doctoral work at The Rockefeller University in New York from 1992 to 1995 and became an Assistant Professor there in 1995. Vincent joined the Pierce Laboratory in December 1997 where he continues to conduct his scientific research today."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Angela Haseltine Pozzi

Angela Haseltine Pozzi

Speaker - Inspiring Action with Media and Art

Executive/Artistic Director/Founder

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea

[simple_tooltip content="Angela Haseltine Pozzi is the founder of the non-profit Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, which began in 2010. After walking the beaches of the Oregon Coast and seeing her beloved beaches littered with marine debris, Angela became determined to wake people up and educate them about plastic pollution and save the ocean by using the power of visual art. She grew up in a family of artists and has always known that the arts, if done right, can move people’s hearts and minds. Angela enlisted thousands of volunteers and a dedicated staff to help her build giant marine animals out of beach plastics and create traveling educational exhibits. In the last 10 years, the small community and Washed Ashore have created over 80 sculptures which have reached more than 30 different locations in the USA and Canada, everywhere from Disney World to Toronto Zoo, Shedd Aquarium and The Smithsonian and reached over 28 million visitors. The non-profit continues it’s global reach with commissioned art, social media, and a feature length documentary and curriculum available on the website."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Josie Quintrell

Josie Quintrell

Moderator - Innovative Approaches for Restoration and Monitoring

Executive Director

Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (IOOS) Association

[simple_tooltip content="Josie Quintrell currently serves as Executive Director of the IOOS Association, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering decisions about our ocean, coastal and Great Lakes through effective implementation of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The IOOS Association works with the eleven IOOS Regional Associations that design and operate regional coastal observing systems to collect, integrate and produce information for users. IOOS integrates the efforts of multiple federal agencies and the regional system to deliver products to users protect lives, protect healthy ecosystems and and to support the economic vitality of our coastal regions. Josie has over 25 years in coastal and ocean management and policy. She has a Masters in Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.A. from Colby College. She lives in coastal Maine with her husband and has two grown children."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Dr. Callum Roberts

Dr. Callum Roberts

Speaker - Plenary: High Seas: Shared Stewardship for Our Global Ocean


University of York, UK

[simple_tooltip content="Callum Roberts is Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York. His research focuses on threats to marine ecosystems and species and on finding the means to protect them. His team provided the scientific underpinning for a new ocean protection target – 30% by 2030 – which is gaining widespread international support. His latest book, Reef Life: An Underwater Memoir (Profile Books), is on the past and future of coral reefs, the world’s richest marine ecosystem. He was chief scientific advisor for the BBC’s Blue Planet II and is chief scientific advisor to BLUE Marine Foundation, and Ambassador for WWF UK."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Dr. Enric Sala

Dr. Enric Sala

Introduction to Topic - Plenary: Defining Priorities for Meaningful Protection


National Geographic

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Enric Sala is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence dedicated to restoring the health and productivity of the ocean. His more than 120 scientific publications are widely recognized and used for real-world conservation efforts such as the creation of marine reserves. Enric is currently working to help protect the last pristine marine ecosystems worldwide, and to develop new business models for marine conservation. He founded and leads National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, a project that combines exploration, research, and media to inspire country leaders to protect the last wild places in the ocean. To date, Pristine Seas has helped to create 13 of the largest marine reserves on the planet, covering an area of over 4.5 million square kilometers.

Enric has received many awards including 2008 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, 2013 Research Award from the Spanish Geographical Society, 2013 Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club, and a 2013 Hero Award from the Environmental Media Association. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Enric’s experience and scientific expertise contributes to his service on advisory boards of international organizations and governments."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Kris Sarri

Kris Sarri

Welcome and Opening Remarks

President and CEO

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="Kris joined the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation as President and CEO in October 2016. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kris formed an early, life-long connection to environmental stewardship growing up surrounded by the Great Lakes. Her interest in marine conservation began when, at nine years old, Kris’ family moved to Australia and she spent endless hours exploring the life in tide pools. Kris’ lifelong passion is finding innovative ways to promote environmental stewardship through community engagement in conservation.

Kris’ career spans over 19 years working on ocean, land and climate policy. Kris most recently worked at the Department of the Interior, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget from 2014 to 2016. Prior to joining the Department of the Interior, Kris was the Associate Director for Legislative Affairs for the Office of Management and Budget. She also served as Deputy Director of Policy and Strategic Planning for the US Department of Commerce, acting as the Secretary’s principal advisor on the ocean, fisheries, climate, and energy issues, and as a policy liaison for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Kris also spent eight years in the US Senate where she was on the Professional Staff of the Senate Commerce Committee with responsibility for the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee; she was Senior Policy Advisor of the Office of Senator Jack Reed; and the Legislative Director of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition.

Kris received a B.A. in Biology from Washington University, St. Louis and an M.S. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan. She is an avid SCUBA diver."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Erin Satterthwaite

Erin Satterthwaite

Speaker - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

Postdoctoral Scholar

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis & Future Earth

[simple_tooltip content="Erin Satterthwaite is a marine ecologist who works at the interface of applied marine research, policy engagement, and science communication to advance ocean knowledge for sustainability. She is interested in ocean sustainability issues related to marine biodiversity, fisheries and mariculture, social-ecological systems, citizen science, and biological oceanography. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar with NCEAS & Future Earth through the PEGASuS 2: Ocean Sustainability partnership. In her position, she is developing a global map of biological ocean observing networks worldwide to support in the coordination of the biological Global Ocean Observing System, utilizing environmental DNA to better understand biodiversity patterns in the California Current, and developing and supporting initiatives to include underrepresented voices, such as early career professionals, into global policy processes. Prior to joining the NCEAS and Future Earth partnership, Erin was a California State Sea Grant Fellow with the Environmental Research Division, a research unit of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Erin completed a PhD in Ecology at the University of California, Davis and a B.A. in Biology at Juniata College."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Eric Schwaab

Eric Schwaab

Speaker - Changing Climate, Changing Strategies

Senior Vice President, Oceans

Environmental Defense Fund

[simple_tooltip content="Eric Schwaab is the Senior VP for Oceans at EDF where he leads global work to advance sustainable fisheries management and ocean health, with particular emphasis on putting in place principles and practices needed to ensure climate resilient fisheries. Eric previously led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service during a period of major U.S. fisheries reform and managed NOAA’s broader ocean portfolio as acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management at NOAA.

As the Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources in Maryland and in earlier roles at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Eric worked on fisheries conservation, Chesapeake Bay restoration, marine fisheries enforcement, wildlife conservation, parks administration and forest management. While serving as Fisheries Director in Maryland Eric represented Maryland on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Mid Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission.

Eric also led conservation program work at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Aquarium, the National Park Foundation, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Brice X. Semmens

Brice X. Semmens

Speaker - Restoring our Waters

Associate Professor

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

[simple_tooltip content="Brice Semmens is an associate professor of marine fisheries at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and the Director of the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) program. Dr. Semmens’ expertise spans fisheries assessment, quantitative methods and conservation biology. Dr. Semmens has led the Grouper Moon Project for over a decade, a collaboration between non-profit, government and academic scientists aimed at supporting adaptive management of the endangered Nassau Grouper in the Cayman Islands."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Ian Shive

Ian Shive

Speaker - Inspiring Action with Media and Art

Director, Hidden Pacific 3D & Founder

Tandem Stills + Motion, Inc.

[simple_tooltip content="Ian Shive is an award-winning American filmmaker and photographer whose work documents some of the world’s most pristine environments and brings to the public important conservation stories from around the globe. In 2015, he led a team of filmmakers and scientists on a groundbreaking mission in Cuba for Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” More recently, he launched several expeditions to document for the first time some of the Pacific Ocean’s most remote coral atolls for a giant-screen film, Hidden Pacific. Hidden Pacific brings to life in IMAX 3D the vibrant marine national monuments at the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean — thriving ecosystems filled with colorful coral reefs, large colonies of birds, and threatened species that depend on these habitats for survival. Based in Los Angeles, Shive is also the founder and CEO of Tandem Stills + Motion, a leading outdoor media company."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry

Speaker - Inspiring Action with Media and Art


National Geographic

[simple_tooltip content="Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic Magazine covering a wide range of subjects and stories. In 2014 he was named as a National Geographic Society Photography Fellow and named a National Geographic Society Storytelling Fellow in 2017. In 2017 he was also awarded the title of Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.

For NGM, Brian has covered a wide range of stories, from the harp seal’s struggle to survive in frozen waters to the alarming decrease in the world’s fisheries to dolphin intelligence, all cover stories. A fourth cover story, in February 2017 focused on protecting special underwater ecosystems in US waters and during this coverage Brian produced the first images of a sitting US President underwater. He is currently at work on his 28th story for NGM. Brian frequently lectures on photography, exploration and conservation issues having presented at venues such as The United Nations General Assembly, The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, TED Talks, The National Press Club in Washington, DC, The Royal Geographical Society in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Heidi M. Sosik

Heidi M. Sosik

Speaker - Transformative Technologies

Senior Scientist

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

[simple_tooltip content="Heidi Sosik is a Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she has been on the faculty and staff since 1994, and currently holds the Stanley W. Watson Chair for Excellence in Oceanography. A biological oceanographer and inventor, Sosik and her co-workers have developed automated underwater analyzers that dramatically enhance scientists’ and resource managers’ ability to study microscopic organisms that fuel ocean food chains, interact with Earth’s climate, and sometimes produce harmful algal blooms that threaten ecosystem and human health.
Sosik’s research and leadership have been recognized through numerous honors and awards including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers; The Arons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Advising and Mentoring; a NOAA/ CINAR Fellowship in Quantitative Fisheries and Ecosystem Science; a NASA Agency Honor Award for Group Achievement; a Senior Scientist Leadership Prize; and being named a Fellow of The Oceanography Society and a Sustaining Fellow of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. Sosik served as Chief Scientist of the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory for more than 14 years, and is currently lead investigator for the Northeast U.S. Shelf Long Term Ecological Research (NES-LTER) program and the Ocean Twilight Zone (OTZ) Audacious Project. She is active in many national and international roles including associate editor for leading journals and service on strategic planning and scientific steering committees.

Sosik holds S.B. and S.M. Degrees in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Mark J. Spalding

Mark J. Spalding

Speaker - The Power of Protection


The Ocean Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (USA). He is serving on the Sargasso Sea Commission. Mark is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. And, he is an Advisor to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. In addition, he serves as the advisor to the Rockefeller Ocean Strategy (an unprecedented ocean-centric investment fund) and is a member of the Pool of Experts for the UN World Ocean Assessment. He designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow. Mark is an expert on international environmental policy and law, ocean policy and law, and coastal and marine philanthropy."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: Dr. Peter Thomas

Dr. Peter Thomas

Opening Remarks - Margaret Davidson Emerging Leaders: New Perspectives on Conserving Nature

Executive Director

Marine Mammal Commission

[simple_tooltip content="Peter Thomas is the Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Commission. He earned his Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis, with research on southern right whales at Peninsula Valdés, Argentina. In the early 1980s, he was part of a team studying bowhead whale behavior in response to seismic testing in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. As Assistant to the Director of the Minnesota Zoological Gardens (1987-1991) Dr. Thomas led a review of the zoo’s marine mammal program. He joined the U.S. State Department in 1991 as a AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow. Over his career at State (1991-2001) he managed U.S. policy and international negotiations on the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). He was instrumental in the creation of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and was the first ICRI Global Chair (1994-1996). From 1999-2001 Dr. Thomas served as the U.S. Advisor for Scientific and Technological Affairs to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. He joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2001 as Chief of the Division of Management Authority, the office that oversees permitting and policy for U.S. wildlife imports and exports under the CITES Convention.

Dr. Thomas joined the Marine Mammal Commission in 2008 as International and Policy Program Director, overseeing reviews of proposed actions under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and other statutes and treaties and domestic policy related to the Arctic, climate change, sound, energy development, and shipping. He led the Commission’s international work with a focus on acute marine mammal conservation issues such as the endangered vaquita porpoise, conservation of freshwater cetaceans, and the response of marine mammals to the effects of climate change. He is lead author of the 2015 assessment of the Status of the World’s Baleen Whales."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: Ambassador Peter Thomson

Ambassador Peter Thomson

Speaker - Plenary: Global Action for Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity

United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean

United Nations

[simple_tooltip content="Ambassador Peter Thomson is a Fijian diplomat who served as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations from September 2016 until September 2017. He was Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 2010 and 2016. For the year 2014, he was elected President of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS). He led the Fiji team of diplomats that in 2013 chaired the Group of 77 and China – the UN’s largest negotiating group comprised of 133 developing countries. He was elected as President of the International Seabed Authority’s Assembly in 2011 and as President of its Council in 2015. In October 2017, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Ambassador Thomson as the first UNSG’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, in which role he is driving the implementation of SDG14, the UN Sustainable Development Agenda’s goal to conserve and sustainably use the resources of the Ocean."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]
Avatar: The Honorable Tom Udall

The Honorable Tom Udall

Welcome and Opening Remarks

U.S. Senate, New Mexico

Avatar: Dr. Jyotika Virmani

Dr. Jyotika Virmani

Speaker - Plenary: A New Age of Exploration

Executive Director

Schmidt Ocean Institute

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Jyotika Virmani is the Executive Director of Schmidt Ocean Institute. Prior to joining the Schmidt Ocean Institute, Dr. Virmani was the Executive Director of Planet & Environment at XPRIZE and the Rainforest XPRIZE, a competition for innovations in biodiversity assessment technologies. She was also Executive Director of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to spur innovations of unmanned and autonomous deep-sea technologies that will allow the global bathymetric community to map the seafloor by 2030. Embedded in this XPRIZE was a NOAA Bonus Prize for technologies that could detect a biological or chemical signal underwater and autonomously track it to its source. Dr. Virmani joined XPRIZE in 2014 as the Technical Director for the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a competition advancing pH sensor development to measure ocean acidification.

Before joining XPRIZE, Dr. Virmani was the Associate Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and a Senior Scientist at the UK Met Office.
Dr. Virmani has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. As a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, she earned a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from SUNY at Stony Brook. She also has a B.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College London and is an Associate of the Royal College of Science.

Dr. Virmani currently serves on the Schmidt Marine Technology Partners Advisory Panel, Catch the Next Wave Committee, the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Federal Advisory Committee, and the Executive Committee of the National Geographic Executive Committee for Research and Exploration. She is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and The Explorers Club."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse

The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse

Opening Remarks - Cooperating for Our Global Ocean

U.S. Senate - U.S. Senator (D-RI)

Avatar: Dr. Frederick G. Whoriskey

Dr. Frederick G. Whoriskey

Speaker - Plenary: A New Age of Exploration

Executive Director

Ocean Tracking Network and Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

[simple_tooltip content="Dr. Whoriskey is the Executive Director of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), a global research infrastructure documenting the movements and survival of aquatic animals, and their links to environmental conditions. The OTN is headquartered at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Prior to joining Dalhousie University in 2010, Fred was the Vice President, Research and Environment of the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) where he developed the organization’s science programs and led science-based public policy activity. Other positions included working as an Assistant then Associate Professor at McGill University from 1986 – 1995, and as a Research Assistant for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1976-1981). He has also served on the Boards of the AquaNet National Center of Excellence in Aquaculture, the Canadian Rivers Institute (Chair from June 2016 to present), and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre (Chair from 2003-2011). In addition to his science administration work, Fred has published extensively in the area of fish biology and ecology.

Dr Whoriskey received his BSc degree (honors) from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (1976), and his Ph.D. degree from l’Université Laval in Quebec City (1984). He held a NATO postdoctoral fellowship at the University College of Wales (now Aberystwyth University) in the UK (1985)."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

Avatar: R. Scott Winters, Ph.D.

R. Scott Winters, Ph.D.

Speaker - Restoring our Waters


Coral Restoration Foundation

[simple_tooltip content="Scott is a serial entrepreneur of 15 years following a career as an academic scientist. His ventures have ranged from entertainment, through consumer goods to healthcare. Highlights of his career include the development of the world’s most technologically advanced pediatric cancer center. He has served on the board of directors for multiple entrepreneurial ventures as well as international non-profits. Throughout his career he has published 2 books, over 50 technical articles and popular papers, and amassed over 750 hours of public speaking.

Scott received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in two simultaneous programs (Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity and BioInformatics and Computational Biology), received his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, and is Phi Beta Kappa. Scott’s passion for ocean conservation brought him to the Florida Keys to inspire others to help save our ocean."] Bio [/simple_tooltip]

2020 Honorary Congressional Committee

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