National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) is a private, nonprofit organization that connects people to the underwater places that define the American ocean: national marine sanctuaries. Areas in our ocean and Great Lakes set aside for their cultural and ecological significance, sanctuaries protect the very best of the American ocean for the next generation.

NMSF strives to fulfill its mission of enhancing national marine sanctuaries in their goal to protect essential U.S. marine areas and to ensure a healthy ocean and to realize NMSF’s vision of an expanded and strengthen network of national marine sanctuaries for the benefit of current and future generations.

National Federation of Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing

NFRA is a non-profit organization formed by the Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing in support of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). IOOS is a national program created to ensure the sustained observation of our nation’s coastal oceans and to develop information products from those observations to assist people in their lives and livelihoods. IOOS is both a national system and a network of regional systems.  The NFRA missions are to:

  • Develop Regional Associations for coastal and ocean observing to deliver scientific data and information on the nation’s oceans;
  • Promote the integration and coordination the regional systems into a integrated national system to enhance observational and predictive abilities in ocean science;
  • Develop regional programs through capacity building, exchange of technical information, and sharing of facilities and infrastructure; and
  • Educate the public about ocean observing and its importance to the nation.

National Estuarine Research Reserve Association

The National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA) is a not-for-profit scientific and educational organization dedicated to the protection, understanding, and science-based management of our nation’s estuaries and coasts. Our members are the 28 reserves that make up the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). Established in 1987, NERRA facilitates its members’ mission to protect our nation’s estuaries and to promote conservation-based research, education, and stewardship through the reserves.

In 28 beautiful coastal locations around our country, 22 states and Puerto Rico have protected in perpetuity over 1.3 million acres of land for education, long-term research, science-based stewardship, recreation and sustainability of the coastal economy. The states have been entrusted to operate and manage NOAA’s program as created by Congress in the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) nearly 40 years ago.

The NERRS relies on the support of NERRA to strengthen and expand its successful programs, and to enable this network to better address growing challenges to our nation’s estuaries and coasts. NERRA works to increase support for research, monitoring, education, and stewardship; and also provide public education and outreach to improve estuary awareness. NERRA’s vision is to maintain healthy estuaries and coastal watersheds where human and ecological communities thrive.

Marine Fish Conservation Network

For the last two decades the Marine Fish Conservation Network has united fishermen, conservationists, scientists and citizens around a shared mission: saving and revitalizing wild ocean fisheries. The Network advances national policies to achieve healthy oceans and productive fisheries for the benefit of all who rely on them for food, work or recreation.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University Earth Institute


Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory seeks fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. Lamont-Doherty is a core component of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, which brings together people and tools to address some of the world’s most challenging problems from climate change and environmental degradation, to poverty, disease and the sustainable use of resources. More than 120 Ph.D. level researchers work and teach at Lamont-Doherty; 80-90 graduate students are involved in research and a growing number of undergraduates participate in summer internships. Lamont-Doherty also operates a federally-funded research ship, the Marcus G. Langseth, which uses seismic data to map the sub-seafloor, highlighting hidden faults and other earthquake hazards.

Since its founding in 1949, Lamont-Doherty has been a leader in the earth sciences. Its scientists were the first to map the seafloor and develop a computer model that could predict an El Nino weather event, the first to provide concrete proof for the theory of plate tectonics and to reveal the oceans’ role in triggering abrupt climate change. With each year, our understanding of earth improves. Yet, new discoveries await us. It is that next insight on the horizon that keeps our researchers excited to learn more about how and why earth changes as it does.

The International SeaKeepers Society

The International Seakeepers Society is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire the leaders of the world to become a voice for the oceans, by bridging the gaps between good science and the business and yachting communities.

Members of SeaKeepers include influential opinion leaders who believe that the best way to protect the environment is to protect the world’s oceans and who recognize the ocean’s critical importance to the life of our planet. The Society is thus deeply committed to finding real-world solutions to the problems now plaguing our seas. Our small but distinguished membership includes entrepreneurs, yachtsmen, corporations, divers, scientists and concerned citizens who endeavor to build a universal effort to restore and protect the world’s oceans. As a Private/Public collaborative effort, the Society focuses on critical ocean issues in cooperation with government agencies, other like minded organizations, the academic community, and the public. Our motto is “Protect, Preserve and Restore.”

Institute for Exploration

Located in Mystic, Connecticut, the Institute for Exploration (IFE) is dedicated to research in the aquatic sciences, especially pertaining to human and natural history in the oceans.  Working with partner institutions like the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, the National Geographic Society, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and the Institute for Archeological Oceanography, IFE seeks to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.  Under the direction of oceanographer and explorer, Dr. Robert Ballard, IFE develops advanced deep-sea vehicle systems  to conduct this research in cooperation with other academic institutions and government agencies.  In addition to its research and engineering programs, IFE conducts regular programming consisting of exhibits, distance learning, classroom instruction, field trips, etc. to educate students and the general public about the work that’s conducted there.  An important aspect of IFE’s work is the annual expedition to such venues as the Black and Aegean Seas, the Mediterranean and the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic.

I. M. Systems Group, Inc.

I. M. Systems Group (IMSG) is a leading provider of innovative science and technology services to government agencies across the globe.  IMSG specializes in advising government agencies to predict, prepare for and respond to natural and manmade disasters.  We tackle complex challenges ranging from fisheries management, severe weather and sea level rise to food and water security, developing cutting edge science and technology solutions, integrating satellites, GIS and high-performance computing capabilities.

IMSG is a major partner with NOAA, providing science and technology services in many of NOAA’s line offices, including the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the National Ocean Service (NOS), the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS).