About Us

 
I wish you would use all means at your disposal—films, expeditions, the web, new submarines—to create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.

Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. As of Dec 2016, 5.1% of the global ocean was covered by marine protected areas. From the seamounts of the high seas to the shallow sunlit reefs, Mission Blue seeks to bring about a significant increase in ocean protection to 30% by the year 2030.

An initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.), we ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots—special places that are vital to the health of the ocean, the blue heart of our planet. We draw inspiration from the vision of our founder, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and are uniting a global coalition of partners to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team has embarked on a series of expeditions to further this vision and shed light on these ocean Hope Spots. We also bring the discoveries and stories of a network of ocean experts to the public through documentaries, social and traditional media, and innovative tools like Google’s “Explore the Ocean” layer. Additionally, we support the work of many conservation NGOs with whom we share the basic mission of ocean protection and public awareness. Currently, the Mission Blue coalition includes over 170 respected ocean conservation groups and like-minded organizations — from large multinational companies down to individual scientific teams doing important research. Decades of overfishing, pollution, climate change, acidification and other human pressures threaten the fundamental nature of the ocean—and therefore threaten the future of humankind. We encourage all global citizens who care about our ocean to reach out and support Mission Blue in any way they can. With concerted effort and passionate people, we can continue this positive trend and help create a global network of Hope Spots, the seeds of tomorrow’s healthy ocean.

 
 
 

Board of Directors

Sylvia Earle PhD : President & Chairman
Sylvia Earle PhD
President & Chairman
Sylvia Earle is President and Chairman of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and is called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congr...
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Prof Dan Laffoley PhD :
Prof Dan Laffoley PhD
Dan Laffoley is Principal Advisor on Marine Science and Conservation for IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme and also acts as Marine Vice-Chair for the World Commission on Protected Areas. He is a leading global expert on ocean conservation. He ...
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Carl Gustaf Lundin :
Carl Gustaf Lundin
Carl Gustaf Lundin serves as Director for the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme. His primary responsibility is to develop the program in four areas: global coastal issues, high seas, climate change/nature-based solutions and working with marine ...
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Shari Sant Plummer :
Shari Sant Plummer
Shari Sant Plummer is president of Code Blue Charitable Foundation, secretary/trustee of the Summit Charitable Foundation, vice president/trustee of Seacology, and chair of the International League of Conservation Photographers. She is an advisory bo...
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Shannon O’Leary Joy :
Shannon O’Leary Joy
Shannon O’Leary Joy is an avid ocean advocate, serving on the Board of WildAid, as well as on the Executive Committee of Mission Blue / Sylvia Earle Alliance and as Executive Director of the EarthSense Foundation.
...
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Linda Glover :
Linda Glover
Linda Glover has been a leader in ocean science, policy, and public outreach for decades. Her research work includes shipboard science in the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Indian Ocean, with publications in marine geology and ancient climates. She is...
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Robert Nixon :
Robert Nixon
Robert Nixon is an American film director, writer and lifelong conservationist. Raised in a Philadelphia suburb, he aspired to be a field biologist before taking up a career in film. His films, often focus on the battles of tribal peoples and field b...
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Patty Elkus :
Patty Elkus

Patty Elkus is an active philanthropist and community catalyst in San Diego with strong ties to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. She serves on Margaret Leinen's Directors Council at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, International SeaKeeper...

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Sharon Kwok :
Sharon Kwok
Sharon Kwok was born in Hong Kong of a Chinese mother and an American father of Germanic decent. Much of her childhood was spent at Ocean Park as her father was one of the founding members. Sharon has been featured in over a dozen films. Sharon is pu...
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Emeritus Directors

Jenifer Austin •Gigi Brisson (Current Treasurer) •Meg Caldwell •Erik Gordon •Daryl Hannah 
•John Hanke •Michael Holland •Ann Hurley •Ann K. Luskey •Greg MacGillivray •Jim Toomey
 
 

Our Staff

Sylvia A. Earle : Founder
Sylvia A. Earle
Founder

National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine, is an oceanographer, exp...

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Laura Cassiani : Executive Director
Laura Cassiani
Executive Director

As Executive Director, Laura works with Mission Blue’s Board of Directors and staff to implement the strategic goals and objectives of the organization. Laura provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of the organization's philoso...

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Deb Castellana : Chief Operating Officer
Deb Castellana
Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer, Deb is responsible for strategic planning and oversees daily operations for the Sylvia Earle Alliance. She works with SEA's Board of Directors, strategic partners and employees to ensure that results and outcomes are in...

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Kip Evans : Director of Photography and Expeditions
Kip Evans
Director of Photography and Expeditions

As Director of Photography and Expeditions, Kip manages the SEA’s image database, expedition planning and documentary production. He is an active participant in nearly every SEA expedition, functioning as producer, director and chief cinematogra...

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Charlotte Vick : Director of Engagement
Charlotte Vick
Director of Engagement

Charlotte’s fascination with sea life began when she was in elementary school. She loved to sneak down to a quarry and lake near her home to collect what she learned were fossils. These giant white chalky versions were really big. This was her ...

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Brett Garling : Director of Communications
Brett Garling
Director of Communications

Brett manages partner relationships and provides communications strategy for Mission Blue. As the son of an original national organizer for Earth Day, Brett grew up in a family dedicated to preserving the integrity of our environment. Brett gradua...

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Carolina Dratva : Director of Development
Carolina Dratva
Director of Development

Caro Dratva’s greatest passion is the ocean. After falling in love with the sea as an avid scuba diver, she decided to leave the development, marketing, and graphic design roles in a major San Francisco architectural firm to completely dedicate ...

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Shilpi Chhotray : Communications Strategist
Shilpi Chhotray
Communications Strategist

Shilpi is helping Mission Blue take its online presence to the next level. She curates outreach messaging related to Mission Blue causes and the ocean space in general. Shilpi comes with over nine years of experience in the ocean advocacy sector, ...

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Courtney Mattison : Special Projects Consultant
Courtney Mattison
Special Projects Consultant

With a Master of Arts in environmental studies from Brown University, Courtney has a deep understanding of marine conservation science and policy—particularly regarding coral reef ecosystems—and believes in finding creative ways to bring ocea...

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Danielle Epifani : Communications Assistant
Danielle Epifani
Communications Assistant

Danielle joins Mission Blue with 15 years experience working in Steiner education. Here, wonder, exploration and gratitude for the natural world provide tomorrow's child a cornerstone for problem solving the future. A graduate from UC Berkeley in ...

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Jonathan Knowles : Science and Exploration Fellow & Advisor to the Chairman
Jonathan Knowles
Science and Exploration Fellow & Advisor to the Chairman

In his role as Science and Exploration Fellow and Advisor to the Chairman, Jonathan engages broadly in Mission Blue activities from strategy to field expeditions. His expertise keeps him at the frontier of beyond the horizon technologies while p...

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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle