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 is an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) to 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. From the seamounts of the high seas to the shallow sunlit reefs, Mission Blue seeks to bring about a significant increase in ocean protection from less than four percent today to 20% by the year 2020.  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 100 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. Presently, less than four percent of the ocean is fully protected; just years ago, that number was around 1 percent. 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

board-sylvia-earle-180 Sylvia Earle PhD / President & Chairman
board-shari-santplummer-180 Shari Sant Plummer
board-linda-glover-180 Linda K. Glover
board-dan-laffoley-180 Prof Dan Laffoley PhD
board-carl-gustaflundin-180 Carl Gustaf Lundin
ShannonOLearyJoy_crop Shannon O’Leary Joy
board-robert-nixon-180 Robert Nixon
board-patty-elkus-180 Patty Elkus
Sharon Kwok Sharon Kwok Pong

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

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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Courtney Mattison : Editorial & Development Manager
Courtney Mattison
Editorial & Development Manager

Courtney wears many hats at Mission Blue, from producing editorial content and writing grants to coordinating Dr. Earle’s schedule. With a Master of Arts in environmental studies from Brown University, she has a deep understanding of marine cons...

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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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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