The Ocean Research Foundation supports scientists working to help people better understand and better care for our oceans.
Tech for the Ocean
From our home in San Francisco, the technology capital of the world, we have a special interest in applying emerging technologies to the work of ocean conservation. Our current projects include work with artificial intelligence, computer vision/identification, crowdsourcing data, and fieldwork with aerial and underwater drones.
It is an important part of our mission to put that technology in the hands of scientists in the field -- scientists doing important research all over the globe, often without access to the latest technology, and without direct contact to other scientists for collaboration and support.
Our organization was started in 2009 by a longtime San Francisco Bay fisherman who felt a calling to protect the oceans that he loved. Starting with an operation called "Team Fish Finders", the early days of the Ocean Research Foundation were focused on shark-tagging and marine research services in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the California Academy of Sciences.
In collaboration with scientists at the Pacific Shark Research Center, Team Fish Finders eventually transformed into the Bay Area Study of Elasmobranchs -- a long-term study of the shark populations of San Francisco Bay.
Our scientists have been featured on television and print news, including on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”, giving us a chance to reach millions of viewers with our message of conservation.
Through the years, we have expanded our mission to include outreach and public education, and support for other research and conservation projects.
In 2015, Ocean Research Foundation’s deputy director was part of the team of scientists that identified and named a new shark species -- Etmopterus benchleyi, the Ninja Lanternshark.
Some of our most important projects are taking place outside of the United States, helping scientists perform vital conservation work in areas far from laboratories, universities or black-tie fundraising dinners.
As we head into our second decade, we are focusing on greater support for ocean research around the world. We are developing programs to increase the use of high technology in ocean exploration, and finding new ways to bring that technology to scientists working in the developing world.