Our Board

Chair: David Johns
Vice Chair: John Davis
Treasurer: Gene Duvernoy
Emeritus: James C. Greenwood

President: Lance Morgan
Founder: Elliott A. Norse

Sylvia A. Earle
Amy Mathews Amos

Gail Osherenko

Les Watling


John Davis

Vice Chair - John Davis is president of Marine Affairs Research and Education (MARE), an NGO dedicated to providing innovative services to coastal and marine resource managers worldwide. MARE's services include the newsletter MPA News, for which John has served as editor since 1999. Prior to receiving his Master's degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, he worked at Cutter Information Corp., editing and overseeing international publications on environmental management for an audience of corporations and government agencies.

Gene Duvernoy

Treasurer - Gene Duvernoy is President of Forterra (formerly Cascade Land Conservancy). Under his leadership, Forterra spearheaded the Cascade Agenda and has risen to national prominence developing bold and innovative conservation strategies. In June, 2008, Cascade Land Conservancy received international recognition as a winner in the first Sustainable Cities Awards sponsored by the Financial Times of London and the Urban Land Institute. In 2008, he was named the first Nonprofit CEO of the Year by CEO Magazine. In 2004, the Municipal League of King County recognized him with its Jim Ellis Regional Leader Award. Gene has a Masters of Business Administration and law degree from Cornell University, and an engineering degree from Carnegie-Mellon University.

Sylvia A. Earle

Dr. Sylvia Earle, Explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, is the world's most famous marine biologist and undersea explorer. She is the author of more than 125 scientific and popular publications, including a 1995 book Sea Change, has led more than 50 expeditions totaling more than 6,000 hours underwater, and holds the world depth record for solo diving. Born in New Jersey, she received her bachelor's from Florida State University, and her master's and doctorate degrees from Duke University. She served as the Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1990-1992, has been awarded 12 honorary doctorates, and was named by Time magazine as its first "hero for the planet" in 1998.

James C. Greenwood

Emeritus - James Greenwood is President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington DC. He represented Pennsylvania's Eighth District in the US House of Representatives from 1993 through 2005. Before his election to Congress, Jim earned a B.A. in Sociology from Dickinson College and served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Senate. In 2000, he co-founded the bipartisan House Oceans Caucus to encourage efforts to explore and protect the oceans. He introduced the Deep Sea Coral Protection Act to protect vulnerable seafloor ecosystems against bottom trawling, and the OCEANS 21 Act to strengthen ocean and research and management in keeping with recommendations from the US Commission on Ocean Policy and Pew Oceans Commission. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation awarded Congressman Greenwood the 2004 Leadership Award in recognition of his work to conserve and explore the oceans.

David Johns

Chair - David Johns is Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Portland State University, Portland OR. He specializes in place-based ecosystem conservation on a continental scale and in assuring the accountability and financial health of small nonprofits. In addition to teaching law and political science, he serves as Treasurer of the Society for Conservation Biology, co-founded and remains a Board Member of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and co-founded and was the first executive director of The Wildlands Project. David has published and spoken widely on the relationship of politics, science and advocacy, and brings to Marine Conservation Institute crucial insights on ecosystem-based management and nonprofit management. David received the 2007 Denver Zoological Foundation Conservation Award for his contributions to large-scale conservation efforts and his writing.

Amy Mathews Amos

Amy Mathews Amos is an independent environmental consultant and writer with more than 25 years’ experience working on a wide range of environmental issues for non-profit conservation groups, charitable foundations, and the federal government as a policy analyst, program evaluator and project manager. In previous positions she has served as Vice-President and Program Director for Marine Conservation Biology Institute (now MCI), Policy Analyst for Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (now Earthjustice), and Senior Evaluator for the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). In addition to serving on the Board of Marine Conservation Institute, Amy is Secretary-Treasurer of SkyTruth and Past President of the American Conservation Film Festival based in Shepherdstown WV. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University's Department of Natural Resources, holds graduate degrees in both environmental science and public policy from Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and is completing her MA in Science and Medical Writing at Johns Hopkins University.

Lance Morgan

President - Dr. Lance Morgan is a marine biologist who came to Marine Conservation Institute as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2000, moving up to Staff Scientist in 2003, Vice President for Science in 2006 and President in 2012. Born in Connecticut and growing up as a son of a US Navy nuclear submarine captain, Lance learned about and became deeply committed to conserving our living oceans while living in California, Hawaii and Washington. Lance received his Master’s in Marine Science from San Francisco State University. As a graduate student he participated in 2 missions at the Aquarius underwater habitat in the Florida Keys. His doctoral research explored factors influencing recruitment of marine invertebrates, for which he received his PhD in Ecology from the University of California-Davis (1997). His postdoctoral research at Bodega Marine Laboratory and NOAA Fisheries and work at the Marine Mammal Center, further predisposed him to join Marine Conservation Institute. His research interests range from zoology to conservation science and he has studied taxa as diverse as deep sea corals, rockfishes, seabirds and orcas. He led the identification of Marine Priority Conservation Areas from Baja California to the Bering Sea for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (2005). He has explored the ocean as a SCUBA diver, aquanaut and submersible pilot. He has authored reports on the impacts of fishing methods on marine life as well as scientific papers on marine protected areas. In 2010 he traveled to the remote Johnston Atoll in the Central Pacific to help establish the first field camp at this new marine protected area. He currently chairs the Cordell Bank Sanctuary Advisory Council and holds a research faculty appointment at Bodega Marine Laboratory. His most recent conservation project is leading development of the MPAtlas.org website – a new global tool to help better understand the current state of global ocean protection.

Elliott A. Norse

Founder - Dr. Elliott A. Norse has worked at the conservation science-policy interface for his entire career. After earning his B.S. in Biology from Brooklyn College, he studied the ecology of blue crabs in the Caribbean and the tropical East Pacific during his doctoral years at University of Southern California and his postdoctoral fellowship years at University of Iowa. Starting in 1978 he worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency, White House Council on Environmental Quality (where he defined biological diversity as conservation’s overarching goal), Ecological Society of America, The Wilderness Society and Ocean Conservancy before founding Marine Conservation Institute in 1996. Elliott’s 150+ publications include Global Marine Biological Diversity: A Strategy for Building Conservation into Decision Making (1993) and Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea’s Biodiversity (2005). He is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, was President of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Marine Section, received the Nancy Foster Award for Habitat Conservation from the National Marine Fisheries Service, was named Brooklyn College 2008 Distinguished Alumnus and winner of the 2012 Chairman’s Medal from the Seattle Aquarium.

Gail Osherenko

Gail Osherenko, who has decades of experience in marine and coastal conservation, as well as Arctic affairs, is a project scientist in law and policy at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). She has taught courses in coastal and ocean law and policy in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and the Environmental Studies Program at UCSB. Her research has focused on property rights and sea tenure, the role of marine spatial planning and ocean zoning, the public trust doctrine and the effectiveness of the California coastal management regime. She was a principal investigator in the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) working group on Ocean Ecosystem-Based Management: The Role of Zoning, and a co-author of the most cited paper on marine spatial planning (Crowder et al., “Resolving Mismatches in U.S. Ocean Governance,” Science vol. 313, 4 Aug. 2006). Gail is past president and a current member of the Board of the Environmental Defense Center, a non-profit environmental law firm serving the Central California Coast.

Les Watling

Dr. Les Watling is a professor of Biological Oceanography at the University of Maine School of Marine Science based at the Darling Marine Center. He is currently a visiting professor in the zoology department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research interests have spanned two disparate topics: crustacean taxonomy and phylogeny on the one hand and benthic oceanography on the other. His focus on crustaceans includes amphipods and cumaceans but Les has studied a variety of other groups including spelaeogriphaceans and syncarids. The latter two groups are southern hemisphere phylogenetic relicts about which little is known. The cumacean studies are currently funded by NSF-PEET and center on the description of new species and higher taxa from the South Pacific Ocean (both east and west sides) and the Gulf of Mexico, and on developing molecular techniques for resolving phylogenetic relationships among cumacean families. Les' benthic interests are focused on impacts of humans on benthic environments, with an emphasis on organic enrichment and habitat disruption. Topics investigated in the last few years include the impact of salmon net-pen aquaculture on benthic environments and the effects of fishing activities on benthic habitats and its consequences for benthic community structure. Most recently he has been the co-sponsor of two symposia dealing with impacts of mobile fishing gear on benthic communities and his research projects have focused on the potential loss of marine biodiversity associated with fishing activities. Much of the current work has been conducted using research submersibles as well as samples taken from surface ships.