When our founder, Dr. Johnson, was executive director of the Waitt Institute, she had the incredible opportunity to gather a dream team of experts to build the Blue Halo Initiative. She brought international scientists, lawyers, technologists, and artists together with Antiguan and Barbudan fishermen, teachers, civil servants, and politicians. The work was collaborative, science-based, and community-driven.

After a year and a half, a comprehensive new legal framework was in place. This included zoning Barbuda’s waters, establishing one third of the coastal area as marine reserves, restricting unsustainable fishing, and protecting mangroves, seagrasses, sea urchins, parrotfish, and sharks. This “Blue Halo” became a model for sustainable ocean management, expanding to Montserrat and Curaçao, and inspiring related work elsewhere.

Seeing the scale of what is possible when a diverse collection of experts come together to create and implement solutions, Dr. Johnson was inspired to build an organization that could pull together the dream team for any ocean conservation challenge. Thus, the Ocean Collectiv.


Collectively, our expertise spans science, policy, community engagement, design, film, politics, education, technology, and communications. We assemble ourselves in various permutations to create the ideal team for each project. Ocean Collectiv is more than the sum of its parts.


We do client work and public outreach, individually and collectively.

  • Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D. Founding Member & Principal
  • Easkey Britton, Ph.D. Human-sea Connection Founding Member
  • Amanda Bushnell Founding Member, Aquaculture, Business Strategy Founding Member
  • Teresa Christopher Policy Design and Implementation Founding Member
  • Marvourneen Dolor, Ph.D. Land-sea Connection Founding Member
  • Jean Flemma Legislative Strategy Founding Member
  • Kate Gage Political Strategy Founding Member
  • Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D. Aquariums Founding Member
  • Martha Jeffries Filmmaking Founding Member
  • Stefeni Jung Engagement and Events Founding Member
  • Stephanie Roach Coral Reef Conservation Founding Member
  • Mollie Ruskin User-centered Design Founding Member
  • Sandra Whitehouse, Ph.D. Ocean Planning Founding Member
  • Bethany Blakeman Research Assistant
  • Aditi Varshneya Research Assistant


Our advisors contribute their wisdom and networks – and add magic.

  • Sean Tobias Barrett Community Support Fisheries, Ocean Exploration Trust
  • Katy Croff Bell, Ph.D Exploration and Robots, Ocean Exploration Trust
  • Philippe Cousteau Science Communication
  • Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš Latinx Engagement, Azul
  • Jeremy Jackson, Ph.D. Coral Reef Conservation, Professor Emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Jeff Orlowski Filmmaking, Exposure Labs
  • Andy Rosenberg Science and Democracy, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Cyndi Stivers Media Strategy, TED
  • Whitney Tome Diversity and Inclusion, Green 2.0 / Raben Group
  • Susan McPherson Corporate Social Responsibility, McPherson Strategies
  • Marquise Stillwell Business Strategy and Design Thinking, Openbox
  • Sally Yozell Policymaking and Security, Stinson Center