ocean literacy?

  The Seven Essential Principles of Ocean Literacy

The Seven Essential Principles of Ocean Literacy

At the turn of the 21st century, in the U.S., ocean concepts were rarely taught in formal education science standards. Concerned scientists and educators raised their voices against the lack of ocean science in school and launched the so-called ocean literacy movement. They discussed what citizens should know about the ocean after completion of formal education in order to be considered ocean literate (Schoedinger, Tran, & Whitley, 2010). This was translated into a set of seven overarching ideas referred to as the seven essential principles and 45 fundamental concepts of ocean literacy.

Being ocean literate means understanding the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean. Elaborating on this understanding of interdependences. An ocean literate person understands the fundamental concepts about the functioning of the ocean, is able to communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way, and is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. To know more about the history of ocean literacy, read this recent paper.

I have played a central role in bringing the ocean literacy movement to an international audience.


(2015 - present)

In 2015, I was the first Director elected to the Board of the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) from outside North America. This association is a dedicated, influential member-based organization of marine education leaders, classroom teachers, informal educators, university professors and scientists from around the world working together to advance the understanding and protection of our marine and freshwater ecosystems.

I serve as chair of the NMEA International Committee.

Co-founder and Director (2011 -present)

In 2011, inspired by the example of NMEA,  (Marine Biological Association), Evy Copejans (Flanders Marine Institute), and I co-founded the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA). EMSEA is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting ocean literacy in Europe.

    The focus of EMSEA is primarily on science and education but we recognize the importance of the ocean in all disciplines.

    EMSEA’s goals are to:

    •  Stimulate dialogue between European and international marine educators and scientists;
    • Provide professional learning and teaching materials to support marine educators;
    • Raise educators' awareness of ocean issues and the need for a sustainable future for our ocean, coasts, and seas.

    EMSEA’s main activities are:

    • Organize workshops and conferences for marine educators;
    • Provide a web portal with links for marine education and research-based materials;
    • Provide a forum for member feedback and communication.

    Lead Editor 

    (2015 - present)

    I serve as the lead editor of the book "Exemplary Practices in Marine Science Education - A Resource for Practitioners and Researchers" to be published in early 2018. The book includes 25 chapters from three continents sharing their exemplary best practices in marine science education. No other book currently exists focused solely on marine science education. Our purpose is to inform, inspire, and provide an intellectual forum for practitioners and researchers in this particular context.


      The 130 attendees of the 2nd EMSEA conference

    The 130 attendees of the 2nd EMSEA conference

    Conference Chair


    I had the honor to chair and host the Second EMSEA conference at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

    Swedish representative


    I served as Swedish representative to the European Marine Board Communications Panel (EMBCP) .The EMBCP provides a pan-European platform for marine science communicators to promote Marine Board activities, to coordinate outreach activities, and to advocate for ocean literacy.

    Advisory Board Member


    I served as member of the Advisory Board at the public aquarium Havets Hus in Lysekil Sweden. This board contributes ideas and knowledge from the world of research and education to advance the mission of the aquarium.