Four Black scientists making a difference for our oceans - Oceana Canada
Home / Blog / Four Black scientists making a difference for our oceans

February 28, 2022

Four Black scientists making a difference for our oceans

Estimated reading time: 0 minutes


Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson Photo Credit: Ryan Lash / TED


In honour of Black History Month, we want to celebrate by highlighting Black voices in marine science. Here are four Black scientists who are making a difference for our oceans:

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Website | Twitter

Marine biologist, policy expert and writer are just some of the things that make Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson who she is. A leader in the marine world, she is also co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities, and co-creator of the podcast How to Save a Planet, on climate solutions.

Her advice for people of colour who want to be involved in the fight to protect and restore the ocean and push forward climate solutions?

“Do it. Join us! Find where your skills and interests fit into this work. We need all the help we can get and there is a huge diversity of organizations working on ocean conservation in different places and with a broad spectrum of approaches and areas of focus.”

Rashid Sumaila
Photo Credit: UBC

Dr. Rashid Sumaila

Website | Twitter

Dr. Sumaila is Professor and Director, Fisheries Economics Research Unit and the Ocean Canada Partnership at the University of British Columbia, and he sits on Oceana’s Board of Directors. He specializes in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues including fisheries subsidies, illegal fishing, climate change and oil spills.

Sumaila is deeply interested in how economics can be used to help ensure that environmental resources are sustainably managed for the benefit of all generations. He has experience working in fisheries and natural resource projects in Norway, Canada and the North Atlantic region, Namibia and the Southern African region, Ghana and the West African region and Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

His latest book Infinity Fish is both inspirational and aspirational about the future of ocean fisheries – it is worth reading.

Daniel Pauly
Photo Credit: Paul Joseph courtesy of UBC and Sea Around Us

Dr. Daniel Pauly

Website | Twitter

Dr. Pauly is a world-renowned fisheries scientist, the author of five books, 400 peer-reviewed papers and over 1,200 other pieces of writing. His new biography, The Ocean’s Whistleblower: The Remarkable Life of Daniel Pauly, is worth a read.

He currently serves as the Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us Initiative at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and he also serves on Oceana’s Board of Directors. His global, multi-year analyses of marine ecosystems have allowed him to reach startling and important conclusions – most critical among them that fish populations are declining rapidly all over the world.

Dr Dawn Wright
Photo Credit: COMPASS Science Communication

Dr. Dawn Wright

Website | Twitter

Dr. Dawn Wright is an American geographer and oceanographer. She is a leading authority on geographic information systems (GIS) as applied to the marine environment and played a key role in creating the first GIS data model for the oceans. Her work has transformed the capacity and capabilities of ocean science.

She is also a leader in ocean exploration, having participated in over 20 research expeditions and taken at least five dives in submersible vehicles. These experiences have coined her the nickname “Deepsea Dawn” in the oceanography community.


To meet and learn about many more Black marine scientists, check out this hub provided by Black in Marine Science. #BlackInMarineScience