Wallace J. Nichols
Lately he is working on BlueMarbles.org and BLUEMiND: The Mind + Ocean Initiative. He blogs at wallacejnichols.org and is at the forefront of the new discipline of Neuro-conservation that explores the intersection of the brain and the ocean. The emerging field unites neuroscience, ocean exploration and marine stewardship in new global dialogue between neuroscientists, ocean scientists, economists, photographers, explorers, writers, and ocean advocates.
Dr. Nichols spends his time discovering nature. He spent his youth exploring oceans and forests, as well as his own family history. Resulting in a fascination for genetics and animal migration, as well as human culture and conservation—these have been the topics of his undergraduate studies at DePauw University, graduate studies at Duke University and University of Arizona, his academic research as a Fulbright Fellow and as a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences.
Through field research, his work with commercial fishermen, and the time he spends in coastal villages, he encounters among people a common appreciation for the ocean’s beauty, abundance and mysteries. Nichols finds successful conservation efforts often include unexpected alliances and that there is common ground to be found between so-called “enemies” of nature.
Dr. Nichols has undertaken the task of reaching new constituencies with a positive and inclusive conservation message and building a network of like-minded people, from diverse regions, backgrounds and careers who share a commitment to maintaining abundant life in the oceans and on the coasts. In 1998 he founded the Grupo Tortuguero, an international grassroots movement dedicated to restoring Pacific sea turtles and to sustainable management of ocean fisheries. In 1999 he co-founded and for five years directed WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team dedicated to the protection of coastal wilderness where he and a diverse group of partners organized fishermen to protect endangered sea turtles and helped coastal ranchers protect their shores for future generations. In 2003 Nichols and eight others trekked 1,900 km along the coast from Oregon to Mexico to bring attention to coastal and ocean issues. He also spearheads the Ocean Revolution, a program that inspires, involves and mentors the next generation of ocean conservation leaders.
Currently, he works with several universities and organizations to advance ocean protection, including California Academy of Sciences as a Research Associate, Conservation Science Advisor for ProPeninsula, on a global bycatch study with Duke University and Blue Ocean Institute, and has served as an advisor or board member of Turtle Island Restoration Network, Biosphere Foundation, Animal Alliance, Coastwalk, Drylands Institute, Oceana, and Reef Protection International. For two years he served as Senior Research Scientist at the Ocean Conservancy.
J.’s projects and philosophy incorporates participatory science, social networking/community organizing, and creative communication to inspire a healthier relationship with the sea.
J. is author of more than fifty scientific papers, book chapters, popular articles, and reports on sea turtle ecology and ocean conservation. His efforts are featured in National Geographic, Scientific American, Time, Newsweek and other international media. He is the author of the children’s book Chelonia: Return of the sea turtle, which has been translated to Spanish and is distributed throughout Mexico to underprivileged youth. He is also co-author of the screenplay Adelita’s Journey based on the true story of one loggerhead sea turtle’s epic 24,000 km migration from Japan to Mexico and back home again. J. continues to share his research with millions of school children around the world through school and aquarium visits, field trips, the Internet and various publications and writing projects.