The Conservancy's Top Seafaring Characters

Find out which of our staff measure up to some of the best ocean stars on the big and small screen.

Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin), The Hunt for Red October: When Soviet submarine captain Marko Ramius takes his vessel on a dangerous trip across the Atlantic, CIA analyst Ryan is asked to predict the captain’s next moves and ultimate intention.

Adam Whelchel, Director of Conservation Programs: Whelchel is creating a computer model that predicts how climate change will impact our coastlines. This model will allow state and local officials to make informed decisions on where to direct future conservation and development.

Long before MacGuyver, Dr. Roy Hinckley (aka “the Professor”) famously showcased his talent for building lie-detector machines, pedal-powered cars and other contraptions (what is that thing?) out of bamboo, coconuts and grass.

Rob Brumbaugh, restoration program director, routinely builds oyster reefs out of concrete blocks, mesh bags filled with surf clam shells and even ceramic tiles strung together with wire. Why? To restore some of the 85 percent of oyster habitat that has been lost.

As the survivors of Oceanic flight #815 work to unravel the mysteries of the island (tropical polar bears?), Kate Austen frequently negotiates peace between a straight-laced doc and a bad-tempered con artist, as well as many other, uh, interesting personalities.

Vera Agostini is working to bring all the groups who use the ocean together to map out the activities and wildlife that converge in certain parts of the sea, spot where potential conflicts exist, and craft a plan that best meets our needs and does the least harm to marine life and habitat.

Matt Hooper: The awesomely nerdy marine biologist is unabashed in his admiration of sharks. When not saying things like “bite radius” and “this was not a boating accident!” Hooper gamely climbs into a shark cage to battle a 25-foot Great White.

The awesomely cool Suzanne Case, Hawaii program executive director, has seen – and swam with – hundreds of sharks. In Hawaii, Case has worked to strengthen prohibitions on the possession and sale of shark fins to help curtail the cruel practice of shark-finning.

Santiago (Spencer Tracy) from The Old Man and the Sea: After 84 days without a catch, Cuban fisherman Santiago lands the Granddaddy marlin of the Caribbean.

Michael Bell is partnering with local fisherman in California to establish methods of fishing that sustain livelihoods while reducing bycatch and damage to the sea floor, ensuring that a streak like Hemingway’s hero is one that’s never repeated here.

He battles cursed pirates, negotiates his way out of hangings and takes on the Kraken with a jaunty “ ’Ello, Beastie.” Is there anything the world’s coolest pirate can’t do?

When he’s not bumping into grizzlies in his home state of Montana, Sanjayan, our lead scientist, is swimming with tiger sharks, plotting an escape when rhinos charge, and coolly cajoling David Letterman to cheer up over climate change. What will he do next? If you’re curious, keep up with his videos and blog postings online.


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