Our People

Dr. Lizzie McLeod

Global Ocean Director

Arlington, VA

Headshot of Lizzie McLeod.

Lizzie Mcleod Dr. Lizzie McLeod is Global Ocean Director for The Nature Conservancy. © Courtesy Lizzie Mcleod


Coral reefs, MPAs, restoration, marine spatial planning, blue carbon, climate change, gender equity


Rachel Winters
ph. +1 267-210-2189


Dr. Lizzie McLeod is The Nature Conservancy’s Global Ocean Director. Lizzie serves as the organization’s champion for ocean conservation, including TNC’s work to protect, manage and restore marine ecosystems, support sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, and mitigate and adapt to climate change through blue carbon and other nature-based solutions. Lizzie is an internationally recognized ocean expert and communicator who contributes to global ocean and climate think tanks, serves on multiple scientific panels and leads key engagements at global biodiversity and climate policy events.  

During her career, Lizzie has lived and worked in Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean and the United States, providing scientific and strategic guidance to field teams in more than 40 countries. She has led strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems and coastal communities, elevate women’s leadership in climate and biodiversity policy and practice, and develop tools to improve marine protection and management. Lizzie has been instrumental in securing significant global partnerships to raise awareness and funding for ocean conservation, including the Keep Our Oceans Amazing campaign with Disney and “Avatar: The Way of Water.” In prior roles, she led TNC’s Global Reefs Program, served as a marine climate scientist and oversaw science for the global Reef Resilience Network, which provides scientific guidance and resources to help more than 42,000 marine managers around the world address threats to coral reefs.

In addition to earning her PhD in marine science from the University of Hawaii, Lizzie has led research with more than 25 of the world’s top marine research institutions. She has published extensively on topics including marine protected areas, conservation planning, reefs, fisheries, climate change, blue carbon and more. Lizzie is committed to supporting local and Indigenous-led marine conservation efforts, with a focus on increasing gender equity.

In her role as global ocean director, Lizzie is honored to champion the voices and actions of TNC’s global marine staff, raising the profile of the organization’s collective work to achieve global impact for our oceans and the communities that depend upon them. In her free time, Lizzie is happiest wandering beaches looking for exquisite shells, digging in her garden, creating art and mentoring the next generation of female conservation leaders. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and two children.

+ Read full biography - Collapse biography