Stephanie Wear on the beach
steph_wear_headshot Stephanie Wear on the beach © © Karine Aigner

Our People

Stephanie Wear

Senior Scientist and Strategy Advisor

North Carolina


Dr. Stephanie Wear is a marine ecologist, conservation strategy advisor, and global spokesperson at The Nature Conservancy, the world’s leading conservation organization. Stephanie is also a visiting scientist at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Duke University Marine Lab. Throughout her career, Dr. Wear has focused on researching and developing new strategies to reduce threats to coral reefs and ocean ecosystems, paying special attention to how the fates of reefs and people are intertwined.

Since joining the Conservancy in 2001, she has worked with local communities to establish marine protected areas, developed strategies to address global drivers that threaten coral reefs, designed and led a global learning network for reef managers, conducted research on the impacts of pollution on ocean systems, and become a recognized media spokesperson on reef conservation.

Dr. Wear’s latest work with the Conservancy has led to a variety of published papers and studies that examine the often-unrecognized role that sanitation plays in conservation on both human and ocean health around the globe. While sewage may not be the most pleasant conversation topic, it affects the lives of billions of people around the globe. Stephanie approaches it as she does any research area: using rigorous science to connect to other scientists, donors and the media.

As part of her commitment to a healthy planet, Dr. Wear has worked to raise awareness about important environmental issues. Her ability to connect with wide audiences helps her convey important topics to the general public. As a result, Dr. Wear has become a recognized spokesperson for conservation. She has appeared on numerous media outlets, including NBC Dateline, NBC Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, Fox News, Time Magazine, Success Magazine, and as a guest on The Martha Stewart Show. She has also appeared as an expert contributor on Disney’s movie, “Oceans,” and in the BBC series, “The Power of Nature.” She speaks frequently at conferences and special events, including the Nexus Global Youth Summit and the Denver Museum for Nature and Science, and International Coral Reef Symposium.

She was named one of Women’s Health Magazine’s “Clean and Green Pioneers” in April 2013 and’s “Moms Who are Changing the World” in 2011. Stephanie was selected as a member of the inaugural class of NatureNet Science Fellows—a path-breaking program sponsored by the Conservancy and six leading universities that brings new approaches to solving global challenges around sustainable provision of food, energy and water.

In her free time, Dr. Wear enjoys exploring coastal North Carolina and its expansive waterways with her family.

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Dateline NBC: On Assignment at Palmyra Atoll

Stephanie join's Dateline's Harry Smith to talk about what makes Palmyra Atoll an extraordinary place and a troubling indicator of the health of coral reefs worldwide. 

7 Women Who Rock

Stephanie shares her wisdom on leaning in to get the job you deserve in a profile in Success magazine.

Lean In: Stephanie Wear

Stephanie talks to Lean In about overcoming the challenge of being a marine biologist who doesn't dive.

Why Whale Poo Is Good for the Oceans... and Us

Stephanie chimes in on how whale feces can help sustain marine ecosystems on BBC's Power of Nature.

Visit Stephanie's Google Scholar Profile for a full list of publications.


Wear, S.L. (2016). Missing the boat: critical threats to coral reefs are neglected at global scale. Marine Policy, 74, 153–157.


Anthony, K.R.N., Marshall, P.A., Abdulla, A., Beeden, R., Bergh, C., Black, R., Eakin, C.M., Game, E.T., Gooch, M., Graham, N.A.J., Green, A., Heron, S.F., van Hooidonk, R., Knowland, C., Mangubhai, S., Marshall, N., Maynard, J.A., McGinnity, P., McLeod, E., Mumby, P.J., Nyström, M., Obura, D., Oliver, J., Possingham, H.P., Pressey, R.L., Rowlands, G.P., Tamelander, J., Wachenfeld, D. & Wear, S. (2015). Operationalizing resilience for adaptive coral reef management under global environmental change. Global Change Biology, 21, 48–61.

Wear, S.L. & Thurber, R.V. (2015). Sewage pollution: mitigation is key for coral reef stewardship. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1355, 15–30.


Bishop, M.J. & Wear, S.L. (2005). Ecological consequences of ontogenetic shifts in predator diet: seasonal constraint of a behaviorally mediated indirect interaction. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 326, 199–206.