hump5     hump2

About OMI

The Ocean Mammal Institute (OMI), formally established in 1994, is a non-profit organization designed to assist in narrowing the gap between individuals, science and technology, and to increase heartfelt connections with the natural world. As Rachel Carson observed, “You must love nature before you can preserve it.”

President and Founder

Dr. Marsha GreenMarsha Green, Ph.D. is OMI's President and founder. Dr. Green holds a doctorate from Temple University in animal behavior and physiological psychology. She is a licensed psychologist and Professor at Albright College in Reading Pennsylvania. Here she served as Chair of the Psychology Department until 1993 and founded the Psychobiology and Environmental Psychobiology programs.

Since 1986, Dr. Green has been conducting research on the impact of human behavior on humpback whales and spinner dolphins in Hawaii. She has gained international recognition for her ground breaking studies linking human compassion with scientific field research to benefit whales, dolphins and their environment.

Dr. Green is a woman who believes words can educate but its actions that create a change. She has taken specific actions that have been instrumental in changing laws and conditions for marine mammals:

  • She conducts research on the impact of engine noise on whale behavior in Hawaii and Alaska.

  • She has testified twice for the State of Hawaii on the impact of thrillcraft on humpback whales and was instrumental in banning their operation during whale season.

  • In 1998 she initiated a lawsuit against the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Commerce in an attempt to stop the Navy's test of Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFAS) on endangered humpback whales.

  • In 2001 OMI hosted a symposium to discuss LFAS. Symposium attendees included people from environmental, scientific and regulatory communities, as well as the ocean-related community. The goal of this event was to clarify and address the very controversial issues surrounding LFAS in order to facilitate the presentation of accurate information to both Congress and the public.

  • In 2002 Dr. Green began traveling to Europe, visiting the European Parliament and NATO educating individuals on the dangers of high intensity active sonars on marine mammals. She took with her a petition signed by 68 environmental organizations in the U.S., Canada and Europe representing over 8.3 million citizens which requested the European Union adopt a moratorium on the deployment of LFAS until a global assessment of its environmental impacts can be done. Dr. Green suggested forming the European Coalition for Silent Oceans. The coalition now has 52 members, a website and a petition against high intensity active sonar.

  • She lectures internationally on the issue of underwater noise pollution.

  • In 2004, Dr. Green was appointed to the congressionally mandated Federal Advisory Committee studying acoustic impacts on marine mammals. This committee was responsbile for reporting and making recommendations to the U.S. Congress.

  • In 2005, the International Ocean Noise Coalition (IONC) was formed. This coalition represents four continents:

    • European Coalition for Silent Oceans (ECSO) headed by Sigrid Luber North American Ocean Noise Coalition (NAONC) headed by Dr. Marsha Green South American Ocean Noise Coalition (LAONC), headed by Elsa Cabrera Mexico / Central American Ocean Noise Coalition headed by Dr. Yolanda Alaniz

    The IONC is a partnership of over 140 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world. It was created to address the need for a global approach to combating human-generated ocean noise.

  • In 2006 Dr. Green was appointed to the ACCOBAMS working group. This group is responsible for assisting in the development of noise regulations for the protection of marine life for the Mediterranean, Black Sea and contiguous Atlantic areas.

  • She has attended the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Informal Consultative Process on the UN Convention on Oceans and the Law at the United Nations meetings held, in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively. During each of these meetings Dr. Green has spoken with delegates from numerous nations and presented talks on the issue of ocean noise pollution.

As driven as she is to take a stand for what she believes in to protect our environment and its inhabitants. She is also able to connect to and learn from the whales she studies as she shares:

"Being in the company of whales has taught me so many things about nature and living in harmony with other creatures. Separated by thousands of miles of ocean, humpback whales in the North Pacific all sing the same song and it is the most complex song on Earth. Science has not been able to explain how they can do this and it one of the most wonderful mysteries of nature. Whales combine immense strength and power with grace and gentleness. They have shown me that it is possible to balance goal oriented activities with the compassionate, nurturing energies found in all of us."

She believes that if we really want to work on preserving and protecting this planet and all life forms, we have to heal ourselves by getting our hearts and minds reconnected. As we rediscover our deep connection to the Earth we will naturally stop polluting the environment and overusing resources. Dr. Green exposes her students to these concepts through the OMI Research Internships. These approximately three week sessions conducted in Hawaii teach students how to conduct responsible field research and how they can get involved in important conservation issues. She teaches them how to use science to protect nature. To read more about her thoughts on the power of connecting to nature read Dr. Greens talk, "Our Healing Relationship with Nature."

What We Stand For

Science Protecting Nature     Small Spinning Earth     Education Embracing The Earth

Certainly the integral link between the health of our planet, our environment and our personal well-being is well accepted. Theodore Rozak, a prominent ecopsychologist, highlights the importance of our awareness of our connection to nature in his recent book, Voice of the Earth. He argues that healing ourselves and healing the planet go together, are synchronistic. We at the Ocean Mammal Institute are dedicated to resolving the current ecological imbalance. We do this by providing individuals with opportunities to feel their intimate connection with nature in order to awaken people's commitment and courage to act for our planet and its inhabitants. Our intent is to facilitate healing the human/nature separation and the scientific/spirituality interface.

Why Whales and Dolphins

No one has said it better than Frank Stewart in his book, The Presence of Whales. "Whales have become a popular symbol of the catastrophic effect human activities are having on global diversity. If we can destroy such remarkable marine mammals-beasts that do not compete with us for living space….who are not threats to us in any way….then nothing is safe from our destructive impulse. That we have such a symbol, and that it has the power to change our hearts and compel us to do better, should encourage us to hope that we can undo some of the damage of the past. Once whales have enthralled a person's imagination, the effect is long-lasting ". And this is true for the Ocean Mammal Institute.

Our Objectives

Our objectives are to change people's awareness, help them feel their connection to the natural world, and to protect ocean mammals. We believe efforts to protect a specific species are an effective way to address the abstract issues of biodiversity and ecosystem protection. Consequently our programs have three goals:
  1. To study the impact of human marine activities including noise pollution on whales and dolphins.

  2. Apply the results of our research to protecting marine mammals and their environment.

  3. Allow people to participate fully in our research in order to educate them about important conservation issues and empower them to act responsibly.

By doing research to protect the whales and dolphins, people learn they can help preserve biodiversity. If our programs are successful, people will think more carefully about decisions that may result in polluting the environment and will be empowered to act responsibly.

How We Accomplish These Objectives

We publish and lecture about the results of our research and about pressing marine conservation issues in order to encourage people to get involved.

We offer a research internship in Maui each January to teach field research techniques on humpback whales and discusss the marine environment. For approximately three weeks, interns work with in the field collecting data. In this way, they are given an opportunity to directly observe the impact of humans on whale and dolphin behavior and habitat. Interns gain not only an understanding of how to apply the scientific method to protect the environment and its inhabitants, but also a deep appreciation of the delicate relationship between humans and nature. Over 360 students have completed this course, most receiving college credit for this course. Graduate thesis supervision is also offered.

Support OMI with a Donation by Credit Card, Check or Money Order!

Back to OMI Home Page