There are many people working behind-the-scenes on the Global Ocean Refuge System.  Below are the two people who are leading the initiative.

Lance Morgan

Dr. Lance Morgan, a marine biologist, came to Marine Conservation Institute as a postdoctoral fellow in 2000 and became president of the organization in 2012. He is integral to building the Global Ocean Refuge System and will also focus on developing partnerships for the initiative. 

He has worked on marine protected areas over the past decade including serving as Chairman of the Cordell Bank Sanctuary Advisory Council and participating in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative in California that designed the first statewide system of marine protected areas in the USA. He led efforts to identify Marine Priority Conservation Areas from Baja California to the Bering Sea for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, and has authored reports on the impacts of fishing methods on marine life as well as papers on marine protected areas. He currently is Chairman of the Board for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and holds a research faculty appointment at Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Lance has explored the ocean as a scuba diver, aquanaut and submersible pilot. Son of a US Navy nuclear submarine captain, he learned about and became deeply committed to conserving our oceans while living in California, Hawaii and Washington. Lance’s research interests range from zoology to conservation science and he has studied taxa as diverse as deep sea corals, rockfishes, seabirds and orcas. 

Lance received a BA from University of California Santa Cruz, and his Master’s in Marine Science from San Francisco State University.  As a graduate student he participated in two missions at the Aquarius underwater habitat in the Florida Keys. His doctoral research explored factors influencing recruitment of marine invertebrates, for which he received his PhD in Ecology from UC Davis. He conducted postdoctoral research at Bodega Marine Laboratory and NOAA Fisheries. 


Elliott Norse

Elliott Norse

Dr. Elliott Norse is the Founder of Marine Conservation Institute and is devoted to solving marine conservation problems on a global-scale. He believes that strongly protected marine areas are the most cost-effective way to save ocean life in the coming century. Elliott is the visionary behind GLORES and will focus on providing strategic guidance for the initiative.

After earning his PhD in marine ecology from the University of Southern California, Elliott began his career in conservation, advocating for marine protected areas at the US Environmental Protection Agency and then pioneered the concept of conserving biological diversity as the Staff Ecologist for the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 1980. While there, he persuaded President Carter to triple the number of US national marine sanctuaries.

Elliott literally wrote the book on marine conservation (Global Marine Biological Diversity 1993), the most-cited book in the field. He founded Marine Conservation Institute in 1996, organized the first-ever scientific Symposia on Marine Conservation Biology (1997 and 2001), got President Clinton to issue his Executive Order on Marine Protected Areas in 2000, assembled the first textbook on Marine Conservation Biology (2005), and his meetings with White House officials in 2005 and 2006 led President G.W. Bush to designate the NW Hawaiian Islands as the world’s then largest strongly protected area. Elliott is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, served as President of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Marine Section and has received the Nancy Foster Award for Habitat Conservation from the National Marine Fisheries Service. He is also the author of “A Blog to Save the Earth.”

He has given hundreds of presentations around the world including keynote speeches on marine protected areas to Grandes Aires Marine Protégées in Paris, the EU’s Commission for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Brussels and National Geographic’s Mission Blue conference in Washington DC.