Ocean Doctor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The organization was originally established in September 2004 as 1planet1ocean, founded to explore, restore and sustain the oceans through strong international partnerships, education, and offering solutions to the problems our oceans face.

The following passage, which appeared on the original 1planet1ocean.org web site, describes the original vision, philosophy and origin of the name:

The ocean once stood as a forbidding, impenetrable divide that held civilizations apart for centuries. With the advent of paddle, sail, then steam, the seas began to unite the world through exploration and trade. Today, we understand that the ocean doesn’t divide us — it unites us. Ocean currents forge critical ecological linkages across vast ocean stretches. International collaboration is essential to protect the waters that we share. The 21st century has opened with an unprecedented opportunity to make this the century of the ocean.


Ocean Doctor was originally founded as 1planet1ocean, a name chosen to emphasize how the oceans no longer divide us, but unite us

The name 1planet1ocean signifies the fact that the oceans no longer divide us, but indeed unite us, and a united effort — involving strong international collaboration — is needed to develop solutions that restore and sustain the world’s oceans. The name 1planet1ocean was inspired by the phrase “Un planeta, un oceano” [One planet, one ocean] written on the back of the official conference T-shirt of the 2003 MarCuba conference in Havana, Cuba, a reference to the 2002 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) entitled, “One Planet, One Ocean — Sustainable Development of Oceans and Coasts: a Commitment of 129 States at Johannesburg 2002.”

On June 8, 2007, “Ocean Doctor” was born as founder Dr. David E. Guggenheim‘s personal blog and the following was his first post, explaining the origin of the name:

Ocean Doctors Like to Make Housecalls

During our long road trip to the university where my daughter would soon begin her first year, I was recounting that same period of my life and the fact that my parents had really wanted me to be a doctor….an M.D., that is. I hated to disappoint them, but I tried to explain that I wanted to pursue my true passion, marine biology.They were troubled that I’d never be able to make a “real” career out of this passing fancy, but 30 years later, I suppose I have. My daughter chimed in, “But you are a doctor. You’re an ocean doctor!” Funny, but I had never thought of it that way. Yet I have spent much of my career studying and diagnosing what ails the oceans and advocating policies to heal them. So I looked at her and said, “I like that. I think I might use that some day.” So, here it is — please accept my warmest welcome to Ocean Doctor’s blog, dedicated to the wonder of the oceans, being true to your dreams, and, of course, my daughter.


Ocean Doctor Logo

Over the next few years, the name, “Ocean Doctor” grew in popularity and in December 2010, the organization’s name was formally changed from 1planet1ocean to Ocean Doctor. In 2012, Ocean Doctor was established as a nonprofit corporation in Washington, DC.

Today Ocean Doctor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring our oceans through hands-on conservation. Much of our work is focused on advancing economically- and environmentally-sustainable solutions for coastal communities that protect and sustain coral reef ecosystems, especially in Cuba.

Our goals are:

  • Conducting and disseminating leading-edge research to inform strong conservation policies.
  • Building strong international partnerships for marine research and conservation, with special emphasis on Cuba.
  • Educating, inspiring and involving the public through strong outreach, education, radio and TV presence, visual media and leading-edge Web and social media technologies, while working to improve the quality, breadth and impact of environmental education.

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