Saving wild ocean places – for us and future generations.

aka Marine Conservation Institute   |   Seattle, WA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 91-1725640


Marine Conservation Institute is dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the oceans' most important places - for us and future generations. Marine ecosystems are essential for our survival, wealth and well-being, and are the Earth's biggest life support system. As a leader in the global movement to protect and recover the integrity of vast ocean areas, we use the latest science to identify important ecosystems and advocate for their protection. We work to identify key threats to our oceans and build workable solutions. We are a major catalyst in recovering our blue planet, the most urgent challenge of our time. Blue Parks and Marine Protection Atlas are our largest initiatives designed to catalyze and support strong protection for at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Ruling year info



Lance E. Morgan

Main address

1914 N 34th Street Suite 409

Seattle, WA 98103-9090 USA

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Formerly known as

Marine Conservation Biology Institute



Subject area info


Marine science

Population served info


Ethnic and racial groups

NTEE code info

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (C05)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Marine Conservation Institute is dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the oceans' most important places - for us and future generations. To achieve this, the Global Ocean Refuge System and the Atlas of Marine Protection were launched. The ocean is the Earth's biggest life support system - the oxygen for every second breath we take comes from it. Healthy marine ecosystems are essential for human survival, wealth and well-being. As a leader in the global movement to protect vast ocean areas, Marine Conservation Institute uses the latest science to identify important marine ecosystems and advocate for their protection. Given the challenges our blue planet faces today, accomplishing our mission, is more important now, than ever before!

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Blue Parks

Blue Parks is one of Marine Conservation Institutes strategic priorities. It is our long-term, science-based, collaborative and international effort designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 30% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s oceans by 2030 ― enough to safeguard all marine species from extinction. Most of our programs tie-in some way to Blue Parks.

Population(s) Served

Coral reefs are spectacular, diverse, ecosystems that are home to thousands of different species. Coral reefs have been termed ‘the rainforests of the sea’ because they support a vast abundance and diversity of different plants and animals, more species than any other marine ecosystem, with more still being discovered.
Coral reefs are threatened by fishing, climate change, and development, and are having trouble all around the world. With sufficient effort and political will, most of the direct impacts to coral reefs can be alleviated.  
Marine Conservation Institute works to protect coral reef  ecosystems so that they will be around for generations to come. We have worked to establish large marine protected areas that will protect tropical coral reefs. We have also spent years studying deep-sea corals and advocating for their protection.

Population(s) Served

The ocean is not just one uniform expanse of water, there are many diverse and unique places in the ocean that are different than any other place in the world. There are forests where algae grow as tall as redwood trees, deep sea coral reefs live hundreds of years, and seamounts provide foraging hotspots for whales, turtles and fishes.
Many places in US waters rival the beauty and diversity of some of our cherished national parks on land, such as Yellowstone, the Everglades, and the Grand Canyon. These parks are held in trust and set aside for the greater good so that their beauty and wonder can be experienced by anyone who wishes to see them for generations yet to come.
The concept of protecting areas in the sea is relatively new to scientists and policy makers alike, and we are still learning how to best manage these areas to balance human use and maintain healthy ecosystems. Research from protected areas throughout the world, notably the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, has clearly demonstrated the value of protected areas to enhancing marine life as the protection that was put in place years ago is now resulting in thriving ecosystems.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are some of the simplest of marine management tools that can offer some of the highest gains in terms of marine conservation.  By removing some uses from a marine environment, certain ecosystems can regain their actual function, populations can be bolstered and habitats protected.  Currently, MPAs cover barely more than 1 percent of the world’s oceans. Marine Conservation Institute's ambitious goal is to protect 10% of our ocean by 2020.

Population(s) Served

The largest, least-protected places on our blue planet are found in the high seas – the open ocean and deep seabed areas that lie beyond national jurisdictions.  They cover about 45% of the Earth’s surface, and 64% of the oceans.  Belonging to no single nation, they have been, for too long, neglected by all.
The high seas are home to great whales, sea turtles, seabirds, tunas, and sharks that traverse entire ocean basins in search of food.  They house deep-dwelling fishes and invertebrate animals that live long, slow-motion lives in eternal darkness. High seas biodiversity is threatened by fishing, climate change and other human-caused impacts.  These losses are also our losses, as they threaten the ability of the oceans to sustain marine life and support human societies.
The global community, through the United Nations, has decided that key high seas ecosystems should be protected. Both the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization have developed criteria to identify ecologically important and vulnerable areas in the high seas.  Never before has there been such an opportunity, and Marine Conservation Institute is taking a leadership role. Ensuring the high seas have a voice, we are working with the global scientific community to provide the information necessary to international authorities for making meaningful lasting decisions.

Population(s) Served

We work to ensure effective ocean management and governance for our marine resources through policy and funding. We synthesize vitally important scientific and policy information and provide it to decision makers involved in the federal budget and appropriations process in order to encourage sustainable use of our ocean resources and ensure healthy oceans now and for future generations.
Given the importance of marine and coastal ecosystems, we should be investing more in monitoring, researching, protecting, and restoring the health of these systems. We should be enhancing their resilience so that they can better recover when disasters happen, whether from man-made disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or natural ones such as hurricane Katrina.
Marine Conservation Institute works to ensure the federal government is adequately funding marine conservation efforts in the United States.

Population(s) Served

The MPAtlas team is making excellent enhancements to, our interactive resource to learn more about marine protected areas around the world. In 2015, we will be upgrading the website and expanding our collaboration with conservation organizations, adding new information layers to the map for various uses and conducting additional research. MPAtlas is a strong foundational piece for Blue Parks.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of acres of land protected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Blue Parks

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Number of square kilometer of ocean awarded for outstanding conservation (Blue Parks).

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Marine Conservation Institute focuses on establishing a global ocean refuge system, strongly protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. To achieve this goal we are encouraging marine biodiversity conservation through the following actions: 1. Advocating for marine protected areas in key locations around the world. 2. Using an innovative initiative - Blue Park awards - to incentivize effective marine protected areas that result in marine biodiversity protection. 3. Tracking global marine protected area (MPA) progress using the Atlas of Marine Protection website to improve clarity and reporting on national and international progress towards the UN Sustainable Development 14 and the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi Target 11. ( 4. Advocating for and supporting the United Nations negotiations to protect Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) and ensure ocean life is protected on the high seas (nearly two-thirds of the ocean). 5. Conserving Deep-Sea and Seamount ecosystems by securing protections from destructive fishing methods such as bottom trawling and calling for a moratorium on seabed mining globally. 6. Defending ocean and environmental protections in U.S. waters by fighting attempts by the Trump administration to weaken U.S. laws and regulations that protect our marine sanctuaries and monuments, as well as attempts to expand environmentally damaging activities in the ocean. 7. Calling on all nations to implement effective marine protected areas in global policy debates and to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030.

We use our strong marine science background to help us identify critical areas to protect, and our years of policy and advocacy experience to secure ocean protections. We advocate for strong and effective measures to protect biodiversity, and recognize the critical role of communities in effective stewardship and long-term sustainable management. Blue Park awards provide incentives for communities, governments and decision makers to establish protected areas that safeguard marine life and promote opportunities for eco-friendly tourism and other ocean related businesses. This award process recognizes outstanding marine protected areas that meet rigorous scientific standards, their connections to local communities and their effectiveness at safeguarding biodiversity. We also work with sites to help them meet this standard and provide guidance and feedback from best-practices to help them achieve conservation. Finally we measure progress in creating marine protected areas at the Atlas of Marine Protection website ( We track marine protected areas globally to measure and clarify government commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi Targets. Our goal is to clarify and help visualize the level of protection and implementation of the world's MPAs. As countries around the world race to reach globally established levels of marine protection, it is important that these marine protected areas are fully implemented, managed and effective in achieving desired conservation benefits

Every member of Marine Conservation Institute's staff possesses passion for ocean conservation and an exceptional set of skills and talents. Our scientists and staff have expertise in marine science, policy and conservation. We support our diverse partners with research and mapping skills, Geographic Information Systems and analyses, advocacy and MPA expertise. We are a strongly collaborative organization that has developed many strong partnerships which are critical to our success. These collaborations span all of our programs and include legal and policy experts, marine scientists, conservationists, business people, philanthropists and many others.

Marine Conservation Institute was instrumental in establish of vast national monuments across the central Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to Samoa. We use this experience to leverage protected areas within coalitions and partnerships. We launched the California Seamount Coalition to protect the vital deep sea treasures off the west coast, building on the establishment of MPAs along the California coast. We continue to campaign for seamounts, coral and critical areas of the ocean. Blue Parks now stretch around the world and cover over 1.5 million square kilometers of ocean.


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 6.85 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 4.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 21% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of MARINE CONSERVATION BIOLOGY INSTITUTE’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$5,712 $205,051 -$69,837 $134,878 $33,203
As % of expenses -0.6% 20.2% -5.8% 10.5% 2.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$13,490 $205,051 -$69,837 $134,878 $33,203
As % of expenses -1.3% 20.2% -5.8% 10.5% 2.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,228,876 $1,035,468 $1,201,384 $1,297,931 $1,437,845
Total revenue, % change over prior year 67.9% -15.7% 16.0% 8.0% 10.8%
Program services revenue 4.9% 7.2% 4.6% 4.0% 9.5%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.3% 0.5% 0.4% 0.3% 0.3%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.8% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 94.7% 92.4% 95.0% 84.7% 90.1%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 0.1%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $993,211 $1,013,378 $1,195,437 $1,288,653 $1,289,255
Total expenses, % change over prior year -5.8% 2.0% 18.0% 7.8% 0.0%
Personnel 70.7% 70.7% 76.0% 78.9% 74.5%
Professional fees 6.0% 14.9% 14.5% 14.4% 17.0%
Occupancy 5.0% 5.9% 4.7% 3.4% 3.3%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 11.8% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 6.4% 8.5% 4.8% 3.2% 5.3%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $1,000,989 $1,013,378 $1,195,437 $1,288,653 $1,289,255
One month of savings $82,768 $84,448 $99,620 $107,388 $107,438
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $140,022 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $1,083,757 $1,097,826 $1,295,057 $1,536,063 $1,396,693

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 5.6 6.2 3.6 4.9 2.3
Months of cash and investments 6.9 7.8 5.1 6.4 3.6
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 2.6 5.0 3.5 4.5 4.8
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $462,926 $524,446 $362,507 $527,694 $250,187
Investments $107,551 $131,146 $141,376 $163,803 $138,459
Receivables $106,580 $38,815 $313,795 $98,137 $515,439
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $111,843 $63,585 $1,637 $1,637 $1,637
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 15.5% 12.0% 23.8% 17.8% 14.5%
Unrestricted net assets $214,035 $419,086 $349,249 $484,127 $517,330
Temporarily restricted net assets $367,089 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $367,089 $206,871 $284,366 $178,360 $267,037
Total net assets $581,124 $625,957 $633,615 $662,487 $784,367

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Lance E. Morgan

Dr. Lance Morgan came to Marine Conservation Institute as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2000, becoming President in 2012. He received his Master's in Marine Science from San Francisco State University & participated in 2 missions at the Aquarius underwater habitat in the Florida Keys. His doctoral research explored factors influencing recruitment of marine invertebrates, receiving his PhD in Ecology from the University of California-Davis (1997). He has studied taxa as diverse as deep sea corals, rockfishes, seabirds & orcas. He led the identification of Marine Priority Conservation Areas from Baja California to the Bering Sea & has explored the ocean as a SCUBA diver, aquanaut & submersible pilot. In 2010 he traveled to the remote Johnston Atoll in the Central Pacific to help establish the first field camp at the new MPA. He leads Marine Conservation Institute's main initiatives and

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization


Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
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Board of directors
as of 01/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Nathalie Udo

InDepth Strategies

Term: 2021 - 2023

David Johns

Portland State University

Elliott Norse

Marine Conservation Institute

Nathalie Udo

InDepth Strategies

Gail Osherenko

Samuel Dakin

Sebastian Nicholls

Steve Olson

Jeff Smith

Nandita Parker

Karma Capital Management LLC

Michelle Scobie

Institute of International Relations at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine

Justin Xavier

Starling Brands

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/24/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/24/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
There are no contractors recorded for this organization.

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser