Heather Spence, Marine Biologist
Orchestrating Coastal Marine Ecology Investigation and Outreach

Heather Spence, Marine Biologist

Ocean Memory Project

The Ocean Memory Project won the NAKFI Challenge!

 Ocean Memory



Sept. 4, 2018


National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Announces Winners of the NAKFI Challenge

WASHINGTON — The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) is pleased to announce the recipients of three $500,000 NAKFI Challenge awards. A 15-year, $40 million dollar program funded by the W.M. Keck Foundation, NAKFI was initiated in 2003 to break down barriers between fields and to promote interdisciplinary research. The NAKFI Challenge awards support activities that will carry forward NAKFI’s work beyond its 15 years as an activity of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Open only to NAKFI alumni who participated in the program’s annual interdisciplinary conferences, the call for proposals generated 78 applications. Applications underwent a round of peer-to-peer community judging by fellow applicants. The 30 highest scoring proposals were then judged by an expert panel consisting of members of NAKFI conference organizing committees. The three winners were chosen by the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.

The recipients, with NAKFI alumni in bold, and their project titles are:

Jody Deming, University of Washington
* Fiscal agent for grant, Djerassi Residents Artists Program
Daniel Kohn, Kohnworkshop
Heather R. Spence, Marine & Bioacoustics Programs, Michelle’s Earth Foundation (GRACIASS)
Jonathan Berger, Stanford University
Timothy J. Broderick, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
Margot H. Knight, Djerassi Residents Artists Program
Timothy W. Weaver, University of Denver
Ocean Memory: A New Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Global-Scale Challenges
Memory involves the recall of events, pruned and processed from countless recordings by neural networks and thereby shaping future behavior. The ocean and its inhabitants hold memories of events throughout the evolution of the planet, awaiting our cognition. This proposal established a thriving community exploring and expressing Ocean Memory, a new line of highly evocative scientific inquiry , aiming for a sea change in our ability to address challenges of the Anthropocene. The approach builds upon NAKFI best practices, spanning disciplines required to address agents of memory and adding novel elements of distributed interactive spaces and grants for cross-disciplinary mentoring.

For more info check out:
Bookmark and Share

When Sharks Attack: Mayhem in Mexico

Catch Marine Biologist Dr. Heather Spence on Nat Geo Wild’s show When Sharks Attack: Season 4 Episode 5 “Mayhem in Mexico” in which she explores the impact of sound on shark behavior.

Heather Spence Mexico NatGeoWild

Don’t let the name of the show put you off – there’s a lot of good info and pro shark messaging! #SharkWeek #SharkFest #FriendsOfSharks

Watch it here

Heather Spence National Geographic


Bookmark and Share

Sound and the Sea panel at National Academy of Sciences

In March I had the honor and privilege to curate and moderate a panel on Sound and the Sea at the National Academy of Sciences, as part of the DASER series. Bringing together science, music, policy and more we explored the ocean as a world of sound and how we can better respect and listen to it.

Videos of the presentations are now up on you tube -check them out!

Bookmark and Share

Cut Six Pack Rings Video

I created this video for the Cancun campaign, so it is designed to work in English, Spanish, or really any language, by using puppets and videos to show why it is important to cut those rings. Please feel free to use this video to promote any campaigns against plastic pollution and to help native wildlife, just let me know so I can keep a record.

See the Video:

Cut Plastic Six Pack Rings

Production of this video was made possible by The George Washington University, Shapiro Traveling Fellowship

Bookmark and Share

Marine Protected Area Rules – Video!

Rules of the Cancun National Park, explained through puppets and music.

Complete original production by Heather Spence, sponsored by Michelle’s Earth Foundation:

I made this video to be shared freely, if you would like to use it, please just let me know so I can keep a record.

Michelle’s Earth Foundation:  www.MichellesEarth.org

Parque Reglas

Bookmark and Share

Activity Pages online!

Pages from MARINE LIFE OF THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN are now available for download!  Just click on the marine life page and check it out!

Bookmark and Share

Radio Cultural

CHANGE OF DATE to Tuesday, May 6

Educational outreach and book publicity continue – tune in this Friday, May 2 at 9am on station 105.7 Radio Cultural, Cancun

Bookmark and Share

Dia de la Tierra

Tomorrow is EARTH DAY!! We will be celebrating by presenting workshops for local kids about the ecosystems of the Mexican Caribbean, including the amazing biodiversity of the MesoAmerican reef, and their importance to the safety, health and sustainability of the region – AND WRITING AND PERFORMING SONGS ABOUT IT!

What are you up to? Respond to this post in a comment and let us know!

Bookmark and Share

Heather on Cancun Television

On St. Patrick’s Day Heather’s doing the green thing by going on television (TV CUN, program “Aqui en Cancun”) to plug her book, and talk about the ecology and protected areas and her work with Parque Nacional.

Monday, March 17, 2008; 11:30am-1pm (live)

Bookmark and Share

New Book!

see page on ¨Marine Life of the Mexican Caribbean¨

Bookmark and Share