Since 1998, The Ocean Project has provided cutting-edge communications research data and analysis and recommendations to help zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) and our other partners strategically plan and implement their education and outreach programs for conservation action and outcomes with their millions of visitors and the public.

Among the many findings, our research identifies the high level of regard people have with ZAMs, as trusted messengers for guidance on conservation action. In fact, the public expects ZAMs to provide solutions-oriented information. This unprecedented body of research provides our partner organizations with guidance and confidence to pursue their conservation mission efficiently and effectively and our blog has many examples of successful application of the research and continuing evolution of our collaborative campaign work with ZAMs across the United States and around the world.

All of our communications materials, including reports are free to download and use in helping advance your conservation mission.

As part of our offerings, we keep a pulse on public sentiment as global events unfold and incorporate those findings into all our activities. We provide electronic updates of our activities (please sign up here) that you can can participate in, such as World Ocean Day and our Youth Leadership Initiative. Become a partner now to be kept informed of the latest updates.

Research History

The Ocean Project has a long track record of advancing ocean conservation by conducting innovative opinion and communications research to help ZAMs be more effective educators for action and communicators for conservation.

In 1999, The Ocean Project completed what was at the time the most comprehensive opinion research on public attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge of the ocean ever conducted. Communicating About Oceans: Results of a National Survey revealed the low level of public understanding of the ocean and the environment, and prompted ZAMs and others in the  broader conservation community to rethink how they address these issues. The findings provided our Partners with valuable insights and helped ZAMs become more strategic in their efforts to reach their millions of visitors.

10 years later, The Ocean Project revisited that earlier research to design a study that would help the same organizations move beyond raising awareness to inspiring action and measuring outcomes. The resulting report, America, the Ocean, and Climate Change, has been made widely available for our partners and others to explore,  learn from, and apply in their specific situations.

Most recently (2020) we published a report, Looking Back While Planning Ahead, updating the progress on application of the research and lessons learned from continual testing and evaluating of collaborative campaigns in partnership with ZAMs. We are currently scaling efforts, helping ZAMs become a stronger force for effective conservation.

All our reports can be found here. Our blog includes case studies and updates on effective visitor engagement.

Our communications research is helping ZAMs and others better understand the public, including not only who is most likely to take positive environmental action, but what needs to be conveyed to increase awareness and action for the ocean, climate change, and related environmental issues. We strive to help our partners communicate to build an ocean- and climate-literate public that is willing and motivated to take action for conservation. Indeed, people increasingly expect and appreciate it when ZAMs provide this type of information to help with solutions and help leaders for conservation in their communities and beyond.

Methodology FAQ

Our communications research consultants at IMPACTS Research use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to help us understand the market better. If you have any questions about the communications research, please see this Methodology FAQ:

To cite our research

Use the example below and change the publication name, dates, and URL to match the document you’re citing:

The Ocean Project. (2009, June). America, the Ocean, and Climate Change: Key Findings. Retrieved [date] from