Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Marine biologist
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist and policy expert.

Why you should listen

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank focused on coastal cities, and founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm for conservation solutions. When she was executive director of the Waitt Institute, Johnson cofounded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. Previously, she worked on ocean policy at the EPA and NOAA, and was a leader of the March for Science. 
 
Johnson earned a BA from Harvard University in environmental science and public policy, and a PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology with a dissertation on the ecology, socio-economics and policy of sustainably managing coral reefs. The fish trap she invented to reduce bycatch won the first Rare/National Geographic Solution Search.
 
Her op-eds have been published in the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesThe Guardian and Huffington Post, and she blogs with Scientific American and National Geographic. She is also a TED Resident, scholar at the Aspen Institute and was named on the UCSD 40 Under 40 Alumni and Elle’s "27 Women Leading on Climate." Outside magazine called her “the most influential marine biologists of our time.”
 
Johnson serves on the board of directors for the Billion Oyster Project and World Surf League's PURE and on the advisory boards of Environmental Voter ProjectScientific AmericanScience SandboxAzul and Oceanic Global. She is also a fellow at The Explorers Club. She is a passionate advocate for coastal communities and builds solutions for ocean justice and our climate crisis.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Live from TED2019

Short talks, big ideas: The talks of TED Unplugged at TED2019

April 17, 2019

In a fast-paced session of talks curated by TED arts and design curator Chee Pearlman and hosted with improv leader Anthony Veneziale, 12 members of the TED community shared ideas in a special format: each had to keep their talks under six minutes, with auto-advancing, timed slides. And yes, the mic does cut after six minutes!

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News

Meet our first class of TED Residents

April 25, 2016

An idea worth spreading doesn’t just magically appear out of thin air. Instead, it needs a long incubation period, a sometimes frustrating — and often exciting — trial and error of creation, failure and innovation. On April 18, TED welcomed its first-ever class of the TED Residency program, an in-house community of 27 bright minds […]

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