Coral Reef Alliance Announces New Executive Director – Dr. Michael Webster


June 7, 2011

Dr. Michael Webster, Marine Scientist and Program Officer at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Selected to Lead Growing Coral Reef Conservation Organization

San Francisco, CA – June 7, 2011– The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) today announced that its board of directors has selected Dr. Michael Webster, expert in coral reef ecology, program officer at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and former post-doctoral researcher with the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at Oregon State University, to serve as CORAL’s new executive director.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to build on CORAL’s solid foundation and continue to improve the effectiveness and scope of coral reef conservation,” said Dr. Webster. “Coral reefs have been my passion for as long as I can remember, and their future will depend on the decisions that people make in this generation. CORAL is well-positioned to ensure that those decisions promote vibrant, healthy reefs for generations to come.”

As a program officer at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation since 2004, Dr. Webster developed and managed a portfolio of more than $40 million in grants focused on the conservation, management, and scientific understanding of Pacific aquatic ecosystems. Building effective relationships between funders and local conservation groups and researchers was an integral part of his success at the foundation. He will rely on this experience in his new role at CORAL, where he will be charged with enhancing our community-based coral reef conservation initiatives.

“We are pleased that we were able to find such a strong leader to build on the legacy of former executive director Brian Huse and lead CORAL into an exciting new chapter,” said H. William Jesse, Jr., CORAL’s board chair. “Dr. Webster brings with him an outstanding reputation for science-based conservation that will create new opportunities for CORAL to expand our reef conservation efforts.”

Dr. Webster coordinated the scientific activities of a long-term ecosystem research and monitoring project across four universities while at PISCO. The project addressed questions about the ecology and oceanography of the California Current Ecosystem. Prior to working at PISCO, Dr. Webster earned his doctorate in coral reef fish ecology while working in the Bahamas and Australia.

“Dr. Webster’s expertise represents the perfect mix of science and management, both of which are essential for CORAL’s mission,” said Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair for Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, adjunct professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and CORAL board member. “His experience leading several of the most distinguished marine research and conservation efforts in the U.S. is an enormous asset for CORAL.”

Dr. Webster, who will be based in San Francisco, will begin his official duties later this summer. Handling his duties until then will be interim Executive Director and Conservation Programs Director Rick MacPherson.


About the Coral Reef Alliance
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) unites communities to save coral reefs. We provide tools, education, and inspiration to residents of coral reef destinations to support local projects that benefit both reefs and people. Originally founded in 1994 to galvanize the dive community for conservation, CORAL has grown from a small, grassroots alliance into the only international nonprofit organization working exclusively to unite communities to protect coral reefs. Visit or call 1-888-CORAL-REEF.

Contact: Susan Wolf, (415) 834 – 0900 ext. 319

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