Innovation Insights – Ocean Health for the next 10 years and beyond.

For this talk Lara Merriam-Smith, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Services for NWIRC, will speak with Dylan Vecchione , ReefQuest founder about the importance of innovation in preserving Ocean Health for future generations. There will be time at the end of the conversation for Q&A.

Dylan’s Story: My passion for the ocean started at a young age when I witnessed drastic ecosystem degradation. I discovered that monitoring the environment and crowdsourcing data provide valuable and unique tools to inform both science and policy. I founded ReefQuest to give everybody the tools to engage in real scientific monitoring and documentation, and make global change through collective individual action. In addition to ReefQuest, I’ve dedicated my life to ocean and climate research, studying at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography. I have conducted research in a variety of fields beginning in applied solid-state physics, developing novel target-free biosensors. I then began investigating the impact of climate change on diseases, focusing on marine pathogenic bacteria. This has evolved into my current research, which focuses on marine microbiology and genomics for applications in health and environment. I received my American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diver certification in 2015 from Cornell University’s Shoals Marine Laboratory, and now lead many of ReefQuest’s underwater research efforts. I am an advocate for the environment and have spoken on topics of citizen science and environmental action, including at TEDxTeen and the United Nations. I also serve on the Board of SR3, an organization dedicated to Sealife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research covering the waters from California, USA to Vancouver, BC.

Innovation Insights will be a series talks with subject matter experts designed to spark you creative genius to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. This series will run through June and July 2020 to help individuals who are hoping to submit ideas for the Amazon Catalyst Competition for NW Washington. visit our website to learn more about this competiton we ran in 2020: Amazon Catalyst – Northwest Innovation Resource Center (

Ready  to Get Started?

Click below to learn more about the programs and resources best suited to your needs.

Not sure where you fit in?

Contact us today, and someone from the NWIRC will be in touch shortly to help you make the best use of our resources.