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Buddy Powell

Scientific Advisor

For more than 40 years, Dr. James “Buddy” Powell has worked to conserve manatees and other endangered species around the world and his efforts have resulted in coastal protected areas in Florida, West Africa, Central America, and Cuba. His approach integrates science and education to unlock solutions to conservation issues.

A native Floridian, in the 1970s, Buddy worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a biologist and manatee specialist. In 1986, he moved to West Africa where he studied manatees and forest elephants for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and was pivotal in establishing several coastal protected areas. He moved to Belize in the 1990s to manage WCS’s Glover’s Reef Marine Research Station. Upon his return to Florida, Buddy administered the state’s research program on marine mammals and sea turtles for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In 2001, he became a Vice President at Wildlife Trust where he oversaw the Aquatic and National Divisions.

In 2008, Dr. Powell co-founded Sea to Shore Alliance. The organization was created to improve the health and productivity of coastal environments for the endangered species and human livelihoods that depend on them through research, education, and conservation.

In 2018, Sea to Shore Alliance merged with Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) where the organization’s work continues under CMA’s newly created division, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute. Buddy serves as the Executive Director of the Research Institute, overseeing its research, conservation, and educational initiatives.

Dr. Powell received his BSc. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Florida, his Masters in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, and his PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge in England. He was the recipient of the prestigious Pew Award in Marine Conservation in 2000, has been featured on “Champions of the Wild” and National Geographic’s “Wild Chronicles” documentaries, and has been honored with multiple awards and certificates. Dr. Powell has authored two books, numerous scientific publications and popular articles.

Buddy Powell, Scientific Advisor - African Aquatic Conservation Fund


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