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About Us

Britta Baechler, Ph.D.

Britta Baechler, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Ocean Plastics Research

Areas of Expertise

  • Marine debris
  • Impacts of plastics on animals and ecosystems
  • Fisheries management
  • Marine protected areas


  • Ph.D., Earth Environment and Society- Portland State University
  • BA, Biology- Lewis & Clark College

Britta earned her doctorate at Portland State University researching the ecological and social dimensions of microplastics in Pacific Northwest shellfish. Her professional interests lie at the intersection of plastic pollution, fisheries and fishing communities; and she has more than a decade of experience in fisheries management and marine conservation, having served in roles including Assistant Area Management Biologist for Shellfish in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region of Alaska and Marine Protected Area Coordinator in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. She is also adjunct faculty in University of Toronto’s Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and Portland State University’s Environmental Science and Management Department.
In her role as Associate Director for Ocean Plastics Research at Ocean Conservancy, Britta leads primary research on varied topics related to the impacts of plastic pollution, including prevalence of microplastics in the human food system, movement of trash from inland out to sea and public knowledge and perceptions of the issue. Day-to-day, Britta ensures she and the broader Trash Free Seas® program team stay abreast of the latest plastics science—a field that has grown at warp speed in recent years!
Britta is based in Portland, Oregon, and loves living only a few hours away from the diverse ecosystems and recreational opportunities the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Favorite Thing About the Ocean

I grew up in beautiful, coastal, small-town Alaska. Each day I spent there poring through tidepools and exploring mucky tidal flats fueled my imagination and love for the ocean and the incredible diversity of living resources it supports. This love has guided me into a career promoting sustainable fisheries, marine protected areas and a healthier, trash free ocean. My favorite thing about the ocean is the many odd and unusual critters I’ve encountered—and continue to encounter—around the world (nudibranchs, leafy sea dragons, Napoleon wrasse and Manta rays, to name a few). My favorite thing about my career in ocean conservation is the community of people that work tirelessly to protect it. This community not only includes marine conservation practitioners, but also ocean stewards around the world that choose to leave the beaches and coastal areas they visit better than they found them every time. These people really give me hope that I (and my daughter, and my dog!) will continue to make memories in beautiful coastal places and enjoy delicious food from the sea for many years to come.

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