Aquarium’s new Associate Vice President Emiley Z. Lockhart leading sustainable innovation work at BalanceBlue Lab


Newly-created lab is focused on working with entrepreneurs, corporations, and ocean industries on ocean-friendly, sustainable, and climate adaptation strategies

Emily Lockhart headshot
Photo courtesy Emiley Lockhart

BOSTON, MASS. (March 29, 2023) – As the New England Aquarium prioritizes sustainable and responsible growth of the ocean-based “blue economy,” Emiley Z. Lockhart joined the team this month as Associate Vice President of Ocean Sustainability, Technology, and Innovation to lead the new BalanceBlue Lab.

An attorney and business leader with experience in the blue economy and ocean-related sustainable development, Lockhart formerly served as Deputy General Counsel and Secretary at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as well as in the Massachusetts State Senate. In her newly-created role at the Aquarium, she will work closely with many stakeholders in Boston’s business, government, nonprofit, scientific, and marine industry sectors to apply science-based solutions to new partnerships and innovation at the lab.

“What makes this program so unique is that it’s very nimble,” Lockhart said. “A lot of things are possible here because you have the incredible science coming out of the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life and a desire to really put that science into action. We’re thinking about ways to work with the stakeholders, whether it’s corporate entities or government entities, to use the resources of the ocean in a responsible, sustainable manner.”

The Aquarium has a long and respected history of research on impacts to marine animals and ocean conservation. At the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, the Aquarium’s versatile team of scientists closely monitors and researches wild fisheries and aquaculture, offshore wind energy development, marine spatial mapping and planning, climate impacts and adaptation of marine life in the rapidly-warming Gulf of Maine, and other environmental threats to endangered animals such as North Atlantic right whales, sharks, and sea turtles.

In the last couple of decades, Aquarium scientists have been using that expertise to offer corporate and industry technical advising around sustainable aquaculture and more recently, offshore wind. To make change at the legislative level, the Aquarium has started working with state lawmakers to support and file bills that advance the “blue economy,” supporting healthy ocean practices in various ways.

Person dragging kelp out of the open water
Kelp being farmed on a longline. CREDIT: Matt Thompson/New England Aquarium

BalanceBlue Lab aims to draw from that foundation of deep science to find global solutions for the ocean’s biggest challenges around fishing, farming, offshore wind, marine debris and pollution, coastal resiliency, and shipping. Part of BalanceBlue Lab’s portfolio of work will comprise the Aquarium and SeaAhead’s bluetech incubator for startups that address ocean conservation issues, called BlueSwell, founded in partnership three years ago. BlueSwell’s aspiring entrepreneurs work with venture capital investors, Aquarium scientists, and others who help them develop and launch fledgling businesses. From recycling to kelp farming to underwater communication systems, BlueSwell has successfully modeled how a cross-section of interests can address pressing ocean problems creatively and effectively.

“We strive for our scientific and technical expertise to inform and advance more ocean-friendly business and industry practices, so we are thrilled to have a leader like Emiley on board as we build and formalize our contributions toward a responsible blue economy that creates jobs and helps protect our ocean,” said Dr. John Mandelman, Vice President and Chief Scientist of the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life.

“Massachusetts stands to be a national leader in environmental progress,” Lockhart said. “We are embracing and innovating many clean energy models. We are electing strong, climate-focused leaders, and we have nonprofits and conservation groups working collaboratively statewide to address climate change impacts. That takes science, government, business, and NGOs working together and thinking differently. I look forward to leading that effort here at BalanceBlue Lab.”


Pam Bechtold Snyder –, 617-686-5068