Our laboratory will focus on research around micro- and nano-plastics and will be led by three individuals with more than 50 years of experience studying plastics in the environment. While two of the individuals have the same last name, they are not related, except by professional association. Captain Charles Moore, founder of Algalita, with more than 20 years of experience in this field, will be the Research Director for the Moore Institute. He has been instrumental in identifying microplastics as an area of concern in our oceans.  Shelly Moore led a local research organization’s microplastic research for 25 years, and is the ideal partner to begin this new organization.  She has now devoted herself full time to the Institute. Gwen Lattin has been leading Algalita’s laboratory research and analysis effort and will play a similar role as Chief Scientist at the Moore Institute.

Shelly Moore – Executive Director

Ms. Moore (no relation to Charles Moore) has more than 25 years experience in the water quality field and specializes in trash and marine debris in aquatic environments. She has done research to provide both the regulated and regulator communities with baseline information necessary to determining the efficacy of recent policies and legislation around trash in the environment. She was also part of the 1999 North Pacific Gyre study sample design team. She has served as chair for regional monitoring surveys in Southern California and as co-chair for the California Trash Monitoring Workgroup, a subcommittee of the California Water Quality Monitoring Council supported by the California State Water Resources Control Board. Most recently Ms. Moore co-led and planned an international workshop on Microplastics Methods. The goal of this workshop was to bring regulators and methods exports together to inform stakeholders of current legislative requirements and the most current methods to evaluate microplastics. From this workshop, a Microplastics Method Evaluation and Standardization study has been developed to determine the accuracy, repeatability and costs of methods currently used to assess microplastics in a variety of environments.

Charles Moore – Research Director

Captain Moore has been focused on bringing microplastics to the attention of the public for more than two decades. His landmark study on microplastics in the North Pacific Gyre, showing that for every kilo of plankton there are 6 kilos of plastics, has been widely read and cited throughout science publications and the media. He has presented to a wide variety of stakeholders and published numerous peer reviewed papers to get the message out that microplastics are bad for the environment and are of concern for the health of marine organisms. He has been on such shows as the Osgood File, Late night with DavidLetterman, The Colbert Report, Nightline, Discovery Channel Canada, 60 Minutes Australia, and Al Jazeera. He was engaged by the Encyclopaedia Britannica to give the definition of plastic pollution for their online edition.

Captain Moore is well-known in the microplastics field and is seen as a thought leader largely responsible for “The Great Plastics Awakening” worldwide. 

Gwen Lattin – Chief Scientist

Ms. Lattin has been instrumental in developing methods for analyzing microplastics since 2000.  She currently oversees two laboratories, one at California State University, Long Beach and the other at Algalita Marine Research and Education. She has co-authored numerous papers on marine plastic pollution and has thousands of hours of experience extracting micro and nanoplastics from water samples. She has been trained on FTIR and Raman spectroscopy and will be able to characterize the types of environmental plastics in our samples.


Jenifer Burney – Scientist

Ms. Burney…I have been interested in the ocean since I was a small child. I always knew I would grow up to be a marine biologist and in 2012 I graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Zoology. After working in exotic animal care positions for several years, I moved to Guam in 2014 to work in animal care at a local aquarium. While there I also joined the Micronesian Conservation Coalition and was able to further my knowledge of marine conservation and research and enhance my skills as a scuba diver.  In late 2017 I moved to California to join the fish & invertebrate animal care team at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. In my free time I am an amateur photographer, avid scuba diver and cook. I am passionate about ocean conservation and learning about the ways we can improve the health of our oceans.