Michael Tennenbaum, philanthropist and senior managing partner of Los Angeles-based Tennenbaum Capital Partners, and his wife, Suzanne, have given $10 million to launch a long-term project to study coastal marine biodiversity and global ecosystems, the Smithsonian Institution announced Thursday.
The Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories aim to monitor the ocean’s coastal ecosystems to study environmental change around the world’s coasts.
“I think it’s way past due,” said Tennenbaum, an avid diver for more than two decades. “As an investment person, I like to deal with relevant information and to have hundreds of billions of dollars affected, and huge discussions around climate change and oceans without long-term, large samples of information is, to me, a bad idea.”
Tennenbaum said that when Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough, a longtime friend, called to ask for help, he quickly saw the need. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population live within 100 miles of a coastline, but long-term ocean data are scarce. “The key is having a standardized method for collecting data and a wide spatial area so scientists can see the big picture over a long period of time,” Clough said.