Katy Croff Bell

Open Ocean
  • Research Scientist
  • Director's Fellow

Director, Open Ocean Initiative

Director, Open Ocean Initiative

Katy Croff Bell leads the Open Ocean initiative, dedicated to reimagining the future of ocean exploration and community building.

Katy's background is in deep sea exploration, using robotic and telepresence technologies to explore what lies at the depths of the ocean. Since 1999, she has led or participated more than 25 oceanographic and archaeological projects. At the Ocean Exploration Trust, she was Chief Scientist of the Nautilus Exploration Program, working with a large, global team of scientists, engineers, and educators to conduct multidisciplinary expeditions aboard E/V Nautilus in the Mediterranean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Pacific Ocean. Nautilus expeditions were shared with the world live, revealing the wonders of the undersea world in real time, in an effort to maximize the scientific outputs of expeditions and engage and inspire a new generation of young explorers. 

Katy joined the Media Lab as a Director's Fellow in 2014 and founded Open Ocean in 2017. She received her BS from MIT in ocean engineering in 2000. In 2001, she was a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, after which she completed her master's degree in maritime archaeology at the University of Southampton. In 2006, she was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She completed her PhD in geological oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in 2011.