Wagner headshot

Daniel Wagner

Expedition Leader
Chief Scientist
Ocean Exploration Trust

Dr. Daniel Wagner serves as the Chief Scientist for the Ocean Exploration Trust. Daniel has conducted fieldwork on deep-sea ecosystems since 2006, and has since participated in 27 multi-disciplinary research expeditions that explored deep-sea habitats throughout the Indo-Pacific, Atlantic, and Southern Oceans. Daniel grew up in Ecuador, where at a young age he interned at the Galapagos National Park, an experience during which he developed a deep fascination for nature and the ocean. Daniel then moved to Hawaii, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Hawaiʻi Pacific University, as well as Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Oceanography from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. 

Prior to joining the Ocean Exploration Trust, Daniel worked for the NOAA’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in 2011-2016, where he coordinated scientific studies in support of resource management for the Monument. These included participation in over a dozen research expeditions to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, information from which was used to underpin the expansion of the Monument and make it the largest marine protected area on Earth in 2016. Daniel served as the scientific advisor to the U.S. White House Council of Environmental Quality on the Monument expansion.

In 2016, Daniel moved to the U.S. East Coast to coordinate NOAA-led efforts aimed at collecting scientific information to support the management of deep-sea ecosystems in the U.S. Atlantic, which included work for the NOAA Office Of Ocean Exploration and Research, and the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. In 2019-2022, Daniel served as the Ocean Science Advisor for Conservation International, where he led multi-partner research initiatives aimed at advancing large-scale marine conservation with a focus on areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Besides a deep love for the ocean and outdoors, Daniel is an avid runner. He resides in Honolulu with his wife and children.


Selected Publications


Brenneis, G., and Wagner, D. (2023). Mating observation of giant sea spiders (Pycnogonida: Colossendeidae). Marine Biodiversity
Pollerspöck, J., Cares, D., Ebert, D.A., Kelley, K.A., Pockalny, R., Robinson, R.S, Wagner, D., and Straube, N. (2023). First in situ documentation of a fossil tooth of the megatooth shark Otodus (Megaselachus) megalodon from the deep sea in the Pacific Ocean. Historical Biology…
Soule, A., Kennedy, B., Coleman, D., Sobron, P., Smith, D., Cook, M., Zaccaria, J., and Wagner, D. (2023). Exploring deep-sea habitats near Kingman Reef & Palmyra Atoll. Deep-Sea Life 21: 11-12.…
Wagner, D. (2023). New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The Ocean Exploration Trust 2022 Field Season. Oceanography 36 (1): 1-54.
Wagner, D. (2023). 2022 E/V Nautilus field season overview. Deep Sea Life 20: 4-6.…


Molodtsova TN, Opresko DM, Wagner D (2022). Description of a new and widely distributed species of Bathypathes (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Antipatharia: Schizopathidae) previously misidentified as Bathypathes alternata Brook, 1889. PeerJ : 10:e12638.
Pockalny, R., S Auscavitch, K Konrad, M Everett, E Miller, B Scott, A Fundis, M Cook, E Heffron, L Gee, R Kane, D Wagner (2022). Mapping and Exploration of Deep Seamounts around Johnston Atoll: 2021 Expeditions aboard E/V Nautilus. Deep-Sea Life 19: 11-12.
Wagner, D. (2022). E/V Nautilus mapping in the Pacific: Recent accomplishments & what is next. NOAA Hydrographic Services Review Panel Meeting
Wagner, D. (2022). E/V Nautilus seafloor mapping: recent accomplishments and what is next. Map the Gaps Symposium
Zaccaria, J., M Cook, D Wagner (2022). Combining technology and outreach for ocean exploration. Ocean Robotics Planet 32: 51-54.