A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.


At AltaSea, we acknowledge April 14th as Dolphin Day, an occasion meant to bring awareness to the iconic marine mammals. The day has been observed for several decades, with events planned around the world each year. In that time, there’s been much progress in our understanding of dolphins, and in efforts to protect them. But there’s still work to do.

Dolphins are highly intelligent, and scientists have been working for years to decode their complex communications, with some success. (Learn more about this work.)


Clicks, Snaps and Howls Drowned Out by the Noise of Ships (Horizon Magazine)
Far from being the silent, dreamlike landscape we often imagine, the sea is peppered with animal sounds, a chorus of clicks, snaps and howls. But with a steep growth in marine traffic, the noise of ships is increasingly turning harmony into cacophony.

Evidence is mounting that many marine species, particularly but not exclusively big mammals (including dolphins), can be deeply affected by noise pollution. Now a wave of ambitious scientific projects is seeking to fill the research gap between the shipping industry and environmental protection.


Octopuses Do Something Really Strange to Their Genes (The Atlantic)
It might be connected to their extraordinary intelligence.

As Sy Montgomery once wrote, “no sci-fi alien is so startlingly strange” as an octopus. But their disarming otherness doesn’t end with their bodies. Their genes are also really weird.

Octopuses have three hearts, parrot-like beaks, venomous bites, and eight semi-autonomous arms that can taste the world. They squirt ink, contort through the tiniest of spaces, and melt into the world by changing both color and texture. They are incredibly intelligent, capable of wielding tools, solving problems, and sabotaging equipment.


Dell, Unlikely Protector of the Oceans (Eco-Business)
A sobering 8 million tons of plastic finds its way into the oceans every year, either from rivers and drains, or dumped directly into the sea. At this rate, there will be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the ocean by 2050.The computing giant wants to create a global market from ocean-bound plastic, with Asia as its main production base.

There is no obvious reason why a computer company should be trying to clean up the world’s oceans, says Adrian Grenier, the actor best known for his lead role in the hit TV series and movie Entourage.

But Dell, the Texas-based tech giant that makes millions of personal computers every year, has become the first company to attempt to stop the flow of plastic into the sea, and Grenier, who is founder of ocean life charity Lonely Whale Foundation, is lending his celebrity to the project.

Graphene-Based Sieve Turns Seawater into Drinking Water (BBC News)
A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater. The sought-after development could aid the millions of people without ready access to clean drinking water.

The promising graphene oxide sieve could be highly efficient at filtering salts, and will now be tested against existing desalination membranes. It has previously been difficult to manufacture graphene-based barriers on an industrial scale.


Scientists Discovered Complex Techniques Dolphins Use to Hunt and Kill Octopus (Business Insider)
For wild predators, catching, killing and eating prey can sometimes be a risky business. We can see this on the African savannah, where a well-aimed kick from a zebra can spell trouble for a hungry lion. But the same can also be true in the ocean, where some prey types are far from helpless seafood.

In particular, a large octopus can be a risky prey for predators to tackle. This is especially so for marine mammals, such as dolphins, which don’t have hands to help them keep control of this clingy, eight-armed prey.

Tropical Fish’s Venom Could Help Create New Painkillers (International Business Times)
As we’ve learned by the sea slug research of Dr. Patrick J. Krug, California State University Los Angeles, the poison of this fish species doesn’t induce pain, but it stuns its predators by triggering a sudden drop in their blood pressure. The venom of Fang Blennies, a species of small poisonous fish found in Pacific coral reefs, could be used a painkiller.

This fish species is bright in color and is known for having large lower canines, from whence it got its name. If swallowed, this fish is known to make its predators experience a “violent quivering of the head”, which forces its predator to open its jaws and gills, allowing that the blenny to escape, unscathed.


FishEyes at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium – Friday April 14th 7:00 PM
Please join us in celebrating science uniting with art at Heidi Duckler’s Dance Performance FishEyes at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro.

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre recently held their first FishEyes workshop of 2017 at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium benefiting San Pedro area students. Those attending learned about dance and the environment, and how art can be used to make sense of larger, more complex topics.

On April 14th, Heidi Duckler will conclude their workshop with a performance of FishEyes, an adventurous, multidisciplinary production exploring water and drought through site-specific choreography in, on, and around our giant stainless steel fish. This performance creates the perfect catalyst for conversation about environmental issues and water conservation, and using art as a lens through which one can examine those issues.

AltaSea Open House – April 15th
Want to learn more about what we do? Join us on Saturday, April 15th for our second AltaSea Open House featuring Catalina Sea Ranch presenting sustainable aquaculture farming.

Open to the public 10:30 am -12:00 pm, 2456 South Signal St Berth 58 San Pedro 90731

RSVP to: Robin Aube –

We are looking for new members to be part of a sea change and strengthen AltaSea’s impact. From community education programs inspiring local students to underwater robotics helping us discover new resources; AltaSea makes ocean-related solutions possible.  Become an Innovator, Explorer or Argonaut member

Donate today for a better tomorrow.

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With a Sunset Sail Aboard a Tall Ship
Next Honorary Mayor Event – Friday May 5th:  Ann Carpenter, Braid Theory CEO, is running for San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Honorary Mayor. Candidates designate one or more nonprofits to support during their candidacy and Ann has chosen AltaSea and its education partners, Los Angeles Maritime Institute and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium as her nonprofits of choice.

The next Honorary Mayor event is the Sunset Sail Aboard a Tall Ship. For tickets and more information please go to

Our Cinco de Mayo Tall Ship Sail itinerary is:
• 5:30 pm – Dockside Reception:  Unwind after a long week with friends and colleagues! Enjoy appetizers with a south-of-the-border flair and Ports O’Call Restaurant’s famous margaritas.
• 6:30 pm – Sunset Cruise: The ship leaves promptly at 6:30 pm for a one-hour narrated cruise around the LA Harbor. Check out the sea life. Enjoy spectacular views of the San Pedro coastline and the Port of Los Angeles. Learn about the future plans of AltaSea while motoring past the facility.
• 7:30 pm – Dockside Return: Savor the last moments of the setting sun, with plenty of time to head on to your next Cinco de Mayo celebration or home to a relaxing weekend.

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