AltaSea: Trending Newsletter

February 10, 2021 Edition

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

UPCOMING VIRTUAL EVENTS

Across the seven Seas (The Ocean Opportunity Lab and TOOL Aquarium)

February 11 at 7:00am

Tune in to hear Karl Muller from AltaSea along with other panelists representing the ocean and renewable energy industries.

Live Chat with Dr. Clarissa Anderson of Scripps (AltaSea)

February 26 at 12:00pm

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

28 Scientists to learn more about! (Sciencebuddies.org)

In honor of Black History Month, we highlight 28 African American scientists and engineers who made important contributions to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). There are many, many scientists who could be included on this list! The list below is just a sampling of noted scientists through history.

Black History and Ocean History are Inexplicably Tied (Ocean Conservancy)

Countless stories of the Black experience in America are connected to the sea. In fact, you can’t tell the African American story without it—it was on transatlantic ships that the first African slaves were brought to the colonies. The ocean was a stage for horrific cruelty, where Africans were stolen and crammed into cargo holds, barely able to move. Many would not survive the journey—nearly 2 million of the 12 million people shipped in the transatlantic slave trade died before the ships ever reached North America.

The STEM Careers Coalition Celebrates Black Leaders in STEM with Dynamic Digital Careers Content and Exclusive Virtual Events (eSchool News)

The  STEM Careers Coalition – the first-of-its-kind national STEM initiative powered by corporate leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education – invites educators, students, and communities to celebrate Black leaders in STEM year-round with the launch of dynamic careers content and a series of virtual educator events. The array of new on-demand resources leverages the power of digital content to connect all learners to their innate curiosity by bringing real-world STEM to life in the classroom.

 

MARINE SCIENCE

In the Oceans, the Volume Is Rising as Never Before (The New York Times)

Although clown fish are conceived on coral reefs, they spend the first part of their lives as larvae drifting in the open ocean. The fish are not yet orange, striped or even capable of swimming. They are still plankton, a term that comes from the Greek word for “wanderer,” and wander they do, drifting at the mercy of the currents in an oceanic rumspringa.

When the baby clown fish grow big enough to swim against the tide, they high-tail it home. The fish can’t see the reef, but they can hear its snapping, grunting, gurgling, popping and croaking. These noises make up the soundscape of a healthy reef, and larval fish rely on these soundscapes to find their way back to the reefs, where they will spend the rest of their lives — that is, if they can hear them.

The Next Cousteau Is Building an Underwater Research Wonderland (Bloomberg Green)

Fabien Cousteau took a last look at the steel capsule that had been his home for 31 days as he ascended gently toward the warm surface of the Florida Bay waters. After a month living in a confined space, 63 feet deep in the ocean with no sunlight, he had just one thought in his mind: how to get back there, for longer.

“To have to go back to the surface was one of the saddest moments in my ocean exploration career,” Cousteau says. “I was more than happy to go another month, but unfortunately budgets don’t allow for that.”

Earth is now losing 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year. And it’s going to get worse. (The Washington Post)

Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and scientists are still underestimating just how much sea levels could rise, according to alarming new research published this month.

From the thin ice shield covering most of the Arctic Ocean to the mile-thick mantle of the polar ice sheets, ice losses have soared from about 760 billion tons per year in the 1990s to more than 1.2 trillion tons per year in the 2010s. That is an increase of more than 60 percent

This Ammonite Was Fossilized Outside Its Shell (The New York Times)

If anxious humans have nightmares of being naked in public, an anxious ammonite may have dreamed about swimming around without its shell, its soft body exposed to the elements and the leering eyes of predators.

For one unfortunate ammonite in the Late Jurassic, this was no dream but a harsh reality. The animal died utterly unclad, outside its whorled shell, and was buried this way. According to a study published recently in the Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, the ammonite’s death made it an extraordinary fossil — one of very few records of soft tissue in a creature that is most often immortalized as a shell.

SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS

Making protein ‘superfood’ from marine algae (Science Daily)

Researchers at Flinders University’s Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development (CMBD) in Australia are responding to growing interest from consumers looking for healthier, more environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethical alternatives to animal proteins.

Marine microalgae, single-cell photosynthetic organisms from the ocean could be the solution to the world’s meat protein shortage, says CMBD director Flinders University Professor Wei Zhang, who is also co-leading a bid to establish a national Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (MB-CRC) in Australia.

Ocean-based sequestration heats up (GreenBiz.com)

Over the past few years, as companies have come under steadily increasing pressure to tackle climate change, nature-based solutions have emerged as a particularly exciting method for shrinking corporate carbon footprints. Investing in forests can be a win-win that both sequesters carbon and regenerates nature. That’s why one recent survey recorded almost $160 million spent on forest offsets in 2019. And a newer option, soil carbon, also is generating investment from multiple corporate sectors.

Yet another natural sink absorbs about as much carbon dioxide as our planet’s soils and forests combined: the world’s coastal and ocean waters. Until recently, ocean sequestration, also known as blue carbon, attracted little attention outside academic and think-tank circles. We might be at a turning point, however, because a handful of forward-looking corporations, conservation organizations and startups recently have accelerated efforts to store carbon in marine systems. Thanks to their work, companies of all sizes soon may be able invest in ocean sequestration.

EDUCATION

New Golden Age of Exploration – And Interview with Jyotika Virmani (Hydro International)

Jyotika Virmani was executive director of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE before she entered Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI), also as executive director. Two positions at the forefront of state-of-the-art and new technological developments and discoveries, shaping both the future of ocean research and a sustainable future for the oceans, forming the perfect job switch. Hydro International spoke with Jyotika Virmani about SOI and other ambitious projects that are helping to save the ocean. First of all, Virmani explained how she landed the position with the non-profit foundation that Eric and Wendy Schmidt started back in 2009.

The Iconic Explorers Club Honors 50 Members Including 21 Remarkable Women (Forbes)

The iconic Explorers Club revealed its honorees for its inaugural EC 50 program, recognizing 50 explorers who are changing the world. The Club nominated over 400 explorers from over 50 countries, all representing a diverse group from every continent, working in 46 different countries, including Ecuador, Mozambique, China, and more.

This year’s honorees have embarked on a wide range of amazing work from anti-poaching efforts in China; fire management research protecting Madagascar’s rich forests; researching climate change in the Arctic; investigating food strategies for astronauts while in space; initiating movements that support black women in America, and supporting youth activism utilizing biodiversity and conservation.

COMMUNITY

South Bay History: John Olguin’s lifelong love affair with San Pedro and the sea (Daily Breeze)

John Main Olguin was born in San Pedro on Feb. 18, 1921. His father, Roy, had moved from Mexico to work in the port area, where he met Olguin’s mother, Josie Main, a Long Beach woman who worked in the Terminal Island fishing industry. The family had very little money, so Olguin took odd jobs shining shoes and selling newspapers.

As a young man, Olguin went through the San Pedro public schools, attending Cabrillo Elementary, Dana Middle School and San Pedro High School. He was an accomplished swimmer and became an active member of the San Pedro Swim Club while in middle school. (He would later be nicknamed “the human fish” for his love of ocean swimming.)

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