A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.
Exclusive photos show deep-sea canyon in U.S. waters teeming with life (National Geographic)
A stunning array of biodiversity lies at the depths of a marine region that some fear the Trump administration will open to fishing and mining.
For two weeks in September, a team of researchers from Woods Hole, OceanX, and NASA spent time aboard the Alucia research vessel, with funding from OceanX and Bloomberg Philanthropies. See what they found.
Authorities in Queensland, Australia, were forced to close beaches across the region over the weekend amid what local officials said was a jellyfish “epidemic.” Thousands of stings were recorded in Queensland last week, according to rescue organizations.
While the vast majority of those stings were not life-threatening and were caused by “bluebottle colonies,” researchers say the number of more serious injuries from less common jellyfish is also at above-average levels.
Some researchers also say this jellyfish infestation could be one more thing to blame on climate change.
In Praise of Parasites (Smithsonian Magazine)
Lafferty is a PhD ecologist who studies parasites, mostly in fish and other marine creatures. Parasites have an underappreciated importance, he says — as indicators and shapers of healthy ecosystems. They thrive where nature remains robust, their richness and abundance keeping pace with biodiversity. They can serve important roles in maintaining ecosystem equilibrium. For all these reasons and others, he urges fellow scientists to take a more neutral view of them and adopt well-established theoretical approaches for studying diseases on land to better understand how marine parasites operate.
SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE BUSINESS
Catalina Sea Ranch looks to expand, spins off research arm (Los Angeles Business Journal)
AltaSea tenant and partner Catalina Sea Ranch is looking to grow its operation, filing for a permit to expand its 100-acre ocean farm to nearly 3,000 acres this year in order to increase its yield of commercially grown mollusks, giant kelp and other sustainable marine crops.
To develop bigger, better and faster growing mussels, the company also plans this month to launch a spinoff, Syntheseas Inc., which it claims is the first aquaculture biotechnology company in Los Angeles County.
The new corporate offshoot’s goal is to increase aquaculture yields using genomics, genetics and synthetic biology while packing more nutrition and disease resistance into each animal and plant.
While 2018 was the International Year of the Reef, the world’s coral reefs remain under dire threat. Human activity is a major culprit, with over-fishing, aggressive coastal development, pollution and climate change degrading coral reef health around the world.
One hotel chain is working to be a part of the solution: Iberostar Group, which owns more than 120 hotels in 18 countries. Through its Wave of Change movement, Iberostar Group is taking action to deliver measurable improvements by reducing plastic consumption, improving coastal health and promoting responsible seafood consumption.
Iberostar designed Wave of Change in line with Objective 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations. The movement aims to unite employees, customers, suppliers and society to work together to create an increasingly sustainable tourism industry.
Wave of Change is the brainchild of Gloria Fluxá, vice chairman and chief sustainability officer at Iberostar Group. She knew that certain elements would be critical to the movement’s success; the first was that it be science-based.
Oceanographers and engineers at the University of California San Diego collaborated to modify a common physical oceanography instrument to be able to image zooplankton as it glides through the ocean.
The robot, dubbed Zooglider, uses as its platform a Scripps-developed glider known as Spray. Ohman and Scripps instrument developers outfitted the torpedo-shaped Spray gliders with a camera (called Zoocam) and a device researchers call Zonar that gathers acoustic data about zooplankton – free-drifting microscopic marine animals – in the manner of a sonar instrument. This promises a priceless view of how marine life is responding to climate change.
Europe sees net gains from aquaculture (SeaWestNews)
Aquaculture in all its forms is helping to play a key role in creating jobs and contributing to a strong economy in Europe, data from the 2018 Economic report of the EU Aquaculture Sector, published this week, shows.
The EU aquaculture sector reached 1.4 million tonnes in sales volume and €4.9 billion in sales value, in 2016. This corresponds to an increase of 6% in sales volume and 8% in the sales value compared to 2014, the report said.
The positive economic development is being seen for all the three sub-segments of European aquaculture – marine fishes, freshwater fishes and shellfish – which are all providing positive economic growth and generating positive profits.
Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old student from Sweden, captured the attention of the world recently when she shamed climate change negotiators at a United Nations climate summit in Poland.
“You are not mature enough to tell it like is,” she said at the COP24 summit, which ended late Saturday night after two weeks of tense negotiations. “Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.”
The lives of people across the planet are intertwined with the health of our oceans.
This is especially true for small island nations, like Tonga and the Marshall Islands, which face numerous challenges ranging from economic isolation to rising sea levels. With access to vast ocean resources and limited land areas, many island states are reliant on ocean-based industries. In Tonga, for example, fish constitute the largest single export. This reliance can lead to an overuse of marine resources and propagate unsustainable practices such as overfishing. Therefore, a common perception is that economic growth is at odds with marine protection efforts.
It doesn’t have to be.
3 Bands & A Beer (AltaSea)
January 19 at 8pm
Mike Watt and The Missingmen
Please join us at AltaSea for great music and celebration before renovation begins at 2456 South Signal Street, Berth 58, San Pedro, CA 90731.
No admission without prior reservation. Reservations must be made by January 16th at 5pm. Suggested donation of $30. A No Host bar generously sponsored by Port Town Brewing Co.
Please go here to RSVP.
Long Beach’s Fifth Annual Climate Change Symposium At Aquarium (League of Women Voters)
Long Beach’s branch of the League of Women Voters will host the fifth annual climate change symposium next Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Dr. Jerry Schubel will moderate the afternoon, titled “Climate Change Is Here: What Are We Doing About It?” He also will be the keynote speaker.
Other panelists include Holly Jean Buck from the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; Professor Lynne Talley, Scripps Institute of Oceanography; and Bill Patzert, climate scientist who retired recently from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The last hour of the program — which runs from 3 to 6 p.m. — will be devoted to the audience with a question and answer session with the panel. The League also will announce the creation and a $1,000 award to a student who has chosen to study climate change.
The event is free, but advance reservations are required. Early registration is recommended — the aquarium auditorium capacity is 190 people. Check-in will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.
To register, email [email protected] or call (562) 548-4010.
Whale Fiesta (Cabrillo Marine Aquarium)
January 27, 2019
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for tons of FREE fun as they celebrate the migration of the Pacific gray whale and the beginning of whalewatching season! It’s a family day filled with activities and exhibits for all – games, arts and crafts, puppet shows, marine awareness organizations, expert guest lecturers and festive music. For those with a competitive edge, enter the Duct Tape Whale Sculpture Contest!
Whale Fiesta is a FREE event sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles.
Give Seals and Sea Lions a Second Chance at Life! (Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles)
The pups are starting to pour in at Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles. Already it is receiving higher than usual numbers of stranded, sick and injured animals. To help treat and care for these protected mammals, hospital and animal care staff is asking for the public’s help to donate much needed supplies.
Current wish list items include:
Heavy Duty Paper Towels (Bounty®, etc.)
Dawn Dishwashing Soap
Disinfecting Bleach (Unscented & Disinfecting)
Sodium Chloride Tablets-1GM
Amazon Gift Cards any amount
Laundry Detergent (high efficiency)
Fish Oil Capsules
Nitrile or Latex Gloves (medium and large)
Germicidal Bleach (unscented)
Sink Strainers with Rubber Stopper
Cash donations of any amount is also a huge help! Please visit: www.MarineMammalCare.org/wish-list.
MMCC LA is a non-profit year-round hospital for seals and sea lions, serving Los Angeles County from Seal Beach to Malibu. In addition to rehabilitating and releasing sick, injured, and malnourished seals and sea lions, Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles promotes the preservation of marine mammals through education, research and partnerships.
Donations can be dropped off at the Hospital & Visitor Center at 3601 S. Gaffey #8, San Pedro, CA 90731. The hospital is open daily for patient viewing between 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.