AltaSea: Trending – June 11, 2018

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


A robot submarine found the ‘Holy Grail of shipwrecks.’ It’s worth billions. (The Washington Post)

The San José, the largest galleon and the flagship of one group of Spanish ships that started sailing in the 16th century, was big and — thanks to 62 bronze cannons engraved with dolphins — deadly enough to deter or destroy ships, whether pirates or rival nations.

Except when it didn’t. On June 8, 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the San José’s gunpowder ignited during a battle with British ships, sending 600 sailors to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean — along with gold, silver and emeralds from mines in Peru, a total haul valued at some $17 billion in today’s dollars.

It stands as one of the most expensive maritime losses in history. And “the Holy Grail of shipwrecks” stayed underwater, undiscovered for more than 300 years.

Enter a tiny submersible robot named Remus 6000 — packed with sensors and cameras and capable of diving four miles underwater — that has discovered the centuries-old final resting place of the sunken ship.

Plastic Bag Found at the Bottom of World’s Deepest Ocean Trench (National Geographic)

The Mariana Trench—the deepest point in the ocean—extends nearly 36,000 feet down in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. But if you thought the trench could escape the global onslaught of plastics pollution, you would be wrong.

A recent study revealed that a plastic bag, like the kind given away at grocery stores, is now the deepest known piece of plastic trash, found at a depth of 36,000 feet inside the Mariana Trench. Scientists found it by looking through the Deep-Sea Debris Database, a collection of photos and videos taken from 5,010 dives over the past 30 years that was recently made public.


A Growing Blue Economy in North America (The Liquid Grid)

Over the last four years 20 incubators, accelerators, and clusters focused on the Blue Economy and blue technology have formed in North America, bringing the current total to 26. The World Bank estimates that the Blue Economy contributes roughly $1.5 trillion to the global economy each year; very few other natural resources can claim as large an impact.

With so many industries and stakeholders that have a vested interested in the Blue Economy, some regions across the world have created marine clusters.  A cluster is “a geographical proximate group of interconnected companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and externalities” according to management author Michael Porter.  In the Blue Economy, ports serve as natural hubs for clusters due to the obvious infrastructure and businesses that they support, so it should come as no surprise that each cluster in the U.S. is near, or centered on, a major port.

AltaSea & SpaceX Making Port of LA an Innovation District (The Planning Report)

In May, Councilmember Joe Buscaino delivered his annual State of the District speech at a newly repurposed 1914 port warehouse at AltaSea. AltaSea is the “bluetech” marine research campus that the councilmember has crowned “the epicenter for the emergence of an entire new industry.” In his remarks, excerpted here, the councilmember announced the arrival of The Boeing Company to the LA Waterfromt, joining SpaceX. Buscaino discusses the role that these innovation-based industries will bring in transforming the Port of LA and South Bay region.

XPRIZE to Crowdsource Prizes in Energy, Food, Environment (Philanthropy News Digest)

The XPRIZE Foundation has announced an open call to innovators interested in designing future XPRIZE competitions in five areas: Off-Grid Energy for the Developing World, Saving Coral Reefs, Disaster Prediction, Lifting Farmers Out of Poverty, and Feeding the Next Billion. 

When creating a competition, the XPRIZE Foundation typically turns to either an internal team or outside experts. This year, however, the organization will use the HeroX crowdsourcing platform to source hundreds of XPRIZE design concepts in advance of its 2018 Visioneering Summit.

Teams entering the 2018 Visioneering Prize-Design Challenge will have the option of watching a “master class” video on designing an XPRIZE taught by the organization’s founder and executive chair, Peter H. Diamandis, before submitting their concept, which must include the proposed name of the prize, a suggested prize purse, competition rules, and other details. Designers of the best concepts submitted through the HeroX platform will be eligible for a variety of cash prizes and will be invited to work with XPRIZE experts to refine their concept before taking a global stage later this year at the annual summit.


California’s schools are getting a little greener (Daily Democrat)

The state’s public schools are making steady progress in implementing some of the most comprehensive environmental education standards in the country, educators and environmentalists say.

Buoyed by $4 million in the current state budget for K-12 environmental education, teachers are planning field trips to mountains and beaches, creating lessons on ecosystems and watersheds and showing students how human activity affects the planet. In April, thousands of students turned out for Earth Day events, picking up trash, pulling weeds and planting trees.

“While many states are engaged in strategic efforts to implement environmental education K-12, California is certainly emerging as a leader,” said Sarah Bodor, director of policy and affiliate relations for the North American Association for Environmental Education. “We’re excited to watch as many diverse partners are coming together to ensure that all California students get access to rich, authentic learning that advances environmental literacy and civic engagement.”

The Robots Roaming the High Seas (Bloomberg)

Intelligent, indestructible and with no humans on board, these sailboats are plotting their own course through the waters of San Francisco Bay. If Richard Jenkins gets his way, soon there’ll be hundreds of them – trawling the oceans for data.

Scientists Take A Ride On The Pacific’s ‘Shark Highway’ (NPR)

For the first time, scientists have videotaped sharks traveling a 500-mile-long “shark highway” in the Pacific, and they plan to turn it into a protected wildlife corridor in the ocean.

Biologists have been attaching electronic tags to sharks near Costa Rica for years. They knew the sharks sometimes traveled south to the Galapagos Islands, but they’d never actually witnessed it. And they needed scientific — and visual — evidence to make their case for protecting the route. 

To do that, they took some GoPro-style cameras and attached them to metal frames along with bloody fish bait. They’re called BRUVS, for “baited remote underwater video system.” The researchers dragged these contraptions behind a research vessel for almost two weeks.


AltaSea, The Swim Launch Pledge Drive as Ben Lecomte Begins Pacific Crossing (AltaSea)

The Swim, Ben Lecomte’s audacious project to swim from Tokyo to San Francisco to raise awareness about Pacific Ocean pollution, has begun, and with it, a joint program to raise money for education programs at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles.

The joint AltaSea-The Swim fundraiser is one of several planned pledge campaigns, all generating money for ocean-related science and education programs. Pledged donations will go to each partner organization after Lecomte completes that leg of The Swim.

All AltaSea-related pledges will help finance construction of an outdoor Blue Tech Ocean Exploration classroom on the AltaSea docks. Students will learn about ocean exploration and research and get to operate underwater research drones from onshore.

To make a pledge to The Swim and AltaSea project, click here. Please select the box that says ‘The Swim’. You can follow the progress of Lecomte and Seeker on social media, the web and at, as well as here on

2018 Annual Business Awards & Installation Luncheon (San Pedro Chamber of Commerce)

June 14, 2018 from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel 

Join us at the 2018 Annual the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Business Awards & Installation Luncheon where our very own Jenny Krusoe, Executive Director of AltaSea, will be given the Leadership Award.

This event includes a silent auction and presentation of the following:

  • Business of the Year:  Phillips 66
  • Small Business of the Year:  Underground San Pedro
  • Non-Profit of the Year: Meals on Wheels
  • Restaurant of the Year: Pappy’s 
  • New Business of the Year:  Chori-Man
  • Bold Vision Award: Braid Theory
  • Leadership Award:  Jenny Krusoe​
  • 2018 Chairman & Board Member Installation

For more information and tickets, click here.

26th Annual Seal Day (Marine Mammal Care Center)

June 24th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC), 3601 South Gaffey Street in San Pedro.

The day consists of guest lecturers, films, narrated rehabilitation demonstrations, and theme related children’s activities. There is also plenty of literature and other goodies handed out to take home. MMCC LA collaborates with over 30 other like-minded organizations that are set up in booths to inform them on environmental and ocean health topics. To add to this “festival atmosphere,” food trucks are onsite to make sure that there are refreshments, as well as music and entertainment to keep the event lively with opportunity drawings and activities.

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